Executive Director, Central New York Lyme & Tick-Borne Disease Alliance
Royale Scuderi is an innovative executive director, business management professional, and consultant with more than 15 years of experience in senior strategic leadership roles helping organizations achieve growth and development, identify inefficiencies, cultivate partnerships and improve the quality of business operations.
Her past successes include growth and development of numerous organizations, projects and programs in Central New York and beyond. She is first and foremost a strategic problem-solver, with extensive experience leading both business and non-profit entities. She was named “Chamber Executive of the Year” – 2015 by Governor Andrew Cuomo and has also written on the topics of growth, productivity, goal-achievement and success for American Express Business Open Forum, Lifehack and many other online publications.
Merlin Marrain has 20+ years of experience in hospital and community settings, with hands-on work across diverse communities with varying health needs. She has supervised NYS and federally-funded programs, worked with community agencies, churches and hospitals, hosted health expos and health screenings and lectured on a variety of healthcare topics. An alumna of the University of West Indies (BS) and Grand Canyon University (MPH) and a graduate fellow of the Western and CNY Health Foundation, she most recently served as Director of Prevention Health Services at the Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility.
A Trinidad and Tobago native and the last girl of her mother’s 6 and father’s 19 children, Merlin lives in Syracuse with her husband and 3 children. She loves hiking, crocheting and spending time with her family and God. She lives by Colin Powell’s quote, “Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty and persistence.”
Chancellor/Director of Communications, Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse
Danielle has over 25 years in the area of organizational communications. Skilled in using communication techniques to drive strategies, she has been instrumental in serving as a change agent for the Diocese of Syracuse, a religious corporation that also serves as one of the major employers in CNY covering seven counties. Her strengths lie in strategic planning and communications with an emphasis on crisis communication and training.
Danielle is passionate about improving qualities of life whether it be spiritual, emotional or physical. Past professional roles in alcohol and drug prevention, training and community mobilization have been instrumental in sharpening her interests in public health and collaborative community partnerships.
Wesley Kufel grew up in Syracuse, NY and received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Following graduation, he completed a PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at SUNY Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse and a PGY2 Infectious Diseases Residency at University of North Carolina Medical Center in Chapel Hill, NC.
Wes joined Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences as a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice in 2017. He is also a clinical infectious disease pharmacist at SUNY Upstate University Hospital and is a member of the infectious disease consultation service. He holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Through Wes’s clinical experience, he frequently encounters patients with Lyme disease and has collaborated on research endeavors in various capacities within this area.
Shantina Hines Kyles
Spinal Cord Injury Program Manager
Shantina Hines Kyles MS, BSN, RN, a NYS-licensed registered nurse since 2009, supervises a 40+-member team at the Syracuse VA, having served as Executive Director for assisted living facilities including Bellevue and East Side Manor in Syracuse and a 120-bed facility at Heritage Oaks Retirement Home in Tallahassee, FL. With 12 years of patient care nursing experience and education, her scope of practice includes nursing leadership, orthopedic, post-operative and med-surg care, disease prevention and management of veterans’ complex health care problems.
Shantina holds a BS in Health Care Administration from SUNY Fredonia, a BSN in Nursing from the University of Rochester and a Master of Science from the New School University with a concentration in Health Care Management.
Shantina is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, serving on several committees providing community service. She is also a member of the Circle of Red for the Syracuse Division of the American Heart Association.
MPH, Phd, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Disease Ecology, SUNY-ESF (College of Environmental Science and Forestry)
Brian Leydet has over 10 years’ experience studying ticks and their diseases and a demonstrated history of working in higher education. Skilled in molecular biology, entomology, infectious diseases, small animal models and ecological research, Brian holds a BS and MPH in public health and a PhD in Veterinary Biomedical and Clinical Sciences from Louisiana State University. He was a NIH Ruth Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellow.
Zalie Linn is an accountant and financial consultant with a history of turning business organizations around, improving financial systems, educating stakeholders in business internal controls and practices, reporting and analyzing financial results to lead businesses into the future, setting up budgeting systems and strategies to help businesses grow and prosper.
Board Chair - Chapter Chair, Women Presidents’ Organization, Syracuse I & II and Platinum V Chapter
Anne Messenger is a recognized career strategist, executive coach and facilitator of leadership groups. Owner of Messenger Associates, a career management and human resource consulting firm, for nearly 20 years, Anne is an active community leader, board member and winner of numerous business awards. She is a Wellesley College graduate and a Lyme survivor.
Margaret M. O’Connell is Executive Director of the Allyn Family Foundation, a private family Foundation committed to supporting Central New York. In her role with the Allyn Family Foundation, Meg is spearheading the development of a new building in downtown Syracuse known as the Salt City Market. Meg has served on numerous not-for-profit boards including Planned Parenthood of Rochester/Syracuse, Friends of the Central Library, Skaneateles Library Association, CenterState CEO and Onondaga Community College Board of Trustees. She also served on the Board of Education for the Skaneateles School District. In leadership roles, Meg serves as Chair of the Early Childhood Alliance, Work Train, ABC Cayuga Play Space and as Treasurer of Blueprint 15. She also served as Interim President of Onondaga Community College from 2012-2013.
MD, MTM&H, FACP - Board Medical Director - Assistant Professor of Medicine and Assistant of Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, SUNY Upstate Medical University
Kristopher Paolino, MD, attended the SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine under the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program and was trained at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, becoming board certified in both internal medicine and infectious diseases. He then spent over five years working as a clinician researcher at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, serving as Chief of the Clinical Trials Center (CTC) and overseeing the over 24 clinical trials to include first site to vaccinate a patient with the current leading Ebola vaccine, as well as several other leading vaccine candidates against tropical disease treats. He is currently on the faculty at Upstate Medical University (Upstate), faculty mentor for the university’s Resident Research Council and Director of Clinical Research at the Upstate Institute for Global Health and Translational Sciences. He has developed a clinical and research interest in Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
Director, Community Engagement, St. Joseph’s Health
Brandiss Pearson is a community engagement director with 15+ years of progressive health care, education, advocacy and leadership experience. Current doctoral candidate with research focused on well-being for leaders from a specific marginalized group.
MD, FACP, ABIHM - Founder and Physician-Owner, Integrative Medicine of Central New York, PC
Heidi S. Puc, MD, FACP, ABIHM, is a Lyme-literate, ILADS trained MD who treats using integrative approaches to tick-borne diseases, cancer, other chronic diseases, and wellness and prevention. She is board-certified in adult oncology and hematology, with integrative medicine training through Scripps Clinic and Dr. Andrew Weil’s University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Fellowship.
Board Vice Chair
Kathryn Ruscitto is a retired CEO using that experience in supporting boards, community collaborations, and startups.
She is passionate about using the economic power of organizations to address community problems and connecting donors, leaders and organizations.
Director, Center for Civic Engagement, SUNY Upstate Medical University
Simone Seward has over 15 years of public health experience in the planning, management and evaluation of health promotion and disease prevention programs at the federal, state, and local level. Specialized in addressing health disparities among women, infants and children through systems-thinking and population-based strategies.
Professor with over 20 years of tick-borne disease research experience, and one of the world’s leading experts on tick-borne viruses and biology of TBD transmission. Innovative administrator and leader with over 9 years of experience in developing and implementing strategic solutions to improve research infrastructure, faculty recruitment and research funding.
Stephen J. Thomas, MD is a senior physician, scientist, organizational leader and entrepreneur. Dr. Thomas has biomedical research and development (R&D) expertise with a proven 16-year track record demonstrating highly effective, innovative and strategic leadership of projects, programs and institutions. His focus is on infectious disease medical countermeasure development, biopreparednes and global health security.