Board of Directors

You never know where a health crisis will lead you.

The Board Members of SCAD Alliance share a passion for making a difference in the lives of SCAD survivors – a term we believe includes not only patients but their families and even the health care providers who struggle to treat this perplexing condition. Each of us has been touched by spontaneous coronary artery dissection personally, either as a friend, family member or peer of a survivor. We take an interdisciplinary approach to challenges and focus on collaboration to pursue our vision: empowering each SCAD survivor with an accurate diagnosis, superior outcome, and answers.

Katherine Leon

Co-founder and Board Chair

Katherine began her journey with SCAD in 2003, soon after the birth of her second son. After several weeks of misdiagnoses, she survived heart attack and emergency double bypass surgery. Determined to find the cause of…

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Becky Pomerleau

Treasurer

Those who know Becky would never have expected that she would nearly lose her life to heart attack in 2014. She exhibited none of the typical risk factors, exercised regularly, and took care of her body. So while celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary on a ski trip in Colorado, Becky also denied the tightening in her chest and tingling down her left arm could be a heart attack…

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Ann Fitzpatrick

Ann Fitzpatrick

Board Member

Ann Fitzpatrick is a SCAD survivor because she advocated for herself. Ann had been working out 5 days a week for more than 30 years when one day she got off the stair climber and was very short of breath. This shortness of breath was persistent, even after multiple tests and misdiagnoses. Ten days after the initial ER visit, still short of breath, Ann was certain something was profoundly wrong, and insisted on obtaining a definitive diagnosis …

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Mike Hess

Mike Hess

Board Member

Mike Hess has a unique perspective on SCAD. Not only is he the husband of a two-time SCAD survivor, he is Vice President, Heart Failure Research & Development, Cardiac Rhythm Heart Failure Division at Medtronic. In his 26 years with Medtronic, Mike has experience in corporate technology, clinical trial management, and program management. His honors include: Medtronic Technical Fellow, Medtronic Bakken Society, and American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Fellow. Mike has to his credit 35 patents and numerous publications. He earned a BS in Biomedical Engineering and an MS Software Engineering.

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John Novack

Board Member

John Novack has a long background in healthcare publishing and communications. He is now director of communications at Inspire, a company that leverages social networks to help connect patients to researchers. Previously, John was director of marketing communications and strategy for patient safety software company Quantros, Inc., and medical market…

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Dr. Naesha Parks

Naesha Parks, Ed.D.

Board Member

Dr. Naesha Parks began her journey with SCAD in 2008 just ten days after giving birth to her son. After experiencing chest pain, she learned that she’d developed blot clots that were lodged in her lungs. Several days later, her doctors discovered that she had a coronary artery dissection which required open heart surgery.  En route to surgery, Naesha had a severe heart attack and coded for twenty eight minutes. However, doctors were able to revive her and perform triple bypass surgery. Her journey to recovery soon began …

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Tina Pittman Wagers, M.S.W., Psy.D.

Board Member

Tina had a heart attack from SCAD in August 2014 while swimming across a lake during a family vacation in Idaho. Fortunately, her husband was able to get her out of the water, and she received a timely and accurate diagnosis and effective care soon afterwards. The diagnosis stunned Tina and her family: she is fit and otherwise… 

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Advisory Committee

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Rachel Doucette

Co-founder and Advisory Committee Member

In 2011, just days before her 36th birthday, Rachel dropped to the ground from a crushing heart attack in front of two of her three children. After a delayed diagnosis, she underwent emergency bypass surgery and later learned her heart attack was caused by Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection…

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Kathy Izard

Advisory Committee Member

Like most people, Kathy had never heard of SCAD until 2013 when her husband, Charlie, suffered a heart attack at age 54. Although Charlie had complained of chest and arm pain in the months preceding his heart attack, he was in excellent health with no risk factors for cardiovascular disease so his symptoms were dismissed as stress-related …

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