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 & President

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.

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

Vice President

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.

Joseph Silla

Treasurer

Joseph Silla is a registered representative of West Pac Wealth. With ten years of experience in the Financial Services Industry, Joseph and his team have been helping their clients with the guidance they need to reach their retirement, investment, estate, and business planning goals. Joseph is also experienced in business development, market research, and financial service industries. He has built new and existing relationships to expand the technologies for that environment. His goal is to provide the same service and expertise to his clients in the financial services industry and always advocates for his clients.

Michael Similie, MBA

Board Member

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.

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.

Tobias K. Boehm, DDS, PhD

Dr. Boehm is a university professor, researcher and periodontist, and interested in improving access to health care and fostering collaboration across health care disciplines. He obtained his dental degree and Ph.D. in oral biology at the University at Buffalo. As husband of Mrs. Boehm, he observed firsthand where the aspirations of current epilepsy care differ from reality. Dr. Boehm supports the mission of The Defeating Epilepsy Foundation through his experience in research, health care, statistics and information technology.

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.

Project Directors

Dr. Sharon Elza Raju, BDS, LSSGB, PMEC

PACES Director

An internationally trained dentist, Dr. Sharon started off as the Covid-19 Health Ambassador in June of 2020, and is currently the Covid-19 Health Coordinator at the University of New Haven. She is responsible for managing the testing site on campus and report the results to the State of Connecticut. She has clinical experience of over three years in the field of dentistry and is a dedicated healthcare professional. Dr. Raju was chosen among the top 100 Covid-19 Contact Tracers for the State of Connecticut in July of 2020, and continues to do a commendable job in managing the cases, by helping the department of public health. She believes in prioritizing her patient's health and concerns, and works on making a difference for the community. During the summer, she worked on a number of projects with Yale-New Haven Health, one of the most famous health systems in the US. She is very determined and is honored to be joining The Defeating Epilepsy Foundation as the Project Manager for the PACES program which will bring a great difference in the lives of people dealing with epilepsy.

Scholarship Committee

Christopher Lynn

Chris was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy after having his first seizure at three years old. Chris attended the University of Alabama Honors College and earned a bachelor’s in business administration. After graduation, Chris underwent a selective amygdalohippocampectomy to help gain control of his seizures. Along with our scholarship committee, Chris helps to create educational material for our members and help finding potential sponsors to support our work.

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 disability rights activist. In ninth grade she was diagnosed with epilepsy due to being in a bus crash. 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. and Gannett, Inc. in Boston where she focuses on local politics as well as 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.

Roslyn Headshot Color (1)

Roslyn Rawlings

Roslyn’s daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 12 years old. Her daughter’s condition quickly deteriorated into daily life-threatening seizures. Finding the right treatment and solutions to solving her daughter’s epilepsy was difficult. After much advocacy for more testing, a brain tumor was discovered as the cause of her daughter’s seizures. The brain tumor was successfully surgically removed and now her daughter remains seizure free. Roslyn has gone on to serve the epilepsy community in different capacities. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of Bleuberi a secure mobile health app and data collection portal that allows those living with epilepsy to better manage their condition. She is the former Board Chairperson of Epilepsy Education Everywhere, is a Community Board Member of The Brain Recovery Project, and over the years has given support to fellow caregivers as Co-Admin to two epilepsy social media forums Parents of Children with Frontal Lobe Seizures and Parents of Children with Absence Seizures with over 10,000 members. Roslyn understands the educational and financial hardships of those living with epilepsy. She is pleased to help The Defeating Epilepsy Foundation be part of a solution to support those in pursuit of educational opportunities.