Paul Blom is NPFM’s board president, a position he has held for nine years. He is also currently serving as chair of the Chapter Advisory Council for the National Parkinson Foundation. In addition to his leadership with NPFM, he serves as a support group facilitator for the Alzheimer’s Association, treasurer of the Minneapolis Area Senior Workers Association and the annual Fall Aging Conference, and serves on the boards of the National Private Duty Home Care Association Minnesota Chapter, Training to Serve and Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus. Paul is co-owner of Right at Home – In Home Care & Assistance in Bloomington. Under Paul’s leadership, Right at Home has been awarded the Better Business Bureau Integrity Award, the 2012 Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal’s Diversity in Business Award and received the top raking in the 2012 Star Tribune Top Workplaces in Minnesota.
Jackie Hunt Christensen is a wife, mother, activist, organizer, author and artist. She has worked on environmental and health issues for more than 20 years. She serves as state director for the Parkinson’s Action Network and was NPFM board vice president for many years. Christensen was diagnosed with PD in 1998, at the age of 34.
Colleen Crane is a Deep Brain Stimulation therapy representative for Medtronic. Colleen has been serving the Parkinson’s community in this capacity for many years. Her medical background, relationships with the medical and patient communities bring enlightened perspectives to the NPFM board of directors.
Ellie Garrett, JD, is a health policy and public health professional with a passion for patient, stakeholder and public engagement in policy-making. She is currently employed in government service, and has worked extensively in health care ethics. A self-described health policy nerd, she also teaches a masters course in health policy and ethics. Ellie is a past president of the Minnesota Public Health Association and received that organization’s Albus Justus Chesley award for distinguished service in the field of public health in the state of Minnesota. She has served on NPFM’s board for three years, joining not long after her father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Steve Erchul is a shareholder and CPA with Smith, Schafer and Associates. He received his Bachelor of Science in accounting and business administration from North Dakota State University and his Master of Business Taxation from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management. In addition to providing pro bono treasuring and accounting services for NPFM, Smith, Schafer and Associates has supported the NPFM golf tournament for many years. He has been NPFM’s treasurer since Fall 2009.
Ruth Hagestuen, R.N., M.A., has worked with Parkinson’s disease since 1987 where she began as coordinator of the Methodist Hospital Parkinson’s Center. The center was renamed the Struthers Parkinson’s Center in 1995. In July, 2000, Ruth joined the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) staff as national program director and remained with NPF as vice president and director of programs until July 2009. She served as director of the New York University (NYU) Parkinson and Movement Disorders Center from 2009 to 2011. Her area of interest has always been the development of care and educational initiatives designed to better meet the needs of persons with Parkinson’s and their care partners throughout the continuum of care. Ruth has rejoined the Struthers Parkinson’s Center team where she is working as community relations partner with a focus on the development of a regional Parkinson’s care network.
Matthew Hanzlik is a consultant in the consumer and market research group of Nielsen. He holds a bachelors degree from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. He brings a background in communications and grassroots advocacy as well as a personal connection to Parkinson’s disease to NPFM. Matt’s mother, Sharon, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2006. Since then, Matt has served as a National Advocacy and Government Affairs Chair for the Student Society for Stem Cell Research and volunteers as the Assistance State Director for Parkinson’s action Network (PAN) in Minnesota. Matt is a recipient of PAN’s Louis Fishman Award for Outstanding Advocacy, the Paul M. Silverstein Community Service Award from Struthers Parkinson’s Center and is an inductee in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul magazine Volunteer Hall of Fame for his service to the Parkinson’s community. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Fringe Festival.
Alice Johnson is the chief financial officer at Courage Center. She has a strong background in financial and business strategy in both the nonprofit and health care sectors. Previously, she served as chief financial officer for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, a consultant with TRG Healthcare, and system director for Budgeting, physician services and contracting for HealthEast Care System. A Minneapolis resident, Alice has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in history from Macalester College. In addition to her leadership with the National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota, Alice serves as acting treasurer and finance chair for the Friends School of Minnesota. Her father-in-law lives with Parkinson’s disease.
Carrie Martino is a neurology sales specialist with Teva Neuroscience. Her focus is on Parkinson’s disease (Azilect) and Multiple Sclerosis (Copaxone). Diagnosed with MS more than 12 years ago, Carrie understands what it is like to live with a chronic, progressive disease. As an artist, Carrie has volunteered for nearly five years at Struthers Parkinson’s Center teaching art to the day program attendees. She has been a NPFM board member and committee volunteer for the past four years.
Kris Maser, a shareholder and Elder Law Department chair for Maser, Amundson P.A., is a caretaker by nature. She notes she’s been taking care of people since she was 16 and she helped her father through a 28 year battle with Parkinson’s disease. She also assists her elderly mother in living as independently as possible. It’s her care-taking trait that propelled her to work in elder law. She serves as a dedicated advocate for the elderly and their families, through assisting in estate planning, medical assistance planning, planning for incapacity, conservator-ship and guardianship issues, and related issues pertaining to wills, trusts, powers of attorney and health care directives. Her dedication to clients and vigorous representation of their rights, has earned her prominent recognition.
Connie Perpich recently retired after 27 years of service in public affairs with Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Connie also serves as an advisor to The Center for German & European Studies at the University of Minnesota.
Eileen Smith has volunteered with the National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota for nearly 10 years, both as a board member and committee volunteer. She has worked in communications and media relations for more than 25 years and was part of the team that created the new NPFM website and has worked to increase NPFM’s outreach through social media. Her aunt lived with Parkinson’s disease. Eileen is the communications director for the Minnesota Council of Health Plans and also serves in leadership roles in other nonprofits including Hearts and Hands Respite and Hospice Care for Children.
Monika Strom, Ph.D., is a senior product consultant at Comprehensive Care Services (CCS), Inc. Her mother lived with Parkinson’s disease for many years and Monika is excited to join NPFM to give back to the Parkinson’s community. Prior to her current position with CCS, Monika was a senior communications consultant with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. She earned her Ph.D., in communication from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree from Ohio University. Monika’s undergraduate degree is from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.