Welcome to The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation web site!

Dedicated to bettering the lives, support networks, and medical care of those affected by aneurysm and other types of vascular malformation of the brain.

Click Here to make a donation online to The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation to help further our efforts with research, education and support for brain aneurysms, arterviovenous and cavernous malformations
TAAF - Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is composed of members of the Medical, Donor, Caregiver, and Survivor Communities.

Board Officers
Co-Presidents Spencer Kaitz
Lisa Hannegan, MS, NP
Secretary Bobbi Lynn Jones
Interim Treasurer Lisa Hannegan

Board Attorneys

Roberta Kaitz      
Bobbi Lynn Jones 
Executive Director Angela Shing
Board of Directors
Special Events Co-Chairs Maria O’Reilly
Fred Nelson     
Patient Support Services Chair Stephanie Schaffer
Pediatrics Chair Heather Fullerton, MD
Research Grants Chair Nerissa Ko, MD
Strategic Planning Chair Wade S. Smith, MD, PhD
Website Chair Michael Lawton, MD
Board Members-at-Large

Monica Kaitz, MD
Alex Nguyen
Helen Kim, MPH, PhD

Advisory Board

Jalen Brick
Grant Hieshima, MD
Scott Andrew Josephson, MD
Kieran Murphy, MD
Fred Nelson
Charles B. Wilson, MD, MSHA, ScD

Assistant TreasurerDiana Kaitz
Community Engagement Manager Dina Chon

Spencer R. Kaitz, Co-President

Mr. Kaitz is an attorney and for 32 years, President of the California Cable and Telecommunications Association. He has long experience and expertise in administrative and communications law, legislative representation, operation of non-profit organizations, fundraising and interfacing between the private sector and government, financial management. He has founded a successful non-profit foundation dedicated to the advancement of diversity in the management ranks of the cable and telecommunications industry. His dedication to The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation derives from the personal experience of family members who have suffered aneurysms.

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Lisa Hannegan, MS, NP, Co-President

Ms. Hannegan is both a Supervisor and Clinical Nurse Specialist within the Dept. of Neurological Surgery at University of California San Francisco as well as an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSF School of Nursing. In her 25-year nursing career, Ms. Hannegan has worked directly with over 5,000 patients with aneurysms or vascular malformations and brings her considerable expertise to the Foundation. Ms. Hannegan’s motivation to serve as board member is fueled by her appreciation of the challenges faced by cerebrovascular patients, the lessons she has been taught by their lives and her desire to give back to this community.

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Angela Shing, Executive Director

Ms. Shing is a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting LLP. Her primary areas of expertise include change leadership, IT systems implementation and project management focusing within the public sector industry. In 2001 she obtained a Masters degree in Public Policy from the University of Southern California. She has always maintained a strong interest in public sector and non-profit work, and involvement in various community activities. Angela began focusing her energies on brain aneurysm awareness, and promoting avenues of support and connection for caregivers and survivors after the loss of a loved one to a brain aneurysm in 2001.

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Bobbi Lynn Jones, Secretary and Board Attorney

Ms. Jones is an in-house attorney at Moody's KMV, a division of Moody's Analytics, Inc. She specializes in licensing, contract negotiation and intellectual property protection. She obtained a bachelor of laws degree from the University of British Columbia in 1998 and was admitted to the California bar in 2002. Bobbi provides pro bono legal services to a number of non-profit organizations.

Ms. Jones lost her brother Allan to a brain aneurysm in 1996.

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Lisa Hannegan, MS, NP, Interim Treasurer

Read more about Ms. Hannegan above.

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Monica E. Kaitz, MD

Dr. Kaitz is a magna cum laude graduate of Amherst College with concentrations in Geology and French. After her mother suffered an aneurysm, in 2002 she co-founded The Aneurysm Foundation, the precursor to TAAF, along with Dr. Charles Wilson, Dr. Wade Smith and Dr. Clay Johnston. She acted as its Executive Director from 2002 to 2005, created the non-profit corporation, wrote a comprehensive evidence-based educational website on aneurysms and AVMs for the public, and spearheaded the production of a documentary film on aneurysms and AVMs currently airing on PBS. She completed the post-baccalaureate pre-medical program at Johns Hopkins University, medical school at Brown University and is currently in a combined Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine Residency program at UCSF and Kaiser San Francisco. She has enjoyed diverse professional activities from working on the meningitis vaccine for Novartis in Italy to interning with the Chief Medical Officer at the Discovery Channel to surveying vaccine refusal patterns at the Department of Health in New York City. She enjoys scuba diving, dancing, and opera, having studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan.

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Maria O'Reilly, Special Events Co-Chair

Ms. O'Reilly is a professional make up-artist for the TV and Commercial industry. Born and raised in Ireland, she moved to San Francisco in 1997 to pursue her career here in the U.S. In 2005, Ms. O'Reilly discovered five unruptured aneurysms in her brain. She underwent two surgeries to have the five aneurysms clipped and went on to a full recovery. Being an aneurysm survivor herself, Ms. O'Reilly feels strongly about helping other patients and their loved ones.

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Wade S. Smith, MD, PhD, Strategic Planning Chair 

Dr. Smith received his MD from the University of Washington and his PhD in neurophysiology at the same institution in 1989. He came to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989 for residency training in the UCSF Department of Neurology and later completed a critical care medicine fellowship in 1994. He helped establish the UCSF Neurovascular Service assumed its Directorship in 2002.

Dr. Smith is a neurointensivist, a neurologist who is trained in critical care neurology. He directs the UCSF Neurological Intensive Care unit, a 16 bed ICU dedicated to the care and resuscitation of patients with neurological injury. The majority of patients treated at UCSF have diseases of the brain's arteries or veins, including stroke, cerebral aneurysm, and other conditions. Dr. Smith and his colleagues believe that a patient with a neurological problem significant enough to require intensive care deserves treatment by a neurointensivist. Dr. Smith is also expert in stroke and transient ischemic attack and sees patients as well in the outpatient clinic. Dr. Smith has been voted as one of the Best Doctors in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last 5 years by San Francisco Focus Magazine, and UCSF Medical Center now ranks #5 in the nation for Neurology and Neurosurgery by US News and World Report. He helped found the UCSF Academy of Medical Educators, an ambitious organization founded to foster and promote excellent teachers of medical students. Nationally, he helped found the Neurocritical Care Society, to establish training standards across America to help train the next generation of neurointensivists.

Dr. Smith's research interests include cerebral aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage, including the treatment of cerebral aneurysm and establishing centers of excellence for aneurysm treatment. He is intimately involved in research on brain imaging of a patient while they are having a stroke using CT angiography and CT perfusion. He received a major AHQR grant ($2.1M- 10% effort) for the study of the utility of CT imaging in acute stroke, and recently a $365,000 grant for a study to prevent intracranial stent stenosis. Additionally, he has focused on researching the causes of stroke in young people, and published a major paper implicating chiropractic neck manipulation as a cause of stroke in young people. Currently, he has published over 30 scientific papers in the field of stroke and neurological intensive care.

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Michael Lawton, MD, Website Chair

Michael Lawton, MD is the Tong-Po Kan Endowed Chair, Professor of Neurological Surgery, and Vice-Chairman of the department at the University of California, San Francisco. He is chief of vascular neurosurgery, specializing in the surgical treatment of aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, arteriovenous fistulas, cavernous malformations, and cerebral revascularization, including carotid endarterectomy. As chief of one of the busiest cerebrovascular service on the west coast for over 17 years, he has experience in surgically treating over 3,500 brain aneurysms and over 650 AVMs. He is also trained in the endovascular treatment of aneurysms.

Dr. Lawton directs and conducts his research at the UCSF Center for Cerebrovascular Research (CCR), a collaborative research group funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health that investigates the physiology of cerebral circulation and the pathophysiology of vascular malformations. His basic science investigations study the formation, underlying genetics, and rupture of brain AVMs, as well as the hemodynamics, rupture, and computational modeling of brain aneurysms. His clinical investigations study the anatomy of microsurgical approaches to vascular lesions and efficacy of aneurysm, AVM, and bypass surgery. He is the principle investigator of a U54 grant and program director of the Brain Vascular Malformation Consortium (BVMC), a multicenter group studying malformations associated with Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia, cavernous malformations, and Sturge Weber Syndrome.

He has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles, over 50 book chapters, and 3 textbooks, including Seven AVMs: Tenets and Techniques for Resection and Seven Aneurysms: Tenets and Techniques for Clipping, which has won numerous awards. His awards include the Young Neurosurgeon Award from the World Federation of Neurological Societies, the Harold Rosegay Teaching Award, and the Diane Ralston Clinical and Basic Science Teaching Award. He has given over 500 invited lectures nationally and internationally, including visiting professorships at over 40 neurosurgical institutions. He has been active in resident teaching courses, directing the CNS Anatomy Course for Senior Residents, developing and co-directing the AANS Vascular Skills Course, and directing industry-sponsored anatomy courses and teaching programs for residents nationally and internationally to observe vascular neurosurgery. He co-founded Mission: BRAIN, a teaching mission to raise the level of neurosurgical technique practiced in developing countries, and has conducted missions in Mexico and the Philippines.

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Scott Andrew Josephson, MD, Advisory Board

Dr. S. Andrew Josephson is a neurologist who specializes in neurovascular and other neurologic disorders. At UCSF, he cares for general neurology and stroke patients in the hospital as well as in clinic. He is the Director of the UCSF Neurohospitalist Program and Fellowship, and Medical Director of Inpatient Neurology. He holds the Carmen Castro Franceschi and Gladyne K. Mitchell Neurohospitalist Distinguished Professorship.

After graduating from Stanford University, Dr. Josephson earned his medical degree at Washington University in Saint Louis. He completed an internship in internal medicine and a residency in neurology at UCSF, where he was chief resident. He also completed fellowships in neurovascular neurology (stroke) and behavioral neurology at UCSF. He is an associate professor of neurology and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Neurology.

Dr. Josephson's research interests include improving models of inpatient neurologic care, quality and safety in hospitalized patients, neurologic education, delirium, and the contribution of stroke to dementia.

Dr. Josephson has won numerous teaching awards from medical students and residents at UCSF including being selected to present the keynote speech for the School of Medicine Commencement; the Henry J. Kaiser Award for Excellence in Teaching; the Academic Senate Distinction in Teaching Award, and the Robert Layzer Golden Toe Award for resident teaching.

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Kieran Murphy, MD

Dr. Kieran J. Murphy graduated from The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1986, completed residency in diagnostic radiology at the Albany Medical Center, NY, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He completed a fellowship in neuroradiology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a fellowship in interventional neuroradiology at the University of Geneve, Switzerland. He was head of Neuroradiology and Director of Research at Albany Medical Center, NY before moving to Johns Hopkins as Director of Interventional Neuroradiology.

His research interests are in neurovascular imaging and image guided brain and spine interventions. He is the author of over 100 papers, 12 computer programs, and several book chapters.

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Heather Fullerton, MD, Pediatrics Chair

After graduating summa cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Heather Fullerton earned a medical degree at Baylor College of Medicine. She completed residency in pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco, followed by a residency and fellowship in child neurology. While a child neurology fellow, she developed an interest in neurovascular diseases in children, performing studies on the epidemiology of childhood stroke. In July 2002, Fullerton joined the child neurology staff at UCSF Children's Hospital, where she completed a vascular neurology fellowship. In 2006 she established the UCSF Pediatric Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease Center and serves as its director. Fullerton's current projects include identifying risk factors for recurrent childhood stroke, studying blood vessel abnormalities or arteriopathies in children with stroke and determining if infection plays a role in childhood stroke. 

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Nerissa Ko, MD, Research Grants Chair

Dr. Nerissa Ko is a neurointensivist, or a neurologist with critical care training, who specializes in the care of hospital patients undergoing neurovascular treatment. She earned her medical degree at John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii. She completed residency in neurology and fellowships in critical care medicine and neurocritical care at UCSF Medical Center. She is a member of several medical associations, including the American Heart Association, Neurocritical Care Society and Bay Area Stroke Society. Ko's research interests include the study of clinical outcomes of patients who suffer from subarachnoid hemorrhages. 

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Charles B. Wilson, MD, MSHA, ScD, Advisory Board

Dr. Wilson is Professor Emeritus of Neurosurgery at UCSF, a Senior Fellow in the Institute for the Future, and a Senior Advisor in the Health Technology Center. He obtained his medical degree and neurosurgical training at Tulane University before coming to the University of California in San Francisco. For 25 years he served as Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and Director of the Brain Tumor Research Center at UCSF.

In 1996 he obtained a Masters degree in Health Administration. He has authored 600 scientific publications and is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He serves on the Governing Board of the Tulane University Health Sciences Center and Tulane University’s Board of Administrators.

The Institute for the Future is a long-range forecasting organization located in Menlo Park, which he joined in 1997. As a member of the Health Care Team his areas of expertise are emerging medical technologies, academic medical centers, the health care workforce, and the impact of genomic medicine on health and health care. The Health Technology Center, where he functions as a Senior Advisor, is located in San Francisco. The Center creates forecasts of future medical technologies and the impact of their introduction into the health care system. In addition, he co-directs HTC’s Hospital and Health Care Environments of the Future project for designing hospitals and other health care delivery facilities to make optimal use of future medical technologies.

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Helen Kim, MPH, PhD, Board Member-at-Large

As an Associate Professor in residence in the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care at UCSF, Dr. Kim’s research focuses on identifying risk factors that predispose younger individuals to stroke and cardiovascular disease. Currently, her group is studying the genetic epidemiology of hemorrhagic stroke and modifiers of outcome after hemorrhage or treatment in patients with brain vascular malformations. She collaborates closely with a multidisciplinary group of investigators at the UCSF Center for Cerebrovascular Research, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Duke University, and the University of New Mexico. Several large case-cohort studies of brain arteriovenous malformations, subarachnoid hemorrhage, cerebral cavernous malformations, and hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) are underway. Her additional research interests include investigating approaches for population stratification, multivariate phenotypes, admixture mapping, and gene-gene and gene-environment interactions.

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Alex T. Nguyen, Board Member-at-Large

Mr. Nguyen is a cum laude graduate of the University of California Los Angeles in Political Science with concentrations in International Relations, Global Studies, and Classical Civilization. He was a founding member of the Pediatric AIDS Coalition at UCLA and served as the Assistant Director for Dance Marathon, the largest student-run philanthropic event on the West Coast. His other experience in the non-profit sector includes educational outreach at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and volunteer coordination at AIDS Walk San Francisco. He currently chairs the Auxiliary Board at Young Audiences of Northern California.

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