We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we respect, trust, and care for each other. – Vala Afshar
I am the first person to admit that I don’t know much about a lot of different things. But I do know talent when I see it. And I could not be more proud of the team of passionate, dedicated leaders I have assembled at PPMD. Since the day I first hired our amazing COO Kimberly Galberaith almost 20 years ago, to our latest addition to the family, I am continually inspired by and in awe of the people I get to work with and lean on every day.
The New Year has brought new changes to the PPMD family. We ended 2015 bidding a fond farewell to Dr. John Porter who spent the last year as part of the PPMD team, and last week we welcomed Abby Bronson who will be taking on the role of Senior Vice President of Research Strategy.
For years, PPMD has worked with John Porter closely - from his role at NIH to his most recent position as CEO of PPMD. Over the past year, PPMD has been able to tap into the wealth of scientific rationale and rigor that John brings to the table. We knew from our years of working with John at NIH that he brought enthusiasm, integrity, interest in coalition building, and a strong scientific background to work at PPMD.
And from what John has shared with us, it's been a great learning experience for him as well. John has been able to participate in a rare disease advocacy organization that is fighting a disease with a comprehensive approach, from every angle. For years he worked with Duchenne from an academic and scientific perspective, but this past year he had the opportunity to interact with the Duchenne community and understand the disease from an emotional perspective.
John has now decided to look toward other career opportunities to foster biomedical science and drug development. If his next career step allows, we know that John will continue to work closely with PPMD on projects he helped launch, including the D-RSC through the Critical Path Institute. And while we will miss him working on the PPMD team full-time, we won’t let him go far and hope to have ongoing interactions with him.
We are thrilled to welcome Abby Bronson to PPMD. Abby comes to us with an extensive resume that includes experience as a versatile life sciences professional, including years working with industry. Most recently, Abby was Director of Operations at the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS), Division of Clinical Innovation (DCI) at NIH. She previously was Manager of Special Projects at Children’s National Medical center, focusing on rare disease development in the neuromuscular space. While at Children’s, Abby facilitated interactions and negotiations with research institutions, industry, patient advocates, and federal funders involved in therapeutic development for products to treat Duchenne. She is intimately familiar with our community, attending PPMD’s Annual Connect Conference and Advocacy Conference over the years. She knows how federal agencies work, she knows how industry works, and like all of us, she cares deeply about the community.
I have known Abby for at least a decade. She is incredibly bright and passionate. She is kind and confident. She is also an innovative thinker, which is why she is so perfect to lead our Research Strategy efforts. Duchenne research has changed dramatically over the last few years. Before, scientists and companies needed small grants to help kick off big ideas. PPMD, as you know, has always supported this kind of early-stage research. But now science is that much further along, and bridge funding is needed to help get scientists and industry partners to the next critical stage of their work as they near the finish line and hopefully approvals. We need innovative minds like Abby’s with a vast knowledge of drug development, the clinical trial process, and regulatory science to help navigate this new Duchenne landscape. Having worked in many different environments – industry, academic medical center, and government – Abby understands the perspectives and motivations of each stakeholder. She hopes this knowledge can help bring stakeholders together to streamline and improve the process of getting new therapies to our Duchenne community.
PPMD continues to evolve to meet the ongoing challenges of Duchenne head on. I am confident in the PPMD team – every single staff member and volunteer who spends 24/7 working to end Duchenne. And please believe me when I say…You and your family are in great hands.