Chordoma Foundation

Board Committees

Board committees provide ongoing oversight and strategic planning for the Foundation’s key functional areas. They include both Chordoma Foundation directors and external advisers who provide expertise and perspective in subjects relevant to the business of the committee.


Board members

External advisor

Mark Ricca

Mark Ricca

Mark A. Ricca, CPA is a graduate of Providence College and partner of the Darien, Connecticut accounting firm Walter, Berlingo & Co. Mark works with high net worth individuals providing tax, business, investment, and strategic advice, particularly in the area of family succession planning. Mark has been involved in non-profit endeavors in his local community as a member of finance and audit committees and is active in a number of the leading professional associations including the AICPA, CSCPA, Florida Board of Accountancy, and the Estate Planning Council of Fairfield County. Mark currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Fieldpoint Private, a private bank and trust company headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut. Mark is a member of Fieldpoint Private’s Audit Committee and is Chair of the Compensation Committee. Mark and his wife Linda live in Wilton, Connecticut and have two grown children; Amanda and Alana. 


Board members

External advisers

Kurt Bachman, PhD

Kurt Bachman leads a group of scientists at Janssen Research & Development (R&D) that supports data collection, integration, and translation across R&D with the goal of identifying novel disease mechanisms to drive early drug development and treatment strategies. After receiving his PhD in Molecular Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of medicine with a focus on cancer epigenetics, he did his postdoctoral training at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center with a focus on cancer genetics. He also spent time as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, and as the Head of Translational Sciences, Molecular Medicine Unit at GlaxoSmithKline. Kurt’s niece, Alli, was diagnosed with chordoma in 2013 and is now living the life of a typical teenage girl with a bright future.

Patient Services

Board members

External advisers

Yen-Lin Chen, MD

Dr. Yen-Lin Chen is a board-certified radiation oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and completed her internal medicine internship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and radiation oncology residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Chen has cared for many chordoma patients in her more than 10 years with the multidisciplinary Stephan L. Harris Center for Chordoma Care at MGH and more recently as a member of the Cancer Survivorship research team at MGH. She is the principal investigator of the MGH Sarcoma Data Repository of more than 13,500 cases, with a focus on sarcoma outcomes, clinical trials, translational research, and survivorship. She also chairs an NCI/CTEP sponsored National Clinical Trials Network trial in intermediate-high risk sarcomas. Her clinical interests include sarcomas, chordoma, proton therapy, novel combinations of sensitizing agents with radiation therapy, using functional imaging to improve tumor targeting and response monitoring, intraoperative radiation therapy, and brachytherapy.

Karen Cox, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Karen Cox is President of Chamberlain University. Previous to this appointment, she served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Children’s Mercy – Kansas City. Children’s Mercy is an independent, nonprofit 367-bed pediatric health system, providing more than half a million patient encounters yearly with total revenues of $1.25 billion. She holds the inaugural V. Fred Burry, MD, and Sandra Hobart Burry Chair in Nursing Advocacy and Leadership. Dr. Cox’s clinical background was pediatric hematology/oncology/bone marrow transplant. She was one of the first certified pediatric hematology oncology nurses in the US. She recently served as Board Chair of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, a $400 million foundation promoting quality healthcare for the underserved. Dr. Cox is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). She is also a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing where she serves as President Elect (2016–2017) and President (2015–2019). Her nephew was diagnosed with chordoma in 2015.

Sasha E. Knowlton, MD

Sasha Knowlton, MD

Dr. Knowlton is an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Medical Director of Cancer Rehabilitation at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. She received her medical degree at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She attended residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network/Harvard Medical School, where she served as Chief Resident, followed by a fellowship in Cancer Rehabilitation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Knowlton is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Her clinical and research interests are in cancer rehabilitation, with the goal of improving the function and quality of life of cancer patients during all aspects of cancer treatment and survivorship.

Paula Song, PhD

Paula H. Song, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining the faculty at UNC-CH, she was an Associate Professor at the Ohio State University. Dr. Song’s research interests and publications focus on financial aspects in healthcare management and policy and their effects on the delivery and utilization of healthcare services. Dr. Song received her Ph.D. in health services organization and policy from the University of Michigan. She also holds a Master of Health Services Administration as well as a Masters of Arts in Applied Economics, both from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania.


Board members

External advisers

Joel Beckman

Joel Beckman is a Managing Partner of Greenbriar Equity Group LLC, a private equity fund. Prior to founding Greenbriar, Mr. Beckman spent 18 years at Goldman Sachs, where he was a Managing Director and Partner. He is also a Director of Hexcel Corporation, a Senior Trustee and member of the Investment Committee of the University of Rochester, a Director of Stepping Stone Day School for handicapped children, a member of the Metropolitan Council on Poverty and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law. Mr. Beckman was diagnosed with chordoma in 2009.

Anne Noel Dawson

Joe Villinski

Joe Villinski is a Principal at Xseed Fundraising Solutions where he delivers strategies, programs, and results that create short- and long-term organizational growth opportunities. He also currently works with both national and local nonprofit clients as a Fundraising Expert with DonorPath. As a hands-on fundraising and communications professional, Joe has driven nonprofit organization growth since 2003. Joe is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, has a background in journalism, and holds a Master’s Degree in Education. He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Association of Consultants to Nonprofits, and an award-winning writer. Based in Chicago, he is a married father of two, and is proud and grateful his father-in-law’s battle with clival chordoma in 2013 resulted in a positive outcome.

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