Sallie Bernard – President
Sallie Bernard is a co-founder and the President of SafeMinds. She has testified before Congress, presented to the Institute of Medicine, published a number of research papers and letters in science journals, and participates in several government committees addressing the effect of mercury on neurodevelopment. She previously served as board chair for CAN and executive director of the New Jersey chapter, helping to secure millions of dollars for autism research and treatment. She is a member of the board of directors of Autism Speaks and a member of the Founders Forum for The Autism Center of UMDNJ in New Jersey.
Bernard is also co-founder and president of Extreme Sports Camp, a nonprofit summer camp for older children and teenagers with autism. The camp offers outdoor sports and recreation including hiking, rock climbing, swimming, rafting and water skiing.
Sallie is the founder and former president of ARC Research, a full service market research and marketing consulting firm which she sold in 2004. She graduated with honors from Radcliffe College, Harvard University, in 1979. She is married, with three children, one of whom has autism and lives in Aspen, Colorado with her family.
Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN – Vice-President
Co-Chair Research Committee
Lyn Redwood, R.N., M.S.N., is co-founder and board member of the Coalition for SafeMinds and the National Autism Association. Ms. Redwood testified before the Government Reform Committee on “Mercury in medicine: Are we taking unnecessary risks?” in 2000, and before a Congressional sub-committee on health in 2003. She has published in the journals Neurotoxicology, Molecular Psychiatry, Medical Hypotheses, Mothering Magazine, and Autism-Aspergers Digest. Ms. Redwood has appeared on “Good Morning America,” the Montel Williams Show, and has been interviewed by U.S News and World Report, Wired Magazine, People and numerous other publications. She is prominently featured in the award-winning book by David Kirby “Evidence of Harm.”
Ms. Redwood served on the Department of Defense Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Program from 2007-2009 and currently serves as a public member of the National Institutes of Health Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.
She resides outside Atlanta with her husband Tommy, and three children, Hanna, Drew and Will.
Heidi Roger – Treasurer
Chair, Fundraising Committee
Heidi Roger, a founding board member of SafeMinds, is very involved in the public policy arena. She was one of the parents involved with passage of the New Jersey Infantile Autism Biomedical Research Act passed in New Jersey. Heidi helped craft the original draft of the first federal autism legislation, the Children’s Health Act of 2000. Heidi was a co-author on Autism: A Novel Form of Mercury Toxicity, a landmark paper linking the symptoms of autism with excessive exposure to mercury and was published in Neurotoxicology, Medical Hypothesis, Molecular Psychiatry, Mothering Magazine and Autism- Asperger’s Digest. She served as president of the Cure Autism Now New Jersey chapter for two years and co-chaired the first New Jersey/New York Walk Now event, which raised more than $300,000. She has one child, Andrew, a teenager, who has autism, and began speaking for the first time at age 11. Heidi is the Vice President of Financial Operations for Barney’s New York.
Laura Bono – Secretary
Co-Chair, Research Committee
Laura Bono has actively advocated on behalf of autistic children and families since the early 1990s. Her focus is on helpful biomedical interventions as she lobbies Congress and our government agencies for effective scientific research to seek the cause, treatments, and a cure for autism.
Laura is working with members of Congress to increase National Institute for Health (NIH) funding for autism/mercury research and compel the Health & Human Services (HHS), to allow families to seek and receive compensation for their mercury poisoned children in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. She helped organize the Federal Office of Special Counsel investigation which requested Congress have hearings on the FDA and CDC regarding the link of mercury poisoning and vaccines. She has been interviewed by numerous magazines and newspapers, appeared on the NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw and The Today Show, and provided background research to NBC Dateline, Meet the Press and independent documentaries. Her advocacy has also included planning press conferences and rallies to focus the media on the link between vaccines containing thimerosal (mercury) and autism in children. Laura is a Board Member, co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the National Autism Association. She graduated cum laude from the University of South Carolina with a B.S. in Journalism with a minor in Marketing and has over 25 years business experience in marketing. The youngest of her three children, Jackson, is diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified and heavy metal toxicity. Laura resides in Durham, NC with her family.
Scott Bono is Chairman Emeritus and a founding board member of the National Autism Association (NAA). Scott has been an active advocate on behalf of autistic children and families since the early 1990s at the local, state and national levels. He has appeared before the US Congress, and has spoken at rallies, universities and local service organizations to increase awareness of the need for biomedical research, treatments, therapies, and improved educational opportunities for those with autism. When lobbying Congress and the State Legislature, Scott advocates on behalf of those who cannot defend their own rights and strives to educate society that autism is not a lifelong incurable disorder but one that is biomedically definable and treatable. Most recently Scott has served on the SafeMinds Government Affairs Committee as Co-Chair.
Maria Dwyer – Board Member
Maria is the mother of four boys, Colin, age 13 was diagnosed with autism at 2.5 years old. Colin’s vaccine injury was one of nine test cases tried in the United States Court of Federal Claims Omnibus Autism Proceedings. All nine familes subsequently lost their cases in 2009. Maria and her husband Tim are autism advocates and the creators of The Guns and Hoses Comedy Event To Benefit Autism Education, which has raised over $100,000 for autism education in NYC and Long Island. Maria is a graduate of St. John’s University and has worked in media sales and advertising throughout her career. She is currently Brand Director of Video Integrations at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and a member of the Communications and Fundraising committees at Safeminds.
Albert Enayati – Board Member
Albert Enayati is one of the original founding board members of SafeMinds and an author of the original Auitsm and Mercury paper. He is a Principal Research Engineer with 33 years experience in R&D/mechanical testing of over 100 orthopedic devices maxillofacial, trauma and spine systems.
Deirdre Imus – Board Member
Ms. Imus, a national leader in children’s health and environmental issues, is the founder and president of the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology, part of Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) in New Jersey, a 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation. The Center represents one of the first hospital-based programs whose specific mission is to identify, control, and ultimately prevent exposures to environmental factors that may cause adult, and especially pediatric cancer, as well as other health problems with our children.
Deirdre is also co-founder and co-director with husband, Don Imus, of The Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer, a 501(C) (3) not-for-profit authentic 4,000 acre working cattle ranch in northern New Mexico, which provides the experience of the American cowboy to children suffering from cancer and various blood diseases, as well as to children who have lost a brother or sister to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Laurette Janak is parent-researcher and mother of a child on the autism spectrum who also has Down syndrome and leukemia. She is co-author and helped coordinate a study on metabolic biomarkers and impaired methylation capacity in children with autism published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2004. Laurette has been a yearly presenter at the Autism One conference since 2007 discussing the mechanisms by which Down syndrome children represent a subgroup of the population with increased toxicity to thimerosal and aluminum in vaccines. She has presented on the health issues of the ASD mothers at Autism Canada for two years. In 2011, she did a lecture for public health students at the State University of New York at Buffalo on the topic of parents concerns about vaccination.
In addition to her lecturing, Laurette has been a contributing author to material published in the magazines, “Autism Science Digest” and “The Autism File”. Her most recent work was helping with literature searches for the book, ” The Autism Revolution” by Martha Herbert. Laurette testified at the Consumer Product Safety Commission hearings on arsenic exposure in children from CCA wood and assisted Dr. Jill James in an investigation of the childhood leukemia cluster in Fallon Nevada.
Stephen D. Kette
Stephen D. Kette is a Physician Assistant Certified (PA-C) and a 22-year veteran Air Force officer, with 26 years of experience as a PA. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma, College of Medicine and holds a Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska. He completed Orthopedic Residency training at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. He was trained as a medical laboratory technician at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington D.C. While in the Air Force he achieved the Air Force Meritorious Service Medals, Commendation Medals and Achievement Medals. He was Air University Physician Assistant of the Year. While stationed at Wright Patterson AFB was involved with neurotoxicology research and was Air Force Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory Airman of the Year. He is a member of Safeminds, the National Autism Association, the American Legion, Military Officers Association of America, American Academy of Physician Assistants, Florida Academy of Physician Assistants and the Society of Air Force Physician Assistants. He holds certifications from the National Commission on Certification of Physicians; he has training in Advanced Trauma Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider, Pediatric Advanced Life Support Provider and Basic Trauma Life Support Provider. PA Kette also has trained military health care providers in the Medical Management of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Casualty Care.
Scott Laster – Board Member
Scott Laster has over 20 years experience as an entrepreneur and engineer in the telecommunications industry. He received an engineering degree with Highest Honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Jackie Lombardo – Board Member
Jackie Lombardo is the mother of three with a keen interest in children’s environmental health. She is motivated by ever increasing childhood illness, research consistently revealing harm from toxins, the endless creation of new, untested chemicals, and studies demonstrating these chemicals and other toxins are storing and building in children’s bodies at faster rates than adults.
Founded in 2005, Jackie leads Friends and Advocates for Children, Teachers and Schools (FACTS), a local group whose objective is to educate communities about impacts of toxins on children’s health. Featured on local radio, newspapers and TV, FACTS efforts resulted in the Albemarle County, Virginia Board of Supervisors stopping routine applications of pesticides in public buildings, parks and school fields and switching to green certified cleaners in June of 2007. State legislation protecting all Virginia school children from unnecessary, routine exposure to pesticides and toxic cleaning products will be introduced to the General Assembly in early 2009.
As a member of the Sierra Club National Toxics Committee, she has been involved in national projects stressing education, precaution and strong legislation for mercury, bisphenol A, pesticides, and lead in children’s products. With a strong belief that children’s health can be improved through public policy promoting a cleaner and safer environment, she remains confident proper legislation will reverse the tragic decline in children’s health.
Jackie lives happily in Earlysville, VA with her husband Joe, their three children, two aloof cats and a ridiculously happy dog.
Photo Credit: Jon-Phillip Sheridan
Cynthia Nevison is research scientist at the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research focuses on the global biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nitrogen and their impact on atmospheric trace gases, including nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. She previously has held research positions at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Cynthia is an expert reviewer for the upcoming 5th Assessement Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and served as the chair of an IPCC subgroup that developed a methodology for estimating agricultural nitrous oxide emissions for national greenhouse gas emission inventories. Cynthia received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from Stanford University. In addition to her research focus on climate change, Cynthia has taught general, atmospheric and environmental chemistry at the University of California, San Diego and has broad interests in environmental pollution, particularly with respect to its impact on children. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband David and two sons, ages 3 and 5.
Katie Weisman – Board Member
Chair, Communications Committee
Katie Weisman is the mother of identical triplet boys who all have autism. After a career as a technical designer, she is now a full-time mom and autism advocate. She has been a Special-Ed PTA co-chair, co-chairs a support group for spectrum parents and is a founding member of the Westchester Chapter of Autism United, which is currently working to form a statewide coalition of parents. She has helped develop two autism awareness programs for 4th and 5th grade students and an integrated after-school recreation program. She has also worked with local police to develop Kind Find, which provides training for local law enforcement and a way for parents to register disabled children with the police in case of an emergency.
All three of Katie’s sons have mercury poisoning which she believes is the primary cause of their disability. She is working on the SafeMinds environmental committee and heading the group’s initiatives on fluorescent lighting. She lives in Mount Kisco, New York with her husband, Doug, and sons.
Katie Wright – Board Member
Katie is the mother of two boys, Mattias, age 3 and 5 year-old Christian. Christian regressed into autism at 2.5 years old. Katie completed her under-graduate studies at Boston University and received a Masters in Education from Columbia University. Studying counseling psychology, she received her professional license in 2000 and was the Clinical Director of the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Stamford, CT providing free and confidential counseling services to male and female survivors of rape and sexual assaults. Katie resigned her position when Christian became ill and now, with her husband Andreas, is dedicated to working to improve the lives of children and families affected by Autism.