Meet Our Team

Gigi Davidson
Gigi DavidsonPresident and Founder
Ms. Davidson, President and Founder of FASDC (FASD Communities) is the mother of an adopted son from Russia. Now 24, her son was not diagnosed with FASD until 18 years old.  Gigi holds an MBA and was in international banking before becoming the executive director of a nonprofit organization that provides technology literacy skills to at-risk youth in Hawaii. Gigi’s combined management and financial background, along with her first-hand-knowledge as a parent parent of a child with prenatal-alcohol exposure, makes her uniquely qualified to lead this bold, new initiative.
Joanne P. Taylor
Joanne P. TaylorTreasurer
Ms. Taylor, FASDC Treasurer, has held key officer positions in Honolulu on the board of directors of the Association of Apartment owners of the Marco Polo Apartments in Honolulu for almost 30 years. She also serves on the board of directors for the Hawaii chapter of Community Association Institute (CAI) and on CAI’s Legal Action committee.  Joanne is a dental hygienist and co-editor for a publication of the Edgecombe County Genealogical Society.
Mark Bartels
Mark BartelsBoard Member
Mr. Bartels studied art at Montana State University. His parents founded the first Farm in the Dell residence for individuals with developmental disabilities in Montana in the 1980’s. He was drawn to working with the disabled and gained expertise in developing community support for them throughout Montana, first as a volunteer and then in 2010 as the Resource Development Officer for the Farm in the Dell Foundation. He has since opened 3 new Farms and works closely with four of the residents living at the Butte, Montana location who have FASD. 
Teresa Conboy
Teresa ConboyBoard Member
Ms. Conboy is an advocate for victims of FASD and the mother of two young adults with prenatal alcohol exposure adopted from Russia. She has a BA in Russian Language and Literature from George Washington University and was employed by the U.S. Information Agency and State Department for many years in the former Soviet Union. More recently, Teresa graduated from the Alcohol and Drug Counseling Program at Bellevue College. Her son, Nikolai, is a resident at Farm in Dell in Butte. 
Gage Davidson
Gage DavidsonBoard Member
Mr. Davidson is a native of Milwaukee, WI and received his BA from Winona State University. He is an associate at Morgan Stanley with experience in institutional consulting, sales and trading, lending and insurance. In addition, he is an advocate for individuals with FASD and has worked on the organization’s business support campaign. He enjoys public speaking where his experience ranges from small group settings to large corporate seminars.
Wayne Miller
Wayne MillerBoard Member
Mr. Miller is a retired CPA from Aon Consulting and a former math adjunct faculty for Robert Morris University. He has tutored and mentored learning disabled grade school, high school, college, and adult students and has been involved with FASD Communities since inception. He has a Masters in Math Education from DePaul University and a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Miami University.
David Rubin
David RubinBoard Member
 Mr. Rubin is the father of two adopted children, one with FASD. David ran his own architectural business in the Chicago area for 15 years before becoming a certified teacher, working primarily with at-risk students. He draws upon both his professional and personal expertise to help other parents of children with FASD. 
Joyce Sterkel
Joyce SterkelBoard Member
Ms. Sterkel is the Executive Director of The Ranch For Kids, a respite care home for troubled youth in Eureka, Montana. Hundreds of adopted children with FASD have come through her program and her work has been featured in “People” magazine, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. Joyce has 35 years of experience in maternal child health as a nurse and a midwife. She is the mother of seven children, including three adopted from Russia who have FASD.
Oleg Valiev
Oleg ValievBoard Member
Mr. Valiev is a strategy consultant at Deloitte Consulting. He learned about FASD while living as an exchange student with an adopted teenager diagnosed with FASD disability. He resides in San Francisco and serves Fortune 500 clients across the U.S. He brings experience in business strategy, financial planning, forecasting and analysis, management reporting, social media, and social impact.

 

 

Advisory Committee

Edward P. Riley, Ph.D. – FASD Expert, Department of Psychology at San Diego State University. San Diego, CA
Dr. Riley, a leading researcher and international speaker on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), received his Ph.D. in 1974 from Tulane University and is currently an Emeritus Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at San Diego State University. His major interests are the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on brain and behavior. He is the author of over 300 scientific papers and reviews on FASD and has edited the Handbook of Behavioral Teratology. In 2000, he was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Health as Chair of the National Task Force on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effects. He also served as the Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sponsored FAS Center for Excellence. Dr. Riley was the president of the Research Society on Alcohol, the Fetal Alcohol Study Group, and the Behavioral Teratology Society. Among other honors, he is the recipient of the Research Society on Alcoholism’s Distinguished Researcher Award and the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome’s Research Recognition Award. Dr. Riley’s work has been continually funded by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism since 1978 and he currently directs the Collaborative Initiative on FASD, a large multidisciplinary, multi-site consortium funded by the National Institutes of Health. 
Carl C. Bell, MD – Psychiatrist at Jackson Park Hospital. Chicago, IL
Dr. Bell is a psychiatrist at Jackson Park Hospital in Chicago in the Outpatient Family Practice Clinic and Inpatient Consultation Liaison Service. He also is Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, Windsor University, St. Kitts. In addition, he is a Professor Emeritus – Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Retired Clinical Professor of Psychiatry & Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Throughout his 45 years of practice, he has identified thousands of patients with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). In a recent study, he diagnosed nearly 40% of 611 consecutive psychiatric patients coming for treatment on Chicago’s South Side as impacted by prenatal alcohol use. Dr. Bell refers to FASD as the “Biggest Public Health Problem for African-Americans since Slavery,” and points to prenatal alcohol exposure to as the link between organic brain damage and violence in the black community.
Judge Anthony Wartnik – Former Superior Court judge, Legal Director for FASD Experts. Seattle, WA
Judge Wartnik served as a trial judge for 34 years, 9 years on the Bellevue District Court, a limited jurisdiction court, followed by almost 25 years on the King County Superior Court in Seattle, Washington, a general jurisdiction court.  He retired as the senior judge in 2005.  As a Superior Court judge, he served as the presiding Juvenile Court and Family Law Court Chief Judge, and chaired the Family Law Department and Family and Juvenile Law committees. He also served as Dean Emeritus of the Washington Judicial College. Judge Wartnik chaired a task force to establish protocols for determining competency of youth with organic brain damage and the Governor’s Advisory Panel on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). He is the Legal Director for FASD Experts, the first multi-disciplinary forensic diagnostic team, and a consultant to the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit (FADU) at the University of Washington, School of Medicine.  He received both his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Washington and its School of Law. Judge Wartnik has presented at workshops, symposiums and conferences throughout the United States, and in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Vienna, Austria on issues related to FASD and the courts.  He has also authored articles on the sentencing of people with FASD, regarding the use of the team approach to presenting mitigation evidence in FASD cases and on many other issues involving FASD and the law.
Tom Donaldson – President and CEO of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS). Washington, DC
Mr. Donaldson has served as the President and CEO of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) since 1998. NOFAS is a public health advocacy organization striving to raise awareness of the risk of prenatal alcohol exposure and support families living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). He is responsible for formulating and carrying out the NOFAS strategic and business plans, and all programmatic, development and policy initiatives. Mr. Donaldson has extensive experience in non-profit governance, public policy, government affairs, media relations, social marketing, grassroots organizing, coalition building and public health. Under his leadership, NOFAS has established a network of over 35 affiliated organizations, expanded services to all 50 states, and ensured a four-fold increase in federal and state investment in FASD-related research, public health and services. He has served as a member of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Center for Excellence Steering Committee and as a liaison representative to the National Task Force on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effect. In addition, Mr. Donaldson is currently a member of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. In 2014, he received the Senator Harold Hughes Memorial Award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health.
Kristina Uban, Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Children’s Hospital (CHLA). Los Angeles, CA
Dr. Uban’s expertise in developmental neuroscience is focused on the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on the developing brain, neuroendocrine function and mental health outcomes. Dr. Uban completed her Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia, where she studied the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on the brain, and subsequent neurobiological susceptibility to a range of mental health problems. Currently, Dr. Uban holds a post-doctoral position at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in the Developmental Cognitive Neuroimaging Laboratory (2010-present), where she is using neuroimaging techniques to study the developing brain in children and adolescents with FASD.
Dan Dubovsky – FASD Specialist at SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence. Philadelphia, PA
Mr. Dubovsky has a Master of Social Work and has worked for over 40 years in the field of behavioral health, 20 of them specifically focused on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). He has worked as a child care worker and therapist in residential treatment, inpatient, outpatient, and community settings. For 13 years Dan was the FASD specialist for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s FASD Center for Excellence in the US. He is frequent speaker and trainer at national and international conferences on FASD.
William Edwards – Deputy Public Defender with the Office of the Public Defender. Los Angeles, CA
Mr. Edwards is a Deputy Public Defender with the Office of the Public Defender in Los Angeles County. He is one of the early pioneers in the training of attorneys in the area of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Mr. Edwards has been working with clients with FASD since 1998. During his four-year assignment to the Los Angeles County Mental Health Court, he litigated one of the first cases in California where his client with a FASD obtained services from the Department of Disabilities based on very low adaptive functioning skills, a much stronger predictor of the need for support than IQ, which is the standard bearer for receiving disability services. Mr. Edwards helped draft and edit the American Bar Association’s Resolution on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. This Resolution, which passed in August 2012, addresses the need for all people working in the criminal justice system to be aware of FASD. Last year, he testified before the House Judiciary Standing Committee in Juneau, Alaska on “Why Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Should be Included in the State Definition of What Constitutes a Developmental Disability.”
Jerrod Brown, MA,MS – Treatment Director for Pathways Counseling Center, Inc. Saint Paul, MN
Mr. Brown is the Treatment Director for Pathways Counseling Center, Inc. in St. Paul, MN. He is currently in the dissertation phase of his doctorate degree program in psychology. Pathways Counseling Center provides programs and services benefiting individuals impacted by prenatal alcohol exposure, mental illness and addictions. Jerrod also is the founder and CEO of the American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies (IAFS) and Editor-in-Chief of Forensic Scholars Today (FST) and the Journal of Special Populations (JSP). Jerrod holds graduate certificates in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Other Health Disabilities (OHD) and Traumatic-Brain Injuries (TBI).  In addition, he is a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Trainer.
Larry Burd, MD – Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, University of North Dakota’s School of Medicine. Grand Forks, ND
Dr. Burd is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of North Dakota’s School of Medicine. He also is the Director of the North Dakota Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Center and FASD Clinic. Dr. Burd has evaluated and developed intervention programs for over 16,000 children with developmental disorders. He has had research sites in 41 countries and 34 Tribal Nations. He has made nearly 500 presentations on the topic of FASD and published over 229 professional papers on topics dealing with development and behavior in children and adolescents. Dr. Burd has created several handbooks for parents and teachers of children with FASD which are available on his online clinic website.
Roger Goodman – Member of the Washington State House of Representatives. Seattle, WA
Representative Goodman is a member of the Washington State House of Representatives, representing the 45th district since 2007. He serves on the Early Learning and Children’s Services Committees and also is a member of the Law and Justice Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Rep. Goodman also serves on the King County Mental Health Advisory Board and has taken a special interest in the outcomes for young adults with FASD, particularly since last year 80% of the Washington State’s foster care population tested positive for FASD. He is a supporter of creating safe, sustainable living environments in Washington for young adults with FASD.
Leigh E. Tenkku Lepper, Ph.D., MPH – Associate Research Professor and Director for Research at University of Missouri. Kansas City, MO
Dr. Tenkku Lepper is Associate Research Professor and Director for Research in the School of Social Work and the Master in Public Health Program at the University of Missouri. She is the PI for the CDC-funded national Mental and Reproductive Health FASD Practice Implementation Center (MRPIC), which seeks to provide education and training for OBYGN providers and residents on prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Tenkku Lepper and her colleagues also recently developed an intervention treatment program for youth and young adults with FASDs. Her research areas are primarily focused on Maternal Child Health with specific emphasis on FASD and alcohol SBI. She has authored several empirical research studies published in the literature focused in alcohol use among female populations. In addition, Dr. Tenkku Lepper is extensively with the national NOFAS organization, where she sits on the NOFAS Board, is the Chair of the national NOFASD Affiliate Network and is President of NOFAS-Missouri.
Jessica Hanson, PhD. – Associate Scientist at the Center for Health Outcomes and Population Research at Sanford Research. Sioux Falls, SD
Dr. Hanson is an Associate Scientist at the Center for Health Outcomes and Population Research at Sanford Research in Sioux Falls, SD. She received her doctorate in Community and Behavioral Health from the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health. For the past 12 years. Dr. Hanson has directed and evaluated multiple projects within American Indian communities focused on maternal-child health and has published both qualitative and quantitative data related to women’s health and wellness, including prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Hanson is currently the Principal Investigator on NIH-funded research studies that use community-based participatory research with American Indian tribes to develop, implement, and evaluate alcohol-exposed pregnancy (AEP) interventions, including the evidence-based CHOICES Program.
James J. Yurcek, MD – Vice-President of the Medical Staff and Chief of Surgery for Southwest Health Center in. Platteville, WI
Dr. Yurcek is Vice-President of the Medical Staff and Chief of Surgery for Southwest Health Center in Platteville, Wisconsin. He also is the adoptive father of five adult children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and one young child with FASD and other complex medical issues. For many years, Dr. Yurcek and his wife have advocated for the rights of individuals with FASD.
Bobbi Thompson -Director, Joy Factory Gallery/Cinema. Pacific Palisades, CA
Ms. Thompson has been in the artist representation business since 1982. She worked at the William Morris Agency from 1984-98 where she chaired the Motion Picture Literary Department.  Ms. Thompson launched the US careers of some of the highest grossing and most respected film directors, including James Cameron, Tim Burton, Gus van Sant, Ang Lee, John Woo and Trey Parker.  Known for her “eye” for talent and literary material, she made her mark championing and finding financing for groundbreaking movies for the time including,  Terminator, After Hours, Heathers, Beetle Juice, My own Private Idaho, Living in Oblivion and Rober Altman’s, The Play. Merging her love of film and artist representation with a mission to support disabilities advocacy, Ms. Thompson recently launched the non-profit Visual Arts Center, Joy Factory Gallery/Cinema, which celebrates outsider artists, the arthouse cinema movement and will employ emerging adults with cognitive disabilities in an inclusive, supported-employment environment.
Douglas Waite, MD – Medical Director of The Children’s Village. New York, NY
Dr. Waite is Medical Director of The Children’s Village, a community foster care agency and residential treatment center with locations in Harlem, the Bronx, and Dobbs Ferry, New York. He also is Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Waite has used his time caring for children at the Keith Haring Clinic as an opportunity to teach medical students and pediatric residents the challenges of providing comprehensive medical care to children with FASD in foster care and in the juvenile justice system. Over the past 14 years, he has identified thousands of children with FASD in the New York foster care system. Dr. Waite has been elected one of ten national FASD Champions by the American Academy of Pediatrics and sits on the National Mental Health Advisory Board of the Child Welfare League of America. He has presented on FASDs at the National Conference of the Child Welfare League of America and the New York City Administration for Children’s Services as well as at multiple country-wide venues and webinars.
Jody Allen Crowe – Founder of Healthy Brains for Children. Minneapolis, MN
Mr. Crowe spent 18 years on reservations as a teacher, principal and superintendent where he learned firsthand the devastation of prenatal exposure to alcohol. He developed award-winning school programs designed around the research of brain damage from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). He is the founder of Healthy Brains for Children, a non-profit organization focused on lowering the incidence of prenatal exposure to alcohol. Mr. Crowe also is the author of The Fatal Link: The Connection Between School Shooters and the Brain Damage From Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol.
David Gottlieb, Ph.D. – Psychologist, writer. Chicago, IL
Dr. Gottlieb received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Northwestern University. He has been in private practice in the south suburbs of Chicago since 1985 working with children and families. In 2006, Dr. Gottlieb co-wrote, “Why is My Child’s ADHD Not Better Yet?”
Gale Levin, MD – Psychiatrist. Fairfield, CT
Dr. Levin graduated from Rush Medical College. She specializes in psychiatry and has been in practice for 34 years. She has a special interest in psychopharmacology and its impact on patients with secondary mental health issues of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
Melissa Jacobus Cook – Volunteer at FASD Communities, parent advocate for National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Atlanta, GA
Ms. Cook is the mother of four adopted children. Since 1998, she has been a parent volunteer for FASD Communities and parent advocate for the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. As a member of the Speakers Bureau for the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Southeast Regional Training Center, Melissa has continued to bring public awareness by presenting at colleges, schools, adoption agencies, and DFCS – Foster Care as well as to families needing experienced-based strategies and interventions to assist their children. Along with participating on expert panels in the educational system, in 2012, she presented at the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Suicide Prevention Program and the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Committee on Justice for Children. Melissa was instrumental in having September 9th recognized by the Governor of Georgia as FASD Awareness Day.
Georgiana Wilton, Ph.D. – Senior scientist, University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. Madison, WI
Dr. Wilton is a senior scientist in the University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.  She has worked in the disabilities field for 30 years with a focus on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Dr. Wilton is currently the principal investigator of several research and outreach projects addressing the prevention, identification, and treatment of FASD. Her research has included Screening and Brief Alcohol Intervention (SBI) to reduce the risk of an alcohol-exposed pregnancy and efficacy of medical education activities. As a rehabilitation psychologist, she conducts assessment and aftercare services to individuals and families affected by FASD, including adapting alcohol treatment programs. She provides extensive training and consultation to clinicians and service providers nationally.
Michael Durant – President, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Hawaii. Honolulu, HI
Mr. Durant is a retired Business Manager who became involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) when his son became mentally ill. He is President of NAMI Hawaii, a NAMI Support Group Facilitator and past chair of the Hawaii State Council on Mental Health. In 2013, he and his wife were honored by Mental Health America Hawaii as Outstanding Family Advocates.
Laurie Seaver, MD – FASD expert. Grand Rapids, MI
Dr. Seaver completed her undergraduate, medical school, Pediatric Residency and fellowship in Genetics and Dysmorphology at the University of Arizona and began focusing on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). She has worked in South Carolina and Hawaii diagnosing individuals with FASD. In addition, Dr. Seaver has served on various state and local task forces to raise awareness among the medical, educational, social welfare and legal communities about the tremendous public health and social impact of prenatal alcohol exposure.
Robin VanEerden, MS, NCC, NADD-CC, LPC – Director of Integrative Counseling Services. Harrisburg, PA
Ms. VanEerden is the director of Integrative Counseling Services, PC. She has worked for 35 years in the Human Services field, more than 20 of those with special populations, specifically individuals with developmental disabilities. Ms. VanEerden is an advocate for individuals with FASD and presents to others in the field of social services about the impact of prenatal alcohol exposure on clients who enter the system and how to provide treatment that it is most effective as this special population often has trauma-based issues as well.
Rebecca Kendig, Ph.D., LCSW – Mitigation Specialist & Clinical Social Worker. New Orleans, LA
Dr. Kendig graduated from the Tulane University School of Social Work and has been working as a Mitigation Specialist and Clinical Social Worker in New Orleans for the nearly 10 years. Prior to this, she was the Co-Founder and Director of the Youth Empowerment Project in New Orleans and a Youth Advocate for the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. Her current work involves providing expertise to legal defense teams about the signs and symptoms of major mental illness, trauma, and neurologic impairments in clients and their family members. Dr. Kendig capital defense work developing mitigating evidence through records collection, witness interviews, and research has been used in pretrial cases in both state and federal courts and post-conviction state cases.
Todd Ochs, MD – Pediatrician, FASD expert. Chicago, IL
Dr. Ochs has worked as a pediatrician for over 30 years. He is an expert in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) as it relates to international adoptees and children in the US foster care system.

 

Volunteers

Eunice Azzani, CA
Hope Bemowski, IL
Lois Bickford, MN
Frank & Beverly Bliss, MN
Patti Cameron, WI
Jim Casha, BC
Teresa Conboy, WA
Melissa Jacobus Cook, GA
Steve Cook, TN
Ellen Daroga, WI
Gigi Davidson, HI
Jack and Beth Dewald, TN
Travis Dombrovski, MN
Barbara Fowler , CA
Lynne Frigaard, MN
Lori Gertz, CA
Janis Groner, IL
Ralph & Janet Hitchens, MD
Kirsten Holmberg, ID
Margo Jacquot  , IL
Laurie Jarvis, MN
Darla Johnson, GA
Paul & MaryJoles, WI
Anna Kann, PA
Haley Kennard, CA
Celina Klimowicz, FL
Jodee Kulp, MN
Cris Leutzow, WI
Jack Lipow, CA
Tim & Cindy Meiners, KY
Jane Michalski, IL
Wayne Miller, IL
Judy Quigley, WI
Dave & Bonnie Rubin, IL
Steve & Pamela Schupbach, IL
Terri Sorentino, IL
Mike Sprague, FL
Joyce Sterkel, MT
Bill Sutley, MT
Joani Taylor, HI
Sue Terwey, MN
Bobbi Thompson, CA
Chris Troutt , TN
Oleg Valiev, CA
Robin Van Eerden, PA
Martha White, HI
Georgiana Wilton, WI
Jolanda Witvliet, CO
Barbara Wolfe, ID
Laura Wood, FL
Ann Yurcek, WI