About Defeating Epilepsy

The Defeating Epilepsy Foundation® was founded by Natalie Boehm. Natalie was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of two due to a traumatic brain injury. Despite developing epilepsy, Natalie went on to complete her education and find gainful employment. Natalie strongly feels that despite having epilepsy, there is no reason for her not to be productive and wants others with epilepsy to see that they can do the same. This is what she had to say:

I decided to create The Defeating Epilepsy Foundation® when I realized that despite advances in research and treatment for epilepsy, the stigma remained. The stigma that is felt at a global level needs to be addressed and we need to do what we can to get rid of it. Through education and advocacy, it is my goal to help others do just that. I encourage individuals with epilepsy to advocate for themselves and find a supportive doctor who will advocate for them as well. I hid for many years my epilepsy despite being seizure free for years due to the fear I would lose my job and not be able to get my medication to survive. Hiding what I have gone though would only allow the stigma to continue. It is through my life experience with epilepsy I hope to help others not to allow the stigma to haunt them. My goal is to network and connect to others worldwide who are ready to advocate and work together to defeat epilepsy.” – Natalie Boehm.

We encourage individuals with epilepsy to share their stories and allow us to support them on what is a very difficult journey at times. We are here to provide support to individuals, families, and caregivers who are all effected by epilepsy. Through education and advocacy, our team is working to put together the projects needed to make this happen. We are here to help you in every way we can. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at info@defeatingepilepsy.org. Thank you for your support and together we will defeat epilepsy.

Our Mission

At The Defeating Epilepsy Foundation®, our mission is to provide the advocacy and educational resources needed to the epilepsy community and our society. We are dedicated to removing the stigma associated with epilepsy and help to create opportunities for individuals battling epilepsy.

Our Vision

We are striving to help remove the stigma associated with epilepsy and create opportunities for all individuals battling epilepsy.

Our Core Values

Collaboration

At The Defeating Epilepsy Foundation®, we strive to collaborate with other organizations to help bring services needed to the epilepsy community. We are partnered with organizations that help with education, affordable housing, workforce development, and more.

Integrity

The Defeating Epilepsy Foundation® knows the importance of honesty, morals, and ethical behavior. We are here to serve the community in a professional and ethical manner.

Inclusiveness

Individuals with epilepsy should not have to feel excluded or marginalized in society. The Defeating Epilepsy Foundation® works to help provide equal access and resources for individuals with epilepsy.

Service

The Defeating Epilepsy Foundation® works to provide service to the epilepsy community. We strive to make sure the work we do for others helps them and has a positive impact. We are dedicated to the epilepsy community to help remove the stigma associated with epilepsy and help create opportunities.

Our Team

Board of Directors

Natalie L. Boehm, MBA, RBLP-T

Founder and President

Natalie is the founder of The Defeating Epilepsy Foundation®. Her passion is to help remove the stigma that is associated with epilepsy and help individuals, families, and caregivers battling epilepsy live happy, healthy, and productive lives. She obtained her Masters of Business Administration through the University of Redlands. Through education and advocacy, Natalie networks with those in the non-profit and for-profit sectors to help fundraise and make resources needed for people with epilepsy available.

Amanda Ghyst, MBA

Vice President

Amanda Ghyst is a data analytics manager and the president of Evolve Lyfe. She is a passionate advocate for individuals with epilepsy and neurodivergent conditions. Amanda is dedicated to helping those with disabilities and differences have access to gainful employment. She obtained her MBA from the University of Redlands.

William Chesnutt, LSSMBB, MAM, MBA, RBLP-T

Treasurer

William Chesnutt is the Founder & CEO of Strategic Development Group LLC, offering management consulting, learning and development, and small business mentoring to government agencies, public and private for profit companies, and nonprofit organizations. He also is a Project Engineer for RailWorks Track Services Inc. in Santa Fe Springs, CA. He holds an MBA from the University of Redlands, a MAM with a concentration in Organizational Leadership from American Military University, and Graduate Certificates in Human Capital Leadership and Logistics Management from American Military University. He is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and a Resilience-Building Leadership Professional – Trainer. He is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a small business mentor with SCORE. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Business Administration with a concentration in Organizational Leadership and Development at Capella University.

Brooke McBay

Board Member

"Inspired by chronic illness and integrated health care, Brooke McBay has pursued a career supporting others to meet their personal and professional goals. As a recent graduate from Loma Linda University, Brooke attained her master of science in Marriage and Family Therapy, specializing in Medical Family Therapy. Through this, she has worked with hundreds of patients in diagnosing, treating, and managing mental illness and promoting mental wellness. Brooke has extensive experience working with children, adolescents, chronic illness, and health care. Brooke began her work with our foundation during her undergraduate career at the University of Redlands where she achieved her bachelor's in Psychology. With over three years working for our foundation, she has demonstrated her passion for changing lives for individuals with epilepsy. Brooke has traveled to over 23 countries, speaks two languages, and is passionate about increasing the accessibility of mental health services for all communities. We look forward to seeing what she can contribute to our foundation."

Chris Lynn

Chris Lynn

Board Member

Chris Lynn is an MBA student at the Kelly School of Business at the University of Indiana. Chris obtained a bachelor’s in business administration at the University of Alabama Honors College. Chris was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy after having his first seizure at three years old. After graduating from college, Chris underwent a selective amygdalohippocampectomy to help gain control of his seizures. Along with serving on our board, Chris is a member of our scholarship committee and the creator of our YouTube channel. Chris aims to bring awareness to epilepsy, help educate others about epilepsy, and create opportunities for those battling epilepsy.

Executive Director

Tobias Konrad Boehm, DDS, PhD, DABP

Dr. Boehm is a board-certified periodontist and researcher with an interest in effects of epilepsy and anti-seizure medications on oral health. He has a passion for reducing barriers to dental care for individuals with complex medical conditions, and has taught students and provided advanced dental treatments for low cost at Western University of Health Sciences.

Advisory Board

Dr. Ilya Bragin

Dr. Bragin is a dual board certified Neurologist and Interventional Pain Specialist passionate about providing the best care in treating neurological disease, combating pain and optimizing brain performance. He utilizes his economics, research and analytics background to coordinate systems of care, optimize workflow and improve patient safety and hospital quality. He currently co-directs the inpatient neurology service at St. Luke’s University Health Network, an 11 hospital network covering with a hybrid coverage model including multiple physicians, advanced practitioners and a robust in-house tele-medicine service. He serves as a key core faculty member of the newly established neurology residency program and plays a major role in designing trainees inpatient experience. He is also a proud advocate for the field of neurology and patients suffering from neurological disease.

Dr. Ian Bone

Dr. Ian Bone is a retired clinical neurologist with over 30 years of experience. Along with caring for patients, Dr. Bone has a son who has epilepsy. He is passionate about removing the unnecessary fear and stigma that is associated with epilepsy and help those battling epilepsy live a better quality of life. Dr. Bone is the author of Sacred Lives: An account of the history, cultural associations, and social impact of epilepsy.

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Michael Simile, MBA

Michael Simile is a former senior advisor and consultant at Moreno Valley Investment Corporation. Michael has over sixteen years experience specializing in small to medium size business consulting. Michael’s experience also includes non-profit consulting and currently sits on several other non-profit foundation boards. Michael holds an MBA from the University of Redlands. Michael’s personal experience with his own Mother’s long-term disease before she passed away gave him the true sense of how a disease can effect not only that individual, but all those that surround them. Michael’s true passion is to advocate for individuals that have been affected by disease or severe illness, their families, and their caregivers all of whom are effected by the disease or illness. Michael firmly believes the word “disability” should be taken out of the English language because he only sees the human ability and spirit in people and not the disability in everyone he meets.

Riaz Tejani School of Business Associate Professor of Business Ethics. Photographed on January 27, 2020 by Coco McKown.

Riaz Tejani, J.D., Ph.D

Dr. Riaz Tejani is an Associate Professor at the University of Redlands. He holds a JD from the University of Southern California, an PhD from Princeton University, and is a Member of the State Bar of California. Riaz is the author of two books on law, business ethics, and society. His writings have been cited and reviewed in publications from the Harvard Law Review and Yale Law Journal Forum to the Nation, Salon, Inside Higher Ed, NPR, and PBS.

Scholarship Committee

Christopher Lynn

Chris Lynn is an MBA student at the Kelly School of Business at the University of Indiana. Chris obtained a bachelor’s in business administration at the University of Alabama Honors College. Chris was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy after having his first seizure at three years old. After graduating from college, Chris underwent a selective amygdalohippocampectomy to help gain control of his seizures. Along with serving on our board, Chris is a member of our scholarship committee and is the creator of our YouTube channel. Chris’ goal is to bring awareness to epilepsy, help educate others about epilepsy, and create opportunities for those battling epilepsy.

Dr. Spee Scholarship committee

James C. Spree, PhD.

Dr. Spee is a professor of strategy, sustainable business, and entrepreneurship at the University of Redlands. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle. His MBA and PhD in management are from the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. Dr. Spee’s current research includes the discovery of unmet needs among high school Career and Technical Education teachers and coordinators as well as a project related to airport electrification and charging stations for ground equipment.

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Mary Ellen Gambon

Mary Ellen Gambon is a journalist and a disability rights activist. In ninth grade she was in a bus crash and was diagnosed with epilepsy in 1990. Despite her accident and diagnosis, she earned a full-tuition academic scholarship to Boston University where she pursued a dual bachelor’s degree program in journalism and political science. She also participated in the Washington Internship Program twice, where she covered stories for major daily newspapers for 38 states on Congress. Upon graduation, Mary Ellen earned a Pulliam Fellowship, one of 10 graduating journalism students nationwide to earn that distinction. She later went on to earn a Master of Science in Public Administration from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Mary Ellen has built a solid career in community journalism over the past 25 years and has served in state and city government as a legislative aide, press secretary, and research assistant. Mary Ellen currently works for Bulletin Newspapers, Inc. in Boston and Norwood, Massachusetts and The Hopkinton Independent in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, where she focuses on local politics, education and issues relating to disabilities. Mary Ellen is happy to work with The Defeating Epilepsy Foundation® as her passion is to educate and motivate others through her life experiences.

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Aaliyah Ellison-McPeters

Aaliyah Ellison-McPeters is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Spelman College from Las Vegas, Nevada, majoring in Biology on the pre-nursing track. Her passion lies in women's health, reproductive care, and justice; she believes in the importance of equitable healthcare access for all women. This conviction drives her involvement in community service and advocacy efforts. Her ultimate goal is to become a leading advocate and professional in this field, contributing to a brighter future for women's reproductive healthcare and rights.

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Catherine Joachin

Catherine Joachin is currently pursuing a master's degree in Applied Neuroscience at King's College London in Canada. She has been volunteering with The Defeating Epilepsy Foundation since the fall of 2022. She has contributed many articles on epilepsy and various neurodivergent conditions. Her long-term goal is to contribute to Parkinson's and Huntington's disease research.

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Hongyue (Connie) Zhan

Connie Zhan is an undergraduate student at the University of California at Irvine. Connie is majoring in microbiology and immunology. She is involved in student government and is the founder and president of the Forensic Club. Along with being on our scholarship committee, Connie helps translate educational information for our Chinese YouTube channel, making it possible for many to learn about epilepsy. Connie thrives on improving herself and helping others. In her free time, Connie enjoys being with her pet turtle, crocheting, and going to sports games.

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Andrew Yee

Andrew Yee is a second-year Biology major at the University of California, Riverside. His career goal is to become a physician with a specialty in sports medicine. Outside of The Defeating Epilepsy Foundation, Andrew is associated with multiple organizations, such as COPE health scholars, Inland Empire Street Medicine, and the Dynamic Genome Outreach Group. Andrew is a Science Ambassador and Peer Aide for the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. By being part of our team, Andrew’s goal is to help the social justice cause for those with epilepsy while contributing towards equitable health care within his various positions throughout the Inland Empire.