Washington, D.C. (March 9, 2020) — The ALS Association announced today that Jinsy Andrews, M.D., Larry Falivena, Ken Menkhaus, Ph.D., Kevin Spinella, Bill Thoet, and Dave Van de Riet have joined its national Board of Trustees. Both Menkhaus and Falivena are living with ALS, while Andrews is a neurologist at Columbia University. Both Spinella and Van de Riet lost their fathers to ALS and Thoet rejoins the Board after previously serving as Chairman.
“We are extremely fortunate to add such tremendous breadth and depth of talent to our board,” said Sue Gorman, chair of The ALS Association Board of Trustees. “The ALS community will benefit greatly from the diversity of backgrounds, experience, and profound understanding of living with ALS. Each of these new members is focused on our Mission - how to help people live longer and stronger, while continuing to push forward in the search for treatments and a cure.”
About Jinsy Andrews, M.D.
Jinsy A. Andrews, M.D. is the Director of Neuromuscular Clinical Trials at Columbia University. She has been actively involved with the NEALS consortium for the past ten years and has participated in several NEALS clinical trials. She serves as the co-chair of the Upper Motor Neuron Disease Committee of NEALS. Prior to her current position at Columbia University, Dr. Andrews was the Head of Neuromuscular Therapeutics and Senior Director of Clinical Research and Development at Cytokinetics, Inc. overseeing international clinical research development in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and North American clinical research development in spinal muscular atrophy. She completed her fellowship training in Neuromuscular Disease and Clinical Neurophysiology at Columbia University and subsequently held a faculty position as an Assistant Professor of Neurology while actively participating in clinical trials and caring for patients with ALS and other neuromuscular diseases at the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig MDA/ALS Center at Columbia University. She is board certified in Neurology, Neuromuscular Disease and Electrodiagnostic Medicine. Read more about Jinsy here.
About Larry Falivena
Larry Falivena recently retired from Salesforce as an account executive with 18 years of experience selling enterprise software solutions to the nonprofit sector. He holds a Bachelor of Science in advertising and public relations from Florida Southern College. Larry was diagnosed with ALS in 2017 and is now focused on using his time to be present with his family while making a difference in the fight against ALS. In 2019 Larry went on a unique nationwide public awareness and fundraising trip – the “Iron Horse Tour.” He visited all 30 Major League Baseball parks with his wife and two sons and met people living with ALS and their caregivers across the country. He was highlighted in both local and national media, including an interview on CNN. Larry’s incredible adventure has provided him with the unique perspective not only of his own journey with ALS, but that of the many families and caregivers he spoke with along the way. Read about Larry here.
About Ken Menkhaus, Ph.D.
Ken Menkhaus is a professor of political science at Davidson College in North Carolina, providing courses focused on international and comparative politics as well as the nonprofit sector. Prior to his tenure at Davidson, Ken taught for two years at The American University in Cairo, Egypt, from 1989 to 1991. In 1993-1994, he served as special political advisor to the U.N. Operation in Somalia, was a visiting civilian professor at the U.S. Army Peacekeeping Institute in 1994-1995 and was awarded a visiting scholar position at the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute in 2011-2012. In 2004, he received a U.S. Institute of Peace grant for his research on armed conflict in the Horn of Africa. Much of Ken’s professional work has been in applied settings. He serves as a consultant for the United Nations, the World Bank, U.S. government, non-governmental organizations, policy research and advocacy groups, and the private sector. Diagnosed with ALS in 2018, Ken brings his vast expertise and knowledge of both public policy and the nonprofit sector while providing unique perspective as a person living with ALS. Read more about Ken here.
About Kevin Spinella
Kevin is a lawyer at a law firm in Washington, D.C., and maintains a diverse intellectual property and patent law practice. Kevin received his B.S. at the University of Pittsburgh in Electrical Engineering, his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center, and his M.B.A. from Yale University. Kevin’s involvement with The ALS Association began shortly after his father, Gary, was diagnosed with the disease. Kevin’s caregiver experience with ALS inspired him to join the fight with The ALS Association to find a cure and he was elected to The ALS Association National Board of Trustees. Read more about Kevin here.
About Bill Thoet
Bill Thoet retired in January 2016 as an Executive Vice President with Booz Allen Hamilton, which has been a partner of The ALS Association since 2000. He has over 30 years of experience in the areas of modeling, simulation, wargaming and analysis. Bill has been a leader in the fight against ALS for years. He served as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees from February 2012 to February 2013 and the Chair from February 2013 to February 2016. In addition to his service to The ALS Association, Bill has a long history of volunteer leadership roles with the Aspen Brain Institute, the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute, and Soceana. He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a Master of Science in computer science from Stevens Institute of Technology. Read more about Bill here.
About Dave Van de Riet
Dave Van de Riet is Vice President of Investments with Raymond James & Associates. After losing his father to a five-year battle with ALS in 2000, Dave and his family reached out to the St. Louis Regional Chapter of The ALS Association where he continues to serve as a board member and ALS community leader. Starting in 2001, Dave’s mother and siblings began participating in the St. Louis Walk to Defeat ALS. The family and friends’ team is “The Globemasters,” named for the USAF airplane that Dave’s dad flew. The Globemasters have participated in every Walk since 2001 and have been one of the top local fundraising teams ever since. In his long service to the chapter board, Dave served as the Board Chair from 2012-2019 and on the national committees of Public Policy from 2016 - 2017 and was the Vice Chairman of the Governance committee from 2017 - 2019. Read more about Dave here.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Over the course of the disease, people lose the ability to move, to speak, and eventually, to breathe. On average, it takes about a year before a final ALS diagnosis is made. The disease is always fatal, usually within five years of diagnosis. There is no cure. For unknown reasons, veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population.
About the ALS Association
The ALS Association is the largest private funder of ALS research in the world. The Association funds global research collaborations, provides assistance for people with ALS and their families through our nationwide network of chapters and certified clinical care centers, and advocates for better public policies for people with ALS. The ALS Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while urgently searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information about The ALS Association, visit our website at www.als.org.