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Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses


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Committee Members and Staff

Stephen L. Hauser, MD, Chairman
Dr. Hauser is the Robert A. Fishman Distinguished Professor and Director of the Weill Institute for Neurosciences at the University of California, San Francisco. A neuroimmunologist, Dr. Hauser’s research has advanced our understanding of the genetic basis, immune mechanisms, and treatment of multiple sclerosis. Dr. Hauser is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Physicians, and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (Chair of Committee on Gulf War and Health Outcomes [2009] and Chair of Committee on Long Term Effects of Blast Exposure [2014]). Previously Chairman of the Department of Neurology at UCSF for 25 years, he has also served as President of the Medical Staff at UCSF, editor-in-chief of Annals of Neurology, and President of the American Neurological Association; he also served the Obama administration as a member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Dr. Hauser has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the NIH, the John Dystel Prize and the Charcot Award for Multiple Sclerosis Research, and the 2017 Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translational Medical Research. He is a graduate of MIT (Phi Beta Kappa) and Harvard Medical School (Magna Cum Laude). He trained in internal medicine at the New York Hospital–Cornell Medical Center, in neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and in immunology at Harvard Medical School and the Institute Pasteur in Paris, France, and was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School before moving to UCSF.

Kimberly M. Adams, JD
Ms. Adams is an Air Force Veteran, former health care provider and staunch legal advocate for veterans and their families. She became a Certified Respiratory Therapist in 2005 and worked in a number of hospitals. Ms. Adams then earned her B.S. in Women and Gender Studies (Summa Cum Laude) from the State University of New York, College at Brockport in 2008 and J.D. from Wayne State University Law School in 2013. She was selected as an Equal Justice Works Legal Fellow in 2013 and developed the “Boots on the Ground” Veterans Justice Project for Community Legal Aid Services in Akron, OH. After her fellowship ended in 2015, she had the opportunity to continue her veterans legal and support work as a Veterans Legal Advocate with the same organization. Our Veterans Legal Team advocates for and empowers Central NE Ohio veterans to build stable and productive lives. She also works with Veterans Support agencies, Veterans Service Organizations as well as Veterans Treatment Courts in Central NE Ohio to collaborate and arrange access to legal services for Veterans and their families.

James A. Bunker
James A. Bunker is the Executive Director of the National Gulf War Resource Center (NGWRC) and has been on the Board of Directors since 2002. During Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm, Jim was assigned to the Tactical Operations Center of the 4th Battalion, 5th Field Artillery, commanded by LTC John R. Gingrich. He was EVACed out and later medically discharged due to injuries from his service. Since his discharge, he has worked with grassroots organizations to provide information to Veterans and their supporters regarding health care and claims. He is an advocate for changes in VA policy and legislation to improve quality of life for Veterans. Jim successfully lobbied the Kansas Legislature to create the Kansas Persian Gulf War Veterans Health Initiative. Jim then served as chair of the advisory board. This group sponsored groundbreaking research by Lea Steele, PhD, commonly known as the Kansas Study after its publication, which showed a connection between deployment in the Southwest Asia Theater and Gulf War Illness. Jim received special recognition from both chambers of the Kansas Legislature for his advocacy work on behalf of Kansas Veterans.

Fiona Crawford, PhD
Dr. Crawford is a neuroscientist, the President of the Roskamp Institute, an independent research institute in Sarasota, Florida, and a VA researcher. Her early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research identified disease-causing mutations which enabled the development of cell and animal models of the disease. Through extensive preclinical and clinical research, the Institute’s drug discovery program has advanced a novel drug into a Phase III AD clinical trial. In addition to AD, her neuroscience research is focused on military and Veterans’ issues, primarily Gulf War Illness (GWI), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She is developing and utilizing novel, clinically relevant, laboratory models coupled with state-of-the-art “omic” technology to identify therapeutic targets and blood biomarkers in these complex conditions. She publishes extensively in peer-reviewed journals on her work, and is funded by the Veterans Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.

Marylyn R. Harris, RN
Ms. Harris is a Gulf War Veteran, a former Army Nurse, and a longtime advocate of Veterans and Military Families. Ms. Harris is an Adjunct Clinical Faculty in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing at the University of St. Thomas Peavy School of Nursing. Ms. Harris was the 2014 University of Texas - Houston School of Nursing "Distinguished Nurse Alumni." She has a clinical background that extends over three decades, has been involved in numerous research studies, clinical trials and Veteran programs and projects, and teaches entrepreneurship in the international Boots to Business Program hosted by the U S Small Business Administration and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. Ms. Harris currently serves as Senior Consultant for Harrland Healthcare Consulting and as Executive Director of the Women Veterans Business Center, both in Houston, TX. Ms. Harris was recently honored as a 2014 “Woman Vetrepreneur of the Year (Finalist)” by the National of Veteran Owned Businesses. In 2013, Ms. Harris was recognized by President Obama as a White House “Champion of Change” and by the Small Business Administration (Region VI) as the “Veteran Business Champion of the Year.”

Stephen C. Hunt, MD
Dr. Hunt is National Director of VA’s Post-Deployment Integrated Care Initiative (PDICI) and has been the Director and Chief Consultant of the Gulf War Veterans’ Clinic and Deployment Health Clinic at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System since 1994. In his busy clinical practice, Dr. Hunt treats Veterans of any era who have deployment-related health problems. He was a member of the joint DoD/VA committee that recently updated the Clinical Practice Guidelines for chronic multisymptom illness (CMI). Dr. Hunt has also published over 35 peer-reviewed articles, many of which involved Gulf War Veterans or other deployed cohorts. He was a member of VA’s Gulf War Task Force and has testified before Congress about clinical issues involving Veterans.

Nancy G. Klimas, MD
Dr. Klimas is a clinical immunologist and Director of Environmental Medicine at the Miami VAMC and directs the GWI and ME/CFS clinical and research programs at the Miami VA. She is Director of the Nova Southeastern University Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine; Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Clinical Immunology at Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine; and Professor Emerita, University of Miami School of Medicine. She has advised three Secretaries of Health and Human Services during her repeated service on the HHS CFS Advisory Committee, serves on the NASA Immune Risk Standing Review Panel, NIH review and planning panels, and VA advisory committees. She directs an integrated laboratory, clinical, computational and animal modeling team funded by the VA, DoD, and NIH to study these complex disorders using a systems biology approach with a strong focus on illness models that lead to therapeutic targets and clinical trials.

Katherine A. McGlynn, PhD
Dr. McGlynn is a Senior Investigator in the Metabolic Epidemiology Branch of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Her research focuses on the epidemiology of cancer, primarily testicular and liver cancers, with an emphasis on the environmental and genetic factors that contribute to increased incidence of these conditions. She serves as Editor or Associate Editor of three professional journals and has published over 200 journal articles and 25 book chapters. She serves on numerous national committees that focus on epidemiology and public health. Dr. McGlynn belongs to many professional societies and is a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology.

Jeffrey S. Nast, JD
Mr. Nast served in the US Army (First Cavalry Division) as an armor crewman in 1990-1991 and is a cancer survivor (service-connected lymphoma) and an ill Gulf War Veteran. He completed a BA in Communications and Social Sciences at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California in 1995 his Juris Doctor at Villanova University in 1999. After clerking for Judges in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas and the 3rd Circuit, Middle District of Pennsylvania, he moved to the US Environmental Protection Agency where he now serves as a Senior Assistant Regional Counsel, in the Hazardous Waste and Chemical Law Branch, Philadelphia, PA. His primary duties include national historic preservation and enforcing chemical and hazardous waste statues, including the Toxic Substances Control Act. The latter is related to the kinds of exposures encountered by Mr. Nast and other Gulf War Veterans. Mr. Nast is a life member of the First Cavalry Division Association, DAV, and VFW.

Stephen L. Ondra, MD
Dr. Ondra is currently the founder and CEO of North Star Healthcare Consulting; specializing in helping stakeholders from across the healthcare space improve value through strategic planning, technology optimization, and relationship development. Prior to that, Dr. Ondra was the Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), where he was responsible for the strategy and oversight of medical policies, medical management, and quality improvement as well as managing a division of over 2,000 health care professionals. Previously, Dr. Ondra served as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. In 2009, Dr. Ondra was appointed by President Obama as the Senior Policy Advisor for Health Affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2010, he moved to the Executive Office of the President at the White House, where he was the co-Chair of the National Science and Technology Council for Health Information Technology, served as a member of the Federal Health Information Technology Policy and Standards Committee, and served as a member of the Implementation Deputy Group for the Affordable Care Act. He was a Professor of Neurosurgery and Residency Program Director at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and served as the interim chair of Neurological Surgery. He continues to have an appointment as an adjunct Professor at Northwestern University. An Army Veteran of Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, Ondra was awarded a Bronze Star Medal and the Army Commendation Medal for his service. After attending the U.S. Military Academy, he completed pre-medical studies at Illinois Wesleyan University, medical school at Rush Medical College in Chicago, and graduate medical education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He is board-certified in neurological surgery and is affiliated with several professional organizations. He has received many prestigious awards, has authored numerous scholarly publications, served on the editorial boards of professional journals, and served on various scientific advisory boards.

Frances E. Perez-Wilhite
Frances Perez-Wilhite was a Lieutenant in the US Army who served in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield and is a member of the American Legion. She has served on the North Carolina Veterans Executive Council and the North Carolina Advisory Commission on Military Affairs, but since 2006, Ms. Perez-Wilhite has been with the North Carolina Military Business Center where she works closely with Veteran-owned businesses. For her efforts, she has received multiple business and community leadership awards. Ms. Perez-Wilhite holds a B.A. degree from Norwich University Military College of Vermont and an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University.

Scott L. Rauch, MD
Dr. Rauch is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School as well as the Chair of Psychiatry and Mental Health for Partners Healthcare. He is President, Psychiatrist in Chief, and Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Chair of Psychiatry at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. His research interests include neuroimaging and the neurobiology of mood and anxiety disorders, as well as the use of modern technology to enhance care delivery in psychiatry. Dr. Rauch has won numerous research awards and has published over 400 journal articles, books, and book chapters. He is past president of the Society of Biological Psychiatry and has served on several committees related to military health for the National Academies of Science.

Caroline M. Tanner, MD, PhD
Dr. Tanner is the Director of the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Center (PADRECC) at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Her medical background is in neurology and neuropharmacology, and her Ph.D. is in environmental health sciences. Her clinical practice is focused on Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders, and her research involves environmental epidemiology, genetics, biomarkers, and neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Tanner’s awards include the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Outstanding Woman Researcher (2004) and the American Academy of Neurology Movement Disorders Research Award (2012). She serves on numerous national committees that focus on neurological conditions.

Mitchell T. Wallin, MD
Dr. Wallin is Associate Professor in the Neurology Departments at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Georgetown University School of Medicine as well as the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic Director at the Washington, DC, VA Medical Center. He is also the Associate Director of Clinical Care and Epidemiology at the VA MS Center of Excellence in Baltimore. Dr. Wallin has helped develop innovative clinical programs and was the primary author of the VA MS Handbook of Care. His research in MS and other neurological problems and in neuroepidemiology has been funded by VA, NIH, and other sources. He has published over 50 articles and book chapters on these topics including articles related to MS in Gulf War Veterans. Dr. Wallin has delivered numerous oral presentations and served on editorial boards and expert panels.

Scott S. Young, MD
Dr. Young serves as associate executive director for Clinical Care and Innovation at The Permanente Federation. He also serves as the Executive Director of Kaiser Permanente’s Care Management Institute. He leads a nationwide team that is integral to Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to improve the care and wellness of its 9.3 million members. His work includes commissioning the discovery, development and spread of programs and best practices focused on care delivery, education and member experience. Related to his appointment to the Research Advisory Committee, Dr. Young served as a Navy flight surgeon during the Gulf War. Dr. Young is former director for Health IT at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Prior to joining that agency, he served as a senior clinical advisor at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Dr. Young’s policy experience also includes service as a Robert Wood Johnson health policy fellow in the office of U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico. He is former executive vice president of the Utah HealthCare Institute, a not-for-profit organization providing clinical care, outreach programs, medical education, research, informatics and health policy services. Dr. Young is a founding member of Intermountain Health Care’s Utah Valley Family Practice Residency. Dr. Young received his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1987 and completed his training at the Fairfax Family Practice Residency. He is board certified in family medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Committe Staff Members

Jon VanLeeuwen, PhD (Managing Director)
Dr. VanLeeuwen is a neuroscientist who also has experience working at the intersection of science and policy. He is an Adjunct Instructor at the University of California, San Francisco and in his role at the VA he oversees the committee office. Dr. VanLeeuwen previously served in the civil service at the U.S. Department of State, most recently as Special Advisor on Data and Analytics. He made his foray into federal policy as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, also at the U.S. Department of State. Dr. VanLeeuwen received his scientific training at Northwestern University where his research focused on the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity in aging and disease.

John Rukkila, BS, BA, ELS (Technical Writer-Editor)
John is a communication technologist with experience as a journalist, institutional medical editor, and clinical service administrative and editorial assistant. He has dual-major technical writing-editing and journalism degrees from Arizona State University as well as medical technology training and experience in U.S. Navy Regional Medical Center clinical laboratories and U.S. Army Area Reference Laboratory microbiology-serology services. He was the medical editor at-large for Letterman Army Medical Center and technical publications editor for the LAMC Clinical Investigation Service in San Francisco. John is certified as an Editor in the Life Sciences through the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences.

Stan Corpus, BA (Program Coordinator)
Stan Corpus is the Program Coordinator for the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses. In this role, Mr. Corpus provides planning, coordinating, logistics, and administrative support for RAC staff, and Committee members. He received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership from Brandman/Chapman University, Orange CA and a graduate of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy Ft. Bliss, Texas. Mr. Corpus is no stranger to coordinating, having served as an Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army, and was responsible for coordinating successful major deployments during his time in the military.