Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Welcomes New National Trustees | Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Welcomes New National Trustees

April 20, 2017

Contact: Jeanine Kober

Seven Join Leadership to Cure IBD and Improve Patient Quality of Life

New York, New York, April 19, 2017– The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (the Foundation) is pleased to announce seven new members of its National Board of Trustees, which oversees the management of the organization’s policies, practices, principles, affairs, funds, and property. The Foundation is the largest, voluntary, non-profit health organization dedicated to finding cures for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), while working in a variety of innovative ways to improve the lives of pediatric and adult patients.

“We are proud and fortunate to welcome this extraordinary group of men and women to the Foundation’s leadership,” said Vance Gibbs, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s National Board Chair and Partner at Kean Miller in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “By contributing their diverse experience and expertise, they will enhance our mission capabilities and help us to advance the goals laid out in our ambitious new three-year strategic plan.” Mr. Gibbs was elected Board Chair for the third consecutive year.

These individuals will serve as National Trustees through 2020:

  • Amber Backhaus has over 20 years working as a government relations professional, advocating for clients before the Minnesota Legislature and state agencies. She’s participated numerous times in the Foundation’s Team Challenge fundraisers in memory of her brother, Phil, and served as president of the Foundation’s Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter from 2014 to 2016.
  • Noël Brown is a Managing Director in the Healthcare Investment Banking Group at Cantor Fitzgerald, where he advises biopharmaceutical companies on equity and debt capital markets, initial public offerings, and mergers and acquisitions. He has advised on more than $15 billion of transactions over more than 20 years in the securities industry.
  • Retired former Congressman from Florida, the Honorable Ander Crenshaw has led a distinguished lifetime of public service and executive leadership. While in Washington, D.C., he gained a reputation as a strong advocate for job creation and economic prosperity, and sponsored the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which enabled pre-tax, health savings accounts for people with disabilities. He joined the law firm of King and Spaulding in March 2017 as Senior Counsel.
  • Alessandro (Sandro) DiNello is president, CEO and a director of Flagstar Bank and Flagstar Bancorp. He has held a number of leadership roles at the bank including head of Retail Banking, Commercial Banking, Technology, and Operations. As CEO, he has played a critical role in strengthening the bank's risk management, compliance, and quality control. He is an avid supporter and volunteer with the Foundation.
  • A Managing Director with Bank of America, Alex Funderburg has wide-ranging business expertise, including lending, leasing, syndications, financial modeling, portfolio analysis and corporate reorganizations. For the past five years, he served as president of the Foundation’s Carolinas Chapter, where active membership and fundraising tripled during his tenure.
  • Michele Kissous-Hunt is a physician assistant with over 20 years experience treating patients with a wide range of gastrointestinal diseases. She is an active member of the Foundation’s National Nurses and Advanced Practice Committee, and is on the expert panel of the Foundation’s IBD Circle with the American College of Gastroenterology.
  • Dr. Joel R. Rosh is Director of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Vice Chairman of Clinical Development and Research Affairs at Goryeb Children's Hospital/Atlantic Health, and Professor of Pediatrics at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. He has served as National Chair of the Foundation’s Pediatric Education Committee, and has been honored as the New Jersey Chapter’s Physician of the Year.

Trustees of the Foundation’s National Board are elected for three-year terms and may serve no more than two consecutive terms.

“Each of our new National Trustees has proven his or her commitment to the Foundation, and brings vital passion and unique skills to further strengthen the organization,” explains Michael Osso, President and CEO of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. “As we celebrate the Foundation’s 50th Anniversary this year, they will play a critical role leading us to better care for patients and accelerating cures for IBD.”

About the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation

To date, the Foundation has funded close to $300 million in research targeting areas of science with a high probability of advancing treatment. We are currently funding a roster of over 200 research projects including multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary, and collaborative programs. In the past five years, our researchers have made significant inroads in the study of genetics, as well as the gut microbiome. The Foundation is dedicated to advancing research for adults and pediatrics, last year investing $30.6 million in funding investigators in the U.S., Canada and over a dozen foreign countries. 

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is the largest non-profit, voluntary, health organization dedicated to finding cures for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The Foundation’s mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research; providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public; and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information visit, call 888-694-8872, or email


Crohn's & Colitis Foundation

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. The Foundation ranks third among leading health non-profits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, with more than 80 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends going to mission-critical programs. The Foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance ( and the American Institute of Philanthropy (

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