Governing Board

NSCFF’s governing board is a body of committed, voluntary members who oversee and direct NSCFF activities. The board is responsible for establishing policies and operations, as well as overseeing organizational development, financial decisions, and fundraising initiatives. The governing board is made up of experienced leaders with diverse backgrounds who are all concerned with the cost and quality of healthcare in South Florida.

Thomas Breslin, PhD

Is past Chair of the Faculty Senate and Member of the Board of Trustees at Florida International University. He is also the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of International Relations where he lectures on Chinese and American Foreign Relations. Dr. Breslin brings with him 20 years of experience as the Vice-President of Sponsored Research and Training at FIU. Under his direction, funding rose from under $3 million to $75.5 million annually. The FIU medical school was his brainchild and with his guidance the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine came into being in 2006 and FIU has risen to the ranks of a Research I level university. He serves as NSCFF Treasurer.

John H. Dasburg

Is a dynamic business leader and tycoon active in civic affairs with a strong commitment to South Florida and the State. His achievements are many, ranging from a 1991 appointment by President George Bush to the White House Fellows Committee, to his role on the Board of Governors of the Florida University system after his appointment in 2003. Mr. Dasburg has been a director of The Travelers Companies, Inc. since 1994 and has served as Lead Director since 2006. His key professional positions include Chairman of the Board and CEO of Astar Air Cargo Inc. (2003-2013), Chairman, President and CEO of Burger King Corporation (2001-2003), President and CEO, Northwest Airlines (1989-2001), President of Lodging Group, CFO and Chief Real Estate Officer, Marriott (1973-1980), Tax Partner, KPMG Peat Marwick (1978-1980), and Member, Advisory Board of Trilantic Capital Partners and Compressus Incorporated. Together with his wife, Mary Lou, they have established the following endowed professorships: John H & Mary Lou Dasburg Endowed Professorship in Cancer Genomics, Mayo Clinic, John H & Mary Lou Dasburg Endowed Professorship in Corporate Law, University of Florida, Levin College of Law, and John H & Mary Lou Dasburg Endowed Professorship in business, University of Florida Hough Graduate School of Business.

Patrick Dwyer

Is one of “America’s Top 100 Financial Advisors” and the number one international private wealth advisor in Florida. Mr. Dwyer is the Managing Director of Dwyer & Associates, one of the ten largest advisory practices at Merrill Lynch Worldwide, managing over $1.7 Billion in assets from private ultra-high net worth families. He is a regular speaker at Providence College in Rhode Island, his alma mater, and at University of Miami where he received his MBA. Mr. Dwyer also serves as the Chair of Key Biscayne Community Foundation and on the Board of Trustees of the Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart.

Jeffrey L. Horstmyer, MD, FAAN

Is the Founding Chair of the Department of Neurology at the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and is dedicated to helping educate and form a new generation of neurologists and healthcare providers focused on better patient outcomes. He is founder and Medical Director of the MS Center of Miami and manages a private neurology practice. Through a survey of South Florida after his appointment at the new FIU medical school, he identified the critical unmet needs of a growing patient population – those with Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. He envisioned a place where comprehensive, coordinated, medical and non-medical support services would be offered with teams of specialized healthcare providers and educators who would rally around the patient, their family, and caregiver to better address their concerns. Thus was born the Neuroscience Centers of Florida Foundation, Inc., (NSCFF) a 501(c)3 Florida non-profit whose vision has inspired top healthcare, civic, academic and scientific innovators to support its mission and growth. Among Dr. Horstmyer’s other appointments and awards are: Administrative Chief Resident for Neurology (first resident to hold this position), member of the Board of Directors of Florida International University (FIU), Chairman of Florida International University Council of 100, founding member of FlU Medical School Development Committee, Chairman of Emergency Room Committee at Doctors Hospital, Chairman and founding co-director of Miami Dade Stroke Consortium, Member of Professional Advisory Committee of National MS Society, South Florida Chapter, Diplomate and Fellow of American Academy of Neurology, member of American Association for the Advancement of Science and the New York Academy of Science, member of the Advisory Board of Biomedical Engineering at FlU, recipient of the Kal Kovens Community Service Medallion from FlU. Dr. Horstmyer serves as NSCFF Founding Chairman.

Steven Lachterman, Esq

Is an experienced attorney who has been practicing in the South Florida area for over 25 years. He established a successful private practice in Miami where he specializes in family law, commercial and real estate litigation. He is committed to giving back to his community and has served on the Florida Family Law Rules Committee; and as a Board member of the MS Centers of Florida Foundation. Mr. Lachterman serves as NSCFF Secretary.

Naphtali Rishe, PhD

Is a world renowned Computer Scientist and Professor at Florida International University. Dr. Rishe founded and directs the High Performance Database Research Center at FIU; and also directs the NSF-funded Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology at FIU. He is a prolific author with 200 published papers on software engineering, geographic information systems, internet and life sciences. He is the author of 3 books on database design and he holds 4 US patents on semantic database performance. Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Rishe has been awarded over $40 Million in grants from public and private sources.

Stuart Schlossman

Is the Founding President of MS Views & News, a non-profit organization that provides information and educational programs to the Multiple Sclerosis community in Florida. He propelled the organization’s success and since 2008, over 29,000 subscribers have joined the cause. Mr. Schlossman, an MS patient himself, perceived an unmet need in educational program delivery for the MS community and decided to advocate increasing the scope of these programs. He manages the MS Views & News website, has a daily blog and a radio program, and coordinates live educational programs throughout Florida with the aid of his Board of Directors, also MS patients.

Nestor Torres

Is a world famous classical/ jazz flutist and Latin Grammy Award winning composer with a passion for youth, education, the arts, and his adopted city of Miami. Born in Puerto Rico he started playing the drums at age 5 then moved on to the flute at age 12 and studied classical music in New York at Mannes College New School of Music. After moving to Miami in 1981 where he began his recording and touring career, he collaborated with many jazz musicians and varied artists like Ricky Martin, Herbie Hancock, Tito Puente, Gloria Estefan, and Dave Mathews, while continuously developing his unique musical style culminating in a Latin Grammy award in 2001. One of his most treasured performances came in 2005 when he was commissioned to compose and perform for the Dalai Lama in the US.

Honorary Board

NSCFF’s honorary board is made up of prominent figures in the community who serve as advocates for our foundation.  Members of the honorary board believe in the innovative principles of care delivery that are central to NSCFF’s mission and use their vast professional and personal experiences and resources to promote and support the foundation.

Rafael Diaz-Balart

Has over 25 years’ experience in international finance and asset management, as well as many years of service to the Miami community. He is the CEO and Founder of Vestec International Corporation. Mr. Diaz-Balart is also Senior Advisor for Credit Lyonnais, Private Banking International. In the past, he has had executive experience with IBJ Schroder International Bank, Paine Webber, Barnett Bank and the National Bank of Washington, D.C. He also served as Consultant to the Office of the Special Advisor to the President of Venezuela and founded InterTrust Bank Limited (Bahamas). Mr. Diaz-Balart is Director and Chairman of Connected Media Technologies, Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors at The Jay Malina International Trade Consortium of Miami-Dade County and the Miami Symphony Orchestra. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Cornell University and a Masters of Business Administration from The American University.

Gloria & Emilio Estefan

Have both had hugely successful careers in the music and entertainment industry. Gloria is a seven-time Grammy award winner with over 90 million albums sold worldwide and Emilio is a 19-time Grammy award winning producer and songwriter. In addition to their success in the music industry, the two have also been widely recognized for their philanthropic and humanitarian efforts, as well as their contributions to the Hispanic community. Gloria’s philanthropic endeavors include serving as the Chairperson for a capital campaign that raised $40 million to build the Lois Pope LIFE Center, the home of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. She is the recipient of the 1993 National Music Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year Award, the 2002 Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Medallion of Excellence for Community Service, and Billboard’s Spirit of Hope Award. The Estefans are also recipients of the 1993 Hispanic Heritage Award, the 1993 United Way Outstanding Philanthropy Award, the Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor, the Pepperdine University American Spirit Award, and the 2013 Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Sand in my Shoes Award.

In 1997, Gloria and Emilio created the Gloria Estefan Foundation, which aims to promote good health, education, and cultural development.  At an early age, Gloria spent many years caring after her father who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis, and both she and her husband have thus become champions for NSCFF. In recent years, Gloria and Emilio hosted a fundraising event for the foundation at their home, which was the germinal event launching NSCFF.

Pedro J. Greer, MD

Is a board certified hepatologist and gastroenterologist who has worked to broaden healthcare access to the underserved in the Miami area for over 20 years. His efforts began in 1984 when he helped found Camillus House Concern to serve the healthcare needs of the underprivileged in South Florida. In 1993 Dr. Greer was awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant and later received the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom for his relentless efforts to provide medical care to the homeless, undocumented, uninsured, and low income patients of Miami. He published his autobiography in 1999 entitled “Waking Up in America: How One Doctor Brings Hope to Those Who Need It Most”, heralded as an “inspirational autobiography of a man who has emerged as a pioneer in the field of caring for the growing population of impoverished and homeless Americans”. Dr. Greer is a graduate of the University of Florida with a BS in Chemistry (1978) and earned his doctorate from the Pontifica Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (1984) in the Dominican Republic. Currently, he is Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Chair of the Department of Humanities, Health and Society at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at FIU.

David Lawrence, Jr.

Retired in 1999 as publisher of The Miami Herald to work in the area of early childhood development and readiness after a long and illustrious career in journalism. During his tenure at The Miami Herald, the paper won five Pulitzer Prizes. He is president of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation and “Education and Community Leadership Scholar” at the University of Miami’s School of Education and Human Development. In 2002 and 2008 he led successful campaigns for The Children’s Trust, a dedicated source of early intervention and prevention funding for children in Miami-Dade. He is the founding chair. He was a key figure in passing a statewide constitutional amendment in 2002 to provide pre-K for all 4 year olds. He is a board member and former chair of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe. The David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Public School opened in 2006. An endowed chair in early childhood studies is established in his name at the University of Florida College Of Education. Before coming to Miami in 1989, Mr. Lawrence was publisher and executive editor of the Detroit Free Press. Before that he served as editor of the Charlotte Observer, and earlier in reporting and editing positions at four newspapers. He is a graduate of the University of Florida, named “Outstanding Journalism Graduate” and subsequently so named from the Advanced Management program at the Harvard Business School. His 12 honorary doctorates include one from his alma mater, the University of Florida. His national honors include the Ida B. Wells Award “for exemplary leadership in providing minorities employment opportunities” and the National Association of Minority Media Executives award for “lifetime achievement in diversity.” He was inducted into the Florida Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2010.

Ray Marchman, Jr

Began his career as an investment banker and marketing executive and rose to Executive Vice President with First National Lincoln Corp before joining Northern Trust Corporation. He has been credited with establishing the Northern Trust brand in Florida. Although still serving as a consultant for Northern Trust, in 2001 Mr. Marchman founded The Marketing Wheel, Inc., a specialty marketing consulting company based out of Miami. With a keen personal interest in history, the arts and philosophy, he was one of the founders of the Brickell Avenue Literary Society, Inc. and still serves on its Board of Directors. Mr. Marchman currently serves on the boards of The Prologue Society for the appreciation of history sponsored by Northern Trust and Miami Today, the Advisory Board for the University of Miami School of Law Center for Ethics & Public Service, and has been on the Board of Directors of Florida International University Foundation, Inc. as well as President of the Wolfsonian Advisory Board for The Wolfsonian-FIU museum, library and research center. He was also a Member of the Mercy Foundation for the benefit of Mercy Hospital’s special critical projects. Mr. Marchman earned a BA from Emory in Liberal Arts and his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami Law School.

Pedro Martin, Esq.

Is Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Owner of Terra Group, a real estate development firm based in Miami with about $2 billion worth of projects currently underway. Since founding Terra Group in 2001, he has led the company in its development and capital raising success. Prior to that, he practiced real estate law as a partner at Greenberg Traurig for 25 years, representing developers and financial institutions since the 1970s. Terra Group’s well-chosen land acquisitions have been geographically and strategically spread throughout South Florida starting in Miami Beach along the intracoastal, moving to the Metropolis project in Dadeland, and then jumping over to the Omni area just north of downtown Miami. Thereafter the group began developing in and around downtown Miami, Doral and other parts of South Florida. They are the developers behind very popular projects such as 900 Biscayne Bay, 600 Biscayne (Freedom Tower Site), Quantum on the Bay, Metropolis, Nautica, Las Sevillas and Las Ramblas in West Miami, The Reserve, Doral Cay, Vintage Estates and Vintage Place in Doral. A recognized force in South Florida’s real estate industry, his genuine passion for the region and its communities is apparent in his involvement in charitable, civic, arts and cultural organizations, including serving on the Board of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and the Concert Association of South Florida. Mr. Martin is also active in business organizations as a Board of Trustees member for the University of Florida’s Law School and has been the recipient of several awards and acknowledgements, including Who’s Who in American Law and being selected by Super Lawyers magazine in 2008 as one of the best real estate lawyers in the country. Celebrated as the No 1 Home Builder in Sales by the Miami Herald in 2006 and Largest Residential Developer by the South FL Business Journal, he was also awarded Developer of The Year by the American Institute of Architecture in 2006. Mr. Martin earned a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering, a Law Degree with honors from the University of Florida and a Masters in Business Administration from Rollins College.

Lillian Rivera, RN, MSN, PhD,

Currently serves as Administrator/Health Officer of the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, where she is responsible for the oversight and supervision of public health programs. Dr. Rivera has previously served as Deputy State Health Officer with the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee, as well as Executive Community Health Nursing Director for the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, where she was responsible for public health nursing and co-administration of the daily operations of the Department. She has also served as Director of Nursing at both the Public Health Trust for Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and the Department of Health in Puerto Rico. Dr. Rivera earned BSN and MSN degrees from the University of Puerto Rico and a PhD in Health Administration from Warren National University. She is a graduate of the Executive Institute for Community Health Nurses at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a fellow of the Nurse Executive Program/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Public Health Leadership Institute. She serves as a Board Member of The Florida Sterling Council and the Florida Public Health Institute.

Thelma Vernell Anderson Gibson

Was born in Miami on December 17, 1926 to Sweetlon Vernell Albury Anderson and Thomas Theodore Anderson.  She is well known as a philanthropist in her community and as the widow of the late Reverend Canon Theodore Roosevelt Gibson.  Thelma graduated from George Washington Carver High School in 1944 and attended Saint Agnes School of Nursing at Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina where she graduated in 1947.  She continued her education by taking off campus courses at Catholic University in Washington, D.C, University of Miami, Florida A & M University, and Teachers College at Columbia University in New York where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.  For more than fifty years, Thelma has been a trailblazer in education, mental and physical health, community and professional leadership, volunteerism and service to her church, community and family.  In August 1997, she was appointed as Interim City Commissioner and served on the City of Miami Commission through November 1997.  Thelma holds memberships on numerous boards, committees, and panels such as; President Emeritus of the Theodore Roosevelt Gibson Memorial Fund Inc., Founder of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Dade County, “GUTS”(Grovites United to Survive), “BIDCO” (Black Investors of Dade County), Jackson Memorial Foundation Inc., Trustee–University of Miami, Coconut Grove Arts Festival, United Home Care, Inc., University of Miami Women’s Guild, Jewish Home for the Aged, Friends WLRN, Life Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Charter Member of Nu Chapter Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc.,(National Nursing Sorority).  Thelma has received many honors, awards, and certificates. She counts her membership as a Founder at the Jewish Home for the Aged, among one of the highest, as this honor resulted from the generosity of the Late Judge Irving and Mrs. Hazel Cypen.  Additional honors include; the Silver Medallion awarded by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), the Jewish Home and Hospital Women’s Auxiliary Sacred Heart Award, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Drum Major for Justice Award, the Jackson Memorial Hospital Image Committee Award, Community Service Award by the Florida International Press Club, the Concerned Citizens Award from the Health Foundation of South Florida and A woman of Impact.  The most recent accomplishment to Thelma’s credit is authoring her autobiography, Forbearance, Thelma Vernell Anderson Gibson, The Life Story of A Coconut Grove Native that was released in the Fall of 2000. Mrs. Gibson is an adviser and advocate for the Thelma Gibson Health Initiative Inc., a State of Florida Certified HIV testing site, providing comprehensive and culturally competent social service programming to individuals and families across the lifespan through its three core programs: Adult and Community Services, Elder and Senior Care Services, and  Youth and Family Services.

Scientific Advisory Board

The NSCFF Scientific Advisory Board serves to provide advice and guidance to NSCFF leadership on a wide range of scientific and research matters.  Members of the board have broad and deep backgrounds with national reputations for excellence in their respective fields.  They are responsible for ensuring that the NSCFF governing board and executive team are up-to-date with the latest advances in medicine and technology.

Jack Burks, MD

Is an international leader in MS, neurology, and chronic disease management. For more than 30 years, he has been involved in MS comprehensive care, research, and education. Currently, he is Chief Medical Officer of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, and is also a member of the National Medical Advisory Board of the National MS Society. Dr. Burks was founder and president of the first and largest comprehensive MS center in the country, the Rocky Mountain MS Center at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Subsequently, he was a founder of the Colorado Neurological Institute which has grown to include more than 100 neuroscientists, three hospitals, and 23 tertiary neuroscience programs. Dr. Burks is also the founder of the Consortium of MS Centers.

Alejandro Forteza, MD

Is credited as the founder of the Miami Dade Stroke Consortium and currently serves as one of its Board of Directors.  The Consortium, formed in 1998 and incorporated in 2011 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, is a community effort of neurologists, neuro-radiologists, fire rescue departments, hospitals, and the American Heart/American Stroke Association.  The mission of the Consortium is to increase awareness and improve stroke outcomes in Miami-Dade County.  Dr. Forteza is board certified by the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry.   He received his Medical Degree from the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Facultad de Ciencias Medicas, in Córdoba, Argentina, and completed a four year internal medicine residency in Cordoba, Argentina and Danbury Hospital in Danbury CT; followed by a residency in Neurology and a fellowship in Cerebrovascular Diseases at the University of Miami.  Dr. Forteza is currently the Director of Stroke Service at Kendall Regional Medical Center in Miami, Florida.  He was formerly the Director of the Cerebrovascular Division at the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital from 1995 until 2009.  He developed the largest and most comprehensive stroke service in the state of Florida, trained many stroke fellows and students and conducted a large number of clinical research projects. He has also been a Professor of Neurology at Florida International University, Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Miami, as well as the Director of the Stroke and Cardiovascular Institute at the University of Miami.  Dr. Forteza has published multiple research studies in renowned journals such as The Journal of Neuroimaging, Neuroepidemiology, Neurocritical Care, American Journal of Neuroradiology, Neurology Journal, Stroke and Circulation. He also has papers in New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA as a Researcher among a group of 15-20 Neurologists in the country.  He is also a member of several national and international medical organizations and associations, such as the American Heart Association and National Stroke Association.

Stuart Isaacson, MD

Is a board certified neurologist who specializes in Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders. Dr. Isaacson is the Medical Director of the Parkinson’s Research and Education Foundation, a non profit whose mission is to support research initiatives, educational and wellness programs, support groups and social services as well as outreach for Parkinson’s disease patients and their caregivers. Their research focus is developing new medications that halt the progression of PD and serve to treat its symptoms. Dr. Isaacson also runs a private neurology practice in the Boca Raton area and is a fellow of the National Institute of Health.

Sakhrat Khizroev, PhD

Is an electrical engineer and a world renowned inventor who directs the Personalized Nanomedicine Center at Florida International University. He is the Vice Chairman of the Department of Immunology and Professor of Cellular Biology at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. He is also Professor of Electrical Engineering at the FIU College of Engineering. Dr. Khizroev is granted 30 patents with IBM, Seagate, CMU, FIU, and UCR. He is a prolific author with over 120 published papers and 5 books on topics such as: targeted drug delivery, reverse brain engineering, perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR), spintronics-based information processing, near-field optical transducers (Nanolasers), and many others. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

Andrew Schally, B.Sc., Ph.D., MD.H.C., D.Sc.H.C.

Received his training in England, Canada, Sweden and USA.  In the years 1954-1977 he worked in the field of neuroendocrinology.  Dr. Schally’s group was responsible for the isolation and elucidation of the structure of hypothalamic LHRH. Dr. Schally was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1977 for his pioneer work on hypothalamic peptides. Grasping the therapeutic potential of hypothalamic hormones Dr. Schally switched to cancer research and he became an endocrine oncologist.  He is a world leader on targeting hormone-related cancers and is largely responsible for the field of hormone ablation for the treatment of prostate and other cancers.  Various classes of anticancer peptides including targeted to analogs peptide receptors on tumors were developed in his laboratory and are in clinical trials.  Dr. Schally is the Distinguished Leonard M. Miller Professor of Pathology and Professor in the division of Hematology/Oncology of the Department of Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Dr. Schally is also Chief of the Endocrine, Polypeptide Cancer Institute at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miami, Florida and Distinguished Medical Research Scientist, US Department of Veterans Affairs.  He has more than 2400 publications to his credit.

William Sheremata, MD

Is a world renowned neuroimmunology and MS specialist. He is the author of many medical reference books, journals, and abstracts on the topic of neuroimmunology and MS. Dr. Sheremata is Professor Emeritus of Clinical Neurology and the Director of Multiple Sclerosis Clinic at the University of Miami. He is also currently involved in several ongoing research projects relating to MS. As a practicing physician with administrative responsibilities for over 50 years, Dr. Sheremata contributes a wealth of knowledge to NSCFF and the community.

Robert Zivadinov, MD PhD

Is a world class neuroimaging researcher with more than 200 papers and 400 abstracts published. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology who received numerous awards and recognitions from European and National Neurological Societies including the MS Community Champion Award. Dr. Zivadinov’s research focus is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). He concentrates on genetic and epidemiological causes, quantitative MRI diagnostics and therapeutic interventions for neurodegenerative diseases. He is currently in charge of advanced MRI research projects for NSCFF.