INPCS23 Speakers & Presenters





Sandra Abrevaya
Co-Founder & CEO, Synapticure

Sandra is the mom of spunky 5 and 7-year-old girls. She is a former founding CEO in the nonprofit sector and has served in senior roles for the City of Chicago, the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of Education, and the White House.

Sandra is married to and a caregiver for Brian Wallach who was diagnosed with ALS, a currently terminal illness, in 2017 when they were 37 years old and had their whole lives before them. After the diagnosis, Sandra co-founded I AM ALS with her husband to drive an impactful advocacy agenda based on community organizing principles. Sandra is also the CEO and co-founder of Synapticure, a national telehealth company serving people living with ALS, PLS, and Parkinson's.

Anne Basting, PhD
Professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Founder, TimeSlips

Anne Basting, PhD, is a professor of English and Director of the Center for 21st Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is a scholar and artist whose work focuses on the potential for the arts and humanities to transform our lives as individuals and communities. For over 20 years, Basting has researched ways to infuse the arts into care settings with a particular focus on people with cognitive disabilities like dementia. She is author of numerous articles and four books, Creative Care: A Revolutionary Approach to Dementia and Elder Care (Harper One, 2020), The Penelope Project: An Arts-based Odyssey to Change Elder-care (University of Iowa Press, 2016) co-edited with Maureen Towey and Ellie Rose; Forget Memory: Creating better lives for people with dementia (2009) and The Stages of Age: Performing Age in Contemporary American Culture. Named a 2016 MacArthur Fellow, Basting is also the recipient of an Ashoka Fellowship, Rockefeller Fellowship, a Brookdale National Fellowship, The Randy Martin Spirit Award, and numerous major grants across both the arts and social services. She is author and/or producer of nearly a dozen plays and public performances, including Wendy’s Neverland (2019), Slightly Bigger Women (2015) and Finding Penelope (2011), a play inspired by a year of intergenerational conversations about the myth of Penelope from Homer’s Odyssey, and professionally staged at a long term care community. In all her work, Basting is striving toward a moment when the arts are fully infused into care systems.

Basting holds a Ph.D. in Theatre Arts from the University of Minnesota, and a Masters in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin. She is founder and President of the award-winning non-profit TimeSlips Creative Storytelling, an international alliance of artists and caregivers bringing meaning to late life through creativity. Founded in 1998, TimeSlips became an independent non-profit in 2013 and how has over 900 certified facilitators in 48 states and 20 countries.

Basting advises the burgeoning field of arts and health and gives keynote addresses across the world on the power and potential of Creative Care. Basting was Founding Director of UWM’s Center on Age and Community from 2003 to 2013, where she fostered partnerships between scholars, students, and service providers, and translated applied research into innovative educational tools including manuals, films, and social media. Now a Professor in UWM’s Department of English, Basting teaches Community Engagement and Storytelling, and coordinates the Student Artist in Residence program, a year-long experiential learning program in which student artists live in and foster community building in care settings.

Basting’s most recent project, I Won’t Grow Up, was an ambitious reimagining of the story of Peter Pan with 12 rural nursing homes across Kentucky. She is currently guiding a collaboration with Dementia Inclusive Durham to bring Beautiful Questions to people with dementia and transform the answers into a community-wide celebration.

Polly Dawkins
Executive Director, Davis Phinney Foundation

Polly brings 25 years of professional expertise to the Davis Phinney Foundation. Her experience includes 13 years working in engineering and international operations for a satellite communications provider and starting a local charity chapter of an international literacy organization. Polly holds an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a BA in International Studies from Earlham College. Her management skills align with her drive to help people with Parkinson’s by providing resources, education, connections, and actionable research to improve their quality of life. When she’s not at her desk, visiting Parkinson’s communities, or fundraising with donors, you’ll find her creating music lists for her indoor cycling classes, cycling around Colorado, swimming outdoors, or hosting family and friends from faraway countries. Her energy sources? Sunshine and cold brew.

Corey Fehnel, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Division Chief, Neurocritical Care and Hospital Neurology, Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Corey Fehnel MD, MPH, is a neurointensivist specializing in the critical care of diseases affecting the nervous system. His research focus lies in the intersection of aging, critical care neurology, and palliative care. Dr. Fehnel uses the tools of health services research to better describe outcomes among older persons with critical neurological illness. Using nationwide Medicare datasets he establishes trends in utilization, and identifies key determinants associated with favorable and unfavorable outcomes. As an attending neurointensivist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the needs of his patients guide his research questions.

Dr. Fehnel’s previous work has examined prediction modeling of hospital readmission after acute ischemic stroke, as well as outcomes and location of long-term care among older patients receiving decompressive hemicraniectomy (removal of a portion of the skull) for severe ischemic stroke. He has also defined hospital characteristics associated with outcomes and quality of care for older patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.

In addition to studying outcomes, Dr. Fehnel is particularly interested in intensive care symptom assessment and management among older brain injured patients receiving palliative care.

His research has been funded by the American Academy of Neurology/American Brain Foundation and the National Institute on Aging.

Benzi Kluger, MD, MS
Professor, University of Rochester Medical Center
President, International Neuropalliative Care Society (INPCS)

Dr. Benzi Kluger is a Professor of Neurology and Medicine and the Director of the Palliative Care Research Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center (New York). He is an internationally recognized leader in the emerging field of neuropalliative care and the founding President of the International Neuropalliative Care Society, an organization dedicated to improving models of care for persons living with neurologic illness and their families. Dr. Kluger's research focuses on developing, testing and implementing palliative care interventions for persons living with Parkinson's and other neurologic illnesses and in improving our understanding and treatment of nonmotor symptoms in Parkinson's, including fatigue and cognitive dysfunction. He is also working on several writing projects related to empowering people living with serious illness to better advocate for themselves and to avoid potentially dangerous and expensive medical BS.

Danielle Leach, MPH, RN
Chief of Government Relations and Advocacy, National Brain Tumor Society

Danielle is an experienced health non-profit professional with a proven track record in patient advocacy and education, government relations, fundraising, advancing legislative and regulatory policies, stakeholder engagement and advocating for cancer research. In her current role at National Brain Tumor Society, Danielle leads the development and implementation of overall public policy and government relations agenda, strategy and organizational capacity building, and external coalition relations and participation. She works to ensure the brain tumor community is empowered through advocacy and stakeholder engagement to advance research and quality life. Danielle is a dedicated volunteer and grassroots advocate for cancer and children's issues. She is driven by the death of her son Mason at age 5 from a pediatric brain in 2007 as well as a being a sibling of a childhood cancer survivor. She chose to dedicate her career early on to ensuring patients and families have a strong voice in advocacy, research and care process. She led several public policy initiatives related to childhood cancer research and funding, driving cancer control program development and implementation. She is the emeritus Co-Chair of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, a national coalition tackling childhood cancer policy issues, where she spearheaded strategy and implementation of STAR Act passage, the most comprehensive childhood cancer bill ever passed in Congress increasing childhood cancer funding by $150 million in over five years. She serves on National Cancer Institute’s Pediatric and Adolescent Solid Tumor Steering Committee and is the Co-Chair Emeritus of its Patient Advocate Steering Committee. She completed her term on NCI’s National Council of Research Advocates, and worked on Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, as a patient advocate on the Pediatric Cancer Working Group. Danielle was recognized in 2018 with the ASCO Partners in Progress award and the Rare Disease 

Anne Leonard, MPH, RN
National Senior Director, Science and Medicine, American Heart Association

Anne Leonard MPH, BSN, RN, FAHA, CCRC, is a National Senior Director Science and Medicine with the American Heart Association National Center. She has worked with Stroke/Neuroscience since 1987, when she worked for the Department of Neurology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, on the Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation Study (SPAF - NIH – NINDS funded). During her 20-year tenure with this Department, she also coordinated other stroke studies in Hyperacute Acute Stroke Treatments, and Primary/Secondary Prevention of stroke studies and novel early phase neuroprotective agents. Her work on the research studies included the role of study coordinator and sub-investigator. She also was involved in quality improvement projects within the hospital’s she was affiliated with. In 2007 she was recruited by the AHA and was hired as a Science and Medicine Advisor. At the time she worked on several AHA Science portfolios. She was then recruited back to the UTHSCSA in the Neurosurgery Department in 2008 but stayed part-time with the AHA. She worked the last 5 years of her career at the UTHSCSA with the Department of Neurosurgery, coordinating and executing the clinical research trials in Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ICH - MISTIE and CLEAR IVH), both surgical intervention as well as an epidemiology (ERICH) study for ICH. During this time, she was involved with hospital staff, and patient families in dealing with patients who expected to die. She also served as the Interim Stroke Coordinator in the five-hospital system for one year and consulted with this system thereafter. During her years at the Health Science Center, she taught residents, medical students, nurses, paramedics, and allied health professionals about stroke. She rejoined the AHA/ASA in February 2013 as a full-time Science and Medicine Advisor. She is a National Senior Director Science and Medicine and has served as an AHA science lead for several of the AHA Science councils -Stroke, Hypertension and Clinical Cardiology Councils as examples.

Duygu Selcen, MD
Neurologist, Mayo Clinic

Duygu Selcen is a consultant at the Mayo Clinic and is Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics. She earned her medical school degree at the Hacettepe University Medical School. After finishing the pediatric residency at the Hacettepe University Ihsan Dogramaci Children's Hospital, she completed pediatric neurology residency at the Wayne State University Children’s Hospital. Dr. Selcen joined the Mayo Clinic after completing two-year fellowship in muscle diseases and muscle pathology at the Mayo Clinic and a year of Mayo Foundation Scholarship. Her practice involves caring for patients with neurological and neuromuscular diseases, interpreting muscle biopsies and doing research. The research of Dr. Selcen focuses on neuromuscular diseases of children and adults especially of those involving the muscle and the neuromuscular junction.