The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has elected Donald S. Wood, PhD, as President and Chief Executive Officer, it announces. Dr Wood previously was Vice Chairman of the Board for the MDA and Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness at Odessa College.

Wood has been involved with the MDA for nearly 40 years, and most notably launched and managed the organization’s Task Force on Genetics that led to the discovery of the genetic cause of muscular dystrophy in 1986.

“Seventy years ago, the MDA funded research into the hereditary disorders of muscular dystrophy before anyone knew how normal muscle made you strong, or that it was defects to DNA that caused hereditary disorders.

“Today, however, we are much more informed, and the MDA is again at the frontiers of science and medicine as we support research and advance client care into treatments, therapies and cures for muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular disorders.

“It is an honor and privilege to lead MDA’s extraordinary team of doctors, scientists, advocates, volunteers, partners and fundraisers across our nation to fulfill our mission: to provide the research, innovative care, advocacy and supportive services to people and families living with muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular disorders so that they can lead full and self-satisfying lives.”

— Donald S. Wood, PhD

Wood has more than 4 decades of experience leading both nonprofit and for-profit institutions. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, he served first as an executive and then as President and Chief Operating Officer of IntegraMedAmerica Inc, a medical services provider. During this time, he also helped create a new genetic-testing company, Odyssey Biomedical, which was later sold to Integrated Genetics, a division of Genzyme.

Most recently, Wood served as Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness at Odessa College, where his work developing a Drop Rate Improvement Program is credited with dramatically improving student outcomes and helping to propel the college to national recognition for its high performance, according to MDA in a media release.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our world, forever changing the medical, science and nonprofit communities, it is critical we now reinforce our mission.

“With his more than 40-year history with the MDA, no one is better suited than Dr. Wood. Through his extensive work as a scientist, medical professional and business leader, Dr. Wood is well equipped to lead the MDA in its next chapter, continuing our important work on the front lines of accelerating research across neuromuscular diseases to bring more treatments and new cures to families.”

— Steven J. Farella, MDA chairman of the Board

Wood began his career in neuromuscular disease research at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, where he served as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral research fellow in neurology. He holds a doctorate in physiology from Washington State University.

He succeeds Lynn O’Connor Vos, who served as President and CEO of the MDA since 2017, the release continues.

“I am very proud of the contributions and achievements we have made at MDA over the past three years.

“With this foundation now set and the long-term strategy clearly paved, I have determined that now is a good time for me to pass the baton and pursue new and different opportunities. We have always put mission first, investing in research, care and advocacy. I continue to believe deeply in the mission of MDA and will always remain dedicated to our clinicians, partners, advocates and families in the pursuit of accelerating new treatments to achieve better health outcomes and bring equal opportunities to this significantly underserved community.

“It has been a privilege to work with all of you. Thank you for your ongoing support and guidance.”

— Lynn O’Connor Vos

[Source: Muscular Dystrophy Association]

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