Join us for our annual Conquer Chiari Walk Across America this September!

Join us for our 1st annual Strike Down Chiari National Bowling Tournament!


Team

Rick Labuda, Executive Director, Secretary & Board Director

Mr. Labuda is the Founder of Conquer Chiari. As a Chiari patient himself, he knows firsthand the pain and frustration of dealing with this disease. He has written hundreds of articles on Chiari and related topics; is the author of "Conquer Chiari: A Patients Guide to Chiari Malformation" and is co-author of several peer reviewed scientific publications. Mr. Labuda holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon and has over 20 years of business experience across a range of industries and disciplines.

Rich Kushner, President & Board Director

Mr. Kushner is Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Modern Transportation Systems and has over 25 years of business and marketing experience in industries ranging from aerospace to telecommunication/Internet to software and logistics. Mr. Kushner is active in the non-profit sector and is a Director of the American Respiratory Alliance. He holds a Master's in Management and Policy Analysis from Carnegie Mellon University.

David Lee, Vice President & Board Director

Mr. Lee is a business and high technology professional with 25 years of experience across a variety of industries and vocations. Currently he is a Product Manager at Tobii Dyanvox, a manufacturer of communications products which assist individuals in overcoming speech, language and learning challenges. He is an expert in the application of cutting edge technology to innovative business practices. Mr. Lee holds a degree in Business from Boston University.

Mark Tomczak, Treasurer & Board Director

Mr. Tomczak is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with over 25 years of world-wide, financial management experience, including 6 years at Price Waterhouse. Mr. Tomczak is currently Chief Financial Officer at Inmedius, a Boeing Company a global leader in delivering innovative, performance-oriented applications and services that capture, create, manage and deploy technical information assets.

Dr. Blaise Nwotchouang, Board Director

Dr. Nwotchouang completed his Doctorate in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Akron and his Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at Aachen University in Germany. He has contributed to over 15 peer-reviewed journals related to Chiari malformation. His research has revealed crucial information about the volumetric differences in the clivus bone between Chiari patients and healthy controls. He is currently a Scientist in the Pharmaceutical Segment of Cardinal Health, a global healthcare Fortune 500 company.

Dr. Diane Mueller, Board Director Emeritus

Dr. Mueller achieved her Doctorate in Nursing from Case Western Reserve University and has over 25 years of neurosurgical nursing experience. She is currently working with Dr Oro at the Chiari Care Center in Aurora Colorado. During her career has treated hundreds of Chiari and syringomyelia patients. Dr Mueller has authored multiple publications in peer reviewed journals and is currently active in several research projects.

Heather Nebel, Volunteer & Event Coordinator

As a mother of a Chiari patient, Mrs. Nebel has a great passion to help the Chiari community. She is the point of contact for Conquer Chiari Walk Across America and all community fundraisers. Heather works directly with our volunteers to help create events across the country to unite Chiari patients and families together. Heather has a strong sales background working in Insurance and Financial Services for nearly 10 years. She started as a volunteer for Conquer Chiari in 2012 before accepting a position in 2015. Heather states, “I am honored and excited to be a part of the Conquer Chiari team and look forward to help continue the groundbreaking work that has been started.”

Jennifer Wilusz, Program Coordinator

Mrs. Wilusz previously worked alongside us as our Community Columnist in 2014 to 2015 and is now the Program Coordinator. As a Chiari warrior herself, she acknowledges and understands the unique challenges our community faces and is focused on continuing to support our efforts in communicating the importance of research, education, and awareness as all of this is crucial to patient outcomes and outlooks. “I passionately and firmly believe that advocacy is the best policy, and I am honored to work alongside the Conquer Chiari team, fellow patients, and our respected supporters to make a lasting and heartfelt difference,” she expresses. Jennifer graduated from Purdue University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in English with concentration in Professional & Creative Writing. Reporting for Ideas in Motion Media and tutoring at the Writing Center (Purdue University Northwest) was immensely beneficial to her success as well as all the remarkable individuals who helped her become the composer and analyst she is today. She also has several years’ experience in the banking industry with her most recent position being a personal liaison for valued business clients.

Scientific Advisors

In order to remain independent, and adhere to our policy of not aligning with a specific doctor or hospital, Conquer Chiari does not have a formal medical or scientific advisory board. However, Conquer Chiari has built an extensive network of contacts with the medical and scientific leaders in the world wide Chiari community, and consults with these experts on an ongoing, as needed basis. Since we provide significant research funding, we believe that it is important to maintain a constructive, but arms length, relationship with the medical and scientific community in order to avoid conflicts of interest.