Staff

The Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation is currently looking for a Development Manager. Click here for more details.

 

Kate Beck
Special Projects Manager

Kate joined MDF as Special Projects Manager in April 2021. After serving as a MDF Gala Coordinator in a contract position during 2019 and 2020, she was struck by MDF’s strong community and opportunity for impact, and was moved to join the MDF team with the hopes of advancing the mission of care and a cure for DM. Kate will continue to coordinate the Annual Fundraising Gala, and will manage other special satellite projects such as the DM Research Map currently in development. Prior to joining the foundation, Kate lived and worked in Tokyo, Japan, as a JET English teacher and cultural ambassador and then in the music and entertainment industry. She is an LA native and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

 

Kleed Cumming
Communications & Technology Manager

Kleed joined MDF in 2018 as Program Associate to assist the Program and Development Directors with Patient Support and Education as well as various aspects of program research and content development, communications and fundraising. MDF's holistic approach to the issue of an uncured disease attracted Kleed to MDF, due to his desire to find meaningful work at an ethical and fast moving organization. In 2020 he became MDF's Communications & Technology Manager. Prior to joining MDF, Kleed interned at the Investment Center of the United Nations Federal Credit Union in New York City. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Business and Technology Management from New York University.

 

Allison Formal, MBA
Senior Science Advisor

Allison is a executive business development consultant working with non-profits and industry to impact patients' lives. Clients and projects have included: working with Dr. Bruce Beutler and his start-up company Tollbridge to launch opportunities developing immunotherapies aimed at TLR 1/2; acting as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at UCLA supporting academic researchers in clinical translation; advising numerous disease-focused non-profit funders on programs related to therapeutic development and initiatives around targeting disease progression biomarkers; and working with biotech companies developing novel oncolytic virus programs.

Allison was formerly VP, Research Business Development at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) where she helped build a successful venture philanthropy initiative, the Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP), creating more than 60 research and development partnerships investing in biopharmaceutical companies and academic researchers developing therapies and diagnostics targeting blood cancers. Allison’s career also includes service on the Translational Medicine and Commercialization Oversight Committee of the University of Michigan Medical School, membership on the Bio-therapeutic Grant Review Committee between Oregon Health & Sciences University and the Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Institute and VP of Business and related roles at MediQuest, Neuralstem, and Watson Pharmaceuticals (now Allergan). Allison started her career at Pfizer and earned her MBA in finance and marketing from Marymount University.

 

Mike Knaapen
Program Director

Mike joined MDF as a Program Director in April 2021. Prior to joining the Foundation, Mike directed the support, education, and outreach programs for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) in Washington, DC. His primary role was to integrate the community’s lived experiences into their work. As a result, he helped community members navigate the challenges involved in living with a rare disease and focused his efforts on eliminating barriers to care and treatment. As a strong believer strategic partnerships, Mike expanded PHA’s support network to 200 support groups, eight Facebook groups, a hotline with both English and Spanish language options, as well as six virtual support groups for special populations. Mike is a native Midwesterner and proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

 

Sara Littlefield
Development Associate

Sara joined MDF in 2019 as a Development Associate. At MDF, she oversees fundraising cultivation and management, she also is charged with the organization and planning of the Annual MDF Gala. Prior to MDF, Sara worked as an events marketing manager for the Americas Marketing team at Google. She started her career in business development at Yelp and at a small events agency in San Francisco. Sara graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington with a degree in communication studies and French language.

 

Nadine Skinner, PhD, MPA
Research Coordinator

Dr. Skinner has over a decade of experience in grants management, fundraising, and evaluation at a range of community-based organizations, government agencies, and international organizations. She recently completed her PhD in International Comparative Education at Stanford and teaches courses on globalization, international development, human rights, and education at San José State and Stanford. She earned an MPA from Cornell University in Social Policy and a BA from UC Santa Cruz in Politics & History.

 

Tanya Stevenson, EdD, MPH
Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Tanya Stevenson joined MDF in January 2020, bringing with her nearly 20 years of hands-on experience leading mission-driven nonprofit organizations and driving large-scale strategic initiatives. Her expertise in organizational development, program design and evaluation, advocacy, and community engagement are complemented by her long history of successful collaborative work with diverse stakeholders.

Dr. Stevenson joins MDF after serving as President and CEO of Breathe California Golden Gate Public Health Partnership, a century-old nonprofit working to eliminate lung disease through advocacy, education, and direct services. Prior to Breathe California she worked with Girls Incorporated of Alameda County, the New York City Department of Health, American Cancer Society, National Evaluation AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC), as well as the New York/New Jersey AETC at Columbia University. After earning her Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Women’s Studies at UCLA, she went on to receive her Doctorate of Education and Master of Public Health degree in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University.

Tanya is thrilled to join the MDF family and ready to advance our mission. She invites you to reach out to her directly to share how you believe we may continue to expand our reach and maximize our impact!

 

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