Blog PostsJan 13, 2023

The Spina Bifida Association Welcomes 2023 Board of Directors

Jessica Palmeri
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 The Spina Bifida Association Welcomes 2023 Board of Directors

Arlington, VA (January 2023) – The Spina Bifida Association (SBA), currently celebrating its 50th anniversary as a leader in building better, brighter futures for those impacted by Spina Bifida, announces its Board of Directors. Bryan Vodicka, Ellen Fremion, MD and Robin Bowman, MD join for their first terms and Ansul Varma and John Weiner, MD, for their second. Each brings a unique perspective and an unyielding drive to inspire support for SBA’s work. Elected at the December Board meeting, the new members begin their term in January 2023 and are joined by Maria Bournias, Chair; Doug Burns; Brad Dicianno, MD; Tracy DiNunzio; Nancy Gore, Chair Elect; Michael Harty, Immediate Past Chair; Chase Phillips; Kathryn Smith; Eric Tobin; and Dawne Widener-Burrows.

“The directors and I are proud to have these incredible leaders on our Board,” Bournias said. “They will add tremendous value to the organization with their expertise and commitment.”

“It truly takes all of us to make a difference,” said Sara Struwe, SBA President & CEO. “Our board consists of talented people who care deeply about the mission of our organization, including people who are personally impacted by Spina Bifida and experts from a variety of fields. I look forward to continuing to work with them as we scale our efforts to address the challenges the 166,000 people living with Spina Bifida in the U.S. face accessing the critical care they need and deserve.”

Welcome New Members

Bryan Vodicka is a management consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers advising Pharmaceutical, Biotech and related clients on R&D strategies, operations, and M&A transactions. He has extensive experience in clinical research and pharmaceutical research and development with a particular focus on ensuring that patients are engaged in the development of novel medicines.

Ellen Fremion, MD, is an assistant professor of Combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. She provides primary care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have complex care needs at the Baylor Transition Medicine Clinic. She is also the founder and director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Spina Bifida Transition Program that prepares adolescents with Spina Bifida for transitioning to adult care via self-management intervention, comprehensive care planning, and care coordination. In both clinics, she teaches residents and medical students to care for adolescents and adults with IDD in the outpatient setting.

Robin Bowman, MD, is a neurosurgeon in Chicago, Illinois affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area. She is currently Director, Spina Bifida Center, Co-Director, Fetal Neurosurgery; Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; Associate Professor, Department of Neurosurgery; Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine.

Anshul Varma is a Managing Director in KPMG’s management consulting area with expertise in operations, performance improvement, and business services transformation. His industry experience includes pharma and life sciences, consumer and retail, technology, and energy. Before joining KPMG, Varma worked at Hewlett-Packard’s global business services organization, where he was a key contributor in its growth to over 15,000 employees in 12 global locations in under 10 years.

John Wiener, MD, is Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, Head of the Section of Pediatric Urology, and Vice-Chief of the Division of Urology at Duke Health. His clinical research has centered on the urologic management of Spina Bifida. He has been the Principal Investigator at Duke for the CDC-sponsored National Spina Bifida Patient Registry since 2012 and Urologic Management to Preservation of Renal Function in newborns and young children since 2015.

Farewell to Outgoing Members

In addition to bringing on new board members, Marie Thoming ended her second term of service and will be leaving the Board after six years. Wilson Neyland is also leaving the board, having served for 12 years.

“Marie and Wilson have both been extraordinary board members,” Struwe said. “The passion and commitment they have brought to our efforts to improve the lives of people with Spina Bifida will be missed, and I cannot thank them enough for their steadfast leadership over the years.”

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The Spina Bifida Association (SBA), founded in 1973, is the only national voluntary health agency dedicated to Spina Bifida. The mission is to build a better and brighter future for all those impacted by Spina Bifida. Fueled by dedicated healthcare providers, parents, adults, caregivers, and community members, we are committed to helping people live longer, healthier lives through research, education and support, clinical care, network building, and advocacy. Please visit our website or call 800-621-3141.