Board of Directors
Prior to co-founding ACCRF, Marnie held senior positions in Development at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Geographic Society. She also served as a Marketing Representative at IBM after earning her B.S. from the University of North Carolina. Marnie manages the patient relations, accounting and fundraising functions of the foundation.
Three years after co-founding the Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research Foundation, Jeff left his position as a Managing Director of Putnam Investments to serve full-time as the Executive Director. Prior employers include MFS Investments, Salomon Brothers and the Irving Trust Company. Jeff earned a B.A. from the University of North Carolina and M.B.A. and M.I.A. degrees from Columbia University. He manages the scientific and operational functions of the foundation. In addition to his current service on the Scientific Advisory Board of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Jeff previously served on the Council of Councils of the National Institutes of Health, the National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council, the Council of Research Advocates of the National Cancer Institute and the Cancer Research Committee of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Elisabeth Bakri, Director
Co-Founder, Aida Health
Elisabeth Bakri is a co-founder of Aida Health, a software company that provides a platform for healthcare provider teams to manage care plans at scale and thereby realize the potential of population health management. Aida Health’s platform is being co-developed with the Mayo Clinic. Prior to Aida, Elisabeth worked for technology startups as a software engineer and at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center as a research assistant on several studies of schizophrenia. While taking pre-med classes at night, her husband was diagnosed with ACC and she was instrumental in organizing his care and treatment. This experience led her to ACCRF and to her interest in improving ACC patients’ experience through more support and education. Elisabeth graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a Master’s degree in Accounting. During her time at Michigan she was also a Varsity letter winner in cross country and track & field.
Tom Dilenge, Director
President, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)
Kara Gelb, Director
Independent Healthcare Consultant
Kara Gelb is a passionate and collaborative healthcare executive with 20 years of leadership experience. Kara spent 16 years with General Electric in roles of increasing responsibility in the U.S., Hong Kong and Japan. During that time she led GE Healthcare’s clinical consulting business in North America, where she supported hospitals across the U.S. to deliver efficiency and improve patient outcomes using techniques such as 6 Sigma and Lean. From 2009 through 2012, Kara held leadership positions at one of the top rated hospitals in the U.K. – University College London Hospitals. She was the Divisional Manager for the 700 employee Women’s Health Division and was subsequently recruited by the Board of Directors to lead a significant patient and staff experience effort at this 1000 bed, multi-site, academic medical center in central London. In 2013, Kara formed a business aimed at helping hospitals in the U.S. improve patient and staff experience. Her partner in this work is a U.K. based firm called April Strategy. April has helped more than 20 U.K. hospitals to improve patient and staff experience through a creative set of techniques centered on putting ourselves “in the shoes” of patients and staff. Kara brings with her expertise in the US and UK healthcare systems, in depth understanding and passion around techniques to improve patient and staff experience, as well as a track record of success in change management and quality improvement efforts. Kara graduated from Siena College in upstate New York with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science.
Douglas Meyer, Director
Marketing & Communications, Bernuth & Williamson
Ralph Mollis, Director
Governmental Relations & Public Policy Consultant
Ralph Mollis is the former Rhode Island Secretary of State, serving from 2007 – 2015.
Ralph previously served as Mayor of North Providence (RI) for ten years (1997 – 2006) and Vice President/Director of Operations of LAMCO (Pension & Investment Advisory Firm) from 1983 – 1994.
As Secretary of State, Ralph was recognized for his work in introducing e-commerce tools for existing and new small businesses in Rhode Island as well as his work and legislation relative to comprehensive election reform. As Mayor he was recognized for his hands-on, business oriented leadership in the successful management of the town’s budget as well as various infrastructure improvements within the business, senior citizen and education community. Ralph is currently self-employed as a Governmental Relations & Public Policy Consultant specializing in Business & Non-Profit Management, Election Management and public policy issues.
He is a graduate of Saint Anselm College, attended Southern New England School of Law and in addition to his passionate service as a Board Member of ACCRF, Ralph also serves as a Board Member of SlamT1D (a non-profit which organizes national events to raise awareness and provide programs to children with Type 1 Diabetes). Ralph lives in Rhode Island and is the father of 3 adult children and has 3 young grandchildren.
Scientific Program Officer
Dr. Nicole (Nikki) Spardy Burr, Ph.D. joined ACCRF as the Scientific Program Officer in April of 2016. Dr. Spardy Burr is responsible for helping to develop and implement the ACCRF research strategy. Her duties include managing ACCRF’s currently funded research proposals, working with the scientific advisory board to identify new research areas and fostering fruitful collaborations within the ACCRF research community. Nicole earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics from the University of Pittsburgh where she worked on dissecting the mechanisms of human papillomaviruses (HPVs)-induced cancer. She then trained in the field of functional genomics in the laboratory of William Hahn, M.D., Ph.D. at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where her work focused on identifying genomic vulnerabilities in cancer cells with DNA repair defects. Dr. Spardy Burr also has worked as a freelance writer for the scientific journal, Cancer Discovery, and served as a research representative of the American Cancer Society.
Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. David Sidransky (Chair)
Director, Head and Neck Cancer Research, Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Bruce Chabner
Clinical Director, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Dr. Robert Haddad
Disease Center Leader, Center for Head & Neck Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dr. Guillermina (Gigi) Lozano
Professor and Chair, Department of Genetics, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Lillian Siu
Director, Phase I Program, Princess Margaret Hospital