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MEDICAL FACULTY

Encephalitis411’s medical faculty brings an amazing depth of experience with encephalitis, collectively affiliated with the care of more than 6,000 patients. Their knowledge includes both adult and pediatrics and infectious and auto-immune encephalitis. They have contributed to numerous research studies on encephalitis cases, emerging technology in studying encephalitis, and the benefits or risks of different vaccinations. If there was a “Who’s Who” of encephalitis, we are privileged that these physicians have devoted their time to working with Encephalitis411.

Dr. Karen Bloch

Dr. Karen Bloch is Associate Professor of Health Policy and Medicine (Infectious Diseases) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her research interests include encephalitis, infections of the central nervous system and arthropod-borne infections.
She has been an investigator on several Emerging Infections Program (EIP) studies sponsored by the CDC.
She has been awarded the William Schaffner Teaching award in infectious diseases in 2003, 2008, and 2011.
She has contributed to the Infectious Diseases Society of America guidelines on the management of encephalitis (2008) and co-authored the International Encephalitis Consortium recommendations on the case definition for encephalitis (2013).
Dr. Bloch graduated from medical school at the University of Virginia (MD, 1990).
She completed internship and residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital (New Haven, CT) in 1993, and infectious disease fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 1997.
She received her Master’s in Public Health (MPH) from the University of California, Berkeley in 1996.
She is board certified in Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Carol Glaser

Dr. Carol Glaser, DVM, MPVM, MD is currently a pediatric infectious disease physician at the Kaiser Oakland Medical Center in California and serves as a voluntary faculty member at the University of California San Francisco  as well. Dr. Glaser first trained in veterinary medicine at the UC Davis Veterinary School and then attended Medical School at Tulane Medical School followed by a pediatric residency and pediatric infectious disease fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, she worked at the California State Public Health Department (CDPH) for 20 years. The first part of her tenure at CDPH was as Medical Officer and then Chief of the Viral Rickettsia Disease Laboratory (VRDL). Working with the VRDL, she set up several different syndromic surveillance projects. She initiated the California Encephalitis Project (CEP) and served as the Principal Investigator for 15 years. While at CDPH VRDL, she was also involved in syndromic surveillance for severe unexplained respiratory illnesses and severe febrile rash illnesses in pediatrics (for CAV-6 enterovirus) as well as unexplained deaths. She also served as Interim Chief of the CDPH Immunization Branch and worked with many issues related to vaccine-preventable diseases including measles and pertussis outbreaks.
Most recently she was involved in the state-wide investigation of the acute flaccid paralysis syndrome in California.
She has over 50 peer-reviewed publications; most of which are related to neurologic infectious diseases, zoonotic infections or vaccine preventable diseases. She has authored several chapters on neurologic infections and zoonotic infections.
At Kaiser Permanente, she leads the newly formed Pediatric Antimicrobial Stewardship program.

Dr. Allan Tunkel

Dr. Allan Tunkel is the Associate Dean for Medical Education at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Tunkel comes to Brown with an extensive background in medical education, administration, clinical expertise, and scholarship. He had held significant academic leadership positions at Drexel College of Medicine and Monmouth Medical Center. Prior to Brown, he was Chair of Medicine at Monmouth Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine. During his tenure in the Department of Medicine he also served as Vice Chair, Vice-Chair for Education, and Residency Program Director.
He has received numerous teaching awards and honors and is passionate about physician training and mentorship.   An undergraduate of Seton Hall University, Dr. Tunkel later pursued a PhD in experimental pathology followed by a medical degree at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School. He completed his residency and chief residency in Medicine at the Hospital of the Medical College of Pennsylvania followed by a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the University of Virginia. He is widely acknowledged as an international expert in bacterial meningitis and other central nervous system infections.

Dr. Arun Venkatesan

Dr. Arun Venkatesan is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Encephalitis Center and an Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in the Department of Neurology, Division of Neuroimmunology and Neuroinfectious Diseases.
Dr. Venkatesan specializes in immunological/inflammatory and infectious diseases that affect the nervous system.
As Director of the Johns Hopkins Encephalitis Center, he oversees clinical activities and research, and has developed a multidisciplinary program devoted to delineating pathogenesis and optimizing diagnosis and management of autoimmune and infectious conditions that affect the central nervous system.
Dr. Venkatesan received his Ph.D. in microbiology/immunology and his M.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, followed by an internship in internal medicine at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.
He completed his residency in neurology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
He has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund.

OUR BOARD

We are fortunate to have such a wealth of encephalitis knowledge as part of our board of directors.
We are committed to a long-term vision of research, advocacy and awareness.
Well-documented studies that help clinicians, patients, caregivers, insurers and researchers are lacking in this medical field of study.
We are ready to make a difference in the U.S., where there are so many unmet needs.
While our steps may be incremental, we urge you to sign up so we can alert you when there are newsworthy announcements.

Becky Dennis, President

Becky Dennis is the president of Encephalitis411.org and serves as a patient advocate through speaking engagements and informative patient/caregiver sessions. As a survivor, and an “Expert by Experience,” she consults with patients in their diagnosis or recovery journey to provide guidance. She is also the author of the book, “Brain Wreck.” In the past two years, Becky has played an instrumental role in developing guidelines for an encephalitis rehabilitation toolkit with infectious disease, neurology and academia across the globe. Becky has served on multiple nonprofit boards throughout her tenure, including Encephalitis Global, The Turning Point and LifePoint. She is also a guest lecturer on entrepreneurism and journalism with the University of North Texas.  In her business career, Becky is a business development and marketing consultant. She’s most known for building, launching and executing programs that fuel growth in global companies. Becky’s strong business acumen was developed in professional services B2B companies where her leadership roles included chief marketing officer, senior vice president of influencer relations, and vice president of business development and marketing. Even in a volatile economy, Becky’s visionary approach has produced exceptional results for her employers, including closing more than $9 billion in total contract value during her career.

Angela Martin, Secretary

Angela Martin brings over 28 years of experience in the Environmental field to the E411 organization.
Possessing a B.S in Health and an M.S. in Environmental Science, she has worked in both the public and private sector on a variety of environmental issues and remediation projects.
Her experience has provided opportunity for extensive work in public engagement through committee initiatives, outreach and education.  She has proven management and people skills, bringing together both government and industry toward resolution of common goals.
She brings an enthusiasm for the cause of E411 being a family member of an encephalitis survivor and witnessing first-hand the many opportunities for improvement throughout the stage cycles of the illness and recovery.

Sunny Stephens, Treasurer

Sunny Stephens has worked in office management for decades, and is an author and a songwriter. A song she co-wrote with EG Kight aired on ABC Family, and another song they co-wrote landed on a Grammy-nominated album. And a story she wrote appears in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable.”

A 30-year career in the music business, as manager, booking agent, and publicist for Kight led Stephens to the role of patient advocate, when Kight was diagnosed in 2011 with meningitis and encephalitis.
Feeling isolated and frustrated with the lack of information out there, through internet research, Stephens connected with Johns Hopkins, and ultimately with other compassionate leaders in the field.
With experience in the mental health field, caregiving, and hospice work, Stephens has a deep passion for helping others, and her mission is to help Encephalitis411.org raise awareness about this life-altering disorder.

Dustin Keller, Ph.D., LPC-MHSP

Dustin Keller received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Northcentral University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Service Provider and a National Certified Counselor. He received his undergraduate degree from Austin Peay State University and his Masters in Educational Psychology and Counselor Education from Tennessee Technological University.
He is also certified as an expert from the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress.
Dustin serves as the Chief Strategic Officer for Camelot in Tennessee providing leadership and strategic development. He has also served as the Council on Children’s Mental Health Director with the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, the Project Director for the Tennessee Lives Count Project and has been a Lead Specialized Crisis Counselor with Youth Villages.
Working in a part-time private practice, he has worked with a variety of clients from children and families, couples, and older adults.  Dustin has served on various non-profit boards including Nashville Public Radio, March of Dimes and Mediation Services.  He currently serves as the Conference Chair and President for the Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare.  Dustin regularly conducts trainings and workshops on a variety of issues including mental health, children and youth, and suicide prevention. After witnessing the devastation of encephalitis, Dustin decided to use his background in psychology, mental health and non-profits to help promote advocacy and awareness to improve lives impacted by encephalitis.

Miesha Johnson

Miesha Johnson works in local government management where she acts as analytical support for various city departments. Before accepting her current position, Miesha graduated with an undergraduate degree in Communication and Political Science and a Master’s degree from the University of Houston’s Master’s in Public Administration program. While completing her MPA, Miesha successfully completed several internships including ones for the cities of West University Place and Jersey Village. She is a part of the inaugural class of the Texas Women’s Leadership Institute and is actively involved in several professional associations including the Texas City Management Association and Dallas Regional Chamber’s Young Professionals. As an advocate for young professionals, Miesha also runs a blog, The Not So Casual Friday, which targets young professionals. She brings her research, analytical skills, and passion for service to E411 and hopes to increase public knowledge and advocacy for encephalitis.

Scotty Buoy

Scotty Buoy has spent 10+ years in the management consulting industry with experience in the Utilities, Health Care, and State and Local government industries. He graduated with an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas and went on to begin his career at Big 4 Consulting company.
A few years later, he graduated with his MBA from the University of Texas and is currently a Principal at Sendero, a boutique consulting  company. Scotty has also served as a management team sponsor for multiple pro bono, non-profit projects. He plans to bring his passion for serving along with his analytical, project management, and process improvement skills, to further improve Encephilitis 411.

Danita Lewis

Danita Lewis has more than 15 years of Human Capital Management experience working as an HR practitioner in several Fortune 100 companies. In the last 10 years, Danita transitioned her career to business development, working with global organizations to select and manage technology solutions.
She engages with clients to formulate a compelling strategy and meet executive-level visions for large-scale technology projects. As a global executive, she has lectured at the University of Dallas Graduate School for International Business on working in different cultures and the challenges of global markets.
Danita is a featured speaker at business forums globally, and speaks on HR, culture and emerging trends in the global marketplace. Danita volunteers in her community, working with the North Texas Food Bank and the Genesis Women’s Shelter helping and coaching women that need additional skills to re-enter the workforce. Danita has also served as a career coach and on advisory councils for several non-profits and faith-based organizations, including Dress for Success.
Working with Encephalitis411 is part of her desire to see faith in action and help bring awareness where she can make a difference and bring value to the encephalitis community.

Jan Woods

Jan Woods is currently a certified Early Childhood Intervention Specialist working for Bluebonnet Trails Community Services of Round Rock, Texas. Prior to that, Jan spent 15 years as a public school teacher, both as a general and special education educator. Jan earned her B.F.A. from Texas State University and then continued taking graduate courses in Special Education for 2 more years before becoming a teacher for the Blanco and Marble Falls school districts. Jan brings to the board her very personal experience as a mother/caregiver of an adult child with autoimmune encephalitis. In 2016, her youngest daughter began exhibiting a broad range of symptoms while attending graduate school. After 2 very tumultuous years of searching for answers and treatments, the family was finally given a proper diagnosis after visiting a neurologist who specializes in the diagnosis/treatment of limbic encephalitis. Jan’s hope is that by sharing her family’s experiences through Encephalitis411 that other families will be able to find answers to their many questions and receive some measure of comfort and guidance.

Jacob Savoie

Jacob Savoie is business development in the oil and gas industries for Cohen Industrial Supply in Houston. He is a survivor of herpes simplex encephalitis and has helped raise awareness for survivors and families by producing the short film documentary, My Missing Mind. Raised in south Louisiana, he holds a B.S. in Business Management from
Louisiana State University, a degree which he earned during his challenging recovery from HSE his senior year of college. It is his desire for success which helped inspire his journey to graduation, then launching his sales career in supplying capital projects the industrial sector throughout the country. Jacob has worked with E411 previously on presentations and virtual interviews, and is passionate to continue helping educate other on the neurological disease.