Board of Trustees

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is able to fulfill its mission and continue its battle against Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis because of our dedicated board of trustees.

You can learn more about each of our current board members below:


D. Brent Polk, MD

Brent Polk, MD, Chair of the Board

Dr. Brent Polk is Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego and Executive Vice Chair for the Department of Pediatrics and Professor of Pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine.


Dr. Polk is a former Professor of Pediatrics and Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine and Vice Dean for Child Health at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. He was also the former Chair of the Department of Pediatrics for USC and past Chief of Pediatrics, Physician-in-Chief and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of the Saban Research Institute at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.


Dr. Polk previously held the Dean's chair and served as Chief of the D. Brent Polk Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Director of the Digestive Disease Research Center and a tenured Professor of Pediatrics and Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University, where he received the Grant W. Liddle award for exemplary leadership in the promotion of scientific research careers of faculty and trainees including medical students.


A distinguished investigator, clinician and educator, Dr. Polk has more than 30 years of experience as a pediatric physician-scientist focused on the care of patients with inflammatory bowel disease, with the goal of asking questions through laboratory investigations informed by patient care challenges that may be translated back to identify risks of disease and targets for prevention or treatment. His laboratory is focused on the regulation of growth and development of the intestinal cell as it relates to development and disease, with a particular focus on signal transduction mechanisms in IBD.


Dr. Polk received bachelor degrees in biology and chemistry from Ouachita University and his medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He completed his pediatrics training at Arkansas Children's Hospital and UAMS, and his gastroenterology and nutrition training at Stanford University.


Amber Backhaus

Amber Backhaus, Chair-Elect

Amber has over 20 years working as a government relations professional, representing clients before the Minnesota Legislature and state agencies. Currently, she leads the advocacy efforts for the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association (MADA), a trade group representing Minnesota’s franchised new car and truck dealers.


Prior to joining MADA, Amber worked in the government relations practice of Leonard, Street & Deinard, acting on behalf of high-profile clients such as the Minnesota Timberwolves, State Farm Insurance, Express Scripts, and Supervalu. She also served as the Director of Public Affairs for the Minnesota Trucking Association. In 2012-2013, Amber was honored to be elected by her peers to serve two years as President of the Minnesota Government Relations Council and its 500 members.


Amber began her work with the Foundation as a participant in the Team Challenge program in 2011, running her first half-marathon ever. Since then, she has completed five more races with Team Challenge in memory of her brother Phil, and joined the board of the Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter, serving as its president from 2014-2016.


Amber is married to Christopher Backhaus and has a nine-year old son, Andrew.


David T. Rubin, MD

David T. Rubin, MD, FACG, AGAF, FACP, FASGE, FRCP (Edinburgh), Chair of the National Scientific Advisory Committee

David T. Rubin is the Joseph B. Kirsner Professor of Medicine, Professor of Pathology, Chief of the Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, and the Co-Director of the Digestive Diseases Center at the University of Chicago Medicine. He earned a medical degree with honors at The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowships in gastroenterology and clinical medical ethics at the University of Chicago, where he served as Chief Resident and Chief Fellow.


He also currently serves as an associate faculty member at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, an associate investigator at the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center and is a member of the University of Chicago Committee on Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics. He is the current Chair of the National Scientific Advisory Committee of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, where he also serves as a Board of Trustees member. Prior to these appointments, Dr. Rubin served as the Director of the Fellowship in Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition at the University of Chicago for 11 years. In 2018, Dr. Rubin completed the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Leadership Development Course for Physicians.


Dr. Rubin is a Fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), the American College of Physicians (ACP), and the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh). He is a former member the Board of Trustees for the ACG. Among numerous awards and honors, Dr. Rubin was chosen by his peers as a member of Best Doctors (recognized for superior clinical ability) and America’s Top Physicians (gastroenterology). Additionally, he twice received the ACG’s Governor’s Award of Excellence in Clinical Research (2003 and 2013), and the UChicagoPostgraduate Teaching Award in recognition of significant contributions for fellowship education (2006).


In 2012, he received the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s Rosenthal Award, a national leadership award bestowed upon a volunteer who has contributed in an indisputable way to the quality of life of patients and families. In 2020, Dr. Rubin received the Sherman Prize for Excellence in Crohn’s and Colitis. He was an Associate Editor of the journal Gastroenterology (2017-2022) and is the current Editor-in-Chief of the ACG On-Line Education Universe. Dr. Rubin is an editor of the book Curbside Consultation in IBD which is now in its 3rd edition, is an associate editor of the 11th edition of Sleisenger and Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, (now one of the senior editors for the 12th edition), and an author or co-author of over 450 articles on treatment and management of IBD, cancer in IBD and novel paradigms, as well as the first author of the 2019 ACG Guidelines for ulcerative colitis. In 2018, he co-founded (with Dr. Marla Dubinsky) a non-profit medical education organization, Cornerstones Health, which delivers state-of-the-art educational programs to clinicians around the world about IBD.


His current research is in the areas of biosensor and other novel tools for monitoring of IBD, metabolomic assessments and mental health in IBD, prevention of progressive complications from uncontrolled inflammation, and a variety of collaborative studies related to the causes of IBD and its complications. He is also a featured media contact for issues related to IBD, appearing on satellite radio, television, print media, and maintains a popular and verified Twitter feed @IBDMD with over 20,000 followers.


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Peter Higgins, MD, PhD, MSc (CRDSA), AGAF, Chair-Elect of the National Scientific Advisory Committee

Dr. Peter Higgins received his bachelor's degree and medical degrees from Duke University and completed a Ph.D. in molecular cancer biology at Duke. He completed a fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of Michigan in 2004, completed an M.Sc. in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and joined the University of Michigan faculty the same year.


Dr. Higgins currently serves as the IBD editor for the American Journal of Gastroenterology. His research focuses on inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. He is interested in the molecular mechanisms of intestinal fibrosis, which leads to intestinal blockages and surgery. Dr. Higgins studies the use of ultrasound to measure intestinal scarring, the use of biomarkers to detect early scarring, and measurement of markers of early inflammation. His clinical research includes studies on patient-reported outcomes in IBD, medication holidays after long-term remission in IBD, and biomarker-guided therapy in IBD. Dr. Higgins' research interests are complemented by his clinical interest in improving the quality of care of patients with IBD.


He is a member of the AGA IBD Quality Measures Committee and has participated in the development of national guidelines for high quality IBD care. Dr. Higgins has received many honors and awards, including the AGA IBD Clinical Research Excellence Award.


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Daniel Stone, Treasurer

Daniel Stone is one of the co‐founders of Ionic Capital Management LLC, a multi-strategy alternative asset manager, where he oversees the firm’s interest rate, currency, and credit strategies. He has over 25 years of experience managing relative value and arbitrage funds across asset classes.


Mr. Stone was formerly a Managing Director and Portfolio Manager in the US and European Volatility and Credit Arbitrage Group at Highbridge Capital Management. He joined Highbridge in 1996 and traded convertible bonds, equity, interest rate and credit derivatives.


Mr. Stone earned an AB in Economics magna cum laude from Harvard College.


Jodi F. Yellen

Jodi Yellen, Secretary

Jodi Yellen advises clients in all phases of forming, managing and terminating charitable organizations, including public charities, private foundations and private operating foundations. She advises clients, individually and on behalf of the organizations they represent, in connection with making contributions and grants, nationally and internationally, including preparing grant agreements for contributions to domestic and foreign entities. Jodi works with clients on multiyear grants, endowments and long-term capital projects. Jodi is impassioned by helping clients find impactful and creative ways to utilize their wealth in support of charitable and social causes they believe in.


Another important focus of Jodi’s practice is estate planning and administration. Jodi advises high-net-worth individuals, including resident and non-resident aliens, concerning income, gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax matters and estate planning. She prepares wills, trust agreements, including insurance trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, qualified terminable interest property trusts, qualified domestic trusts, intentionally defective grantor trusts, and credit shelter trusts, and other planning-related documents. She represents clients in all phases of complex estate and trust administration and advises them with respect to estate litigation issues.


Jodi also advises clients in marital planning, including the preparation and negotiation of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.




Rhonda L. Bolding

Rhonda has more than 20 years’ experience marketing for professional services firms. She currently serves as Marketing Manager at Strada Architecture, LLC where she manages firm-wide marketing and public relations to support the strategic goals and vision of the firm, and to enhance their competitive position. Rhonda’s focus includes local and regional markets as well as emerging national and international growth opportunities.


Rhonda is a Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM), emphasizing her commitment to professional excellence, career advancement, and an ongoing pursuit of knowledge. Prior to joining Strada, she held marketing positions at Highmark Health, Mascaro Construction, Moss & Associates (Fort Lauderdale), JOMAR Building Company (Detroit), HOK Architects (Atlanta), and Barton Malow Company (Detroit & Atlanta).


Rhonda believes service to others is the rent we pay for our room here on earth and has demonstrated this through her volunteerism with several organizations and non-profit boards/committees including, The United Way of Southwest PA’s United for Children Strategic Planning Committee, Women’s Leadership Council and Tocqueville Society; Ivy Charitable Endowment of Pittsburgh Foundation; The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS); Jack and Jill of America, Inc.; and the Highmark Caring Place. Additionally, she volunteers as a mentor through Communities in Schools of Pittsburgh. Rhonda is an active Silver-Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and a Life Member of Optimist International.


Rhonda began her work with the Foundation as a team captain in the Guts & Glory Walk in Detroit, MI in 2006. Rhonda has served on the the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's Western PA / West VA Chapter board for the past six years and currently serves as Board President.


Rhonda is a graduate of the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University. A native of Detroit, MI, Rhonda lives with her husband, Kevin, and daughter, Kira, in Pittsburgh, PA.

John Capodilupo

John Capodilupo

John Capodilupo is President of Synex Medical, Inc a health technology startup on a mission to build the first FDA cleared non-invasive blood glucose monitor by developing novel techniques based on nuclear magnetic resonance. Before working at Synex, John dropped out of Harvard College to co-found Whoop, Inc, whereas CTO he led technical teams to develop innovative technologies for wearable health and performance optimization.


John additionally shares his passion for and experience with early-stage startups by advising and investing in numerous companies utilizing science and technology to bring new products to market. John is a Venture Partner at the venture capital firm, Accomplice, and an active angel investor.


John was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2016 and first got introduced to the Foundation by participating in a Take Steps Walk a few days after leaving the hospital after his first flare. He lives in Boston, MA with his wife and daughter.


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Chase Carpenter

Chase Carpenter is the Chief Information and Product Security Officer for Honeywell. Chase joined Honeywell in 2019 to establish a high performing, risk-based security organization that can keep Honeywell safe from all manners of threats and attacks. He is responsible for various aspects of security across the company—securing customer facing products and services, safeguarding Honeywell’s internal IT systems, data, and infrastructure, and providing physical security to protect people and facilities.


Prior to this role, Chase spent 20 years at Microsoft in a variety of security related roles, including consulting, development of security technologies and products, running product security for Windows and Xbox, and providing full security responsibilities to protect the Windows, Devices, and Gaming organizations, including protecting some of the world’s largest services. Before Microsoft, Chase worked at a variety of companies including Hewlett Packard, Yum Foods, BellSouth, and built an internet service provider from the ground up.


He is active as a governing body member for the Evanta CISO community helping provide security education for companies in the southeast. Chase is also a board member for Sandia National Laboratories and works with several non-profit organizations, including a previous role as the President of the Northwest Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Chase holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


Chase lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife Olivia, and two children, Tyson and Faith. Their family has very close ties to the organization. Chase’s wife, her brother, and her mother have all been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Most recently, Chase and Livi’s son Tyson was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis and is actively being monitored for Crohn’s as well.


Deborah Crawford

With over 25 years of experience and interest in the healthcare field, Deborah Crawford spent her formative years with McKinsey & Company. As a consultant in the healthcare, insurance and energy industries, she primarily focused on strategic analysis and cost reduction. Prior to McKinsey, Deborah worked with Deloitte consulting with an emphasis on streamlining operations. In addition, she was Executive Director of Red {an orchestra}, an early stage, non-profit organization.


Active in the community, Deborah currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Cleveland Clinic as Vice Chair of the Research & Education Committee and as a member of the Finance Committee. She also serves as a Trustee of Hathaway Brown School, where she is a member of the Executive Committee and Chairs the Strategic Horizons Task Force. Previously, Mrs. Crawford served on the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Foundation Board as Vice President of the Board, as member of the Executive Committee, Treasurer and Benefit Co-Chair.


Mrs. Crawford received her MBA degree with honors from the University of Chicago and Bachelor of Science degree with honors from Miami University.


Tolulope Falaiye, MD

Tolulope Falaiye, MD

Dr. Falaiye is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs with an interest in Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis) and the transition from pediatric to adult medical care. She is currently on the Pediatric Affairs National Scientific Advisory Committee of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. She previously worked at the Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey, PA where she established a pediatric IBD clinic and pediatric IBD transition clinic. She received her pediatric gastroenterology training at the Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and pediatrics at the Shands-University of Florida Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. She is always looking for innovative ways to improve the care of her patients.


Cheryl Guerin

Cheryl Guerin

As Executive Vice President, Global Brand Strategy & Innovation of Mastercard, Cheryl Guerin leads the overall stewardship of one of the world’s most iconic and recognizable brands. A passionate and accomplished marketer, Cheryl oversees the strategy and activation of Mastercard’s highly decorated Priceless campaign, advancing the brand to consumers and B2B audiences through cutting edge advertising, media, digital marketing and innovative insights that inform and inspire new opportunities for the business.   


Cheryl recently led the launch of several innovations and platforms, including the True Name® card, which was globally recognized with a Cannes Lion Grand Prix in 2021. She spearheaded the Strivers Initiative supporting small businesses, Priceless Cities and Priceless Surprises experiences, as well as Priceless Causes’ Stand Up To Cancer program. The initiative has generated seven FDA-approved drugs.


During her tenure at Mastercard, Cheryl has held several senior marketing positions, including leading North America Marketing & Communications, U.S. Marketing and Global Digital Marketing. She also oversaw all products and services for North America and separately led the Global Credit Products business.  


Prior to Mastercard, Cheryl worked on the advertising agency side at Bates Worldwide and Bozell, where she drove marketing strategy and execution for major brands across multiple categories, including consumer packaged goods, travel, consumer electronics, B2B and financial services.


Cheryl is a Clio, Effie and WARC awards juror and serves on the Board of Directors for The Advertising Club of New York, Ronald McDonald House NYC, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Westchester/CT and Women in Payments. She was named to Brand Innovators 2022 Top 100 Women in Brand Marketing list, Advancing Hall of Honors, Yahoo Finance OUTstanding Ally Role Model list, and the Moves Power Women list. Cheryl also received the Women in Payments “Change Agent” Award.

Cheryl earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. She lives in Westchester, NY with her husband and two sons.


Kevin J. Harlen, MSPH, FACHE

Kevin J. Harlen, MSPH, FACHE

Kevin Harlen has been a prominent member of the Washington Metropolitan Area medical community and has served in leadership positions across the region for nearly 30 years. He initially joined MedStar Washington Hospital Center in 1994 for an 11-year tenure, serving as part of the executive team in his position as Vice President of Professional Services followed by the position of Vice President of Strategic Planning and Business Development. From 2006 to 2008, he served as Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Hospital Alliance, a nonprofit organization formed in 2002 in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks to organize a regional hospital preparedness program. After completing his work with the Northern Virginia Hospital Alliance, Mr. Harlen served as Chief Operating Officer of Capital Digestive Care from its founding in early 2008 until 2019 managing operations and leading the expansion of this independent GI practice from 50 to 130 providers. He then served as President of PE Gastro Management from its founding in August 2019 until January 2021. PE Gastro Management is a Management Services Organization formed through a partnership of Capital Digestive Care and Physicians Endoscopy. He served as President of Specialty Networks / GastroGPO from April 2022 until December 2022.  He remains an advisor to Specialty Networks.  He also served as Executive Director of Digestive Health Physicians Association (DHPA) from its founding in February 2014 until January 2023. DHPA is a trade association comprised of 105 independent gastroenterology (GI) physician practices across the country with the aim of promoting and preserving accessible, high quality and cost-efficient care in the independent GI medical practice setting. The DHPA’s member practices include more than 2,500 gastroenterologists and other physician specialists who provide care for over 2 million people annually. 


An active community member, Mr. Harlen is President of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Washington D.C. / Maryland / Virginia Chapter Board of Trustees and has served as Chair of Take Steps for the region for the past decade.  He is also the President of the Infinity Legacy Board of Directors.  Infinite Legacy, founded in January 2023 through the merger of Washington Regional Transplant Community and Living Legacy Foundation, is a non-profit organ procurement organization serving almost 10 million people in Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, DC.  Infinite Legacy facilitates organ, eye and tissue donation and educates people about the critical importance of registering to be a donor. Infinite Legacy works with 68 hospitals and eight transplant centers to decrease the number of people waiting for a lifesaving transplant.


Kevin holds Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College and Masters of Science in Public Health from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill.


Kevin is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Member of the Medical Group Management Association, Member of the American Public Health Association, and a Member of the American Gastroenterological Association.


Kelly Issokson MS, RD, CNSC

Kelly Issokson MS, RD, CNSC

Kelly Issokson is the Clinical Nutrition Coordinator at the F. Widjaja Inflammatory Bowel Disease Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, California. Kelly provides nutrition therapy to children and adults in the IBD clinics, including the Nutrition & Integrative IBD Subspecialty Clinic with Dr. Eric Vasiliauskas, and The Prehabilitation Subspecialty Clinic with nurse practitioner Andrea Banty. She is the Course Director and Apprenticeship Director of the newly minted Cedars-Sinai Advanced Dietary IBD Education and Training (DIET) Program. 


Kelly earned her M.S. degree in Nutrition and completed her dietetic internship at California State University in Northridge, California. Kelly presents research and serves as an expert voice on panels at conferences and medical centers around the country. Recent speaking engagements include University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology & USC Keck School of Medicine, American College of Gastroenterology, Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo, FOOD: The Main Course, and a Visiting Professorship at the University of Chicago.


Kelly is the Associate Editor of Nutrition at the Crohn's & Colitis 360 online open-access journal. Kelly has published research investigating knowledge gaps within the IBD nutrition community, and best practices for screening and managing patients with malnutrition. Kelly’s current research focus is on the nutritional optimization of surgical patients with IBD. Kelly has also co-authored a chapter in Women’s Health in IBD on “The Role of Diet, Nutrition, and the Microbiome in Women with IBD.”


Kelly has been volunteering with the Foundation since 2013. She has been the Take Steps Team leader at Cedars-Sinai since 2016, she ran the Napa to Sonoma Team Challenge event in 2016 and the Vegas Team Challenge event in 2018. She has served on the Los Angeles local chapter as a member and co-chair (2019-2022) and is the chair of the Southwest Regional Education Committee (2022-2025). She also serves on the NSAC Patient Education Committee, Advocacy Committee, and Ingestible Taskforce Committee (2018-2024). Kelly regularly speaks at local support groups and always enjoys the opportunity to connect with the IBD community.


Sean Kelley

Sean Kelley

Sean Kelley is a passionate and inspirational leader, start-up advisor, and board member who uses an inclusive mindset and direct approach to effect global change. Over his 30-year career, Sean has led teams at all levels of organizations in operations, supply chain management, inclusion & diversity, and talent acquisition. Sean has left a legacy of compassion, collaboration, inclusive leadership, team spirit and operational excellence everywhere he has worked. His corporate career culminated in 2020, after scaling the global talent acquisition team for Amazon’s Worldwide Operations. Sean began his career serving as a U.S. Navy Supply Corps officer specializing in submarine logistics, completing two deployments aboard USS Pogy (SSN - 647). Prior to joining Amazon, Sean contributed to the success of Starbucks Coffee Company and Microsoft Corporation, both during pivotal stages of growth and transformation.


Sean and family have committed fully to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and its vision of a future free from these diseases. Sean and his wife, Leslie, have been married 30 years, and she has been a Crohn’s warrior since just before they met, 35 years ago. They are the proud parents of two amazing people, Connor and Natalie. Natalie was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2017, as she was preparing for her senior year of college. She speaks about her journey through her web presence and social media (


Sean holds a B.S. Economics from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.S. Global Leadership from the University of San Diego. In addition to serving on the National Board of Trustees for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, Sean is a strategic advisor to the CEO of The HBCU Foundation and contributes to local entities which serve families experiencing homelessness, joblessness and general distress.


Sean makes his home on Whidbey Island, in the beautiful Town of Coupeville, in the heart of the Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. He enjoys embracing the bounty of the island via backyard farming, hiking and walking miles of pristine beaches, getting out on the water as a kayaker and stand-up paddle-boarder and learning to fish for salmon and crab. Sean and his wife, Leslie, have been married 30 years, and are the proud parents to four beautiful chickens, two grown children, and one tiny dog named, Kermit.

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Annette R. Martinez

Annette R. Martinez was most recently Senior Vice President for State Farm® Mutual Automobile Insurance Companies. Her role included companywide oversight of Human Resources & Development, Public Affairs, and Executive Development & Succession. Annette also led the Leadership Enterprise Development Associate team focused on coaching and training State Farm leaders of the future.


Annette joined State Farm® in 1988 and served in a variety of leadership positions across the country including, Life/Health, Human Resources, Fire Underwriting, Auto Claims, and Diversity and Inclusion. In 2020, she stood up the company’s Corporate Responsibility department committed to building stronger, more educated communities across the country.


Annette is a liaison on the Corporate Advisory Board for UnidosUS and a board member for the local Carle Cancer Institute. She serves on the Influencer subcommittee of the WomenExecs on Boards organization and is an instructor for the Bloomington-Normal Multicultural Leadership Program (MCLP). She previously served as chair for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival Society Board of Directors, secretary for OSF St. Joseph Medical Center Board of Directors, member of the Bloomington John M. Scott Commission. She is a Founding member of the Women’s Giving initiative (Women Empowered) for St. Joseph Medical Center, Bloomington, IL.


Annette became a National Hispana Leadership Fellow in 2002, was a panel member for the 2009 United States Hispanic Leadership Institute conference and was featured as one of the top five female executives of 2009 by LATINA Style magazine. She was also recognized as one of the 2010 Hispanic Business Magazine’s top 20 Women of Excellence, one of the 2013 Central Illinois – Top Women in Leadership, as a Black Enterprise Top Executive in Corporate Diversity in 2018, NAFE’s 2018 Diversity Champion for Women, Insurance Business America’s Hot 100 in 2020, and awarded the National Diversity Council’s Power 50 Award for 2020.

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Audra Miller

Audra Miller is the President & CEO of Stratus TMS, Inc., a software development company that provides technology solutions that are focused on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Audra also serves as Head of Operations for Cockerham & Associates, LLC., a diversity and inclusion consulting firm that helps companies develop and monitor their long-term SMART goals, including strategic drivers, metrics, and action plans.


Audra’s career includes experiences in manufacturing environments at Ford, General Motors and Britax Child Safety where she balanced the requirements of team initiatives with requirements of collective bargaining agreements and strategic priorities. She leverages her process, technology, and strategy skills to help organizations develop, achieve, and sustain mission-based objectives.


Audra has volunteered in supporting initiatives at the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation as a passionate advocate and patient. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Jeffrey W. Mittleman

Jeffrey W. Mittleman is a partner in the Business Section of Holland & Knight. He is also co-leader of the firm's Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry Group and a member of the Compliance Services Team. He practices in the areas of health, regulatory and corporate law. With more than 20 years of experience, he represents clients in a variety of sectors within the healthcare industry, including health plans (both fully and self-insured), PPOs, HMOs, insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, pharmaceutical manufacturers (including a number of companies specializing in oncology medicine), medical device companies, retail pharmacies, long-term care pharmacies, specialty pharmacies, compounding pharmacies, mail order pharmacies, wholesale drug distributors, dialysis companies, e-health, disease management and healthcare technology companies.


Mr. Mittleman counsels clients in a variety of corporate and contractual transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, licensing, financing and services-related transactions. He also advises clients in fraud and abuse defense, the structuring of compliance and ethics programs, Medicare, Medicaid, ERISA, HIPAA, licensing, state insurance and managed care law. In addition, Mr. Mittleman has significant experience advising health plans in connection with the drafting of plan documents, ASO contracting and other regulatory issues.


Mr. Mittleman represents private equity firms in connection with investments in portfolio companies that are engaged in the healthcare and life sciences industries. He guides private equity clients through every stage of an acquisition, from evaluation of the opportunity and due diligence to deal structuring and negotiation to closing. Mr. Mittleman has published several articles and spoken at conferences regarding various health law issues, including compliance, fraud and abuse, pharmacy law, drug distribution and managed care.


Mr. Mittleman holds various leadership positions within the firm, including serving on the firm's Directors Committee. From 2007-2017, he served as the Boston office Public & Charitable Services Partner and from 2009-2017, he served as the co-chair of the Boston office's Diversity Committee.

Joseph Monk

Joseph Monk

Joe Monk is Senior Vice President – Financial Services, and President and Chief Executive Officer of State Farm Bank.


Monk joined State Farm in 1985. He has served in a number of distribution and operations-related roles throughout his career. Monk was named Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of State Farm Life Company in April 2010, and was named Vice President of Mutual Funds in December 2010. He was named President and CEO, State Farm Bank in July 2017.


Monk has served in a number of industry roles, including the board of directors for the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), and LL Global, where he is past-chair. In addition to his industry roles, Monk has served on a number of boards, including the Council for Economic Education and Eureka College.


A native of Missouri, Monk attended Missouri State, where he received a bachelor’s degree in finance/insurance.

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Lori Siegel Rabinowitz

Lori Siegel Rabinowitz combines over 20 years of experience in capital markets (5 years) and financial planning experience (15 years) to serve an exclusive clientele of private business owners, corporate executives, and other high net worth individuals, as well as endowments and foundations. She works with these clients to develop strategies that address a broad array of investment, pre-transaction planning and philanthropic planning matters.


Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Lori was a banker within J.P. Morgan Private Bank, advising high net worth individuals and institutions on a variety of investment and wealth transfer issues. Earlier in her career, she spent several years at Citi Private Bank and Citi Smith Barney, and worked within the fixed income and equity derivatives divisions of Lehman Brothers and Deutsche Bank, respectively. Lori graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with honors, with a B.A. in international affairs and French from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. While attending university, Lori also matriculated at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. Lori holds a Certificate in Financial Planning from the Lubin School of Business at Pace University. She is a graduate of the Pingry School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.


Outside the office, Lori is extremely active in her community. She volunteers at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and supports the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and Roots and Wings, an organization dedicated to providing teens who have aged out of foster care with tools they need to succeed such as housing and career advice. Lori resides in Westfield, New Jersey with her husband and two daughters.

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Armin A. Rahmanian

Armin currently serves as President of OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital and OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital. In this executive leadership role, he is responsible for translating strategy into execution to ensure that the communities served have access to the highest quality healthcare, associates have the resources and support they need to deliver on promises and a culture where providers want to practice medicine.


Prior to this role, Armin served in a variety of senior leadership roles at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, most recently as Chief Operating Officer of the Richard M Ross Heart Hospital and Associate Executive Director for University Hospital. In these senior leadership roles, Armin was responsible for daily operations within both hospitals, as well as a leadership role for key strategic centers of excellence, including Surgical Services, the Heart and Vascular Center and the Center for Critical Care. Prior to assuming these roles, Armin served in a leadership role at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago with oversight for Surgical Services.


Armin completed his undergraduate degree in Neuroscience & Biopsychology at Oberlin College and completed his Master of Health Administration degree at The Ohio State University. He completed a post-graduate Administrative Fellowship at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He is actively engaged in the local community, serving on the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Board, volunteering with Dublin City Schools and a variety of Dublin youth sports programs. Armin is married and is the proud father of two children.

Frank Russomano

Frank Russomano

Frank Russomano is the President and Chief Executive Officer of US HealthConnect, Inc. (USH), a global organization whose subsidiaries are dedicated to improving the lives of patients and healthcare professionals through evidence-based education for clinicians. USH companies develop, produce, distribute, and measure the impact of education designed to improve the practice of medicine.


USH subsidiaries include ReachMD, voted multiple times by Medical Marketing & Media (MM&M) as the Best Healthcare Professional Media Brand; Omnia Education, a global leader in healthcare education for women’s health providers;  Prova Education, experts in adult professional learning in oncology, primary care, cardiology, auto-immune diseases, and many more clinical areas; Connect Healthcare Communications, a boutique strategic marketing firm focusing on drug and device marketing lifecycle management; and Winding River Productions, a full-service creative studio offering audio-visual and animation services, a full in-house production studio, and remote studios across the nation.  Mr. Russomano also serves as CEO of AGILE – the Academy for Global Interprofessional Learning and Education. AGILE, based in Europe, provides education in multiple languages to healthcare professionals across the globe.


With more than 25 years of senior-level experience in the healthcare industry, Mr. Russomano has held key positions overseeing innovation, partnerships, global expansion, and business management. As a founder of US HealthConnect, he continues to oversee all aspects of subsidiary growth and corporate expansion, including M&A management.

He currently serves as Chair of the Villanovans in Healthcare, a Villanova University alumni group representing the interests of students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of Villanova (designed in partnership with the 2015 Leadership Summit focused on Healthcare). ReachMD hosts the Villanovans in Healthcare Summit each year. Mr. Russomano also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, Philadelphia Chapter.


Mr. Russomano received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration (Finance) from Villanova University and his MBA from the Fox School of Business at Temple University.


Nicholas Uzl

Nicholas Uzl

Nick leads the global government affairs and health policy team for Grifols, a healthcare company. Based in Washington DC, Nick leads the development and execution of a comprehensive advocacy strategy to promote a positive operating environment for the Company in priority markets. He is responsible for representing the Company in front of key government stakeholders in the U.S. and European Union, development of policy priorities, legislative champion development and building coalitions with interested stakeholders to amplify the Company’s policy priorities.


Nick has been a Crohn’s Disease patient for over 15 years and is a former Chair of the Foundation’s National Council of College Leaders, an alum of Team Challenge and Days on the Hill. Nick previously served as a Patient Representative on the FDA Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee within the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and as a member of the Patient Governance Committee for the IBD Partners, a Patient Powered Research Network. Nick is a graduate of Kent State University and Ohio State University Mortiz College of Law. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.


Troy Vollertsen

Troy Vollertsen leads Deloitte’s banking and finance audit practice in the United States and is the co-leader of Deloitte’s offerings related to FASB’s Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) model. He has 26 years of experience serving complex global clients in the financial services industry, with a primary focus on large financial institutions and finance-related companies. He has led engagements with many of Deloitte’s financial services clients, where he was responsible for coordinating all audit and related services, serving as the single point of contact for issue resolution. He works closely with corporate boards and senior management on governance, risk management, mergers and acquisitions, and various complex accounting and SEC reporting matters.