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 http://www.primaryimmune.org.
SOURCE Immune Deficiency Foundation