Meet Our Team

 

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Photo of Tonya Winders

Tonya Winders, MBA

President and Chief Executive Officer

Tonya first started serving as an advocate when as a child she stood up for herself and others on the playground. In 2004, she learned the importance of patient empowerment when she overcame a rare form of cancer. Today, Tonya has more than 20 years of experience in leadership roles within the allergy and asthma industry.

From sales and marketing leadership to managed markets access, she works tirelessly to ensure patients have access to effective diagnostic and treatment tools. Tonya serves on several expert panels including Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) and the American Thoracic Society Public Advisory Roundtable. She serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Respiratory Care Foundation and is the current President of the Global Allergy & Airways Patient Platform, representing 60+ respiratory patient organizations throughout the world.

Tonya is so passionate about her work in part because she is the mother of five children, four of whom have asthma and/or allergies. She is a fierce patient advocate who has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications and speaks globally to ensure the patient voice is always valued.

Photo of Charmayne Anderson

Charmayne Anderson, MPA

Director of Advocacy

Charmayne’s career in government affairs and advocacy spans nearly 30 years serving both public sector and nonprofit organizations. At Allergy & Asthma Network, Charmayne brings a unique capability of engaging the Network in the public policy process, enhancing partnerships with policymakers and collaborating with national associations and other constituencies. She also leads the Network’s annual Allergy & Asthma Day Capitol Hill event.

Centering her advocacy efforts on the health and well-being of individuals and creating sustainable communities that thrive, Charmayne has successfully developed and executed policy and funding strategies to influence legislation and agency actions that address critical public infrastructure needs, service delivery and quality of life of local constituencies. Not only is Charmayne a resilient advocate for patients, but she also works tirelessly in this role on behalf of her children and herself – all who suffer from asthma and allergies.

Charmayne brings her passion and expertise to organizations that make a difference in the lives of children as a volunteer in her community, and actively participates in charitable events as a member of the Washington Football Team cheerleader alumni.

Portrait of Dr. Bill Berger

William E. Berger, MD, MBA

Medical Director and National Spokesperson

Dr. William E. Berger is board-certified in both pediatrics and allergy/immunology. He founded Allergy and Asthma Associates of Southern California Medical Group in Mission Viejo, California.

Dr. Berger received his medical degree from University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1973. He completed an internship and residency program in pediatrics at the UCLA Medical Center. In 1995, Dr. Berger established the Southern California Research Center, focusing on respiratory and allergy clinical research. He held dual appointments as clinical professor at the College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and Immunology, and adjunct professor of Health Care Management at the University of California, Irvine.

Dr. Berger is Past President of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). He served on the ACAAI’s Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters and as chairman of ACAAI’s Managed Care Committee. Dr. Berger was also chairman of the Mission Hospital Institutional Review Board and president of the Orange County and California Societies of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

A former television medical correspondent for the Orange County Newschannel, Dr. Berger is the author of many academic papers and lay press articles in the field of allergy, asthma and immunology, including the published book “Asthma for Dummies.”

Photo of Kris Brown, part of the staff at Allergy Asthma Network

Kris Brown

Volunteer Coordinator

Kris comes to us from the Nashville, TN area.  She completely relates to all who suffer from chronic allergies, and all the fun that goes along with them.  She was a patient of immunotherapy/allergy shots from 7 until 13 years of age.  Along with allergy shots, she also had tubes in her ears during that same time.  So, she is no stranger to the issues allergies can create.

Before joining the AAN family in August, she served the community she lives in for 18 years at a local Chick-fil-A.  And although there is no degree behind her name, she feels that her ability comes from a heart to serve those that are in need.  She cares for her mom, and the 2 share a passion for church, and the Nashville Predators.  During the fall and winter, during her spare time, you may just find her cheering the “hockey boys” in Smashville!

Photo of Don Bukstein

Don Bukstein, MD

Medical Director

Dr. Bukstein is a board-certified Allergist/Immunologist, Pediatric Pulmonologist, and Former Director of Allergy and Asthma Research. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; and American Thoracic Society. He currently volunteers at a Medicaid clinic in inner city Milwaukee and with the Allergy & Asthma Network.

Dr. Bukstein has ongoing interests in shared decision making in allergic disease and asthma, problem-based learning, and treatment of the underserved which aligns with the Network’s mission.

photo of Jacqueline Eghrari-Sabet

Jacqueline Eghrari-Sabet, MD

Telehealth Medical Director

Dr. Jacqueline Eghrari-Sabet is board-certified in Allergy/Immunology and Pediatrics. She is the founder of Family Allergy & Asthma Care and FAAR Institute where she has been in private practice treating children and adults since 1994 in the Washington, D.C. area. She is the president of White Coat Resources, a health education consulting service that helps connect patients to therapy through innovative medical messaging and educational programs.

Dr. Eghrari-Sabet’s bucket list goal was realized when she became Assistant Clinical Professor at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences where she mentors the next generation of doctors. She is a native New Yorker, and lives in metro DC, now empty nested with two sons and her very supportive husband. Her love is to travel having schlepped from Norway to Antarctica, with many miles more to go!

photo of Gary Fitzgerald

Gary Fitzgerald

Senior Editor and Communications Strategist

Gary believes in the power of today’s media to inform, inspire and empower people to change their lives. He is an award-winning writer and editor with a diverse background that includes producing digital content and print publications for healthcare, education, physical fitness and professional sports.

Gary joined Allergy & Asthma Network in 2012 with the goal of producing practical healthcare information that is understandable and relatable for every patient and healthcare professional. He manages the organization’s digital platforms, including website, social media and monthly E-newsletter. He also serves as communications lead on press releases and statements.

Gary previously worked 10 years as director and managing editor of a professional football team’s official website. He has also worked as an editor with the Humane Society of the United States, several newswire services, and a daily newspaper in New Jersey. Gary lives in Cheverly, Maryland with his wife and two daughters.

Photo of De De Gardner

De De Gardner, DrPH, RRT, RRT-NPS, FAARC, FCCP

Director of Research and Evaluation

Dr Gardner is responsible for all aspects of the research mission area and focus on ensuring the patient voice is incorporated in all aspects of research.

De De is a respiratory therapist, a higher education professional and a public health professional. She is recognized for her leadership and contributions to the respiratory field with numerous awards and 40 peer reviewed publication and presentations.

Before joining Allergy & Asthma Network, Dr. Gardner served on the faculty and in leadership roles at two universities. Dr. Gardner continues to serve on variety of local leadership roles in the respiratory care field. She also continues her roles as adjunct faculty at two universities.

De De holds degrees in respiratory therapy, health and human services and a doctorate in public health.

Dr. Gardner lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, a high school football coach and history teacher. Dr. Gardner has a daughter with lifelong eczema and a son with severe pollen allergies. In her spare time, De De enjoys reading, puzzles, and gardening.

Photo of Marcela Gieminiani

Marcela Gieminiani

Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Marcela is a Journalist and Communication Specialist from Chile. She joined the Network in 2007 to lead Outreach and expand our Hispanic Outreach Program, ensuring all our Spanish-language resources and services are inclusive and culturally competent. Marcela has managed multiple projects with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand asthma education in African American and Hispanic communities. She has supported the Network’s health disparities work and initiatives in many capacities through the years.

Prior to joining the Network, Marcela was editor and publications manager at the Pan American Health Organization (Family and Community Health Area), where she developed health-related resources for community programs in several Latin American countries.

Marcela’s passion is to provide support and advice to the families we serve in her maternal language. She lives in Northern Virginia.

photo of Andrea Jensen

Andrea Jensen, AE-C, CHES

Education Specialist

Andrea is a Certified Heath Education Specialist (CHES) and a Certified Asthma Educator (AE-C). She served as Asthma Program Coordinator at the Utah County Health Department from 2009-22 and coordinated the county’s Asthma Home Visit Program. Andrea is past chair of the Utah Asthma Task Force and is currently on the Executive Board of Directors for the Association of Asthma Educators.

She has written articles for asthma.net and allergies.net and served as a medical editor for Allergy & Asthma Network. Her blog “My Life as an Asthma Mom” is nationally recognized as a Top Asthma Blog and is also included in the U.S. National Library of Medicine. 

Andrea lives with allergies, food allergies and asthma. She has raised three adult children with allergies, food allergies and asthma. Andrea loves Jane Austen movies, chocolate, and traveling, although not necessarily in that order.

Photo of Tori Martel

Tori Martel, MPH

Social Media Community Manager

Tori works with Allergy & Asthma Network’s digital outreach team to promote content on all social media platforms to engage our audience and keep them informed.

Tori is a Master of Public Health graduate from Tufts University with a concentration in Behavioral Science and Health Communication. She started working with Allergy & Asthma Network as a part-time intern while completing her education. She uses her academic knowledge of public health and health communication to optimize the dissemination of information to the public.

Tori also volunteers her time as the Associate Executive Director for Penpals United, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Type 1 diabetics in third-world countries. She lives in Boston, MA, where she enjoys going to the beach and spending time with her friends and family.

Photo headshot of Lynda Mitchell

Lynda Mitchell, MA, CAE

Chief Operations Officer

Lynda leads Allergy & Asthma Network’s operations and strategic digital outreach to optimize stakeholder engagement, operational effectiveness and mission impact.

She was a healthcare consultant when she became a parent of a child with asthma and food allergies. She saw the need to connect families with peer support and trustworthy information to keep their children safe and healthy. She used her professional background in consumer health informatics to start the nation’s first online community for parents raising children with food allergies.

In her nonprofit leadership roles, she uses digital strategies to enable patients and caregivers to improve their health and quality of life, and to become empowered consumers and patient advocates.

Lynda also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Global Parents for Eczema Research and the American Health Information Management Association Foundation. She lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where she enjoys being involved in animal rescue, 100+ Women Who Care Bucks County, and running every day with her two Labrador Retrievers.

Photo headshot of Tonya Nash

Tonya Nash, MPH, CHES

Assistant Project Manager

Tonya is a public health consultant with over 15 years of experience in both public and private sectors. She is a certified health education specialist and has a certificate in digital health communication from Tufts University. Tonya is the President of Spectrum Public Health Strategies, LLC, and founder of the award-winning Autism Faith Network.  

Tonya is Assistant Project Manager for our CDC EXHALE project. She recently served as Project Manager for our Not One More Life Trusted Messengers program. In that role, she coordinated with volunteers, faith leaders and Atlanta city officials to provide COVID-19 and respiratory health screenings at predominantly African American churches. Tonya is passionate about communicating health information in a way people from all backgrounds can understand. 

Photo of Dr. Purvi Parikh

Purvi Parikh, MD

National Spokesperson

Dr. Purvi Parikh is an adult and pediatric allergist and immunologist at allergy and asthma associates of Murray Hill in New York City. She is currently on faculty as Clinical Assistant Professor in both departments of Medicine and Pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Parikh is a committed to allergy and immunology care, is a champion for vaccines and often makes appearances as a medical contributor on their behalf to NBC, FOX, CNN, Wall Street Journal and CBS. She is featured weekly on Fox News FOX 5 for health watch segments.

Dr. Parikh is one of the investigators for the COVID-19 vaccine at NYU Vaccine Center and is currently the youngest president of the New York Allergy and Asthma Society. She was recently named in Emory University’s inaugural 40 under 40 class where they chose outstanding young alumni in their 20s and 30s from all of Emory’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

Photo of Sally Schoessler

Sally Schoessler, MSEd, BSN, RN, AE-C 

Director of Education

Sally has a strong background as a school nurse and nursing educator. She spent many years in school health offices before serving as the Executive Director of the New York Statewide School Health Services Center and as Nursing Education Director for the National Association of School Nurses.

Sally joined Allergy & Asthma Network in 2015 and became an asthma educator in 2019. Sally oversees and participates in the development of webinars, publications and resources.

From her first day of caring for a student with a severe food allergy, Sally has been committed to the unique needs and experience of each individual and family. She believes that education is the key to helping people learn to manage their health concerns and live a full and healthy life. Sally works from Hershey, Pennsylvania, where she enjoys spending time with her husband, children and grandchildren.

PHoto of Kolleen Shallcross, SEO Specialist and WordPress Developer

Kolleen Shallcross

SEO Specialist / WordPress Developer

A graduate of Pratt Institute and owner of a Marketing Agency for 4 decades, Kolleen faced many challenges living with asthma and severe allergies, long before they were common. “I felt like the canary in the coal mine growing up,” she says in regards to having very little medical help available to mitigate the symptoms.

Kolleen also organized and led Long Island’s first secular homeschool group, which boasted more than 300 members at its height. Under her leadership, the group encouraged child-led learning, social gatherings and physical activity for a variety of age groups and abilities.

Kolleen welcomes the challenge of meeting the varying website and SEO needs of Allergy & Asthma Network, as well as caring for her extremely finicky cat; although she may have met her match with the cat!

PHoto of Dr. Tejwani

Dr. Vickram Tejwani

Medical Reviewer

Dr. Vickram Tejwani is an Assistant Professor at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. He joined Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine as a physician in the asthma and COPD centers after completion of a pulmonary and critical care fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Tejwani is an active scientific investigator in both asthma and COPD and has served in COVID-19 Intensive Care Units since March of 2020. He is passionate about patient education and translating nuanced evidence and data into actionable recommendations. He has enjoyed partnering with Allergy and Asthma Network on numerous patient-centered and academic endeavors.

Photo of Leandra Tonweber

Leandra Tonweber, PA-C, AE-C

Asthma Coach

Leandra is a Certified Physician Assistant and Certified Asthma Educator with 15 years of experience in allergy, asthma and immunology. She joined Allergy & Asthma Network in 2021 as the lead Asthma Coach and participates in several educational and research projects.

Leandra has had allergies since she was a young child and her personal experiences have fueled her desire for treating and educating patients with asthma and allergies. She began her career as a medical assistant and health educator for an Allergy, Asthma, Immunology and Rheumatology Practice in Rochester, New York.

Prior to joining Allergy & Asthma Network, Leandra worked for allergy, asthma and immunology medical practices in Charlotte, North Carolina. She works from Charlotte, where she enjoys spending time with friends and family.  

Photo of Paul Tury

Paul Tury

Creative Director

Paul is an award-winning graphic designer and illustrator. He controls the imagery of Allergy & Asthma Network, providing a consistent look and feel across a wide variety of products from the website to the Network publication Allergy & Asthma Today.

Prior to joining the Network, Paul was Senior Art Director in charge of three business-to-business magazines. Paul believes that graphics help convey the meaning of the information that we receive and works to make that information accessible to every patient.