Content Review and Evaluation Committee (CREC)

The purpose of the Bronchiectasis and NTM Initiative Content Review and Evaluation Committee (CREC) is to develop or solicit high-quality content for publication on the Bronchiectasis and NTM Initiative website and to coordinate review to ensure accuracy, timeliness and quality. The Bronchiectasis and NTM Initiative website content aims to provide valuable information on topics relevant to anyone affected by bronchiectasis and/or Nontuberculous Mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease, including patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, and friends or family members of those affected.


  • Tim Aksamit, MD
    Critical Care Specialist, Internist, Pulmonologist
    Mayo Clinic Rochester
  • Peter Amari, BS
    Senior Director of IT Development and Operations
    COPD Foundation

    Peter Amari, BS


    Peter Amari is the Senior Director of IT Development and Operations. His 10 years of experience in website and graphic design has enabled him to be responsible for the continuous publication of the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation.

    Peter has 19 years experience in retail pharmacy. During that time one of his responsibilities was to institute and oversee the pharmacy's HIPAA compliance as the HIPAA compliance officer. Peter has a BS in Business Management from the Univeristy of Phoenix.


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  • Alan F. Barker, MD
    Professor of Medicine
    Oregon Health and Science University
  • Ashwin Basavaraj, MD
    Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine
    Section Chief, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Bellevue Hospital
    Director, Bronchoscopy, Bellevue Hospital
  • Cathy Gray Carlomagno, BS
    Managing Editor
    Journal of the COPD Foundation

    Cathy Gray Carlomagno, BS


    Cathy Carlomagno has more than 20 years of medical communications experience, including writing, editing, publications management, public relations and communications strategy with national and international health organizations.

    After serving 13 years at a regional pediatric medical center as the institution’s primary spokesperson, publications editor and Director of Communications, she joined the American Thoracic Society as the Director of Communications and Marketing. In this role she worked closely with the staffs of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (AJRCCM) and the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology (AJRCMB) promoting both journals. She worked with editors and authors to highlight AJRCCM and AJRCMB articles within the medical community and in medical, trade and popular press. She also served as editor of the Society’s newsletter and annual reports and co-Editor of the Society’s 100th anniversary commemorative book, Colleagues in Discovery: One Hundred Years of Improving Respiratory Health. Ms. Carlomagno received the American Thoracic Society Presidential Commendation award in 2005.

    She has also served as a medical communications consultant for various national health care organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she served as a writer/editor. Ms. Carlomagno is a member of the American Association of Medical Writers and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Tarlov Cyst Disease Foundation.


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  • Keira A Cohen, MD
    Director, The Johns Hopkins Center for Nontuberculous Mycobacteria and Bronchiectasis
    Assistant Professor of Medicine
    Johns Hopkins University
  • James Chalmers, MD
    Clinical Professor
    University of Dundee
  • Michael W. Hess MPH, RRT, RPFT
    Senior Director of Public Outreach and Education
    COPD Foundation

    Michael W. Hess MPH, RRT, RPFT


    Michael W. Hess is the Senior Director of Public Outreach and Education and leads the Oxygen360 project for the Foundation. The goal of the project is to facilitate oxygen equipment innovation and research, promote policy improvements surrounding oxygen reimbursement, and enhance clinician education on the appropriate use of this critical therapy. The Foundation aims to redesign the oxygen infrastructure into a robust, resilient system that works for all stakeholders, from manufacturers to equipment distributors to the patients at the heart of our mission.

    Prior to joining the Foundation, Mike served in a unique position at WMed Health in Kalamazoo, Michigan. As Chronic Lung Disease Coordinator, he provided patient education, diagnostic testing, care coordination, and other respiratory care services as part of a primary care clinic while also designing and implementing community outreach programs to enhance respiratory health.

    Mike is a registered respiratory therapist and has a Master of Public Health degree from Western Michigan University. In 2019 he received the Ambulatory and Post-Acute Care Specialty Practitioner of the Year from the American Association for Respiratory Care.


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  • Christina Hunt, BS, RRT-NPS
    Director of Bronchiectasis and NTM Research and Education
    COPD Foundation

    Christina Hunt, BS, RRT-NPS


    Christina Hunt is the Director of Bronchiectasis and NTM Research and Education for the COPD Foundation. She is a Registered Respiratory Therapist and has worked in the field of respiratory care for more than 20 years. Throughout her career, Christina’s experience has included adult, pediatric, and neonatal intensive care units; critical care transport teams; and most recently, pulmonary rehabilitation. Educating others on all aspects of respiratory care is Christina’s passion: she has worked as a respiratory department clinical educator at a local hospital, and as both adjunct faculty and a clinical instructor for respiratory care students at a local community college. In 2018, Christina also developed a successful blog, BreatheLiveFit.com, to help people with chronic lung conditions live happier, healthier lives. Christina serves on the board of directors for Breath Matters Support Group of Virginia. She holds a bachelor’s of science degree in Human Food, Nutrition and Exercise from Virginia Tech.


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  • Elisha Malanga, BS
    EVP, Chief Research Officer
    COPD Foundation

    Elisha Malanga, BS


    In her role as Chief Research Officer, Elisha oversees COPD360research which encompasses all aspects of the COPD Foundation research portfolio, including COPD, Bronchiectasis and NTM . She has unique experience in integrating research with other aspects of the Foundation, including with the communications, education and community outreach aspects. Elisha has been instrumental in including patients in all aspects of research, including study design, execution and dissemination. Elisha is the staff liaison to COPDF research programs including, but not limited to the COPD Foundation’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MASAC), Bronchiectasis Research Registry Consortium, COPDGene, CAPTURE and COPD360, the sustainability plan for COPD PPRN. In addition, Elisha has extensive experience with PCORI funded studies including overseeing the COPD PPRN, Overlap demonstration project, participating as the COPD PPRN liaison on the pragmatic trial, serving as a co-PI on the Reliance study and participating as a stakeholder in the Bariatric study. Elisha also has experience with studies funded by other sources including a recent sub-study of the COPD PPRN that are often launched in collaboration with industry partners. Elisha has been co-author on abstracts and publications from multiple studies. In addition, Elisha is the recipient of the ATS American Thoracic Society-Presidential Commendation 2007.


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  • Vincent Malanga, BS, MCP
    EVP, Chief Information Officer
    COPD Foundation

    Vincent Malanga, BS, MCP


    Vincent Malanga is the Chief Information Officer for the COPD Foundation. In this role Vincent serves as the senior technology strategist providing guidance and vision on emerging technologies, technology innovation, digital trends and infrastructure advances as well as defining, implementing and evolving the technology solutions and procedures that comprise the COPD360 technology platform. Vincent is the chief architect of the COPD360 platform and works with the COPD Foundation leadership team in strategic planning around business growth objectives in line with the COPD Foundation’s mission.

    Vincent has over 20 years of experience in software architecture and development, database design, data and systems integration and Enterprise Architecture, and 15 years of experience in Search Engine Optimization. Prior to joining the COPD Foundation, Vincent ran a successful technology consulting company and has architected and developed custom business solutions for many Fortune 500 companies including Ralph Lauren, Omnicom Group and Elsevier. He is a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in numerous Microsoft programming languages and development tools, has been a guest blogger on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and has spoken at industry conferences. Vincent is also a co-author on numerous abstracts and publications from various research studies. Vincent has a BS from Hofstra University and has a Series 7 broker’s license.


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  • Delia Prieto Oliver, BSEd, MSEd
    Senior Director of Research
    COPD Foundation

    Delia Prieto, BSEd, MSEd


    Delia Prieto is the Senior Director of Research at the COPD Foundation. She has been involved with the Foundation since 2009 and joined the team full-time in 2011. She obtained her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of Miami. In her role at the Foundation, she manages several of the Foundation’s research programs including the Bronchiectasis and NTM Research Registry and BronchandNTM360social. Delia also serves as the primary staff liaison to the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee, the COPDGene Industry Advisory Consortium, and the SPIROMICS Industry Advisory Consortium.

    Delia has extensive experience managing patient registries and research consortia, and serves a critical role in connecting patients, healthcare providers, researchers, and industry partners to work collaboratively in an effort to advance research in the fields of COPD, bronchiectasis, and Nontuberculous Mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease.


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  • Kristen Szymonik, BS, RRT, AE-C
    Senior Director of Research
    COPD Foundation

    Kristen Szymonik, BS, RRT, AE-C


    Kristen Szymonik is the Manager of Patient and Professional Education for the Foundation. In this role she develops and edits educational materials for patients and community outreach projects.

    Kristen is a registered respiratory therapist, certified asthma educator, and medical writer. Prior to joining the Foundation, she designed and implemented one of the first comprehensive asthma education programs in the Chicago suburbs, providing inpatient, outpatient, and community-based education for patients and families. Kristen served a term on the National Asthma Educator Certification Board, where she collaborated with medical professionals from all disciplines and backgrounds. As a medical writer, she developed numerous continuing education classes for health care providers, wrote study guides for national level board exams, and has presented lectures for health care providers on the management of asthma and allergies. Kristen also serves as an author and faculty member on a web-based nursing education forum.

    Kristen has Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory care from National-Louis University.


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  • Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD
    President & Chief Scientific Officer
    COPD Foundation

    Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD


    Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD President & Chief Scientific Officer at the COPD Foundation (consultant) and President of TalSi Translational Medicine Consulting, LLC is internationally recognized as an innovative, patient-focused and highly analytical healthcare leader and clinical scientist with extensive Research and Development experience. She has a proven history of successfully leading international public and private partnerships and non-profit organizations through critical advancements and progress of clinical trials and large observational cohorts. Adept at building and maintaining partnerships between Pharma, patients, academia and governments. Wide-ranging technical and scientific knowledge comprises molecular biology, immunology, application of digital technology and in vivo disease models (pre-clinical and clinical). Ruth led the initial clinical development of GSK’s inhaled anti-muscarinic portfolio, currently available to patients as Umeclidinium bromide. Authored 160+ peer-reviewed including highly cited scientific publications (h-index 58). Ruth was the Industry co-chair of the COPD Biomarker Qualification Consortium (CBQC) since its inception in 2010 and up to her retirement from GSK in October 2019.

    As President & Chief Scientific Officer at the COPD Foundation, Ruth is focused on working with the leadership team and the MASAC on aligning the research strategy with the mission of the COPD Foundation.


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  • Stephanie Williams, BS, RRT
    COPD Foundation

    Stephanie Williams, BS, RRT


    Stephanie Williams is the Senior Director of Community Education Programs for the COPD Foundation. In this role she works to make the COPD Foundation programs accessible to those in the COPD community. This includes managing the COPD Readmissions Institutes for health care professionals, designing programs such as virtual Harmonicas for Health, and engaging the COPD community through educational webinars, social media events, blog posts, and more.

    Over the course of her career, Stephanie has designed and implemented pulmonary rehabilitation and respiratory programs in a variety of patient care settings. Prior to joining the Foundation, Stephanie was the Director of Clinical Education and Clinical Effectiveness at Alana HealthCare in Nashville, Tennessee where she ensured staff respiratory therapists’ education was current while also developing educational programs for patients enrolled in both the home and facility-based non-invasive ventilation program. Stephanie was also the Director of Cardiopulmonary for White County Community Hospital where she started a pulmonary rehab program, a support group for COPD patients in the community, and a smoking cessation program.

    She is a registered respiratory therapist and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Tennessee Technological University.


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