Co-founders

Christian John Lillis, Executive Director

20150222-Christian Lillis-0023Peggy’s elder son. Christian has 15 years experience in fundraising, advocacy and nonprofit management. Prior to focusing his professional efforts on PLF, he was managing director of prospect strategy & research at Teach For America, where he led prospect development, strategy and analysis. He was previously director of development at In The Life Media, a nonprofit that produced educational media for television and online audiences. Christian has also served as director of major gifts for the National LGBTQ Task Force, and as associate director of development research for NYU Langone Medical Center. He is an adviser to the Patient Voice Institute and Gulf Coast C. diff Collaborative, as well as a member of Consumers Union Safe Patient Project and Chicago Area Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Network. Christian is a past board member of the Greater New York Chapter of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement and the City University of New York’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies. Christian holds a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from Brooklyn College. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he lives in its Park Slope neighborhood with his husband and their “beagle baby” April.

 

Liam Lillis

Liam Lillis

Peggy’s younger son. Liam is a plumber at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn and member of Plumbers Local 1. He previously worked for Ideal Plumbing and AC Klem.

Liam lives in Marine Park, Brooklyn with his fiancée, Melissa, their dog, McGee, and their cat, Maizey.

 

 

 

National Advisory Council

Victoria Amari

Victoria has more than a decade of healthcare publicity and marketing experience, including work that spans several disease areas – infectious diseases/vaccines, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. Her areas of expertise include third party advocacy relations, consumer education programs, and physician outreach. Throughout her career, Victoria has supported both pharmaceutical and non-profit clients in a variety of activities, providing strategic and tactical oversight of key regulatory and data milestones, physician and consumer education campaigns, and issues management activities. Victoria has also planned and executed numerous events, including press conferences, coalition meetings and patient education events. Over the years Victoria has developed relationships with top medical and third party organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, National Meningitis Association, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and AARP. Victoria holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communication from Boston University.

 

Helen Beigle, RN

Peggy’s sister. Helen has been a registered nurse for 20 years. She currently manages inpatient placement for the Northshore LIJ Health System. Helen holds a BS in Nursing from Molloy College.

 

Melissa Cabral, RPh

C. diff survivor. Melissa is a Registered Pharmacist for Southcoast Health Systems and Pharmerica. She graduated from University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy. Melissa personally battled clostridium difficile for two years before ultimately being cured by a fecal microbiota transplant in November 2012. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and their two children.

 

Gerard Honig, PhD

Gerard is the founder and chief executive officer of Symbiotic Health, a New York-based biotechnology company focused on the development of novel therapies for C. difficile. He is a cross-functional leader who directs and coordinates business development and research activities. Gerard received his PhD in Biological Sciences from UCSF, where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow. He has trained in pathogenesis and microbiome research in several leading laboratories. In 2013, he founded Symbiotic Health to develop microbiome-based therapeutics to address critical public health challenges. He has received numerous awards for this work, including the FIGHT CDIFF Innovator Award and the NewYorkBIO Life Science Entrepreneur Fellowship.

 

Lisa Neudecker

C. diff survivor. Lisa has struggled with recurrent C. diff for the past eight years. She spends much of her time helping people, online and in person, to cope with the emotional stress that often arises from a C. diff infection. Lisa helps monitor two closed C. diff support groups online and also started “The Faces of C. diff” Facebook group as a pictorial tribute to C. diff patients from all over the world. Lisa has been a licensed hair stylist for 28 years, however her battle with C. diff has expanded her interests to include microbiology. She is currently working toward a degree in that field. Upon graduation, Lisa intends to direct her focus towards improving the diagnostic procedures used for pinpointing C. diff infections. Lisa is a native of St. Louis, Missouri, currently living in southeast Missouri with her two dogs and two cats. When not hyper-focused on C. diff, hiking with her dogs and kayaking are two of Lisa’s favorite things to do.

 

Jeffrey Pollack, JD

Jeff is the head of Mintz & Gold’s Labor and Employment Department, and concentrates his practice in all areas of labor and employment law on behalf of employers. Jeff is recognized as an authority on the Fair Labor Standards Act. He represents companies in lawsuits involving allegations of wage and hour violations, union representational campaigns, collective bargaining negotiations, and regularly practices before the Federal and State Courts, the NLRB, EEOC and the New York State Division of Human Rights. Pollack’s practice includes counseling clients on the day-to-day concerns of employers in today’s litigious climate. Pollack received a B.A. degree from Emory University in 1987, and a J.D. degree, cum laude, from Boston University in 1990, where he served as an editor of the Law Review. He is admitted to practice in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts (retired status elected) and Florida and served as an adjunct professor of Legal Writing at Brooklyn Law School. He is the author of numerous published articles on labor law.

 

Julie Reagan, PhD, JD, MPH

Julie Reagan is an assistant professor in the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University. She holds a PhD in Management, Policy, and Community Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health in Houston, Texas. Dr. Reagan is also an attorney with over 20 years practice experience in Texas and New Mexico state government. She also holds degrees in health education and dental hygiene. Dr. Reagan’s 2010 dissertation topic, The Movement Toward Patient Safety: State Action Related to Reporting and Disclosure of Healthcare-Associated Infections, presented a comparative analysis of state reporting and public disclosure laws and activity among U.S. states and territories. HAI-related committee work has included service on the New York One and Only Campaign, the New Mexico Healthcare-Associated Infections Committee, and the Nevada Safe Injection Practices Coalition. She was also a member of an expert working group that advised the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the development of an HAI Policy Toolkit presenting state policy options to prevent and eliminate HAIs.

 

Moshe Rubin, MD

Dr. Rubin serves as the director of the Gastroenterology Division and program director of the Gastroenterology Fellowship Training program. Dr Rubin, who hails from Queens, attended Queens College where he received a B.A. in Psychology. He then attended Yale University School of Medicine and received his M.D. in 1983. After completing three years of Internal Medicine residency training at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell, Dr. Rubin achieved his Gastroenterology Fellowship training at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia. He remained on the faculty as an associate professor at Columbia University Medical Center for 20 years and assumed many leadership positions while conducting clinical research and maintaining an active clinical practice. In January 2008, Dr. Rubin joined New York Hospital Queens to lead the hospital’s Gastroenterology Division through an unprecedented growth phase and program expansion. Dr. Rubin oversees a division with many highly skilled subspecialists and brings to New York Hospital Queens expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the small intestine, obscure gastrointestinal bleeding, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and clostridia difficile enteritis.

 

Erik Satre

Erik is a freelance producer and video editor. He was previously director of new media at In The Life Media, where he led development, production and distribution of online educational video. He has an extensive background in television, feature film and commercials. Clients have included Nestle, Comedy Central, Sega and Disney. Erik has also worked on independent films that have screened at the San Francisco International, Woodstock, and Berlin film festivals. With over 14 years of broadcast experience, he understands the importance of aesthetic and technical growth in new media content delivery. He holds a Masters degree in Radio and Television from San Francisco State University.

 

Phenelle Segal, RN CIC

C. diff survivor. Phenelle is the founder of Infection Control Consulting Services. She is a registered nurse, certified in infection control with more than 30 years of experience in Infection Prevention and Control. She is responsible for providing many services to a variety of health care facilities, organizations and companies. Phenelle ensures that ICCS assists facilities, organizations, associations and other entities with developing, implementing and maintaining evidence-based infection prevention and control programs as well as providing exceptional educational programs to meet client needs.

 

Alicia Skovera, MSW

Alicia is the Director of Camping & Year Round Programs at The Fresh Air Fund. Ms. Skovera joined The Fund in 2007 as the Director of Camp ABC and Off-Season Programs. She received her master’s degree from Hunter College School of Social Work in New York City and has spent 23 years working with at-risk inner-city youth. Alicia currently serves on the Boards of the American Camp Association (New York & New Jersey Section) and the New York State Camp Directors Association. Prior to joining The Fund, Ms. Skovera worked with people living with HIV/AIDS, and was a director at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center in New York City, where she provided counseling and consulting services.

 

Cynthia Wagner, RDH

A dental hygienist for 20 years, Cynthia has worked in a variety of healthcare settings. A member of the Dental Forensics Society, she spent several months following 9/11 working to identify the remains of hundreds of Americans lost in the terrorist attack. She is also a past volunteer at the Brooklyn Children’s Advocacy Center. Cynthia is a graduate of New York Technical Institute.

 

Chris Young

A graduate of Wake Forest University, Chris currently works in the Finance department of Horizon Media, a leading advertisement planning and placement firm.