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Louise Vetter joins Huntington's Disease Society of America as new CEO
Date:1/29/2009

Will build upon Research, Care, Advocacy and Education Programs Developed by Retiring National Executive Director/CEO Barbara Boyle

NEW YORK, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The Trustees of the Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA) are pleased to announce that Louise Vetter, currently CEO of the American Lung Association of New York, will join the Society as Chief Executive Officer, Monday, March 16.

In her nine years at the American Lung Association, Louise has been a tireless advocate, helping families living with lung disease get the care and support they need. She was instrumental in passage of New York's smoke free workplace law and championed efforts to reframe environmental policy within the context of public health. A leader in community coalitions and strategic partnerships, she has created relationships that have strengthened donor and volunteer participation while growing the organization's impact and mission services.

"The Board was struck by Ms. Vetter's strong leadership abilities, her knowledge of the health care environment, and the passion she expressed to help the Society achieve its mission of finding a cure for Huntington's Disease, providing care for our families, and educating the general and medical public about HD," said C. Walt Johnston, Chair of HDSA's National Board of Trustees.

"It's been my honor, and a source of great pride to have served the HD community for these past 13 years," said Barbara Boyle, National Executive Director/CEO. "I believe we've developed the Society into a positive force in the lives of our families, and I'm proud to be handing the baton to the very capable Louise Vetter, who will serve the Society's mission and our families well."

Ms. Vetter will be joining HDSA to build upon the programs created and developed during the 13 years of leadership by Ms. Boyle, who had decided that it was time to retire from her responsibilities at HDSA, knowing that the programs of research, care and education are moving forward, and the Society is strong. Under her leadership, HDSA has grown to become the major source of help and hope for the Huntington's Disease (HD) community, through the breakthrough research of the HDSA Coalition for the Cure, and the HDSA Drug Discovery Pipeline; the creation of 21 HDSA Centers of Excellence providing medical, psychological and social services, plus genetic counseling and testing for patients, families and people at risk; the growth of 38 Chapters and Affiliates with more than 200 support groups; and the evolution of the HDSA website and HDSA publications as resources for people with HD, the general public and the medical community.

Johnston continued, "Barbara Boyle has led HDSA to a standing where it is recognized as a unique entity among single-disease non-profits, with its focus on research and care and education. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude for what she's done."

Huntington's Disease is a devastating, hereditary, degenerative brain disorder for which there is, at present, no effective treatment or cure. HD slowly diminishes the affected individual's ability to walk, think, talk and reason. Eventually, the person with HD becomes totally dependent upon others for his or her care. Huntington's Disease profoundly affects the lives of entire families--emotionally, socially and economically. HD typically begins in mid-life, between the ages of 30 and 50, though onset may occur as early as the age of two. Children who develop the juvenile form of the disease rarely live to adulthood. HD affects males and females equally and crosses all ethnic and racial boundaries. Each child of a person with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the fatal gene. Everyone who carries the gene will develop the disease. HD affects as many people as Hemophilia, Cystic Fibrosis or muscular dystrophy.

The Huntington's Disease Society of America includes 38 local chapters and affiliates throughout the United States. HDSA raises funds for its unique HDSA Drug Research Pipeline, made up of the HDSA Coalition for the Cure (basic scientists), CHDI (a virtual translational drug company), which develops potential therapies, and a clinical trials group that promotes and administers clinical trials of promising therapies. HDSA also supports 21 Centers of Excellence at major medical facilities throughout the U.S., where people with HD and their families receive medical, psychological and social services, in addition to physical and occupational therapy, genetic counseling and genetic testing. The Society has over 200 support groups for people with HD, families, caregivers and people at risk, and creates educational materials (digital and print) for the general public as well as medical professionals.

For additional information on Huntington's Disease and HDSA please visit www.hdsa.org or call 1-800-345-HDSA.


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SOURCE Huntington's Disease Society of America
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