Advisory Councils & Committees

Research Advisory Council

The Research Advisory Council is composed of parents, individuals with Spina Bifida, and healthcare professionals who are experienced in research methods. Together, this group provides resources and guidance to support the Spina Bifida Association’s research efforts to improve the care of people living with Spina Bifida

Research Advisory Council members contribute to our mission by providing their diverse knowledge; their connections to local, national, and/or international resources, colleagues, or peers; or provide other forms of needed assistance.

Current Members

Andrea Fairman, PhD, OTR/L
Board of Directors of SBA Of Western PA
Associate Professor & Program Director, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, PA

Denise Garza, MS
Connell and Associates & Central Texas College, TX

Erin Kelly, PhD
Research Psychologist, Scientific Staff, Parent
Shriners Hospitals for Children Chicago, IL

Ginny Briggs, PhD
Epidemiologist, Parent
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, MA

Hetty Mollert, MSM
Duluth Trading Company, WI

Hubert Swana, MD
Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, FL

Jenni Zimlich
Educator, AL

Jennifer Tudor, PhD
Saint Joseph’s University, PA

Katie Schmidt, CRNP
Children’s’ Hospital of Philadelphia, PA

Kerry Wallace, MBA
Northwell Health, NY

Linda Krach, MD
Rehabilitation Medicine Physician
Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, MN

Linda Thunn, PT, DPT
District Medical Group, AZ

Maryellen Kelly, DNP, CPNP, MHSc
Duke University School of Nursing, NC

Maya Evans, MD
UC Davis and Shriners’ Hospital for Children Sacramento, CA

Monique Ridosh, PhD, RN
Nurse Researcher
Marcela Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University Chicago, IL

Rebecca Nieters
Medical Student
A.T. Still University, MO

Robert Trierweiler, CRC, LCPC
Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, IL

Sara Beck, M.S. ED
Wilmac Special Education Unit, ND

Sara Berghoefer
Adult, OK

Advisory Council members should be:
  • parents of and individuals with Spina Bifida who are interested in improving the lives of people with Spina Bifida through research;
  • health care professionals with experience in research methods;
  • able to provide feedback in a respectful manner;
  • open to a diversity of ideas;
  • knowledgeable about research funding sources and willing to identify them; and
  • willing to educate new researchers about the research needs in Spina Bifida.
Interested in joining the RAC?

If you have questions, please email the Director of Research & Services, Judy Thibadeau.


Learn about our Research Agenda

The Research Advisory Council is actively working on the future of Spina Bifida research

Research Agenda