BOARD OF DIRECTORSLEADERSHIP TEAM
Michael R. Wittek, MSW, joined the WFF Board of Directors in late 2012 and serves as current Board Chair. Securing services for women in need of fistula repair provides Mr. Wittek an ongoing opportunity to continue his career-long work of advocacy for access to preventive services and effective health care interventions.
Prior to his semi-retirement in May 2012, Mr. Wittek worked for decades to ensure patient access to health care from a number of perspectives. He managed employee health benefits for a large international computer firm and served on the management team of one of Minnesota’s largest health plans where he was a member of the plan’s health technology assessment committee. Most recently he was responsible for the health policy and planning function for the gastroenterology and urology area of Medtronic’s Neuromodulation Division. In his capacity with Medtronic, Inc., Mr. Wittek was responsible for paving the way for patient access to a number of new and novel therapies, including some with humanitarian use device designations. Medtronic, Inc. is a multinational medical device manufacturer that uses technology to transform the way debilitating, chronic diseases are treated.
Christopher K. Payne, MD, currently serves as WFF Board Vice Chair and has made several trips to Africa to provide treatment and conduct research in obstetric fistulas. He is currently an elected Trustee of the International Continence Society and a member if the ICS Fistula Committee.
Originally from West Virginia, Dr. Payne graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Virginia. He earned his MD at Vanderbilt University and completed his urology residency at The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Following his fellowship in Female Urology, Urodynamics, and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery at the University of California Los Angeles, Dr. Payne joined Stanford University in 1993 to launch their program in Female Urology and NeuroUrology. He left Stanford in 2014 as Emeritus Professor having published over 100 articles and book chapters during his tenure there.
Dr. Payne has since co-founded Vista Urology and Pelvic Pain Partners in San Jose, CA where he continues to focus his work in Female Urology with a special interest in urinary incontinence, chronic pelvic pain, and pelvic reconstructive surgery with a special interest in native tissue repairs.
Nancy Muller, PhD, currently serves as WFF Board Treasurer (previously as Board Chair). She is a seasoned executive with 21 years of healthcare sector experience and 13 years as executive director of the National Association for Continence, a national public education and patient advocacy organization. She has served on multiple boards, published widely in journals and made numerous presentations at conferences worldwide. Dr. Muller’s 36-year professional career includes 15 years’ corporate business achievements in international sales management, strategic planning, business development, product line marketing and corporate finance. She is currently director and associate dean of the Lowcountry Graduate Center serving working professionals seeking advancement through higher education in Metro Charleston.
Dr. Muller grew up on her family’s farm in South Carolina. After graduating magna cum laude from Duke University, she earned her MBA from The Darden School at the University of Virginia and her PhD in health services research from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her doctoral dissertation: service line specialization by community hospitals in a study of strategic management and issues of patient access. Fluent in French, she has lived abroad in The Netherlands and France and visited 40 countries. Muller volunteers locally in education, the arts and spiritually-led endeavors.
Terry J. Wall, JD, MD, currently serves as WFF Board Secretary. He is a physician/attorney in the full time practice of Radiation Oncology at St Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, MO. Dr. Wall has been active in the affairs of his medical specialty society, American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), and also presently serves on the executive committee of the National Radiation Oncology Registry as well as serving as faculty advisor for the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology. He has long served as coordinator for humanitarian outreach to radiation oncology in the developing world through ASTRO, and has a long history of affiliation with the WFF.
Rahel Nardos, MD, was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.A Yale School of Medicine graduate, she completed her residency in obstetrics-gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis. Following her residency and with a Worldwide Fistula Fund grant, Dr. Nardos spent one year as staff surgeon at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital and its multiple satellite medical centers in Ethiopia . She then returned to the United States and completed her fellowship training in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, as well as her master’s degree in clinical research at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Currently Dr. Nardos holds joint positions: urogynecologist at Kaiser Permanente Northwest and assistant professor in research and global health at OHSU. In collaboration with her colleagues at OHSU, Dr. Nardos founded Footsteps to Healing, a global women’s health initiative originally focused on providing surgical services to rural Ethiopian women with pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence. Under Dr. Nardos’ leadership, Footsteps at OHSU expanded its mission and joined Worldwide Fistula Fund’s broader vision in sub-Saharan Africa: increase access and capacity for expert care by training local OB-GYNs. Footsteps at OHSU provides expert subspecialty training to care for women with pelvic floor disorders.
W. Dan Parker joined the WFF Board in 2015 after a distinguished 30 year professional career at multiple medical organizations with a primary focus on female incontinence and pelvic floor disorders.
Mr. Parker has held executive level positions in product development, sales and marketing. His strategic and innovative thinking have lead to both the introduction of new products and the launch of new companies. He holds a medical innovation patent for the “quick connect adaptor for video camera to microscope.” His leadership has significantly expanded the number of medical specialties that now diagnose and treat female pelvic floor conditions. Mr. Parker co-founded two successful organizations that simplify the methods required for diagnosing underlying causes of incontinence through the manufacture and distribution of proprietary products: TDOC LLC and Halo Medical Technologies LLC.
In 2013, Dan Parker sold all of his equity shares and retired to focus on personal interests and new business ventures. Today, he is a member of Desert Angels –one of the top Private Angel investment groups in the country. With over $30 Million in investments to date, the Desert Angels organization is dedicated to identifying, funding and mentoring start-up entrepreneurial companies in the Southwest region of the country.
Benson F. Smith is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Teleflex Inc., a leading global provider of specialty medical devices for a range of procedures in critical care and surgery. He has served on the Teleflex Board since 2005. The Teleflex mission is to provide solutions that enable healthcare providers to improve outcomes while enhancing patient and clinician safety. Headquartered in Limerick, PA, Teleflex employs approximately 11,500 people worldwide to serve healthcare providers in over 150 countries.
Mr. Smith holds a B.A. degree from Grinnell College and was a Post Graduate Watson Fellow. He spent 25 years rising through the ranks at C.R. Bard, a medical device company, until his appointment as President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Smith was the founding Partner, Sales Research Group, a research and consulting organization and was also a speaker and author at The Gallup Organization as the Leader of Gallup’s Global Sales Force Effectiveness Practice.
He has served on the Board of Directors for a variety of academic and health-related organizations including C.R. Bard and Rochester Medical Corporation. He served as Chairman of the Board, Zoll Medical Corporation, until its sale to Asahi Kasei Group in April 2012.
Theresa “Tracy” Monaco Spitznagle PT, DPT, MHS, WCS, is currently an Associate Professor in the Program in Physical Therapy, and Coordinator of the Residency in Women’s Health Physical Therapy at Washington University in St. Louis.
A graduate of Marquette University, Dr Spitznagle next earned her Master’s Degree in Health Science and her Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL). In the inaugural class of board certified Women’s Health Clinical Specialists (WCS), she was recipient of the Section on Women’s Health Elizabeth Noble Award in 2011.
For the entry level doctoral program at WUSTL, Dr Spitznagle teaches gender related health issues such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, pregnancy, urinary incontinence and musculoskeletal pelvic pain. Her clinical practice also focuses on gender-related health and she conducts research into abdominal wall, pelvic floor muscle and fascial changes associated with pregnancy, incontinence and pelvic pain.
Affiliations: Chair of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists, Member of American Physical Therapy Association and Section on Women’s Health (SOWH), Chair of SOWH Diagnosis Dialog Task Force Committee, Abstract Reviewer for SOWH programming, past Director of SOWH Education and Board Liaison for the SOWH Post Professional Education Task Force.
L. Lewis Wall, MD, DPhil, currently serves as a consultant & Director Emeritus after founding the Worldwide Fistula Fund in 1995. He has a long history of researching and addressing the health challenges faced by women in Africa.
Dr. Wall earned a BA in History & Anthropology and his MD at the University of Kansas. He completed his OB-GYN residency at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina and his fellowship in female urology and urodynamics at The University of London (St. George’s Hospital) and St. Mary’s Hospital for Women and Children in Manchester, England. Dr. Wall additionally holds a master’s degree in bioethics from the Center for Human Bioethics at Monash University in Australia. He is both a former Rhodes Scholar and Fulbright-Hayes Fellow and has authored or co-authored two books, 24 book chapters and over 90 peer-reviewed scientific papers.
The National Association for Continence named Dr. Wall their national 2005 “Continence Care Champion” and the St. Louis Ethical Society named him the 2012 James F. Hornback Ethical Humanist of the Year. In 2014, he was awarded the University Gold Medal for his contributions to medical education at Mekelle University College of Health Sciences in Ethiopia. Dr. Wall was named the first holder of the Selina Okin Kim Conner Professorship in Arts and Sciences for Medical Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis in July 2015.
Soja Orlowski is the Executive Director of the Worldwide Fistula Fund. She originally joined WFF as Director of Communications & Marketing in November 2014. Prior to joining WFF, Soja had served both the business and non-profit sectors as owner of Orlow Marketing Solutions LLC since 2006. Previously Director of Marketing & Development for the Chicago domestic violence agency, Rainbow House, Soja secured $400,000 in funding annually. She founded a memorial scholarship fund in 2008 that has awarded over $25,000 to date. Her prior corporate experience includes Marketing Director positions at both FTD.com in Downers Grove, IL and the Reader’s Digest Association in New York. Soja holds a BS in Advertising from the University of Illinois and an MS in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University.