Advisory Councils & Leadership
CORPORATE ADVISORY COUNCIL
The members of our Corporate Advisory Council provide collective input on IGT’s priorities and engagement activities.
PATIENT ADVOCACY ADVISORY COUNCIL
Patient advocates across a number of diseases contribute important perspectives that help ensure patients’ interests are at the center of our work.
Khrystal Davis, Rare Disease Advocate, Mother of son w/SMA, Founder of Texas Rare Alliance
Jenn McNary, Patient Advocate & Consultant, Founder, One Rare
Seth Rotberg, TEDx Speaker and Huntington's Disease Patient Advocate
Rolf Benirschke, Survivor and Patient Advocate Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Colorectal & Bladder Cancer
SCIENTIFIC, ACADEMIC & MEDICAL COUNCIL
The transformative and technical nature of gene therapies requires that healthcare providers, researchers and scientists lend their expertise and experience to the conversation.
Erik Paulsen Chairman
Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-3) served from 2009 to 2019 as a leading member on the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over healthcare, economic, and trade policy. Erik currently serves as Chairman of the Institute for Gene Therapies, a 501(c)(4) that brings together experts across the healthcare system to advocate for a modernized policy framework that encourages transformative innovations, promotes patient access, and codifies transparent reimbursement practices.
As a Member of Congress, Erik was the Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee focusing on innovation, entrepreneurship, digital trade, and other key economic issues. Erik also served as Co-Chair of the House Medical Technology Caucus and is a passionate advocate for innovative life science and medical technologies, the benefits they provide to patients, and the hundreds of thousands of jobs they support.
In addition, Erik was a member of the Deputy Whip Team and Co-Chaired the Digital Trade Caucus and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Caucus to promote international trade.
Prior to his service in Congress, Erik was a member of the Minnesota State Legislature, where he served as House Majority Leader. Erik has over 16 years of business experience, including working as a business analyst at Target Corporation. He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from St. Olaf College and resides in Eden Prairie with his wife and their four daughters.
Michael Capaldi is Executive Director for the Institute for Gene Therapies. Prior to this role, Michael completed a 22-year career at Sanofi, a global leader in pharmaceuticals, vaccines and biologics, where he acquired a broad set of experiences across multiple therapeutic areas. His career included roles in public affairs leadership across diabetes, cardiovascular, oncology, cell & organ transplant, joint health and consumer health divisions.
Michael has also shared his time and expertise in a number of other roles benefiting the healthcare community. From 2006 to 2012, he served on the board of the Society of Pharmaceutical & Biotech Trainers, now L-TEN, and acted as President in 2011 and 2012.
Michael has a bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University and earned a master’s in education for corporate training & knowledge management.
Donna Christian-Christensen, M.D.
Chair, Scientific , Academic and Medical Council
The Honorable. Donna M. Christensen is the Chair of the IGT Scientific , Academic and Medical Council. Donna retired from the U S House of Representatives in 2015 where she served nine terms (18 years). She is the first female physician to serve as a Member in the history of the U.S Congress. In the 111th, 112th and 113th Congress, Donna served on the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Among other subcommittee assignments, she served on its Subcommittee on Health during healthcare reform. She also served on Committee on Homeland Security, the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Small Business. Donna chaired the Congressional Black Caucus’ Health Braintrust for 16 years. She practiced family medicine and served in several public health administrative positions prior to her election to Congress in 1996. She recently established the Christensen Institute for Community Health and Empowerment. Donna is the recipient of several honorary degrees and awards. She sits on several other boards and serves as a public health advisor to the Virgin Islands Department of Health.
Director of Health Policy & Advocacy, Institute for Gene Therapies
Before joining IGT, John was an Associate Principal in Avalere’s Center for Healthcare Transformation. During his time at Avalere, John focused on public policy issues related to prescription drug coverage and reimbursement and the value-based transformation of the US health care system. He worked closely with life sciences companies, providers, suppliers, and trade associations on issues related to Medicare and Medicaid, federal health policy, and drug pricing and reimbursement among others.
John previously was a Senior Managing Associate at Dentons US LLP, where he counseled clients on the impact of federal health policy, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicare Modernization Act (MMA).
John has a Juris Doctor from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Boston College.
Director of Federal Affairs
Kenny Hodge currently serves as the Director of Federal Affairs for the Institute for Gene Therapies. In this role he leads IGT’s Capitol Hill government affairs strategies in order to advance gene therapy issues with federal lawmakers. Throughout his career, Kenny has gained extensive experience achieving oversight and legislative victories related to the FDA user fee programs, public health and federal research programs, and Medicare and Medicaid access challenges.
Kenny has also been featured as a public speaker to discuss issue-based advocacy campaigns for groups including the American-European Congress of Ophthalmic Surgeons, the We Work for Health initiative, and Columbia University’s School of Public Health.