Board of Directors
Board of Directors
Darlene S. Williamson, MA, CCC-SLP, President
Darlene S. Williamson, MA, CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist with over 40 years of experience working in rehabilitation for stroke and brain trauma survivors, with a primary research interest in apraxia of speech. She holds degrees from Purdue University and the University of Illinois, Her career has included work in acute care, in and out patient rehabilitation, and long term care. She served as the Clinic Director at the George Washington University, in Washington, DC and continued as adjunct professor for many years. In 2005, she founded the Stroke Comeback Center in Vienna, Virginia; under her leadership the organization grew to four locations and is recognized as a national model for long term treatment and support under a life participation approach. Darlene has won numerous awards for her efforts on behalf of individuals with aphasia, including being honored as Washingtonian of the Year in 2017. She retired in June, 2020 and continues to focus her energy on improving the lives of families living with aphasia by serving as the President of the Board of Directors of the NAA.
Daniel Martin, Treasurer
Daniel R. Martin, Treasurer, is a semi-retired former CEO of E-Z-EM, Inc., an international medical imaging company, and former Adjunct Professor of Management at Pace University. A graduate of Cornell and Columbia universities, he spent his career primarily in the healthcare field, working and living in Latin America and the UK in addition to the USA, for firms including McKinsey & Company, Procter & Gamble and Merck & Co. He is also a Director Emeritus of Accion International, a leading microfinance and financial inclusion non-profit organization, and serves on several corporate boards. He joined the NAA board when his late wife, Barbara, a person with aphasia, relinquished her position as President.
Carol Kirshner, Secretary
Carol Adams Kirshner is a retired educator who formerly served as the Associate Director of the Junior League Family Resource Center at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Carol received her B.A. and Master of Arts degrees at Harvard University. She currently serves on the boards of the National Aphasia Association, The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee, Nashville Public Radio, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, and the National Parks Conservation Association(Southeast Region).
Carol grew up in Philadelphia, PA. She is married to Dr. Howard S. Kirshner, Professor of Neurology at Vanderbilt University. The Kirshners have two grown children and one grandson.
Barbara Kessler, Vice-President, Community Outreach and Education
Barbara has been a long time member of the Board of the National Aphasia Association. Barbara actively promotes greater awareness of aphasia as well as supporting stroke victims with aphasia. Barbara has also participated in various research clinical trials to promote more effective treatment of aphasia. During the past 16 years Barbara has been an active volunteer in her local community. Some of her volunteer work includes: speaking to first responders, speaking to patients at the White Plains Hospital while distributing books and magazines, serving on the Board of Student Advocacy supporting children at risk, responding to phone calls and emails from around the country from families with family members having had strokes. Barbara participates in several communications groups supporting people with aphasia. Barbara has also been a member of the Adler Aphasia Center helping people with aphasia. Barbara has given speeches at local hospitals to neurologists and rehabilitation therapists regarding the challenges of living with aphasia. Barbara was a professional librarian for 35 years including working at the Columbia University Law School, local public libraries and the Ardsley High School. Barbara is married with three children and four grandchildren. Barbara actively reads to her grandchildren, sharing her love of books and literature.
Roy D. Hamilton, MD, MS, FAAn, FANA
Dr. Roy Hamilton is a tenured Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania with a secondary appointment in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is the Director of Penn’s Laboratory for Cognition and Neural Stimulation (LCN) and is also the Director of the Penn Brain Science, Translation, Innovation and Modulation Center (brainSTIM). The central thrust of his research is to use noninvasive electrical and magnetic brain stimulation to explore the characteristics and limits of functional plasticity in the intact and injured human brain and to treat aphasia due to stroke and neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Hamilton earned his undergraduate and medical degrees at Harvard, obtained a master’s degree in Health Sciences Technology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and completed neurology residency and fellowship training cognitive and behavioral neurology at Penn. Dr. Hamilton’s work has been funded by multiple grants from the NIH and has been supported through awards from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and Dana Foundation. In addition to his research and clinical activities, Dr. Hamilton been recognized nationally for his work in diversity in the fields of academic medicine and neurology.
Swathi Kiran, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Swathi Kiran is James and Cecelia Ying Professor of Neurorehabilitation in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences and the Associate Dean for Research at College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Boston University. She received her Ph.D from Northwestern University. Her research interests focus around lexical semantic treatment for individuals with aphasia, bilingual aphasia and neuroimaging of brain plasticity following a stroke. She has over 100 publications and her work has appeared in high impact journals across a variety of disciplines including cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging, rehabilitation, speech language pathology and bilingualism. She is a fellow of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association and serves on various journal editorial boards and grant review panels including at National Institutes of Health. Her work has been continually funded by the National Institutes of Health/NIDCD and American Speech Language Hearing Foundation awards including the New Investigator grant, the New Century Scholar’s Grant and the Clinical Research grant. She is the co-founder and scientific advisor for Constant Therapy, a software platform for rehabilitation tools after brain injury.
Peter E. Turkeltaub, MD, PhD
Peter Turkeltaub, MD, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center and Director of the Aphasia Clinic at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital. He directs the Cognitive Recovery Lab, which focuses on how the brain performs language and cognitive functions, how these brain systems change in the face of injury or dysfunction, and new techniques to improve recovery. Dr. Turkeltaub has published numerous articles in high profile journals, and his work has been supported by several NIH and foundation grants.
Lauren is a Lean Process Facilitator for the State of Michigan and the founder of Rise Consulting Company, empowering nonprofits to maximize their impact through Lean principles. Lauren is passionate about the power of philanthropy as a tool for change and works to integrate Continuous Improvement with Social Impact. Lauren attended the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, receiving her BA in Public Policy. She received her MA in Philanthropic Studies and Nonprofit Management from Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy as well as a Masters Certificate in Collaborative Governance from the University of Arizona. Lauren has worked with a range of nonprofit organizations in roles from prospect analytics to event management to Major Gift fundraising. Inspired by her passion for the nonprofit sector and knowledge of Lean thinking, by her father’s career of training and implementing Lean, she built her consultant business on the idea that nonprofits, foundations, and government entities have the strength and skills to serve their communities better by thinking in new ways.
Chad Ruble, Vice President of Innovation and Programming
Chad Ruble’s introduction to aphasia was when his mother suffered a serious stroke over twenty years ago. It stoked an interest in the intersection of caregiving, communication, and technology, and led to the founding of Tapgram, an assistive messaging platform designed for people with aphasia. Before shifting into technology, Chad spent the early part of his career in television news (NBC and Reuters). He joined the board in 2013 and has helped oversee the continued updates of the NAA’s digital presence. He and his wife Ann live in Brooklyn with their two children and their dog, Elsie.
Lynn Rozental has 25 years of experience in philanthropy. Much of that work has been in the healthcare field, including at George Washington University’s Schools of Nursing and Medicine, and the Inova Health System Foundation in Northern Virginia. Her interest in aphasia began in 1978, when a favorite aunt suffered a severe stroke and was largely silenced for the last decade of her life. It continued in more recent years when she tried to help a close friend find post stroke services. They found them at the Stroke Comeback Center, where she learned more about aphasia, and the effectiveness of group speech therapy.
Lynn has a degree in history from Bryn Mawr College and an M.S. in historic preservation from the University of Vermont. Her first career included work as the Executive Director of Historic York, Inc. in York, PA, and as the Director of The Lyceum, Alexandria Virginia’s History Museum. She is a native of Vermont and whenever she gets the chance, returns to help her extended family with their maple syrup business. She lives in Falls Church, Virginia.
GENERAL MICHAEL V. HAYDEN, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Before becoming Director of CIA, General Hayden served as the country’s frrst Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence -and was the highest-ranking intelligence officer in the armed forces. Earlier, he served as Director of the National Security Agency. Currently, he serves as a principal at The Chertoff Group, a security and risk management advisory firm, and as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Mason University. He is also founder of the Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy and International Security at George Mason. In 2014 he was the inaugural Humanitas Visiting Professor in Intelligence Studies at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. His book, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror, was a New York Times best-seller and was selected as one of the 100 most notable books of 2016. His most recent work, The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies, was also a New York Times best seller and addresses the impact of a post-truth world on the intelligence enterprise.
Seth is a retired attorney. He received both his B.A. and J.D. from the University of California at Davis. In 1986 he had a stroke which resulted in global aphasia. After nearly a year of speech rehabilitation, he returned to private practice with a large Sacramento law firm. A decade later he joined a non-profit organization representing persons with disabilities and later practiced in the public sector working on disability and health insurance legal matters. Seth serves on the Yolo County Commission on Aging and is involved in regional aging policy and advocacy.
Steve Kessler is a national advocate of rehabilitation medicine supporting stronger recoveries for stroke survivors and their caregivers. Steve and his wife, Barbara, promote rehabilitation medicine innovation including through technology, research and clinical therapy. Steve is on the Board of the National Aphasia Association and the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital. Steve and Barbara support stroke and aphasia rehabilitation programs at Burke and other medical centers in the US. Steve and Barbara have participated in a wide range of aphasia programs provided by the National Aphasia Association and the Adler Aphasia Association. Steve and Barbara are interested in expanding the National Aphasia Association outreach programs in local and national communities to increase awareness and support of people living with aphasia and their caregivers/families. Increasing support of caregivers and families of people living with aphasia promotes greater independence.
Steve previously was a lawyer/compliance officer working in international banking, securities, finance, and government and regulatory relations at a global law firm, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and a global private investment firm.
Howard S. Kirshner, MD
Dr. Kirshner is a professor of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Hearing and Speech Sciences. He also holds the positions of vice chairman for the Department of Neurology, director of the Vanderbilt Stroke Center, consultant at the Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital, and chief of the Neurology Stroke Division. He formerly served as the Founding Director of the Vanderbilt Stroke Service, and the division head of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology. Dr. Kirshner is board certified in Neurology, Vascular Neurology, and Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry. He has served on the Editorial Boards of Neurology and Stroke, and he serves as the Book Review Editor for Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, Behavioral Neurology Editor for Current Reviews in Neurology and Neuroscience, and Editor for MedLink Neurology.
Dr. Kirshner earned his B.A. from Williams College in 1968, graduating summa cum laude. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1972, cum laude, and served as an intern in Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Kirshner spent two years as a staff associate in the Laboratory of Perinatal Physiology at the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke from 1973-1975. He completed his residency in Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and also served a clinical fellowship at Harvard Medical School from 1975 – 1978. In 1978, Dr. Kirshner joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine as assistant professor in neurology. In 1980 he also took an adjunct position as assistant professor of the Division of Hearing and Speech Sciences, and later in Psychiatry, and he became an associate professor in both entities in 1983.
Elizabeth Galletta, Ph.D., CCC
Elizabeth Galletta, Ph.D., CCC, is a Clinical Specialist at Rusk Rehabilitation, New York University Langone Health, where she evaluates and treats outpatients with aphasia and other acquired brain injuries. She coordinates the Rusk Intensive Comprehensive Aphasia Program and the Rusk Aphasia Community Groups. She teaches speech-language pathology students about neurogenic communication disorders and is Clinical Associate Professor in the Rehabilitation Medicine Department at the NYU School of Medicine.
Stephen M. Wilson, Ph.D.
Dr. Wilson is an Associate Professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and director of the Language Neuroscience Laboratory. He is a cognitive neuroscientist whose research focuses on the neural basis of language, especially the brain mechanisms that support the recovery of language processing in people with aphasia. His laboratory works with people with and without aphasia, studying how language is processed in their brains by using a range of state-of-the-art functional and structural neuroimaging techniques. These neuroimaging data are combined with comprehensive language assessments designed to investigate different components of the language processing system, such as syntactic structure, word meanings, and the selection and assembly of speech sounds. Dr. Wilson obtained his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles, and received postdoctoral training in Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. His research has been funded by multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health, and he has authored over 80 papers on aphasia and related topics.
Jacqueline Hinckley, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Jackie Hinckley is Professor of Speech/Language Pathology in the Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Dr. Hinckley is a Fellow of Person-Centered Care and is Board Certified in Neurogenic Communication Disorders from the Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences. She was recently honored with the Audrey Holland award from Aphasia Access, and serves on their Board of Directors. She is Project Lead of Project BRIDGE, a research incubator that fosters multi-stakeholder research teams, particularly in aphasia. She was the Founding Executive Director of Voices of Hope for Aphasia, a nonprofit helping people with aphasia in the Tampa/St Petersburg area. Dr. Hinckley is the author of a book entitled What Is It Like to Have Trouble Communicating? A Series of Stimulation Activities to Educate Family, Friends and Caregivers, and the co-developer of the online Aphasia Simulations. As a certified speech-language pathologist for 35 years, she began her clinical and research career as Head of Aphasia Services at the University of Michigan. Her clinical work and research spans topics that include family education, treatment outcomes, and implementation of evidence-based practices.
Paul Richard Rao
Rao received a BA in Philosophy from St Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., a Masters in Speech Pathology from Catholic University in Washington DC and a PhD in Hearing & Speech Science from The University of Maryland in College Park. My half century career has been devoted to adult rehabilitation. I retired as VP of Operations and Compliance at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington DC and continue to serve as a Rehabilitation Consultant. I am the lead editor of both editions of National Rehab’s “Managing Stroke: A Guide To Living Well.” I have served as a CARF Administration and Program Surveyor for over two decades and served as President of The American Speech Language & Hearing Association (ASHA) in 2011 and received ASHA Honors in 2021. I served on the NAA Board for 4 years (2005-2009) and am delighted and honored to be asked to return to the NAA Board. I have a 50 year history of advocacy for persons with aphasia, presented frequently on aphasia advocacy and chaired a National NAA “Speaking Out” Conference. I enjoy a national reputation in aphasia circles as a clinician, author, presenter, and expert panelist. I have served on several boards e.g., The Childrens Guild and The Stroke Comeback, Inc. and am now serving as a member on the Hearing & Speech Agency of Metropolitan Baltimore, Inc.
Doreen Mendez, Special Advisor to the Board of Directors
Originally from the Bronx, New York, Doreen Mendez was a marketing and international public relations business executive, established through her work in satellite-telecommunications, broadcasting professional and consumer electronics industries. Since her stroke in 2012, she has dedicated herself to stroke and aphasia advocacy in the USA and abroad.
Ellayne Ganzfried, M.S., CCC-SLP
Nancy Alarcon, M.S., CCC-SLP
Martin L. Albert, M.D., Ph.D.
Sharon M. Antonucci, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Anna M. Barrett, M.D.
Henry Betts, M.D.
Linda S. Carozza, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Jose G. Centeno, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Leora R. Cherney, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BC-ANCDS
Mari C. Doran, M.A., CCC-SLP
Charles Ellis, Jr. M.A., Ph.D.
Roberta Elman, Ph.D.
Lee Ann Golper, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Leslie Gonzales-Rothi, Ph.D.
Mona Greenfield, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, LCSW
W. David Halloran
Anita S. Halper, M.A, CCC-SLP, BC-ANCDS
Kenneth Heilman, M.D.
Nancy Helm-Estabrooks, Sc.D.
Victor Henderson, M.D.
Jacqueline Hinckley, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Audrey Holland, Ph.D.
Joseph Jaffe, M.D.
Yves Joanette, Ph.D.
Rita Justice, Ph.D.
Andrew Kertesz, M.D., F.R.C.P. (C)
Alexis Kershaw Silvia
Leonard LaPointe, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Ronald Lazar, Ph.D.
Steven Levin, Esq
John A. Liechty, MSW
Lynn Maher, Ph.D.
Marsel Mesulam, M.D.
Shirley Morganstein, M.A., CCC-SLP
Janet Patterson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Richard Peach, Ph.D.
Hariklia Proios, Ph.D.
Luis Riquelme, M.S., CCC-SLP
John C. Rosenbeck, Ph.D.
John E. Sarno, M.D.
Barbara B. Shadden, Ph.D.
Maura E. Silverman, M.S., CCC-SLP
Nina Simmons-Mackie, Ph.D., BC-ANCDS
Joel Stark, Ph.D.
Cynthia K. Thompson, Ph.D.
Ronald Tikofsy, Ph.D.
Linda Worrall, Ph.D.