2019 NLN Conference Faculty
Laurie Kilmartin, PT, DPT is a Clinical Specialist at Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Health. She is a board certified clinical specialist in Women’s Health from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. She is CAPP-OB and CAPP-Pelvic certified by the APTA, and is a certified lymphedema therapist through the Lymphology Association of North America. She has been practicing for 14 years, serving a variety of populations including pelvic health, cancer rehabilitation, transgender, osteoporosis, and pregnancy. Specializing in Women’s and Men’s Health rehabilitation; she provides care and treatment for these patients; trains and mentors staff on all aspects of assessment and treatment for related diagnoses; and lectures frequently to physical therapy doctoral students, allied health care professionals, and the community. She is a published author in the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy, an adjunct faculty member at New York University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, and was on the Section on Women’s Health Clinical Education Task Force from 2015-2018.
Dr. Chen is a plastic surgeon specializing in reconstructive microsurgery and supermicrosurgery. After graduating from University of California at Berkeley with honor, he completed his general surgery residency at State University of New York, and his plastic surgery fellowship at University of Illinois at Chicago. He then completed a second fellowship in advanced microsurgical training at the prestigious Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan. Dr. Chen is Board-certified in both general surgery and plastic surgery.
Dr. Chen is world-renowned for his expertise in complex reconstruction in head and neck, breast, trauma, burn, and in lymphedema. He is particularly known for his unique supermicrosurgical lymphaticovenular anastomosis for treatment of therapy-refractory lymphedema. Dr. Chen pioneered several key microsurgical and supermicrosurgical innovations in lymphedema reconstruction, including the now widely practiced “Octopus” LVA, the “Flying Squirrel” lipectomy, and the ultra-thin supermicrosurgical vascularized lymph vessel transfer techniques. He also holds record of having accomplished several national firsts including performing the first supermicrosurgical vascularized lymph vessel transplant.
Dr. Chen serves as director of UIHC Center for Lymphedema Research and Reconstruction, and treats lymphedema patients from across the country and from around the world. He assumes leadership roles in many professional plastic surgery organizations including serving as the president of the Midwestern Association of Plastic Surgeons. In 2015, Dr. Chen was recognized by the Marquis Who’s Who as one of the most influential American reconstructive plastic surgeons.
Alexa Ercolano is a writer living with primary lymphedema in her right leg. By day, she works in the marketing and communications department of Johns Hopkins Medicine; by night, she runs her website, The Lymphie Life.
Alexa launched The Lymphie Life in 2011, having felt frustrated with the lack of online resources for young adults living with lymphedema. What began as a personal blog has since evolved to include articles detailing patients' personal experiences as well as tips and tricks, research news, product reviews, and interviews with healthcare professionals and community advocates. The blog and its social media accounts enjoy a global audience of lymphedema patients and specialists alike from over 200 countries.
Alexa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing from the University of Baltimore, and currently resides in Baltimore, MD. When she’s not writing about medical topics, Alexa can be found browsing local art museums or tucking into a good book – with her leg elevated, of course!
Jan Weiss is a 1977 graduate of Indiana University and completed her Doctor of Health Science degree from the University of Indianapolis in 2010. She has worked as a physical therapist at numerous locations in the United States and Germany, as she and her family often moved during the years her husband served in the military.
Jan moved to Springfield, Missouri in 1994 to continue her career in physical therapy in Outpatient Rehabilitation at CoxHealth. After receiving her MLD/CDT certification in 1996, she established the Lymphedema Clinic at Cox and until her retirement in 2019, served as the Lymphedema Resource Therapist for her hospital, while treating a variety of patients with edema and lymphedema.
Her professional interests include clinical research and teaching. She has presented studies at national and international lymphedema conferences, has taught for Klose Training since 2000, and is on the physical therapy faculty at Missouri State University. Professional accomplishments include developing the Lymphedema Life Impact Scale (LLIS), a validated quality-of-life outcome measure used in clinics across the country. Additionally, she has authored and co-authored numerous research articles in the field of lymphedema.
Leslyn Keith, OTD, OTR/L, CLT-LANA, has a Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy with an emphasis on lymphedema and obesity. She was certified as a Lymphedema Therapist in 2000 and became LANA-certified in 2001. Dr. Keith has started four lymphedema therapy programs in California including two in private practice. In addition to treating lymphedema and other lymphatic disorders, she currently researches, consults, and lectures on lymphedema, lipedema, and obesity nationally. She is Director of Research for The Lipedema Project and an instructor for Klose Training and Consulting.
Catherine Seo, PhD is Director of Lipedema Simplified, Co-Director of The Lipedema Project, course director for MasterClass: Beyond Lipedema and a professor of psychology. She produced and directed the documentary, The Disease They Call FAT, and was one of the co-authors of the book, Lipedema-The Disease They Call FAT: An Overview for Clinicians. Catherine’s research focuses on empowering women who experience the distortions of body image applying self-compassion and other meditation techniques and also keto for lipedema. She holds a doctorate in Media Psychology. She has lipedema, lymphedema, and has struggled with obesity. Catherine brings knowledge, compassion, and humor to living with a chronic condition. She was recently certified as a Laughter Yoga Leader.
Dr. Andrea Leifer, PT, DPT, CLT, WCC is a physical therapist and certified lymphedema therapist in New York City whose mission is to empower individuals struggling with lymphedema to feel like themselves again. Hearing one patient’s story of her challenges to access treatment for lymphedema in a city as limitless as New York was a defining moment inAndrea’s early career. She ignored those who said it was too soon to specialize and carved her own path to become a lymphedema therapist less than a year after beginning her clinical practice.
Andrea has turned her own daily mindless scrolling through social media into a more focused practice that challenges her as a person and clinician. Careful not to disrupt the beautiful web built by patient advocates in the form of online lymphedema support groups, Andrea observes mostly silently the stories told by a community longing to be heard. The trust and support fostered in those groups moved Andrea to reframe her conversations with her own patients to help them feel less alone or ashamed in managing their disease. Social media provides a platform for storytelling and Andrea believes its true power comes not from its ability to influence but to inspire and to be inspired.
Derly Munoz PT.CLT.MTC.CFC.ATRIC received her Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Therapy from the Rosario University in Bogota, Colombia in 1990. She moved to the United States in 1993 and completed a postgraduate Certification in Manual Therapy in 1995 from the University of St. Augustine, before returning to Colombia. While in Colombia, she was married as well had two sons. In 1996, she moved back to the U.S. and specialized in orthopedics and sports medicine, utilizing her manual therapy skills and exercise expertise, as well as beginning to integrate aquatic therapy.
In 1998, Derly became certified in aquatic therapy from the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute. In 2012, she became the team leader for the oncology rehab program at UF Health in Gainesville, Florida, and became a Certified Lymphedema Therapist. The Cancer Rehab program has more than doubled its size concerning clinic space, patients served and therapists on the team since she has been the team leader. Additionally, Derly has specialized in the evaluation and treatment of temporomandibular disorders. Her skillfulness and ingenuity encouraged her to obtain a Cranio-facial-certification with Mariano Rocabado at the University of St Augustine in 2016.
Oncology being her main passion led to the opportunity to work with Dr. Dhruv Singhal, with whom she developed a lymphedema surveillance program for the vascular lymph node transplant patients, as well as a lymphedema surveillance program beginning at pre-op for the breast cancer patients at UF. Through this work, she has been a co-author of publications on the surveillance with the transplant patients and received The Breast Journal Award in 2015. Derly has also continued to develop a Head and Neck cancer program in which she sees the patients pre-op and two weeks post/surgery to identify any signs that could indicate lymphedema. She works closely with the multidisciplinary team to maintain a continued surveillance of these post-op patients.
She has been involved as a Clinical Instructor and CCCE for Physical Therapy students from multiple universities in the country, as well as in Colombia. She has also served as a guest instructor at the University of Florida Doctorate program and a full-course instructor at Rosario University Manuela Beltran University in Colombia. Derly speaks frequently at academic, clinical and professional settings and performs clinical research that she presents and publishes nationally and internationally. Her presentations include two National Lymphedema Network conferences and one Harvard Lymphedema Symposium.
Dr. Joshua Trock, PT, DPT, CLT is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and the Director of Rehab at a locally owned and operated home health company in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Trock established the therapy department in 2011 and has since built the department to focus on primary care physical therapy with an emphasis on novel treatments for edematous and lymphostatic diseases. Dr. Trock’s current focus is on ways to improve the quality and standard of care for individuals with lymphedema, CVI, phlebolymphedema, lipolymphedema, orthopedic edema, cardiac edema, and lipedema along with advanced practices for edematous wounds. Dr. Trock received his CLT through Klose Training and Consulting in 2011 and Edematous Wound Specialty training through the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy in 2014. When Joshua isn’t braving the south Texas heat rendering care you can find him with his wife and daughter traversing the Texas Hill Country for some good hikes and even better barbecue.
Dr. Jay Granzow is an internationally respected lymphedema surgeon. He serves as Professor of Surgery in the Division of Plastic Surgery at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, and Assistant Chief of Plastic Surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He is Board Certified both in Plastic Surgery and Head and Neck Surgery.
A pioneer in lymphedema surgery, Dr. Granzow successfully integrated lymphedema therapy with three types of lymphedema surgery including vascularized lymph node transfer (VLNT), lymphaticovenous anastomosis (LVA) and suction assisted protein lipectomy (SAPL). He has published major scientific articles on lymphedema surgery in leading medical journals. Dr. Granzow is a frequent lecturer at U.S. and international conferences, educating patients, therapists and physicians on the latest advances in lymphedema surgery as part of a holistic approach to lymphedema care. Dr. Granzow provides lymphedema treatment for patients in his private medical practice located in the Los Angeles area.
Guenter Klose, MLD/CDT Certified Instructor, CLT-LANA received his initial training in Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) and Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) at the Foeldi Clinic in 1984 and became certified as Instructor for MLD/CDT in 1986. He came to the United States in 1990 to assist Dr. Robert Lerner in establishing the first CDT treatment centers in the U.S.
In 2003, Guenter established his own lymphedema training company, Klose Training, dedicated to providing the highest-quality live and online lymphedema therapy continuing education. He is a leading advocate for high-quality lymphedema treatment and has lectured extensively in the United States and abroad at conferences, therapist and physicians' meetings, and lymphedema support groups. Guenter is a member of the ISL and a founding member of the Lymphology Association of North America (LANA).
Jean LaMantia is a registered dietitian, cancer survivor, and co-author of the newly released The Complete Lymphedema Management and Nutrition Guide, author of the best selling Essential Cancer Treatment Guide and Cookbook and creator of the Cancer Risk Reduction Guide. She provides nutrition counselling for individuals and is a regular speaker on topics of cancer risk reduction and nutrition for lymphedema. You can find out more about her and her speaking, personalized nutrition sessions and read her Cancer Bites blog on her website http://www.jeanlamantia.com/
Alphonse G. Taghian, MD, PHD, FASTRO
Professor of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School
Breast Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Director, Lymphedema Research Program,
Dr. Alphonse Taghian, Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School, earned his Medical Degree from Alexandria University in Egypt. He completed his residency in Radiation Oncology in France, after which he pursued clinical and research fellowships at Gustave-Roussy Institut, Paris.
After obtaining his PhD in Radiobiology from Paris XI University, Dr Taghian was appointed as staff in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is now the Director of Lymphedema Research Program and Co-Director of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.
An internationally recognized leader in breast radiation oncology, in particular in the field of Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI), Dr. Taghian has published more than 180 peer reviewed articles, general reviews and chapters. He has edited 2 books, one of them on the multidisciplinary approach in the treatment of breast cancer. He was awarded several NIH grants totaling around $2.7 Million for research in breast cancer related lymphedema. His main interests include screening and early intervention for lymphedema, methods to minimize cardiac exposure to radiation, accelerated partial breast irradiation and indications for post-mastectomy radiation.
Carmen Recupero, MBA, CLT-LANA is a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant and Certified Massage Therapist, with a specialty certification in lymphatic therapy. She has over 25 years of experience in leadership roles with hospitals/health systems, long-term care, health care start-ups, and a principal at a continuing education and consulting business. In 2010, Carmen created Monarch Continuing Education, one of only seven nationwide training programs for allied health certifications, and has taught hundreds of students in her lymphatic certification courses. She has been a presenter for Cross Country/ Vyne Education since 2008, lecturing on various topics in healthcare management in leadership.
From 2008-2015, Carmen was the owner/manager of Lymphatic Care Specialists, LLC, a full service oncology clinic serving patients in Virginia. Carmen also worked for Kindred Healthcare from 1996-2005. During her time with Kindred, Carmen developed and grew employee development programs starting with on-boarding and expanding the continuum to develop employees as leaders as well as C-Suite executive coaching, in addition to providing strategic vision and oversight of a 90 bed comprehensive rehabilitation unit by adding and expanding outpatient and home health services.
Carmen is a MBA graduate at UVA/Darden School of Business and earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management from California College of Health Sciences, National City, California, and an Associate of Science in Physical Therapy (Magna Cum Laude) from Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Roanoke, Virginia. She completed a 140-hour certification course in Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Complex Decongestive Physiotherapy through the Upledger Institute. She is also a WCC certified wound care specialist through the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy.
Mrs. Recupero continues to further her education annually by attending national and international seminars to stay current with the latest research findings on lymphedema. Carmen studied at the Vodder School in Austria in July of 2014 to advance her skills. Her training program was recognized by the National Lymphedema Network in 2010, and she looks forward to the continued development of her programs to educate and train medical professionals in order that they might better help people with lymphatic disorders. Carmen currently lives in Virginia with her husband and 2 children. She enjoys traveling, hiking, and outdoor activities.
Erica Demarch is the founder of Step and Connect and the inventor of Balance Matters®.
After graduating with a Master's degree in Physical Therapy from Boston University in 2002, Erica started her career at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey where she worked primarily with the neurological population and specialized in traumatic brain injury.
In 2006, she moved to New York City where she continued to build upon her neurological expertise by working with the geriatric and multitrauma population at NewYork-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medical Center. In 2010, she moved to Denver to work at South Valley Physical Therapy, a specialized vestibular and neurology clinic.
In 2008, Erica became certified in vestibular rehabilitation through Emory University and in 2009 completed the National Parkinson Foundation Allied Team Training. As a trained Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery clinician expert, Erica teaches specialized exercise classes with the Parkinson Association of the Rockies.
She is a certified instructor in ‘A Matter of Balance’ which is an evidence-based falls prevention program that was developed at Boston University for older adults who are limited in activity due to fear of falling.
Erica is also a certified instructor of ‘N’Balance’ which is an evidence-based falls prevention program developed by the Consortium for Older Adult Wellness. This system was designed using the same principles of human kinetics that inspired FallProof!, a balance program created by California State University, Fullerton.
She has been treating clients with balance and walking problems in a wide variety of settings for 15 years. Her clinical expertise in neurorehabilitation has led her to found Step and Connect, a company that offers educational programs and clinical services geared towards promoting balance. Erica has taken all her experience, knowledge and inspiration from her patients over the years to develop and manufacture the product, Balance Matters®.
Erica speaks at local support groups for people with Parkinson’s disease on the benefits of exercise and is currently active in research at Regis University.
Karen Wonders, Ph.D. is the Founder and Director of Maple Tree Cancer Alliance®. She first became interested in Cancer Exercise Rehabilitation in 2003, while earning her doctoral degree in Exercise Physiology at the University of Northern Colorado. There, she became certified as a Cancer Exercise Specialist and worked at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Rehabilitation Institute as a cancer exercise trainer. It was through this work experience that she was able to witness first-hand the positive effect that supervised exercise and proper nutrition can have on the life of an individual being treated with cancer.
In 2006, Dr. Wonders moved with her family to Dayton, Ohio. Currently, Dr. Wonders works as a Professor of Exercise Science at Wright State University, and serves as the Director of the Sports Science program. Dr. Wonders remains an active researcher in the area of exercise and cancer treatment-related pain and neuropathy and has given over 100 presentations on the national, state, and local levels as well as authored several professional manuscripts, books, and book chapters on this topic.
Finally, Dr. Wonders also holds a Master’s degree in Ministry from Cedarville University. With this degree, she hopes to provide Christ-centered encouragement to those who are battling cancer.
Karen Ashforth began her career in occupational therapy in 1981 and initially worked in acute, home health, outpatient, and adult day health settings. She served as a rehabilitation clinical specialist in two of these settings and managed a multi-disciplinary staff of 16 occupational, physical, and speech therapists and social workers. Karen became Board Certified in Hand Therapy in 1993. That area of practice led her to lymphedema. She completed her lymphedema certification in 2003.
Karen’s passions in lymphedema practice are equipment innovation and development, treatment of underlying fibrosis and inflammation, and assessment of complex and difficult cases. She is considered an expert in clinical use of pneumatic compression and has participated in development of numerous devices and appliances. She currently works at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton, California, providing inpatient and outpatient lymphedema treatment. Karen also has a private consulting practice.
Karen speaks frequently at academic, clinical, and professional settings and performs clinical research that she presents and publishes nationally and internationally. Her presentations have included four International Lymphology Congress meetings: 2017 Spain, 2015 USA, 2011 Sweden, and 2009 Australia, as well as medical conferences in the United States, Canada, and Israel. She is an adjunct faculty member with the University of the Pacific in the Doctoral Physical Therapy Program.
Karen has been published in: Lymphology Journal (USA), AOTA Practice Journal (USA), OTAC Journal (USA), Pathways (Canada) and Journal of Lymphoedema (UK.)
Emad Abdallah PT, CLT- LANA, CES is a Physiotherapist & Certified Lymphedema Therapist at National Center for Cancer Care and Research in Doha, Qatar. He received his bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy from Cairo university, Egypt in 2005 and has been working mainly with Oncology, Hematology & Lymphedema patients and providing lectures to his community about Lymphedema and its management for over 12 years.
In 2012, he completed his initial lymphedema certification and received his advanced Lymphedema Certification in 2016 from Klosetraining Center at Foeldi clinic in Germany. He obtained his Edema Specialist certification (CES) from the American Physiotherapy Association (APTA) Oncology section in Michigan, USA in 2017 and became LANA certified in 2019.
As a member of the International project for Axillary Web Syndrome Assessment & treatment protocol, he participated in a published poster for the protocol outcome in Asia Pacific Lymphology Conference in Darwin-Australia in 2016.
In his effort to spread the awareness for the lymphedema and its management, he has presented at various national & international conferences and has led many workshops. Most recently at the 8th International Lymphedema Framework conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands in June 2018, he presented about establishing the 1st dedicated Lymphedema management clinic & its impact on the population of Qatar.
He won the grand prize award in poster presentation competition at the 2nd Doha Heidelberg Research conference in Doha, Qatar in February 2019 about constructing a model of care for postoperative Breast Cancer related Lymphedema & Functional impairments.
He also arranged the 1st Walk to fight Lymphedema in the Middle East which took place in Doha, Qatar on March 16th, 2019 in recognition of March as Lymphedema awareness month.
Dr. Kathleen Francis is the Medical Director and a Course Instructor for Klose Training & Consulting, LLC in Lafayette, Colorado. She graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ in 1989.
Dr. Francis retired from Lymphedema Physician Services, her private practice specializing in lymphedema, in September, 2018, but beginning in January, 2019, she will serve as the Lymphedema Specialist in the Center for Breast Health and Disease Management at the St. Barnabas Ambulatory Care Center. There, she will see patients with, or at risk for, breast cancer-related lymphedema.
Dr. Francis’ past clinical positions include Director of Outreach Services, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, 1996–2004; Clinical Director, Kessler-Lerner Lymphedema Services, 1997–2004; Clinical Director, ALS Clinic Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, 1994–2004; Clinical Director, Lymphedema Treatment Center, St. Barnabas Ambulatory Care Center, 2004 – 2008.
Dr. Francis is a member of the St. Barnabas Breast Program Leadership Committee and the Cancer Committee. Until 2016, she was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the National Lymphedema Network.
Dr. Francis draws from many years’ experience treating patients with lymphedema. Among her numerous awards and honors, she was selected for “Best Doctors of New York”, New York magazine, “New Jersey’s Best Doctors” NJ Monthly magazine, Castle Connolly New York Metro Area Top Doctors, Inside New Jersey magazine Top Doctors, and Best Doctors in America database. She was named by U.S. News & World Report as among the top 1% of physicians in her specialty.
Dr. Francis has lectured extensively in numerous clinical and academic settings across the nation, including at hospitals, patient seminars, webinars, and numerous medical conferences including the biennial National Lymphedema Network conferences.
Dr. Francis is a member of the International Society of Lymphology, the American Lymphedema Framework Project, the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and the American Medical Association. She is also a Fellow with the American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine.
At the University of Florida, I serve as the Clinical Lead for the UF Health Breast Center and a member of the UF Health Cancer Committee. I play an active role both clinically and academically. I provide leading care in breast health, breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as assessment and counseling of high breast cancer risk women. I serve as the Clinical Lead of the lymphedema surveillance program at the University of Florida, and have instituted the use of lymphovenous bypass procedures to reduce the incidence of arm lymphedema. To complement my career as a surgeon, I am actively involved in furthering the education of our future surgeons and medical students. I serve as a leader on the Admissions Committee for the University of Florida College of Medicine. As well as being the former Associate Clerkship Director for the Department of General Surgery and the Educational Lead of the breast, melanoma, sarcoma, and endocrine services at the University of Florida
Bryan Groleau has been a lymphedema and wound therapist since 2003 with experience in breast cancer-related upper-extremity lymphedema and axillary web syndrome; lower-extremity obesity-related lymphedema and lipedema; head, neck, and facial lymphedema; wound care; stage III elephantiasis; geriatric mixed edemas; lymphatic filariasis; and lymphedema in the home-health setting. Throughout his career, Bryan has treated extensively in both outpatient and home-care settings. He has managed teams of lymphedema and wound therapists for multiple clinics and home health agencies.
Currently, Bryan is a National Senior Clinical Education Manager for mediUSA and also serves on the medi for help medical-missions project to treat and educate on lymphedema and wound care for those with lymphatic filariasis in Léogâne, Haiti.
Educating clinicians on advanced lymphedema and wound care is a passion of Bryan’s. His vast experience in various settings, scenarios, and with atypical diagnoses, will empower clinicians to feel confident when treating wounds and lymphedema, no matter their level of experience.
Mindy Bowen RN, BSN, CAPA, RN-BC
Nurse Clinician Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Nurse Clinician primarily assigned to work with Dr. Wei F. Chen at the University of Iowa Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. One of our main focuses is super microsurgery for the treatment of lymphedema but we see and treat all things that plastic surgery encompasses.
My research in the Kipnis lab aims at understanding the regulation of the meningeal immune compartment and its function in health in disease. Most particularly I am interested in how the meningeal lymphatic vasculature, that drains the central nervous system, is a major conduit for the drainage of antigens and immune cells into the cervical lymph nodes but also a central player in the regulation of CNS fluid dynamics. Finally, my research aims at regulating meningeal lymphatic function in neurological disorders to influence disease outcome.
Brittany is a mother of three (four in June 2019), wife, and the woman behind Brylan's Feat Foundation. She is a native of the Chicago area and primarily lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Brittany's relationship with lymphedema began when her daughter, Brylan, was diagnosed with primary lymphedema in 2014. Since that time, Brittany's goal has been to advocate and be the voice for her daughter and all children suffering from lymphedema. She recently joined the Lymphedema Advocacy Group in Washington, D.C. to share her story and support the Lymphedema Treatment Act.
Brittany's passion is to make a positive impact on the lymphedema community and provide assistance in receiving treatment, through Brylan’s Feat Foundation, to children in need all over the world.
John received his PT degree from the University of Connecticut in 1993. He received his initial lymphedema certification in 1998, advanced certification from LANA in 2001 and attended the first English-language advanced lymphedema course at the Foldi Clinic in Germany in 2002. He began instructing with the Norton School in 2006 and was a member of the LANA Board of Directors from 2009 - 2012. He has developed successful lymphedema clinics at three separate hospitals and has spoken on lymphedema issues conferences for the Mid-Atlantic WOCN Society, the Northwest WOCN Society, the 2017 national WOCN Society and several WOW conferences as well as a presentation to hospital staff in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He currently resides in Eugene, OR, where he is building an independent lymphedema practice. John joined the National Lymphedema Network Board of Directors in 2019.
Debbie Crow was born with primary lymphedema in both lower extremities. Recently, at her urging, the nursing program for which she teaches adopted lymphedema and lymphatic diseases as one of the primary exemplars in the program, with an emphasis on concepts such as tissue integrity, infection, mobility, functional ability, sexuality, development, safety, patient education, and self-management. This initiative was challenging since undergraduate nursing textbooks devote no more than a page to content about lymphedema. Debbie believes that, since learning about the treatments available to improve quality of life for people with lymphedema, graduates of the nursing program will advocate to physicians to prescribe treatment for their patients. One student’s claim that “we now know something that we can really help patients with!” reinforces her motivation to promote expansion of curriculum about lymphedema and lymphatic diseases to all undergraduate nursing programs. Debbie is in the data collection phase of her doctoral dissertation about the experience of growing up and living with lymphedema and expects to earn her PhD in Educational Psychology in December 2019. She is retiring from full-time teaching and has joined the board of the Lymphedema Advocacy Group, promoting passage of the Lymphedema Treatment Act. She is looking forward to devoting more time to family, lymphedema advocacy, and new ventures that put her nursing, education, and personal experience with life-long lymphedema to work.
Cheryl Brunelle, PT, MS, CCS, CLT
Co-Investigator Lymphedema Research Program Clinical Specialist Physical and Occupational Therapy Services Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA 02114
Past Chair, Board of Directors and MAC Liaison: Dr. Wade Farrow is a Certified Wound Specialist Physician (CWSP), a Fellow of the American College of Clinical Wound Specialists (FACCWS), and in the past served as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Texas A&M School of Medicine. Dr. Farrow lectures nationally and internationally on wound care and lymphedema. Dr. Farrow is V.P. of Wound Care at BSN medical, an Essity Company, and U.S. Medical Director. Dr. Farrow previously served as the Medical Director of The William P. Fife Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center at College Station Medical Center in College Station, Texas. Dr. Farrow practiced full time as a wound care physician for over 12 years. Dr. Farrow received his Bachelor in Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The University of Tennessee in 1994 and graduated from Emory University School of Medicine in 1998. He was an Otolaryngology surgery resident at UT Southwestern from 1998 to 2000. After leaving residency, Dr. Farrow worked as a biomedical engineer for Ball Semiconductor and later for Medtronic, where he was promoted to Manager of Business Development and Technology. Dr. Farrow is the inventor of the FarrowWrap® and founder of FarrowMed, LLC. Dr. Farrow is a passionate inventor for medical devices and has over 16 patents issued and pending to improve patient care.
Robyn Bjork, PT, CLWT, CWS, CLT-LANA is the Founder and CEO of the International Lymphedema & Wound Training Institute (ILWTI). She is a Physical Therapist who is an expert in the field of wound care and lymphedema management and is passionate about training and mentoring others. Bjork teaches nationally and internationally on topics related to wound care, edema and lymphedema management. She has over 20 years of wound care, edema and lymphedema clinical management and teaching experience, spanning outpatient, inpatient, transitional, long term, home care and private practice settings.
Bjork is a chapter co-author on Lymphedema in 2018 Textbook of Chronic Wound Care: An Evidence-Based Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment, has authored articles in Wounds International, Pathways and Wound Care Advisor, and has written, produced, and implemented over 155 hours of advanced, accredited curriculum for certifying wound and lymphedema specialists in the USA and abroad. She developed and implemented the only dual wound and lymphedema certification program in the USA and South Africa, the "Certified Lymphedema & Wound Therapist" training course www.ILWTI.com, and has successfully integrated the curriculum into the transitional Doctorate of Physical Therapy program at Nova Southeastern University.
In 2006, Bjork founded a Physical Therapy based Wound and Lymphedema Clinic in her hometown, Hayward, WI. "I was amazed at the number of people who came to seek treatment for wounds they had for years, and people suffering from lymphedema who never knew there was any treatment for it," she recalls. "It was such a relief to those individuals when we were able to heal their chronic wounds and get their edema under control". Today, she continues to passionately lead clinical practice by elevating the care of individuals with lymphedema, advocating for access to modern imaging technologies for lymphatic assessments, transforming CDT into an integrate rehabilitation model, and advancing chronic wound healing through education.
In the late 90’s, Bjork learned about a debilitating form of lymphedema, called Podoconiosis, from a missionary doctor who founded a Christian hospital in the Wolaita Zone of Ethiopia. Acting on a calling from God to help eradicate Podoconiosis from the Wolaita Zone, Bjork pioneered successful missions into the African bush to implement wound care and lymphedema treatment, using international standards of practice and indigenous resources. These programs proved sustainable and effective for the treatment of up to 60,000 patients in the Wolaita Zone, through the Mossy Foot Project.
Bjork has served on the World Alliance of Wound and Lymphedema Care (WAWLC) Program Development working group and is past Secretariat of WAWLC. She is an international expert in the morbidity management of Podoconiosis and Lymphatic Filariasis. Bjork co-founded ILWTI Medical Missions and served as President and Director of Education and Clinical Development for a Lymphatic Filariasis Clinic project in Leogane, Haiti. She is a chapter author on Podoconiosis for a soon to be published global wound and lymphedema management handbook for WAWLC and the World Health Organization. In 2011, Bjork received the Central Florida Humanitarian Award and was featured in the commemorative edition of Space Coast Medicine magazine. She also received a certificate of Special Congressional Recognition in appreciation of excellence in medicine.
Suzie Ehmann, DPT, CLWT, CWS, CLT–LANA, is ILWTI's Director of Compression Education and co-author of S.T.R.I.D.E.™ Professional Guide to Compression Garment Selection for the Lower Extremity - An algorithm incorporating both textile characteristic and oedema presentation to optimize medical compression garment selection. S.T.R.I.D.E.™ is published as a Supplement to the Journal of Wound Care and is the basis of ILWTI's Certified Compression Specialist course.
Dr. Ehmann is clinical specialist working at Atrium Health Stanly. Over the last 14 years, she has dedicated her practice to the evaluation and comprehensive treatment of patients with lymphatic disorders and chronic non-healing wounds. Dr. Ehmann has a focused interest on the science of compression and impact of edema management on functional ability and mobility. She has spoken nationally and internationally on this topic.
Dr. Ehmann is a Certified Lymphedema Therapist through the Lymphology Association of North American; a Certified Wound Specialist through the American Board of Wound Management. She is a proud member of the Lymphology Association of North America and the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care. She has been a featured speaker at national and international conferences, such as the Symposium for Advance Wound Care, Wild On Wounds, National Lymphedema Network International Conference, European Wound Management Association, International Compression Club and numerous regional lymphedema and wound conferences. In addition, she has authored several articles published in peer reviewed journals.
Dhruv Singhal, MD
I am currently the Director of Lymphatic Surgery at BIDMC. This past year I served on the Program Committee and Young Microsurgeon’s Committee for the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery.
In the fall of 2017, alongside Dr. Sumner Slavin, I co-chaired the first Lymphedema Symposium at the BIDMC. The meeting was a tremendous success, with over 230 participants who traveled from around the world to attend. The two-day event included a separate pathway for clinicians and patients. The highlight for the entire event was a panel of patients that presented on their experience of undergoing lymphatic surgery at BIDMC. I received a 2017 Boston Red Sox Medical All-Star Award for our team’s role in treating lymphedema patients in New England. I am an ad hoc reviewer for: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Annals of Plastic Surgery, Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery, and the International Microsurgery Journal.
Over the last several years, my clinical and basic science research has primarily been focused on the surgical prevention and treatment of lymphedema. In addition, our clinical research group has recently been studying (1) the potential applications of integrative medicine in the care of the plastic surgery patient and (2) the impact of ergonomics on a surgeon’s well-being.
Over the past year, in the midst of building a comprehensive clinical program in the surgical management of lymphedema, our group has worked in parallel to construct a complementary research program. Working closely with the FIRST team, we developed a robust quality improvement database that is capable of tracking patients and their outcomes longitudinally. Similarly, we have launched a unique biorepository that now houses healthy and diseased lymphatic tissue. Working closely with Dr. Timothy Padera at the Steele Laboratories at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), we are developing protocols for further tissue investigation.
In the laboratory, we have worked to develop the first animal model to investigate the physiology of preventing lymphedema surgically at the time of lymphadenectomy. Specifically, working in collaboration with Dr. Hak Soo Choi, Gordon Center for Imaging at MGH, we are utilizing unique lymphatic specific dyes to report real-time changes in lymphatic flow from an extremity. In doing so, we have demonstrated a 47% increase in lymphatic flow out of an extremity if a surgical lymphatic bypass is performed at the time of the lymphadenectomy.
Julie Soderberg, MPT, ATC, CLT-LANA graduated with a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy from Mount St. Mary’s College in 1999. The following year, she completed her lymphedema certification with Klose-Norton Training and Consulting with Guenter Klose as instructor, and has since been specializing in lymphedema. She is the Lymphedema Program Coordinator for Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance, CA. She now focuses on providing comprehensive care for lymphedema patients who not only have complications with edema but orthopedic considerations as well. She is a consulting lymphedema specialist for Dr. Jay Granzow and works in collaboration with him regarding the F.L.O. (Functional Lymphatic Operations) system.
Veronica P. Seneriz
Founder of Lymphie Strong
Lymphie Strong, Katy, TX
Veronica Seneriz is a patient, advocate and Founder of Lymphie Strong. She serves as Chair for the LE&RN Texas Chapter and is a member of the National Lymphedema Network LSAP Class of 2017. Veronica has also traveled to Washington DC on different occasions to lobby Congress both as a member of the TX Chapter of the Lymphedema Advocacy Group and for LE&RN DC Lobby Days.
In 1994, Veronica developed 3rd generation Lymphedema Distichiasis, a rare type of primary lymphedema that affects her legs and eyes. Veronica started a personal blog called Lymphie Strong as a dedication to her father in September 2015. The blog has expanded into three global online support communities on Facebook, and a combined social media platform of 10K aimed at reaching those who feel isolated with lymphedema that have little to no local support system. To date, her blog has reached over 140 countries.
Veronica also created the #MOVETHATLYMPH Challenge Series in 2017, a virtual fitness program with worldwide group membership of 78 countries in The Lymphedema Running & Fitness Club group on Facebook. Over 400 participants from 15 of those countries have signed up as a commitment to promoting lymphedema and lymphatic health awareness.
Megan Pfeffer, BHSc is a degree qualified Clinical Nutritionist, with a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional & Dietetic Medicine. She operates a private practice in Australia and conducts online nutrition consultations throughout the world.
Megan is a faculty member teaching MasterClasses and a Specialist Health Coach with Lipedema Simplified. They offer a comprehensive transmedia program working to increase awareness and provide education, research and treatment for lipedema and lymphatic disorders.
Specialising in LCHF (low carbohydrate healthy fat) and ketogenic lifestyles for the management of health and chronic disease, Megan follows a ketogenic lifestyle herself to manage her own Lipedema.
Megan is passionate about food, health and helping people achieve their health goals with an evidence based and wholistic approach.
Additional Faculty: Arin Greene, Michael Alatriste, Jen Norton, Kathe Hotz, Amy Rivera, Terrence Hicks, Kathryn Davis, Cristina Hankins, Judith Whatley, Bill Lobosco, Julia Osborne, Karen Herbst, Matthew Carmody, Christine Porsche.