Board of Directors & Committees

Meet the Board

If you are interested in serving on the board of directors, please first contact the volunteer coordinator, volunteer@tmsforacure.org .

Valerie M. Slee, RN, B.S.N.

Chair, Medical Advisory Board Liaison, Research Advisory Committee Liaison, Patient Referral Coordinator,
Drug Shortage Co-Chair

learn more >

Valerie M. Slee, RN, B.S.N.

Chair, Medical Advisory Board Liaison, Research Advisory Committee Liaison, Patient Referral Coordinator,
Drug Shortage Co-Chair

I first served as the TMS Vice Chair from 2002-2009, then assumed the Chair position when my dear friend Rita Barlow stepped down due to health issues. I have also served as Liaison to the Medical Advisory Board, Research Committee, Pediatric Committee, and to the MPN and Smoldering Mastocytosis Committee. I Co-Chair the Drug Shortage Committee with Emily Menard. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Syracuse University, summa cum laude, in 1975, and have 40 years of experience as a pediatric nurse in major hospitals including UCONN Health Center/John Dempsey Hospital Pediatric ICU and NICU, Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY in Pediatrics and Pediatric ICU, St. Peter’s Hospital Albany, NY, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and UMASS. My experience included many years of pediatric intensive care and pediatric hematology oncology. I also was an instructor in Pediatrics, Pediatric ICU, Fundamentals of Nursing and Maternal Child Nursing at Maria College in Albany, NY. Most recently, I was a pediatric triage nurse for Night Nurse of Framingham, MA. I am a sitting member of the Mast Cell Disorders Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. I collaborate with mast cell disorder patient organizations all over the world, their members and physicians. I work extensively with the TMS Research Committee, and am in touch with patients and physicians every day, as my disease allows.

I am fortunate to be happily married to Andrew Slee (41 years and counting!), have three wonderful adult children, and three amazing grandsons! I have had MCAS for many years, probably since age 6, but I was not diagnosed with a mast cell disorder until age 34. Currently, I am 63 years old. My own health has deteriorated in the last few years, and has made it necessary for me to go on disability. While I very much miss my pediatric patients, I enjoy working with the mast cell community! TMS is a wonderful organization, full of giving and supportive people who care so much for each other and for each of the members. I am proud to be Chair of these committed volunteers on behalf of our members worldwide!

Rita Barlow

Vice Chair, Patient Support and Advocacy, Support Group Chair, Volunteer Committee

learn more >

Rita Barlow

Vice Chair, Patient Support and Advocacy, Support Group Chair, Volunteer Committee

Having been invited to the very first TMS Board meeting in 1994, I attended as a patient. TMS has always been structured by patients and caregivers. I became a board member in 2002, and except for 1 year leave due to health issues, have served to “pay it forward” since that time. Even with masto memory issues I will never forget the hearts and hands that reached out to me in those early days. Therefore, my position today as Vice Chair/Support & Advocacy is the best spot ever, a dream come true.

I have been married to my best friend and caregiver, Jim, for 46 years and together for 51 years. We have 5 beautiful daughters, 15 grandblessings, and 3 great grands. Getting sick was the pits, but the lifelong friendships and support have been amazing. (Note: Jimmy Barlow, Rita’s husband, passed away suddenly on August 28, 2016 of a heart attack while at home with Rita. Jim was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend to many of us at TMS. He will be forever remembered with love.)

Stephen Rey

Treasurer

A family member of mine was diagnosed in 2010 with MCAD after over 2 years searching for a diagnosis. I am grateful it only took that long. I have my own understanding of the physical, emotional and financial stress and pain, MCAD and its related diseases inflicts. The impact of these diseases are significant. I am personally grateful for the support that The Mastocytosis Society has provided my family through connecting us with others that share these diseases and providing valuable education, advocacy, and research.

I received my BSBA in Finance from Northeastern University in 1986. I have worked in a variety of small to large manufacturing companies in the area of Operational Finance and Accounting in both staff and management positions.

The Mastocytosis Society financials are being maintained by an accounting firm that specializes in non-profits and provides services that enable non-profit organizations to focus less on administrative tasks and devote more time, energy and resources to accomplishing their missions. We have many opportunities before us please join us in our mission!

Gail Barbera, B.A.

Secretary, Education Chair, Website Contribution Chair, Volunteer Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee,

learn more >

Gail Barbera, B.A.

Secretary, Education Chair, Website Contribution Chair, Volunteer Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee,

I grew up in Massachusetts, attended Lesley College and Regis College and while working at Boston Museum of Science. I began my professional career here as a teacher, married Stephen in 1981 and had two wonderful children, Shannon and Tony.  We moved to Scotland for a few years for my husband’s job, then when we returned I created Student Portfolio books for the Deafblind Project at Perkins School describing students’ abilities and needs for the many specialists entering their lives to reference.  Our family became involved with Hyde School in Bath, Maine and participated in their character-intensive local family support groups, then I was asked to continue on as a Facilitator for their Northeast Area Family Support groups for several years.  During that time I owned a small in-home business, and worked 16 years as a secretary in a busy elementary school office (retired September 2016).  I currently serve on the Board for our local Lakeshore Association as Communications Director advocating at several levels regarding environmental issues concerning our beautiful Fort Meadow Lake community, and maintaining their website communications.  Our children are grown now and live (too far away!) in Louisiana and Colorado.

My Mastocytosis journey is similar to many others… In 2001, at age 45, I became covered in spots and went on to having many unexplained episodes of anaphylaxis. This was a very scary time for me and my family. Finally in 2004, after many doctors and hospitals, I was diagnosed with SM. Looking back through my life I can now see other much earlier health struggles that were unknowingly related to Mastocytosis.  Thank goodness I found Rita Barlow at TMS online and would have been lost without her help and reassurance. I still deal with bouts of flushing, rashes, bone pain, extreme fatigue and brain fog, but thankfully, with good medicines, haven’t had a full anaphylaxis attack since 2012.

There are so many wonderful people in TMS that have touched my heart and inspired me with their stories. I’ve enjoyed raising awareness with Mastocytosis Walks/Fundraisers, volunteered at TMS Boston Conference, participated on Masto Patient Panels and Focus Groups for local medical research companies, and met with State Representatives at the Boston State House for Rare Disease Day. I’m infinitely grateful to have TMS for information and support, I don’t know what I would do without them or my very supportive family. I am very excited to be able to give back a bit to TMS and look forward to working for our TMS members. I hope to help TMS folks in every way I can.

Patricia Beggiato

Fundraising Chair, Political Advocacy Chair

Patricia Beggiato is a wife, mother, caregiver, and entrepreneur. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, she moved to Switzerland at eighteen, where she attended Franklin College and met her husband, Fabio. After briefly living in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Palm Beach, Fabio and Patricia settled in Washington, DC, where they raised their two daughters, Alessandra and Bianca, (26 and 20 years old, respectively).

They have spent over 20 years in Washington, where they have owned several successful and well-known restaurants and nightclubs. They currently own the Darlington House and Cleveland Park Bar and Grill.

In 2010 her husband and family were diagnosed with a rare familial form of Mast Cell Activation Disorder, which is complicated by several other autoimmune disorders. While her husband’s health has since stabilized, living with a Mast Cell Disorder presents a host of challenges in itself that are continually changing.

Patricia strongly believes the mystery behind Mast Cell Disorders will be better understood through research, education, advocacy and awareness.

Stacy Sheldon

Pediatrics Chair

As the mother of three boys, my family’s experience with Mastocytosis began over six years ago when my youngest son Caleb was diagnosed at 10 months of age with Pediatric Mastocytosis. Following his diagnosis, it was then discovered that I have Mast Cell Activation Disorder. The past few years have been quite a learning experience, and I am grateful for the information and support provided by TMS as my family learned to navigate this new world.

From 2011 to 2014, I served Mastokids in various roles, including Grant Committee Member, Board of Director, Treasurer, and President. In these positions, I worked with TMS to fund grants for Mastocytosis research. I have also been involved with the New England Support Group and local fundraisers. My family formed the group “Caleb’s Hope” for Erica’s Walk for a Cure in 2011. In 2012, I, along with my husband Steve, my parents and other family members, organized the fundraiser “Caleb’s Hope – A Night of Hope for Mastocytosis” in Wakefield, MA in honor of my son Caleb. The funds raised were donated to TMS, Mastokids, and the Center for Mastocytosis Excellence at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.

I am very excited to be joining the TMS board as your Pediatric Chair. I look forward to giving back to the TMS community, and I hope to be able to provide the same support and encouragement to those families facing a mast cell disorder diagnosis that my family received.

Committees

Patient Care Coordination

contact committee

Valerie M. Slee, RN, B.S.N.

Chair, Medical Advisory Board Liaison, Research Advisory Committee Liaison, Patient Referral Coordinator,
Drug Shortage Co-Chair

learn more >

Valerie M. Slee, RN, B.S.N.

Chair, Medical Advisory Board Liaison, Research Advisory Committee Liaison, Patient Referral Coordinator,
Drug Shortage Co-Chair

I first served as the TMS Vice Chair from 2002-2009, then assumed the Chair position when my dear friend Rita Barlow stepped down due to health issues. I have also served as Liaison to the Medical Advisory Board, Research Committee, Pediatric Committee, and to the MPN and Smoldering Mastocytosis Committee. I Co-Chair the Drug Shortage Committee with Emily Menard. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Syracuse University, summa cum laude, in 1975, and have 40 years of experience as a pediatric nurse in major hospitals including UCONN Health Center/John Dempsey Hospital Pediatric ICU and NICU, Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY in Pediatrics and Pediatric ICU, St. Peter’s Hospital Albany, NY, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and UMASS. My experience included many years of pediatric intensive care and pediatric hematology oncology. I also was an instructor in Pediatrics, Pediatric ICU, Fundamentals of Nursing and Maternal Child Nursing at Maria College in Albany, NY. Most recently, I was a pediatric triage nurse for Night Nurse of Framingham, MA. I am a sitting member of the Mast Cell Disorders Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. I collaborate with mast cell disorder patient organizations all over the world, their members and physicians. I work extensively with the TMS Research Committee, and am in touch with patients and physicians every day, as my disease allows.

I am fortunate to be happily married to Andrew Slee (41 years and counting!), have three wonderful adult children, and three amazing grandsons! I have had MCAS for many years, probably since age 6, but I was not diagnosed with a mast cell disorder until age 34. Currently, I am 63 years old. My own health has deteriorated in the last few years, and has made it necessary for me to go on disability. While I very much miss my pediatric patients, I enjoy working with the mast cell community! TMS is a wonderful organization, full of giving and supportive people who care so much for each other and for each of the members. I am proud to be Chair of these committed volunteers on behalf of our members worldwide!

Jan Hempstead, RN

Jan Hempstead, RN

Pediatric Committee

contact committee

Stacy Sheldon

Pediatrics Chair

As the mother of three boys, my family’s experience with Mastocytosis began over six years ago when my youngest son Caleb was diagnosed at 10 months of age with Pediatric Mastocytosis. Following his diagnosis, it was then discovered that I have Mast Cell Activation Disorder. The past few years have been quite a learning experience, and I am grateful for the information and support provided by TMS as my family learned to navigate this new world.

From 2011 to 2014, I served Mastokids in various roles, including Grant Committee Member, Board of Director, Treasurer, and President. In these positions, I worked with TMS to fund grants for Mastocytosis research. I have also been involved with the New England Support Group and local fundraisers. My family formed the group “Caleb’s Hope” for Erica’s Walk for a Cure in 2011. In 2012, I, along with my husband Steve, my parents and other family members, organized the fundraiser “Caleb’s Hope – A Night of Hope for Mastocytosis” in Wakefield, MA in honor of my son Caleb. The funds raised were donated to TMS, Mastokids, and the Center for Mastocytosis Excellence at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.

I am very excited to be joining the TMS board as your Pediatric Chair. I look forward to giving back to the TMS community, and I hope to be able to provide the same support and encouragement to those families facing a mast cell disorder diagnosis that my family received.

Kolleen Barlow

Kolleen Barlow

Kelli Foster

Co-Chair

Kelli Foster

Co-Chair

Advanced Variants Committee

contact committee

Valerie M. Slee, RN, B.S.N.

Chair, Medical Advisory Board Liaison, Research Advisory Committee Liaison, Patient Referral Coordinator,
Drug Shortage Co-Chair

learn more >

Valerie M. Slee, RN, B.S.N.

Chair, Medical Advisory Board Liaison, Research Advisory Committee Liaison, Patient Referral Coordinator,
Drug Shortage Co-Chair

I first served as the TMS Vice Chair from 2002-2009, then assumed the Chair position when my dear friend Rita Barlow stepped down due to health issues. I have also served as Liaison to the Medical Advisory Board, Research Committee, Pediatric Committee, and to the MPN and Smoldering Mastocytosis Committee. I Co-Chair the Drug Shortage Committee with Emily Menard. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Syracuse University, summa cum laude, in 1975, and have 40 years of experience as a pediatric nurse in major hospitals including UCONN Health Center/John Dempsey Hospital Pediatric ICU and NICU, Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY in Pediatrics and Pediatric ICU, St. Peter’s Hospital Albany, NY, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and UMASS. My experience included many years of pediatric intensive care and pediatric hematology oncology. I also was an instructor in Pediatrics, Pediatric ICU, Fundamentals of Nursing and Maternal Child Nursing at Maria College in Albany, NY. Most recently, I was a pediatric triage nurse for Night Nurse of Framingham, MA. I am a sitting member of the Mast Cell Disorders Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. I collaborate with mast cell disorder patient organizations all over the world, their members and physicians. I work extensively with the TMS Research Committee, and am in touch with patients and physicians every day, as my disease allows.

I am fortunate to be happily married to Andrew Slee (41 years and counting!), have three wonderful adult children, and three amazing grandsons! I have had MCAS for many years, probably since age 6, but I was not diagnosed with a mast cell disorder until age 34. Currently, I am 63 years old. My own health has deteriorated in the last few years, and has made it necessary for me to go on disability. While I very much miss my pediatric patients, I enjoy working with the mast cell community! TMS is a wonderful organization, full of giving and supportive people who care so much for each other and for each of the members. I am proud to be Chair of these committed volunteers on behalf of our members worldwide!

Michele Q. Kress

Smoldering Systemic Mastocytosis (SSM)

Michele Q. Kress

Smoldering Systemic Mastocytosis (SSM)

Support Groups Committee

contact committee

Rita Barlow

Vice Chair, Patient Support and Advocacy, Support Group Chair, Volunteer Committee

learn more >

Rita Barlow

Vice Chair, Patient Support and Advocacy, Support Group Chair, Volunteer Committee

Having been invited to the very first TMS Board meeting in 1994, I attended as a patient. TMS has always been structured by patients and caregivers. I became a board member in 2002, and except for 1 year leave due to health issues, have served to “pay it forward” since that time. Even with masto memory issues I will never forget the hearts and hands that reached out to me in those early days. Therefore, my position today as Vice Chair/Support & Advocacy is the best spot ever, a dream come true.

I have been married to my best friend and caregiver, Jim, for 46 years and together for 51 years. We have 5 beautiful daughters, 15 grandblessings, and 3 great grands. Getting sick was the pits, but the lifelong friendships and support have been amazing. (Note: Jimmy Barlow, Rita’s husband, passed away suddenly on August 28, 2016 of a heart attack while at home with Rita. Jim was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend to many of us at TMS. He will be forever remembered with love.)

Gail Barbera, B.A.

Secretary, Education Chair, Website Contribution Chair, Volunteer Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee,

learn more >

Gail Barbera, B.A.

Secretary, Education Chair, Website Contribution Chair, Volunteer Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee,

I grew up in Massachusetts, attended Lesley College and Regis College and while working at Boston Museum of Science. I began my professional career here as a teacher, married Stephen in 1981 and had two wonderful children, Shannon and Tony.  We moved to Scotland for a few years for my husband’s job, then when we returned I created Student Portfolio books for the Deafblind Project at Perkins School describing students’ abilities and needs for the many specialists entering their lives to reference.  Our family became involved with Hyde School in Bath, Maine and participated in their character-intensive local family support groups, then I was asked to continue on as a Facilitator for their Northeast Area Family Support groups for several years.  During that time I owned a small in-home business, and worked 16 years as a secretary in a busy elementary school office (retired September 2016).  I currently serve on the Board for our local Lakeshore Association as Communications Director advocating at several levels regarding environmental issues concerning our beautiful Fort Meadow Lake community, and maintaining their website communications.  Our children are grown now and live (too far away!) in Louisiana and Colorado.

My Mastocytosis journey is similar to many others… In 2001, at age 45, I became covered in spots and went on to having many unexplained episodes of anaphylaxis. This was a very scary time for me and my family. Finally in 2004, after many doctors and hospitals, I was diagnosed with SM. Looking back through my life I can now see other much earlier health struggles that were unknowingly related to Mastocytosis.  Thank goodness I found Rita Barlow at TMS online and would have been lost without her help and reassurance. I still deal with bouts of flushing, rashes, bone pain, extreme fatigue and brain fog, but thankfully, with good medicines, haven’t had a full anaphylaxis attack since 2012.

There are so many wonderful people in TMS that have touched my heart and inspired me with their stories. I’ve enjoyed raising awareness with Mastocytosis Walks/Fundraisers, volunteered at TMS Boston Conference, participated on Masto Patient Panels and Focus Groups for local medical research companies, and met with State Representatives at the Boston State House for Rare Disease Day. I’m infinitely grateful to have TMS for information and support, I don’t know what I would do without them or my very supportive family. I am very excited to be able to give back a bit to TMS and look forward to working for our TMS members. I hope to help TMS folks in every way I can.

Cheri Smith

Caregivers

Cheri Smith

Caregivers

Volunteer Committee

contact committee

Rita Barlow

Vice Chair, Patient Support and Advocacy, Support Group Chair, Volunteer Committee

learn more >

Rita Barlow

Vice Chair, Patient Support and Advocacy, Support Group Chair, Volunteer Committee

Having been invited to the very first TMS Board meeting in 1994, I attended as a patient. TMS has always been structured by patients and caregivers. I became a board member in 2002, and except for 1 year leave due to health issues, have served to “pay it forward” since that time. Even with masto memory issues I will never forget the hearts and hands that reached out to me in those early days. Therefore, my position today as Vice Chair/Support & Advocacy is the best spot ever, a dream come true.

I have been married to my best friend and caregiver, Jim, for 46 years and together for 51 years. We have 5 beautiful daughters, 15 grandblessings, and 3 great grands. Getting sick was the pits, but the lifelong friendships and support have been amazing. (Note: Jimmy Barlow, Rita’s husband, passed away suddenly on August 28, 2016 of a heart attack while at home with Rita. Jim was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend to many of us at TMS. He will be forever remembered with love.)

Gail Barbera, B.A.

Secretary, Education Chair, Website Contribution Chair, Volunteer Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee,

learn more >

Gail Barbera, B.A.

Secretary, Education Chair, Website Contribution Chair, Volunteer Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee,

I grew up in Massachusetts, attended Lesley College and Regis College and while working at Boston Museum of Science. I began my professional career here as a teacher, married Stephen in 1981 and had two wonderful children, Shannon and Tony.  We moved to Scotland for a few years for my husband’s job, then when we returned I created Student Portfolio books for the Deafblind Project at Perkins School describing students’ abilities and needs for the many specialists entering their lives to reference.  Our family became involved with Hyde School in Bath, Maine and participated in their character-intensive local family support groups, then I was asked to continue on as a Facilitator for their Northeast Area Family Support groups for several years.  During that time I owned a small in-home business, and worked 16 years as a secretary in a busy elementary school office (retired September 2016).  I currently serve on the Board for our local Lakeshore Association as Communications Director advocating at several levels regarding environmental issues concerning our beautiful Fort Meadow Lake community, and maintaining their website communications.  Our children are grown now and live (too far away!) in Louisiana and Colorado.

My Mastocytosis journey is similar to many others… In 2001, at age 45, I became covered in spots and went on to having many unexplained episodes of anaphylaxis. This was a very scary time for me and my family. Finally in 2004, after many doctors and hospitals, I was diagnosed with SM. Looking back through my life I can now see other much earlier health struggles that were unknowingly related to Mastocytosis.  Thank goodness I found Rita Barlow at TMS online and would have been lost without her help and reassurance. I still deal with bouts of flushing, rashes, bone pain, extreme fatigue and brain fog, but thankfully, with good medicines, haven’t had a full anaphylaxis attack since 2012.

There are so many wonderful people in TMS that have touched my heart and inspired me with their stories. I’ve enjoyed raising awareness with Mastocytosis Walks/Fundraisers, volunteered at TMS Boston Conference, participated on Masto Patient Panels and Focus Groups for local medical research companies, and met with State Representatives at the Boston State House for Rare Disease Day. I’m infinitely grateful to have TMS for information and support, I don’t know what I would do without them or my very supportive family. I am very excited to be able to give back a bit to TMS and look forward to working for our TMS members. I hope to help TMS folks in every way I can.

NORD Representatives and Political Advocacy Committee

contact committee

Patricia Beggiato

Fundraising Chair, Political Advocacy Chair

learn more >

Patricia Beggiato

Fundraising Chair, Political Advocacy Chair

Patricia Beggiato is a wife, mother, caregiver, and entrepreneur. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, she moved to Switzerland at eighteen, where she attended Franklin College and met her husband, Fabio. After briefly living in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Palm Beach, Fabio and Patricia settled in Washington, DC, where they raised their two daughters, Alessandra and Bianca, (26 and 20 years old, respectively).

They have spent over 20 years in Washington, where they have owned several successful and well-known restaurants and nightclubs. They currently own the Darlington House and Cleveland Park Bar and Grill.

In 2010 her husband and family were diagnosed with a rare familial form of Mast Cell Activation Disorder, which is complicated by several other autoimmune disorders. While her husband’s health has since stabilized, living with a Mast Cell Disorder presents a host of challenges in itself that are continually changing.

Patricia strongly believes the mystery behind Mast Cell Disorders will be better understood through research, education, advocacy and awareness.

Kelli Foster

Co-Chair

Kelli Foster

Co-Chair

Fundraising Committee

contact committee

Stephen Rey

Treasurer

A family member of mine was diagnosed in 2010 with MCAD after over 2 years searching for a diagnosis. I am grateful it only took that long. I have my own understanding of the physical, emotional and financial stress and pain, MCAD and its related diseases inflicts. The impact of these diseases are significant. I am personally grateful for the support that The Mastocytosis Society has provided my family through connecting us with others that share these diseases and providing valuable education, advocacy, and research.

I received my BSBA in Finance from Northeastern University in 1986. I have worked in a variety of small to large manufacturing companies in the area of Operational Finance and Accounting in both staff and management positions.

The Mastocytosis Society financials are being maintained by an accounting firm that specializes in non-profits and provides services that enable non-profit organizations to focus less on administrative tasks and devote more time, energy and resources to accomplishing their missions. We have many opportunities before us please join us in our mission!

Patricia Beggiato

Fundraising Chair, Political Advocacy Chair

learn more >

Patricia Beggiato

Fundraising Chair, Political Advocacy Chair

Patricia Beggiato is a wife, mother, caregiver, and entrepreneur. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, she moved to Switzerland at eighteen, where she attended Franklin College and met her husband, Fabio. After briefly living in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Palm Beach, Fabio and Patricia settled in Washington, DC, where they raised their two daughters, Alessandra and Bianca, (26 and 20 years old, respectively).

They have spent over 20 years in Washington, where they have owned several successful and well-known restaurants and nightclubs. They currently own the Darlington House and Cleveland Park Bar and Grill.

In 2010 her husband and family were diagnosed with a rare familial form of Mast Cell Activation Disorder, which is complicated by several other autoimmune disorders. While her husband’s health has since stabilized, living with a Mast Cell Disorder presents a host of challenges in itself that are continually changing.

Patricia strongly believes the mystery behind Mast Cell Disorders will be better understood through research, education, advocacy and awareness.

Nicole Rogne

Fundraising

Nicole Rogne

Fundraising

Research Committee

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Susan Jennings, PhD

Research Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee, Website Contribution Committee

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Susan Jennings, PhD

Research Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee, Website Contribution Committee

Dr. Jennings received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego and her PhD in Cancer Biology from Stanford University School of Medicine. Her earlier research interests focused on harnessing the power of the human immune system to fight disease and improve patient health. She has worked in the biotechnology industry and has spent many years volunteering, including for the Association for Women in Science, Girl Scouts of America, and her local school district.

For seven years, Dr. Jennings has co-chaired The Mastocytosis Society, Inc. (TMS) Research Committee with Dr. Nancy Russell. In that capacity, she serves as an adviser to our TMS Board of Directors, attends medical conferences as a representative of TMS, in both a scientific capacity and as a resource at TMS booths, and works closely with other Research Committee members and our TMS Medical Advisory Board. Also as part of the Research Committee, Dr. Jennings works with other organizations, specialty physicians, government entities, and industry on joint TMS projects and in an advisory role as a representative of TMS. She serves, with Valerie Slee, RN, BSN, Chair, TMS Board of Directors, on the Mast Cell Disorders Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), of which TMS is a Lay Organization. Her activities with this committee resulted in the October 2016 implementation of the first ICD-10-CM (Tenth Edition of the International Classification of Diseases-Clinical Manifestation) code set for mast cell activation syndrome variants. Along with Dr. Russell, Dr. Jennings also co-chairs our TMS Patient Survey Committee, which successfully published the first research article by TMS, in collaboration with mast cell disorder specialists. The committee has presented their research at AAAAI Annual Meetings and is currently working on a second research article related to the patient survey.

Dr. Jennings feels very strongly that, as a rare disease organization, bringing together groups within and affecting the mast cell disorder community, to explore and address the challenges these parties face, is an important way our organization can work to help improve the lives of patients, their families and caregivers. She is actively involved in TMS efforts to support the formation of a national clinical and research network for mast cell disorders, partners with others to develop TMS educational material for health care professionals and patients, and works to help TMS provide much needed funding for mast cell disorder research.

 

 

Valerie M. Slee, RN, B.S.N.

Chair, Medical Advisory Board Liaison, Research Advisory Committee Liaison, Patient Referral Coordinator,
Drug Shortage Co-Chair

learn more >

Valerie M. Slee, RN, B.S.N.

Chair, Medical Advisory Board Liaison, Research Advisory Committee Liaison, Patient Referral Coordinator,
Drug Shortage Co-Chair

I first served as the TMS Vice Chair from 2002-2009, then assumed the Chair position when my dear friend Rita Barlow stepped down due to health issues. I have also served as Liaison to the Medical Advisory Board, Research Committee, Pediatric Committee, and to the MPN and Smoldering Mastocytosis Committee. I Co-Chair the Drug Shortage Committee with Emily Menard. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Syracuse University, summa cum laude, in 1975, and have 40 years of experience as a pediatric nurse in major hospitals including UCONN Health Center/John Dempsey Hospital Pediatric ICU and NICU, Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY in Pediatrics and Pediatric ICU, St. Peter’s Hospital Albany, NY, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and UMASS. My experience included many years of pediatric intensive care and pediatric hematology oncology. I also was an instructor in Pediatrics, Pediatric ICU, Fundamentals of Nursing and Maternal Child Nursing at Maria College in Albany, NY. Most recently, I was a pediatric triage nurse for Night Nurse of Framingham, MA. I am a sitting member of the Mast Cell Disorders Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. I collaborate with mast cell disorder patient organizations all over the world, their members and physicians. I work extensively with the TMS Research Committee, and am in touch with patients and physicians every day, as my disease allows.

I am fortunate to be happily married to Andrew Slee (41 years and counting!), have three wonderful adult children, and three amazing grandsons! I have had MCAS for many years, probably since age 6, but I was not diagnosed with a mast cell disorder until age 34. Currently, I am 63 years old. My own health has deteriorated in the last few years, and has made it necessary for me to go on disability. While I very much miss my pediatric patients, I enjoy working with the mast cell community! TMS is a wonderful organization, full of giving and supportive people who care so much for each other and for each of the members. I am proud to be Chair of these committed volunteers on behalf of our members worldwide!

Celeste Finnerty, PhD

Celeste Finnerty, PhD

Denyse Nanan, MD

Denyse Nanan, MD

Andrew M. Slee, PhD

Andrew M. Slee, PhD

Breanna Cobler, RN

Breanna Cobler, RN

Pamela Farthing, RN, MSc

Pamela Farthing, RN, MSc

Website Contribution Committee

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Susan Jennings, PhD

Research Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee, Website Contribution Committee

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Susan Jennings, PhD

Research Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee, Website Contribution Committee

Dr. Jennings received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego and her PhD in Cancer Biology from Stanford University School of Medicine. Her earlier research interests focused on harnessing the power of the human immune system to fight disease and improve patient health. She has worked in the biotechnology industry and has spent many years volunteering, including for the Association for Women in Science, Girl Scouts of America, and her local school district.

For seven years, Dr. Jennings has co-chaired The Mastocytosis Society, Inc. (TMS) Research Committee with Dr. Nancy Russell. In that capacity, she serves as an adviser to our TMS Board of Directors, attends medical conferences as a representative of TMS, in both a scientific capacity and as a resource at TMS booths, and works closely with other Research Committee members and our TMS Medical Advisory Board. Also as part of the Research Committee, Dr. Jennings works with other organizations, specialty physicians, government entities, and industry on joint TMS projects and in an advisory role as a representative of TMS. She serves, with Valerie Slee, RN, BSN, Chair, TMS Board of Directors, on the Mast Cell Disorders Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), of which TMS is a Lay Organization. Her activities with this committee resulted in the October 2016 implementation of the first ICD-10-CM (Tenth Edition of the International Classification of Diseases-Clinical Manifestation) code set for mast cell activation syndrome variants. Along with Dr. Russell, Dr. Jennings also co-chairs our TMS Patient Survey Committee, which successfully published the first research article by TMS, in collaboration with mast cell disorder specialists. The committee has presented their research at AAAAI Annual Meetings and is currently working on a second research article related to the patient survey.

Dr. Jennings feels very strongly that, as a rare disease organization, bringing together groups within and affecting the mast cell disorder community, to explore and address the challenges these parties face, is an important way our organization can work to help improve the lives of patients, their families and caregivers. She is actively involved in TMS efforts to support the formation of a national clinical and research network for mast cell disorders, partners with others to develop TMS educational material for health care professionals and patients, and works to help TMS provide much needed funding for mast cell disorder research.

 

 

Gail Barbera, B.A.

Secretary, Education Chair, Website Contribution Chair, Volunteer Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee,

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Gail Barbera, B.A.

Secretary, Education Chair, Website Contribution Chair, Volunteer Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee,

I grew up in Massachusetts, attended Lesley College and Regis College and while working at Boston Museum of Science. I began my professional career here as a teacher, married Stephen in 1981 and had two wonderful children, Shannon and Tony.  We moved to Scotland for a few years for my husband’s job, then when we returned I created Student Portfolio books for the Deafblind Project at Perkins School describing students’ abilities and needs for the many specialists entering their lives to reference.  Our family became involved with Hyde School in Bath, Maine and participated in their character-intensive local family support groups, then I was asked to continue on as a Facilitator for their Northeast Area Family Support groups for several years.  During that time I owned a small in-home business, and worked 16 years as a secretary in a busy elementary school office (retired September 2016).  I currently serve on the Board for our local Lakeshore Association as Communications Director advocating at several levels regarding environmental issues concerning our beautiful Fort Meadow Lake community, and maintaining their website communications.  Our children are grown now and live (too far away!) in Louisiana and Colorado.

My Mastocytosis journey is similar to many others… In 2001, at age 45, I became covered in spots and went on to having many unexplained episodes of anaphylaxis. This was a very scary time for me and my family. Finally in 2004, after many doctors and hospitals, I was diagnosed with SM. Looking back through my life I can now see other much earlier health struggles that were unknowingly related to Mastocytosis.  Thank goodness I found Rita Barlow at TMS online and would have been lost without her help and reassurance. I still deal with bouts of flushing, rashes, bone pain, extreme fatigue and brain fog, but thankfully, with good medicines, haven’t had a full anaphylaxis attack since 2012.

There are so many wonderful people in TMS that have touched my heart and inspired me with their stories. I’ve enjoyed raising awareness with Mastocytosis Walks/Fundraisers, volunteered at TMS Boston Conference, participated on Masto Patient Panels and Focus Groups for local medical research companies, and met with State Representatives at the Boston State House for Rare Disease Day. I’m infinitely grateful to have TMS for information and support, I don’t know what I would do without them or my very supportive family. I am very excited to be able to give back a bit to TMS and look forward to working for our TMS members. I hope to help TMS folks in every way I can.

Chronicles Committee

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Susan Jennings, PhD

Research Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee, Website Contribution Committee

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Susan Jennings, PhD

Research Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee, Website Contribution Committee

Dr. Jennings received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego and her PhD in Cancer Biology from Stanford University School of Medicine. Her earlier research interests focused on harnessing the power of the human immune system to fight disease and improve patient health. She has worked in the biotechnology industry and has spent many years volunteering, including for the Association for Women in Science, Girl Scouts of America, and her local school district.

For seven years, Dr. Jennings has co-chaired The Mastocytosis Society, Inc. (TMS) Research Committee with Dr. Nancy Russell. In that capacity, she serves as an adviser to our TMS Board of Directors, attends medical conferences as a representative of TMS, in both a scientific capacity and as a resource at TMS booths, and works closely with other Research Committee members and our TMS Medical Advisory Board. Also as part of the Research Committee, Dr. Jennings works with other organizations, specialty physicians, government entities, and industry on joint TMS projects and in an advisory role as a representative of TMS. She serves, with Valerie Slee, RN, BSN, Chair, TMS Board of Directors, on the Mast Cell Disorders Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), of which TMS is a Lay Organization. Her activities with this committee resulted in the October 2016 implementation of the first ICD-10-CM (Tenth Edition of the International Classification of Diseases-Clinical Manifestation) code set for mast cell activation syndrome variants. Along with Dr. Russell, Dr. Jennings also co-chairs our TMS Patient Survey Committee, which successfully published the first research article by TMS, in collaboration with mast cell disorder specialists. The committee has presented their research at AAAAI Annual Meetings and is currently working on a second research article related to the patient survey.

Dr. Jennings feels very strongly that, as a rare disease organization, bringing together groups within and affecting the mast cell disorder community, to explore and address the challenges these parties face, is an important way our organization can work to help improve the lives of patients, their families and caregivers. She is actively involved in TMS efforts to support the formation of a national clinical and research network for mast cell disorders, partners with others to develop TMS educational material for health care professionals and patients, and works to help TMS provide much needed funding for mast cell disorder research.

 

 

Gail Barbera, B.A.

Secretary, Education Chair, Website Contribution Chair, Volunteer Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee,

learn more >

Gail Barbera, B.A.

Secretary, Education Chair, Website Contribution Chair, Volunteer Committee Chair, Chronicles Committee,

I grew up in Massachusetts, attended Lesley College and Regis College and while working at Boston Museum of Science. I began my professional career here as a teacher, married Stephen in 1981 and had two wonderful children, Shannon and Tony.  We moved to Scotland for a few years for my husband’s job, then when we returned I created Student Portfolio books for the Deafblind Project at Perkins School describing students’ abilities and needs for the many specialists entering their lives to reference.  Our family became involved with Hyde School in Bath, Maine and participated in their character-intensive local family support groups, then I was asked to continue on as a Facilitator for their Northeast Area Family Support groups for several years.  During that time I owned a small in-home business, and worked 16 years as a secretary in a busy elementary school office (retired September 2016).  I currently serve on the Board for our local Lakeshore Association as Communications Director advocating at several levels regarding environmental issues concerning our beautiful Fort Meadow Lake community, and maintaining their website communications.  Our children are grown now and live (too far away!) in Louisiana and Colorado.

My Mastocytosis journey is similar to many others… In 2001, at age 45, I became covered in spots and went on to having many unexplained episodes of anaphylaxis. This was a very scary time for me and my family. Finally in 2004, after many doctors and hospitals, I was diagnosed with SM. Looking back through my life I can now see other much earlier health struggles that were unknowingly related to Mastocytosis.  Thank goodness I found Rita Barlow at TMS online and would have been lost without her help and reassurance. I still deal with bouts of flushing, rashes, bone pain, extreme fatigue and brain fog, but thankfully, with good medicines, haven’t had a full anaphylaxis attack since 2012.

There are so many wonderful people in TMS that have touched my heart and inspired me with their stories. I’ve enjoyed raising awareness with Mastocytosis Walks/Fundraisers, volunteered at TMS Boston Conference, participated on Masto Patient Panels and Focus Groups for local medical research companies, and met with State Representatives at the Boston State House for Rare Disease Day. I’m infinitely grateful to have TMS for information and support, I don’t know what I would do without them or my very supportive family. I am very excited to be able to give back a bit to TMS and look forward to working for our TMS members. I hope to help TMS folks in every way I can.

John Gilligan

Editor

John Gilligan

Editor

Judy Thompson

Copy Editor

Judy Thompson

Copy Editor

Annual Conference Planning

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Board of Directors

Board of Directors

TMS Volunteers

TMS Volunteers

Medical Conference Planning Committee

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Grant Committee

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Valerie M. Slee, RN, B.S.N.

Chair, Medical Advisory Board Liaison, Research Advisory Committee Liaison, Patient Referral Coordinator,
Drug Shortage Co-Chair

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Valerie M. Slee, RN, B.S.N.

Chair, Medical Advisory Board Liaison, Research Advisory Committee Liaison, Patient Referral Coordinator,
Drug Shortage Co-Chair

I first served as the TMS Vice Chair from 2002-2009, then assumed the Chair position when my dear friend Rita Barlow stepped down due to health issues. I have also served as Liaison to the Medical Advisory Board, Research Committee, Pediatric Committee, and to the MPN and Smoldering Mastocytosis Committee. I Co-Chair the Drug Shortage Committee with Emily Menard. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Syracuse University, summa cum laude, in 1975, and have 40 years of experience as a pediatric nurse in major hospitals including UCONN Health Center/John Dempsey Hospital Pediatric ICU and NICU, Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY in Pediatrics and Pediatric ICU, St. Peter’s Hospital Albany, NY, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and UMASS. My experience included many years of pediatric intensive care and pediatric hematology oncology. I also was an instructor in Pediatrics, Pediatric ICU, Fundamentals of Nursing and Maternal Child Nursing at Maria College in Albany, NY. Most recently, I was a pediatric triage nurse for Night Nurse of Framingham, MA. I am a sitting member of the Mast Cell Disorders Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. I collaborate with mast cell disorder patient organizations all over the world, their members and physicians. I work extensively with the TMS Research Committee, and am in touch with patients and physicians every day, as my disease allows.

I am fortunate to be happily married to Andrew Slee (41 years and counting!), have three wonderful adult children, and three amazing grandsons! I have had MCAS for many years, probably since age 6, but I was not diagnosed with a mast cell disorder until age 34. Currently, I am 63 years old. My own health has deteriorated in the last few years, and has made it necessary for me to go on disability. While I very much miss my pediatric patients, I enjoy working with the mast cell community! TMS is a wonderful organization, full of giving and supportive people who care so much for each other and for each of the members. I am proud to be Chair of these committed volunteers on behalf of our members worldwide!

Patricia Beggiato

Fundraising Chair, Political Advocacy Chair

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Patricia Beggiato

Fundraising Chair, Political Advocacy Chair

Patricia Beggiato is a wife, mother, caregiver, and entrepreneur. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, she moved to Switzerland at eighteen, where she attended Franklin College and met her husband, Fabio. After briefly living in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Palm Beach, Fabio and Patricia settled in Washington, DC, where they raised their two daughters, Alessandra and Bianca, (26 and 20 years old, respectively).

They have spent over 20 years in Washington, where they have owned several successful and well-known restaurants and nightclubs. They currently own the Darlington House and Cleveland Park Bar and Grill.

In 2010 her husband and family were diagnosed with a rare familial form of Mast Cell Activation Disorder, which is complicated by several other autoimmune disorders. While her husband’s health has since stabilized, living with a Mast Cell Disorder presents a host of challenges in itself that are continually changing.

Patricia strongly believes the mystery behind Mast Cell Disorders will be better understood through research, education, advocacy and awareness.

Drug Shortage Committee

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Valerie M. Slee, RN, B.S.N.

Chair, Medical Advisory Board Liaison, Research Advisory Committee Liaison, Patient Referral Coordinator,
Drug Shortage Co-Chair

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Valerie M. Slee, RN, B.S.N.

Chair, Medical Advisory Board Liaison, Research Advisory Committee Liaison, Patient Referral Coordinator,
Drug Shortage Co-Chair

I first served as the TMS Vice Chair from 2002-2009, then assumed the Chair position when my dear friend Rita Barlow stepped down due to health issues. I have also served as Liaison to the Medical Advisory Board, Research Committee, Pediatric Committee, and to the MPN and Smoldering Mastocytosis Committee. I Co-Chair the Drug Shortage Committee with Emily Menard. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Syracuse University, summa cum laude, in 1975, and have 40 years of experience as a pediatric nurse in major hospitals including UCONN Health Center/John Dempsey Hospital Pediatric ICU and NICU, Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY in Pediatrics and Pediatric ICU, St. Peter’s Hospital Albany, NY, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and UMASS. My experience included many years of pediatric intensive care and pediatric hematology oncology. I also was an instructor in Pediatrics, Pediatric ICU, Fundamentals of Nursing and Maternal Child Nursing at Maria College in Albany, NY. Most recently, I was a pediatric triage nurse for Night Nurse of Framingham, MA. I am a sitting member of the Mast Cell Disorders Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. I collaborate with mast cell disorder patient organizations all over the world, their members and physicians. I work extensively with the TMS Research Committee, and am in touch with patients and physicians every day, as my disease allows.

I am fortunate to be happily married to Andrew Slee (41 years and counting!), have three wonderful adult children, and three amazing grandsons! I have had MCAS for many years, probably since age 6, but I was not diagnosed with a mast cell disorder until age 34. Currently, I am 63 years old. My own health has deteriorated in the last few years, and has made it necessary for me to go on disability. While I very much miss my pediatric patients, I enjoy working with the mast cell community! TMS is a wonderful organization, full of giving and supportive people who care so much for each other and for each of the members. I am proud to be Chair of these committed volunteers on behalf of our members worldwide!

Emily Menard, BA

Co-Chair

Emily Menard, BA

Co-Chair

Media Relations Committee

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Ariella Cohen

Ariella Cohen

Technology Support Committee

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IT Chair

IT Chair