Staff & Fellows
Margaret Anderson, Executive Director
Margaret Anderson is the executive director of FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute and an action tank driven by a singular goal -- to save lives by speeding up and improving the medical research system.She is a founding board member and past-president of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA, is a member of the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Advisory Council and Cures Acceleration Network Review Board, the National Health Council Board of Directors, United for Medical Research Steering Committee, and the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Drug Discovery, Development and Translation. Previously, Anderson was the deputy director and a team leader in the Center on AIDS & Community Health at the Academy for Educational Development, where she led public health projects; program director at the Society for Women’s Health Research; health science analyst at the American Public Health Association, where she managed a programmatic portfolio on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, infectious diseases, women’s health, and public health infrastructure issues; and analyst and project director at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment in the Biological Applications Program, where she studied societal and business implications of genetic testing. Anderson holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland and a master's degree in science, technology, and public policy from George Washington University.
My favorite part of my job: Being in an organization that has great flexibility and a stellar can-do team is one part and then getting to work on issues I feel really motivated by – making scientific progress is so vital to our future.
Something surprising about me: I always had one of two jobs in high school and college – working in libraries where I loved being surrounded by books and being a lifeguard. Watch out if you mess with my swim lane!
My life in 140 characters or less: Fascinated by science policy and motivated to make change all with an ability to accessorize.
Cecilia O. Arradaza, Managing Director, Communications & Policy
Cecilia Arradaza is FasterCures' managing director of communications and policy. She manages the organization's communications programs, stakeholder outreach strategies, and policy priorities. Arradaza brings to FasterCures more than 15 years of experience in strategic communications on key issues that impact medical research and the life sciences industry. She joined FasterCures from Chandler Chicco Agency (CCA), a health communications firm, where she managed public affairs programs for clients including Johnson & Johnson, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and VHA Inc. Before joining CCA, Arradaza implemented issues advocacy initiatives for pharmaceutical and foundation clients of Hyde Park Communications, managed media relations and public education efforts for the American Psychiatric Association, and was part of the health and international public affairs practices at Powell Tate. Arradaza began her health communications career at the National Osteoporosis Foundation and the National Women's Health Network. She is on the founding board of Women Against Alzheimer's. She received her bachelor's degree from George Washington University at Mount Vernon College.
My favorite part of my job: Coming up with creative ways to be heard, get people to care, and inspire them to act. To be effective at what we do, we must make our work relevant.
Something surprising about me: I was en route to medical school when I detoured into the policy realm. Happy I had gone off course. Naiveté worked to my advantage.
My life in 140 characters or less: #Priorities: Steadfast faith; a loving family; true friends; a purposeful & challenging career; quality time for spa days & shoe shopping.
LaTese Briggs, Associate Director, Philanthropy Advisory Service
LaTese Briggs is the Philanthropy Advisory Service (PAS) associate director at FasterCures. Briggs previously served as a pharmaceutical market analyst for Decision Resources, a Boston-based research and consulting firm serving the biopharmaceutical industry. In this capacity, she provided expert analytics on the state of research and clinical development, including research challenges, market drivers, and unmet patient needs in the infectious disease space. She is trained as a biochemist, having completed her doctoral studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and then postdoctoral training at Harvard University/Broad Institute focusing on chemical biology and early drug discovery. She has authored several scientific articles and received a number of honors, including being named a Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar.
My favorite part of my job: Waking up every day with a clear mission of achieving a faster cure for all and not just some, and tirelessly going to bat to work towards this important goal
Something surprising about me: I’m in full support of group celebration and praise, but high fives from me come at a premium price
My life in 140 characters or less: Science nerd that fell in love with Biochem and shooting X-rays through protein crystals but moved on towards a bigger mission of cultivating change in medical research and the STEM workforce
Taylor Cronin, Program Associate
Taylor Cronin is the program associate for FasterCures. She joined the team in September 2013 as a research intern, and now assists Deputy Executive Director Melissa Stevens and supports many programmatic areas including Partnering for Cures, TRAIN, the Philanthropy Advisory Service, and the Consortia-pedia project. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a bachelor’s of science in Kinesiology and an honors graduate from the Commonwealth Honors College. Currently, Cronin is working towards a Master’s Degree in Public Health, focusing on Prevention & Community Health, at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.
Favorite part about my job: Seeing incredible innovation and ingenuity from patient groups, scientists, and everyone in between.
Something surprising about me: I was in an indie film when I was 4. Starring role: eating a pickle on the side of the road.
My life in 140 characters or less: Constantly thinking about food and recipes, always up for cat videos, and wish that every morning could start with chai and a great book.
Lisa Feng, Associate Director, Value & Coverage
Lisa Feng leads the Value and Coverage program at FasterCures, focused on fostering a sustainable insurance reimbursement environment that incentivizes medical innovations and ensures patient access. Lisa joined FasterCures from the American Institutes for Research where she helped lead collaborative learning activities for healthcare systems involved in payment and delivery reform initiatives. Prior to AIR, she was a senior research associate at the Center for Health Care Quality at George Washington University which served as the national program office for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Aligning Forces for Quality program. Lisa has published in peer-reviewed journals on topics such as electronic health record use, health care quality, primary care, and emergency department care. She has a B.S. in neurobiology, physiology and behavior from the University of California at Davis and is a doctoral candidate in public health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. Always a Californian at heart, Lisa resides in Washington, DC.
Mark Lim, Associate Director, Medical Research Innovation
Mark D. Lim is the medical research innovation associate director at FasterCures and also serves on the scientific advisory board of the Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery. Prior to joining FasterCures, Lim served a supporting role as the chief of technical staff at DARPA's Defense Sciences Office on a biomedical program that had efforts in new diagnostic and vaccine capabilities. He was the deputy program director for the Program for Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies, an extramural funding program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and also served as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the NCI Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research. Lim received his doctorate in chemistry at University of California, Santa Barbara and completed an NCI-funded postdoctoral fellowship in cancer nanotechnology at University of California, San Francisco and University of California, Berkeley. He has authored or co-authored 23 publications and book chapters on biospecimen quality challenges, federal funding opportunities for innovation, nanotechnology, and inorganic chemistry.
Favorite part of my job: Working at FasterCures provides access to a diversity of stakeholders that represent a holistic viewpoint to biomedical research. This job continues to be a great opportunity to hear the technical and non-technical challenges that each face in their day-to-day jobs, connect-the-dots, and test out potential solutions.
Something surprising about me: I was seriously considering a post-college job as a park ranger at Denali National Park and Preserve. I’d be using the word “ecosystem” in a totally different way if I followed that career path, instead of going to graduate school.
My life in 140 characters or less: Constantly curious and loves brainstorming to solve the world’s problems. Dreams about hikes, road-trips & travels abroad.
Samantha Mayberry, Associate, Program Coordinator
Samantha Mayberry is the associate program coordinator at FasterCures. She joined the team in September 2011 first as a research intern prior to joining the program team. She coordinates several programs including Partnering for Cures, the Philanthropy Advisory Service, and TRAIN, while providing project management oversight across all programs. Additionally, she provides research support specifically relating to medical research investment, philanthropy, and best practices. Mayberry graduated from the George Washington University in December 2011 with a bachelor's degree in international affairs and a concentration in international economics. Prior to joining FasterCures, Mayberry interned and volunteered with various nonprofits in the District of Columbia including RAINN, N Street Village, Casey Trees, Martha’s Table, and DC Central Kitchen.
My favorite part of my job: I enjoy having the opportunity to gain vast knowledge about nearly every aspect of medical research, especially seeing the new ideas and innovations that come out of Partnering for Cures.
Something surprising about me: I was named after Samantha from Bewitched.
My life in 140 characters or less: A southern native, moved to the fabulous District to attend GWU. I spend my time adventuring via bike & judging the local french fry scene.
Kim McCleary, Director, Strategic Initiatives
Kim McCleary is Director of Strategic Initiatives at FasterCures, leading the charge on key programmatic areas including FDA and how it evaluates risk and benefit for patients, and medical innovation and how we determine value and reimbursement. Kim was most recently with the CFIDS Association of America, where she was the President & CEO from 1991 until June 2013. Kim earned a reputation as an articulate patient advocate, a keen policy strategist, a diplomatic bridge builder and a dedicated servant leader. She has worked with leaders throughout the executive and legislative branches to develop, implement and oversee effective policy. She helped found the Chronic Pain Research Alliance and joined with other leaders and Pfizer to establish the Campaign to End Women’s Pain in 2010. Kim led the Partnering to End Pain project selected by Sanofi U.S. as a finalist in the 2012 Collaborate | Activate Innovation Challenge. She has participated in every opportunity organized by the FDA to shape its Patient-Focused Drug Development Initiative, including a range of consultations leading up the first of the 20 PFDDI workshops focused on CFS and ME held in April 2013. With leaders in the narcolepsy community, Kim helped design and launch the Unite Narcolepsy initiative to educate, engage and empower narcolepsy patients and their advocates to participate effectively in the PFDDI meeting held in September 2013. Kim is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Favorite part of my job: I love the daily opportunity to work collaboratively with stakeholders across the medical R&D ecosystem, helping to identify shared concerns, align incentives, develop solutions, and foster best-practices.
Something surprising about me: I’m a *real* head case. During my freshman year in college I fell and suffered a skull fracture and a blood clot in my brain. My parents were told I wouldn’t live through the night, so I’m happy for every day of the past 30+ years since!
My life in 140 characters or less: Relentless pursuit of moderation in all things except diet coke.
Joseph Ortega, Operations Assistant
Joseph Ortega joined FasterCures in 2007 as operations assistant after having served as an international meetings associate for a fundraising association in Arlington, Va. Ortega brings to FasterCures extensive experience in fundraising organizations including positions he held at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Ashoka. Previously, Ortega worked as executive assistant for the president and CEO of the largest Latino advocacy, research, and legislation organization based in Washington, DC. Ortega worked for nearly 14 years as the assistant to the publisher and CEO of the largest U.S.-based Spanish language daily newspaper based in California. He also worked for Rep. Xavier Becerra, (CA-31), as executive assistant/scheduler in the Washington, DC office. Ortega studied at California State University, Los Angeles as a political science major.
My favorite part of my job: Working with a team of knowledgeable and extremely capable individuals that are making a big difference in the area of medical research makes coming to work a real pleasure.
Something surprising about me: Was part of the founding class of medical school fellows at the Howard Hughes Undergraduate Biological Sciences Minority Advancement Research and Training program (UBSMART) at UC Irvine.
My life in 140 characters or less: Operations Assistant by day/English teacher by night. I like to help people :)
Gillian Parrish, Associate Director, Communications & Outreach
Gillian Parrish is the associate director for strategic partner engagement, communications, and events programming for FasterCures, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank dedicated to reducing the time it takes to move promising scientific discoveries out of the lab and to patients. A public affairs professional with over 12 years’ experience in healthcare communications and alliance development, Gillian focuses on educating stakeholders about the systemic, cultural obstacles that slow medical progress across all diseases, and amplifying solutions that can pave the path forward. Before joining FasterCures in 2009, she served as vice president of healthcare alliances at Edelman, a global public relations firm, where she managed third-party outreach, strategic partnership development, public affairs, and media relations for a broad range of healthcare, health policy, and health technology clients. Gillian holds a bachelor's degree in public communication from American University and a master's degree in global marketing from Emerson College.
My favorite part of my job: I came to FasterCures for the incredible mission, and stayed for the incredible people. You’d be hard pressed to find a more creative, passionate, bright and thoughtful group of individuals around. They keep me excited every day about this work and the possibilities of what we can accomplish together.
Something surprising about me: I am a macaroni and cheese aficionado and I used to teach comedy improvisation classes to high school students.
My life in 140 characters or less: Born on the bayou, raised to give back, optimist, fast-talker, mom, studied communications, was VP @ Edelman PR before FasterCures
Karen Rogers, Associate Director, Communications
Karen Rogers is the associate director of communication at FasterCures and join the team as communications manager in 2010. She most recently served as publications manager at the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, DC. Previously, she worked in communications at the Association of Public Health Laboratories and The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. She has communicated health messages to multiple audiences by serving as editor of various print and electronic publications and serving as Web master. Rogers graduated with honors from Xavier University with a bachelor's degree in public relations, with minors in history and Spanish. She earned a master's degree in public communication from American University.
My favorite part of my job: Hearing inspiring stories of people who are dedicated to searching for cures and treatments
Something surprising about me: Although I fell far short of a World Cup career, I used to coach soccer for five-year-olds.
My life in 140 characters or less: Midwesterner who dreaded science in school finds herself fascinated by public health & makes a career out of explaining science & its impact
Kristin Schneeman, Director, Programs
Kristin Schneeman joined FasterCures in April 2005 as program director, with primary responsibility for its innovation portfolio of projects and activities, focused on best practices in the funding and conduct of medical research and innovative collaborations among players in the research enterprise. She brings to FasterCures 20 years' experience in public policy, politics, academia, and the media. Schneeman served for three years as a senior adviser and policy director to a gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts, as a policy aide to a U.S. Congressman, and for four years as the front-line manager and chief-of-staff for a senior adviser to Vice President Al Gore. At Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, she directed a research project – the top priority of the dean of the school – on future challenges facing governments, and at Harvard Business School she worked with a noted professor who specializes in analyzing and advising on complex negotiations in business, politics, and international relations. Schneeman began her career as a producer of documentary films on political and social issues, for which she was the recipient of an Emmy Award in 1990.
My favorite part of my job: Through our TRAIN program, I get to work with and be inspired by incredibly passionate, effective patient advocates who are changing history for us all.
Something surprising about me: I was fortunate to win an Emmy Award for a documentary film about the Iran-Contra Affair (anyone remember what that was?).
My life in 140 characters or less: My passion has been getting good ideas put into practice through smart policy and smart politics. Also good food, books, and bike rides.
Lisa Simms, Director, External Affairs & Operations
Lisa Simms is the external affairs and operations director for FasterCures. She brings more than 13 years of experience in project and event management, office management and administration, community mobilization, and outreach for a variety of political and advocacy organizations including LISTEN, Inc., The Alliance for Justice, Time Dollar Institute, Children's Defense Fund, Democratic National Committee, and the National Rainbow Coalition. Simms is a graduate of Michigan State University.
My favorite part of my job: I love seeing all the pieces come together since my job involves so many facets of the FasterCures work – from events to the office operations.
Something surprising about me: I’m in a band called Organic Mocha. Our music is a mix of folk, rock, jazz, R & B and gospel.
My life in 140 characters or less: Full of gratitude, laughter, family, friends and football!!
Tweet me @LSimmsDC
Melissa Stevens, Deputy Executive Director
Melissa Stevens is deputy executive director for FasterCures, a nonprofit think tank and center of the Milken Institute that works across sectors to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the medical research enterprise, and accelerate the discovery and development of new treatments for deadly and debilitating diseases. Stevens manages planning and implementation of FasterCures programs. She also directs the organization’s medical philanthropy efforts including the Philanthropy Advisory Service, designed to help foundations, philanthropists, and their advisors make more impactful investments in medical research and better assess the return on philanthropy. Previously, she worked in the health sciences practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers, advising commercial and federal clients across the healthcare continuum. Stevens received a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and an M.B.A. from Pennsylvania State University.
My favorite part of my job: Bringing people together to tackle problems that are bigger than themselves. No one can fix the R&D system alone, but by convening motivated, creative agents for change from across disciplines and geographies, we are starting to see results.
Something surprising about me: While living abroad in the Middle East, I fell head-over-heals for salsa dancing. Upon returning home, I joined a DC-based dance troupe and took the stage from LA to NYC and from DC to Puerto Rico.
My life in 140 characters or less: Always training for the next endurance event – marathon, triathlon, or Partnering for Cure
Karlee Stewart, Associate, Communications Coordinator
Karlee Stewart is the communications coordinator for FasterCures. She joined the organization in 2012 and manages FasterCures social and digital efforts including the execution of the Time Equals Lives campaign dedicated to educating the public about the need for increased funding for medical research. She works as the communications liaison for FasterCures’ Philanthropy Advisory Service as well as content and graphics creator for external outreach. She is an honors graduate of Northeastern University with a bachelor of arts in journalism with a concentration in public relations. During her time in Boston, she worked in corporate communications at MathWorks and in public relations at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, heading their social media efforts. Throughout college, she played a key role in creating the success of Her Campus Northeastern, an online magazine dedicated to Northeastern women's issues, managing a team of more than 25 staffers. She also worked as the promotions director for the university's radio station and the public relations coordinator for her sorority.
My favorite part of my job: I enjoy working on our digital and social media efforts because I experience the most real-time gratification of our work.
Something surprising about me: I was an on-air radio deejay throughout college.
My life in 140 characters or less: Content creator, animal devotee, and self-appointed beauty aficionado living halfway between DC and the internet.
Shawn Sullivan, Associate, Executive Administrator & Policy Analyst
Shawn Sullivan is the associate executive administrator and policy analyst at FasterCures. He joined the team as a program associate in March 2011 to assist Executive Director Margaret Anderson and to perform program research and government affairs projects for the organization. Sullivan most recently worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Michael Michaud (ME-2) and was a congressional outreach coordinator for the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis. He also has more than five years of office administration experience for an IT sales and support organization in Miami, Fl. Sullivan is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Maryland with a bachelor's degree in government and politics.
My favorite part of my job: Working on a topic with big, profound implications and a lot of bi-partisan agreement. A lot of people who don’t work here –and some who do!- see Washington as a sometimes petty and often overly partisan place, and I enjoy talking about my experiences with them.
Something surprising about me: I was born on an Air Force base near the Canadian border that used to contain nuclear missiles and was shut down after the Cold War, but became the largest city in the state of Maine for two days during a Phish concert.
My life in 140 characters or less: Living in Maine, Miami and points in between has introduced me to countless ideas, people and lifestyles. Next adventure, Fatherhood!
Tweet me @ShawnSull
Timothy Swope, Associate, Research Policy Analyst
Timothy Swope is the research policy analyst for FasterCures, where he produces real-time analysis on policy developments and initiatives vital to the medical research ecosystem, including coverage of the NIH, FDA, and CMS. Swope was formerly the Policy and Communications Analyst at the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) which represents a broad spectrum of organizations that seek to advance the understanding and adoption of personalized medicine concepts and products for the benefit of patients. Before joining the PMC, Swope worked for the American Recreation Coalition and Senator John Kerry’s Political Action Committee as an intern. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Government from Cornell University. He is working towards a joint degree in Master of Government and Master of Business Administration on a part-time basis at Johns Hopkins University's D.C. Campus.
My favorite part of my job: My favorite part of my job is finding the leverage points in thorny health care policy issues where experts from all sectors agree there is possibility to make real progress.
Something surprising about me: I have been to more than 50 state and national parks.
My life in 140 characters or less: B. Harrisburg, PA. Cornell, BA Gov., Johns Hopkins MA/MBA 2015. Prior to my medical research policy career, I interned for John Kerry.
Kathi E. Hanna, PhD
Kathi E. Hanna, PhD has more than 25 years of experience in science, health, and education policy as an analyst, writer, and editor. Hanna served as research director and editorial consultant to President Clinton's National Bioethics Advisory Commission and has provided editorial services to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. In the 1990s, she served as senior advisor to the President's Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses and later served as the lead analyst and author of President Bush's Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery for Our Nation's Veterans and the Task Force on the Future of Military Healthcare. In the 1980s and 1990s, Hanna was a senior analyst at the congressional Office of Technology Assessment, contributing to numerous science policy studies requested by congressional committees on science education, research funding, science and economic development, biotechnology, women's health, mental health, children's health, human genetics, bioethics, cancer biology, and reproductive technologies. In the past two decades, she has served as an analyst and editorial consultant to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. National Academies, the U.S. Office for Human Research Protections, FasterCures, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the American Heart Association, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, and the March of Dimes. Hanna received an A.B. in biology from Lafayette College, an M.S. in human genetics from Sarah Lawrence College, and a doctorate in government and health services administration from the School of Business and Public Management at George Washington University. Blog posts from Kathi: Let’s Allow Young Scientists to Try it Their Way | How long can innovation be stalled? | Mental Health: Research and Development at a Crossroads
Bernard Munos is founder and chief apostle of InnoThink, a consultancy dedicated to bringing evidence-based innovation models to the pharmaceutical industry. Previously an advisor for corporate strategy at Eli Lilly, he has long focused on disruptive innovation in drug development, and the radical redesign of R&D. Munos’ research has been published in Nature and Science, and he has presented his findings to the National Academies, the Institute of Medicine, the President’s Cancer Panel, the National Institutes of Health Leadership Forum, the World Health Organization, the OECD, the Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Council for American Medical Innovation, and many others. He received his M.B.A from Stanford University, and holds other graduate degrees in economics and animal science from the University of California, Davis and the Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences. Blog posts from Bernard: The Future of Medicine | Give me your Innovators Yearning to Breath Free | Can There be Too Much of a Good Thing? Yes, if it's Intellectual Property
John Wilbanks is the chief commons officer at Sage Bionetworks, and a data commons expert and advocate. He has spent his career working to advance open content, open data, and open innovation systems. Wilbanks also serves as a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and as a senior advisor for big data to the National Coordination Office. Previously, Wilbanks worked as a legislative aide to Congressman Fortney "Pete" Stark, served as the first assistant director at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, founded and led to acquisition bioinformatics company Incellico, Inc., and was vice president of science at Creative Commons. In February 2013, the U.S. government responded to a We the People petition spearheaded by Wilbanks and signed by 65,000 people, and announced a plan to open up taxpayer-funded research data and make it available for free. Wilbanks received his bachelor of arts in philosophy from Tulane University. Blog posts from John: Transitioning to Open Systems in Drug Discovery | Understanding Open Science
Robert Cook-Deegan, MD
Robert Cook-Deegan, MD is Research Professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy and the Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, Duke University. He is the author of The Gene Wars: Science, Politics, and the Human Genome (New York: Norton, 1994 & 1996; tr. Korean, Japanese) and an author on over 200 articles. His most recent research interest has been the Myriad Genetics case and gene patenting. From 1991-2002, Cook-Deegan worked at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Academy of Sciences in various capacities, including director of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship program and the National Cancer Policy Board. During his final three years at the National Academies, he was also a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Investigator at Georgetown University (1999-2002), and a seminar leader at Stanford-in-Washington (1996-2003). He also worked for the National Center for Human Genome Research in its first year, and was a AAAS Congressional Science & Engineering Fellow and spent six years at the congressional Office of Technology Assessment. He received his MD degree from the University of Colorado in 1979 and his bachelor' s degree in chemistry, magna cum laude, in 1975 from Harvard College. Blog posts from Robert: BRAIN Initiative, meet Human Genome Project | There is No Nobel Prize for Managing IP