Immune Deficiency Foundation Names Dr. Richard C. Birkel as the New President; Visionary Leader to Take Organization to New Heights

Aug 16, 2004, 01:00 ET from Immune Deficiency Foundation

    TOWSON, Md., Aug. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Immune Deficiency Foundation
 (IDF) announced today that its Board of Trustees named Richard C. Birkel,
 Ph.D., as the new President.  He brings more than 30 years of leadership
 experience in nonprofit human services management, academia and government to
 IDF.  Dr. Birkel succeeds Tom Moran who stepped down in November 2003 to lead
 the IDF's for profit subsidiary Primaryimmune Services Inc.  Jonathan
 Goldsmith, M.D., who served as the interim President will continue in his role
 as the Vice President of Medical Affairs.  "We are grateful to Dr. Goldsmith
 for assuming this leadership role for the organization during its period of
 transition.  We are pleased to have Dr. Birkel join the IDF as its new
 President.  With his experience as an ardent national advocate for individuals
 with chronic illnesses, Dr. Birkel has the unique leadership skills and
 experience to broaden IDF's influence and expand its resources as the national
 organization for individuals affected by primary immune deficiency diseases,"
 said G. Richard Barr, M.D., Chairman of the IDF Board of Trustees.
     Prior to joining the IDF, Dr. Birkel served as the Executive Director of
 the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), the nation's leading
 grassroots advocacy organization for the 15 million people in the United
 States with severe mental illnesses.  During his tenure at NAMI, Dr. Birkel
 established the NAMI Policy Research Institute and the Mind of America
 Foundation.  He also launched "The Campaign for the Mind of America," a
 national education and advocacy initiative and created the NAMIWalks, a highly
 successful fundraiser and public awareness event that has generated millions
 of dollars from among 40 sites nationwide.
     Previous to his appointment with NAMI, Dr. Birkel served for seven years
 as President of the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute, one of the flagship
 agencies of the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, DC.  His policy and
 program responsibilities have included: mental illness, developmental
 disabilities, substance abuse, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, education, employment,
 and aging.
     A psychologist by training, Dr. Birkel has been a member of many boards
 including the National Health Council, The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation
 and the Council on Quality and Leadership in Disabilities.  He has published
 and presented numerous academic papers and served as principal investigator
 for more than one dozen national research projects.  Dr. Birkel received his
 B.A. from Yale University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of
 Virginia.  He also received an M.A. in public administration from the
 University of Virginia.
     "As IDF approaches its 25th Anniversary next year we will rely on a
 visionary leader like Dr. Birkel to join our team to help increase the reach
 and impact of IDF and take the organization to new heights.  We are especially
 focused on new funding for the advancement of research on the primary immune
 deficiency diseases; continued federal and state advocacy for patients to
 improve access to care; and greater patient and physician education for these
 rare disorders," said IDF Founder and Trustee, Marcia Boyle.
     The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) is the national nonprofit health
 organization dedicated to improving the diagnosis and treatment of primary
 immune deficiency diseases through research, education and advocacy.  IDF was
 established 24 years ago by concerned families of patients and their
 physicians.  Since its inception, IDF has expanded to offer medical education,
 fellowship and research opportunities and publications.  For more information
 about primary immune deficiency diseases, call 800-296-4433 or log on to

SOURCE Immune Deficiency Foundation