Researchers at the University of Illinois recently re-engineered small molecules to disrupt toxic RNA repeats involved in DM2.
Molly K. White, Executive Director
Molly White joined the Foundation in January 2012 as Executive Director to provide leadership, strategic direction and administrative oversight for the comprehensive programmatic and fundraising efforts of the Foundation and its staff. Molly has over 25 years of leadership-level experience building, implementing and running award-winning domestic and international community programs for organizations in both the private and nonprofit sectors. She has created partnerships with a range of governmental, nonprofit and private sector stakeholders to launch initiatives targeting key national issues such as childhood obesity prevention and components of health care reform.
Molly began her career in the nonprofit sector as a program and fundraising professional for several San Francisco-based nonprofits before moving to the private sector to build corporate social responsibility teams and initiatives for employers and clients that included Gap, Inc., Nike, Inc., Visa, Inc., Sony, Williams Sonoma/Pottery Barn, AAA, the Apollo Group and others. She also led strategic planning and program development efforts for nonprofit clients that included the Ford Foundation, The Wilderness Society, The Estate Project for Artists with AIDS and Canyon Ranch Institute.
Molly earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Montana, and her Master of Arts from the University of Iowa. She has received certification from the Center for Corporate Community Relations, Boston University; the Fund Raising School, Center on Philanthropy, Indiana University; and has served as a board member for numerous community organizations, including the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District, Larkspur, CA; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; National Association to Promote Physical Activity, Washington, DC; and Active Living By Design, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.
Aly Galloway, Community Engagement Manager
Aly joined the Foundation in 2013 to lead the organization’s grassroots fundraising, advocacy, and volunteer efforts, including TeamMDF. She has a passion for healthcare and patient advocacy groups: prior to joining MDF, she worked for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Government Affairs office in Washington, DC, where she managed the volunteer grassroots advocacy program. During her tenure there, she was part of the team responsible for getting Congress to pass the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, a law that prioritizes federal research funding for pancreatic, lung, and other deadly cancers. Before becoming involved in the nonprofit sector, she taught high school special education and French and was a freelance writer, contributing articles and biographies to several databases on American politics.
Aly earned her Bachelor of Arts from UCLA, her Master of Arts from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and certification in conflict resolution and negotiation from the United Nations University in Amman, Jordan. In the past she has served as a board member for the Social Media Club of San Francisco and the social media coordinator for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's Bay Area chapter, and is currently the volunteer advocacy coordinator for that chapter.
Haley Kennard joined the Foundation in 2013 as the Development Associate to help manage our continually expanding group of donors, assist with fundraising projects, and respond to community requests for information and materials. Prior to her involvement with the foundation, Haley was an intern at the Center for Health Promotion (CEDAPS), a public health non-profit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She worked with CEDAPS on various UNICEF funded programs focused on empowering local community groups to improve their access to health services, and mapping and reporting environmental health risks for government organizations. She also co-wrote and translated international grant applications for the organization and provided administrative support. She is excited to contribute to and learn from the dynamic MDF team and community.
Haley earned her Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara, graduating in June of 2012 with the university’s highest honors.
Leslie Krongold, Ed.D., Outreach Director
Leslie has been involved with the Foundation for several years – as a panelist at the first Family Conference in Minneapolis, a member of the volunteer Education Committee, and most recently as the Lead for the Warmline and Support Group TeamMDF projects. As Outreach Director Leslie will continue in this role as well as help launch an on-going series of informational webinars for the community.
Diagnosed in 1998 with DM1, Leslie was propelled into facilitating support groups for the Muscular Dystrophy Association shortly after attending her first few meetings. Since then she’s developed her expertise by writing her doctoral dissertation on cultivating social support and self-management health behaviors in support groups for adults with chronic health conditions.
Previous to her volunteer work with MDA and MDF, Leslie was a teacher, educational multimedia producer, and web-based instructional designer. She’s been active in her community of Alameda, California by serving eight years as a Library Board Trustee and five years on the City’s Committee on Disability Issues.
Eriko Nasser, Research Director
Eriko joined the MDF team in late 2012 to help launch and then manage the Myotonic Dystrophy Family Registry and other MDF research projects. Prior to her involvement with the foundation, she was managing the award-winning corporate wellness program for the 15,000+ employees of the Apollo Group. Eriko's passion has always been healthcare and more specifically, healthcare and health policy research. She has managed and received various grants, presented findings at numerous conferences, contributed to panels and published her research findings in the American Journal of Public Health.
Eriko received her Master of Public Policy from UCLA, where she also earned her Bachelor of Arts degree.
Wendy O’Dea, Communications Director
Wendy joined MDF in 2012 in the role of Communications Director to help us expand our communications efforts. She has 25 years of experience working in communications, public relations and journalism in various industries including health care, medical device technologies, finance, and travel and tourism. Her areas of expertise include internal communications, benefits communications, media relations, publications and social media.
Wendy earned a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Oswego and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Southern California School of Journalism.