Our People

Meet the diverse group of world-class experts in their fields that we’ve gathered to make the Meg Foundation happen.

Our Board

    Jody Thomas, PhD

    Founder/Chief Executive Officer

    Dr. Jody Thomas is a licensed clinical psychologist, and specialist in pediatric medical illness and trauma. A well-known expert in pediatric pain who teaches internationally on the subject, she is also a founder and the former Clinical Director of the Packard Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center at Stanford, and a former Assistant Professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Though she now lives in Denver, CO, she still serves as Adjunct Faculty for Stanford, providing supervision and teaching. As a consultant for the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, she directs projects on the integration and innovation of pain management using tech-based intervention. Her passion for bringing together the power of medical science, technology and design to transform the way we think about kids and pain led her to her current focus but it’s her role as a mom of two that solidified her path in creating the Meg Foundation.

    Zack Wasserman, JD

    Board Chair

    Zack Wasserman is an attorney with the Wendel Rosen firm in Oakland, CA. Zack combines his legal mind and passion for activism and service in many ways. In 2012, he was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown as Chair of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. As General Counsel to the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, he played an integral role negotiating the Bay Plan Amendment to address rising sea levels. Zack serves as general counsel to the Alameda County Transportation Commission. He also serves as vice-chair of the San Francisco Regional Center, and general counsel to the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, and several non-profit corporations and foundations.

    David Becker, MD, MPH, MA, LMFT

    Dr. Becker is a pediatrician and psychotherapist. He is a Medical Director of Integrative Pediatrics for the Stad Center for Pain, Palliative, and Integrative Medicine at UC San Francisco’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. He is also a Clinical Professor, teaching and lecturing nationally and internationally on integrative medicine, mental health, chronic pain management, and mind-body strategies. Dr. Becker’s medical consultation clinics offer integrative consultations for children and young adults with a range of chronic and complex medical issues including chronic pain, gastrointestinal disorders, autoimmune conditions, and others.  He also has a behavioral health counseling practice for children and young adults with anxiety, depression, and other behavior concerns. Dr. Becker has a background in global humanitarian aid work with several relief organizations, including Doctors Without Borders. 

    Jennifer Dilts, DO

    Dr. Jennifer Dilts is the director of Children’s Mercy Kansas City’s Comprehensive Headache Clinic and an associate professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is board-certified in pediatrics, headache medicine, and medical acupuncture. Her pediatric acupuncture research has won several grants and national awards. Additionally, she has designed a curriculum to teach optimal procedural pain and anxiety management to pediatric residents. As the mom of three daughters, she feels passionately about empowering kids before and during procedures. She also loves talking with teenagers about headaches. 

    Jamie Gentille, MPH, CCLS

    Jamie Gentille received her BS in Biobehavioral Health from Penn State University and her Masters in Public Health from Walden University.  She completed her Child Life internship at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth and became a Certified Child Life Specialist in 2002.  She is currently Director of Child Life Services at Inova Children’s Hospital, where she has worked since 2002.  Jamie is also an adjunct professor at George Mason University.  Jamie also serves as an Ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.  She has published a memoir, Surviving HIV: Growing Up a Secret and Being Positive, and is an accomplished speaker on the topic. Jamie lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and beloved dogs, Lucy and Pip.

    Leslie Lipscomb

    Leslie Lipscomb is a healthcare strategist, practice optimization expert, motivational storyteller, and Founder CEO of Inspired Engagement, LLC, a healthcare solutions company. Leslie has more than 15 years industry experience building relationships, optimizing processes, transforming teams, and improving communications for providers, practices, and hospital systems. Leslie was born with a desire to help others, but it was her son’s cancer journey that redefined her purpose and commitment to improving the healthcare experience from the inside out.


    Leslie has a love for science and systems but is a creative at heart. She leverages this rare combination of industry insight, business acumen, and creative aptitude to help clients run businesses that thrive while living lives they love. Leslie’s shared her storytelling talents with organizations such as Inova Children’s Hospital, Good Morning Washington, Nicklaus Children’s Healthcare Foundation, the Association of Child Life Professionals, CureFest for Childhood Cancer, Journey 4 A Cure, National Business Aviation Association, The Washington Redskins, and The Massachusetts General Hospital MGH Fund.

    Neil Menzies

    Chief Financial Officer

    Born and raised in New York City, Neil eventually made his way to California, where he graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a master’s degree in International Policy Studies. A lover of sport and a devoted alumnus, Neil is a season ticket holder for the San Jose Sharks and Stanford Football. He also supports his university through volunteer service: Neil served as a Board Member of Stanford’s New York City alumni group from 2003-2005; sat on the Stanford Alumni Association’s Board of Directors from 2004 – 2009; and earned an “Outstanding Achievement Award” for Volunteer Service from Stanford Associates in 2004.


    Neil lives in San Ramon, CA with his son Owen. When not seeing to his wealth management practice, he can often be found attending concerts, traveling, on the golf course, or playing and watching sports with Owen, in whom he is instilling the same competitive spirit that Neil brings to every facet of his life.

    Julie Stanford

    As a co-founder of Sliced Bread Design, Julie Stanford helps companies use design thinking to create and execute the vision for their services. Over the last 18 years, she has been particularly interested in techniques for validating ideas and gathering user feedback in more effective ways. Her clients include small Silicon Valley startups and large organizations such as Google, Gap, Adobe, and the US government. Julie is also a recognized educator at Stanford, where she is on the faculty of the d.School and the Computer Science department as a Science & Engineering Education Fellow. Her courses include Rapid Experimentation, Cross Cultural Design for China, and Interaction Design Studio.

    Ines Vaniman LMFT

    Ines is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist working in private practice in Lafayette CA with individuals suffering with anxiety, trauma and depression. Ines is passionate about connecting with the people she works with and taking steps to help advance their journey towards recovery. Originally from Argentina, Ines is continually seeking training in new modalities to bring her patients wellbeing forward.


    After her daughter’s Leukemia diagnosis, Ines and her family personally benefited from the pain management tools that the Meg Foundation endorse and has seen first hand the positive impact that they have. With this new found passion in pain management, Ines wants to make sure that these important tools are widely and readily available to the public, particularly parents of young children.


    In her spare time, Ines can be found traveling with her family and enjoying nature.

Our Advisory Board

    Michelle Baum

    For 20 years, Michelle Baum has developed and successfully executed communications programs for privately-held and publicly-traded companies spanning technology and consumer sectors. She has launched new companies, participated in acquisition and IPO activities, and generated renewed interest for fading businesses. She is the founder and CEO of Moxie & Mettle Communications and Marketing Firm, and also an Assistant Professor in the Journalism and Technical Communication Department at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she leads the public relations degree program.

    Jessica Bernacki, PhD

    Dr. Jessica Bernacki is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Department of Medicine at the UCLA Medicine-Pediatrics Comprehensive Care Center and on the Pediatric Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison Service at the UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. Her clinical, teaching, and research interests focus on the delivery of evidence-based behavioral health services in the primary care setting and coping with pediatric medical illness. It is from her experiences working in pediatric inpatient and outpatient care at UCLA and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, as well as having her own two children, that have motivated her to help improve the experience of youth receiving medical interventions.

    Gwen Campbell

    Gwen is a Managing Director and Private Wealth Advisor who has earned national recognition. In 2019, The Financial Times named Gwen as one of the Top 400 Financial Advisors in America. Barron’s magazine also previously named Gwen one of the Top 100 Women Financial Advisors in America. Over her more than 20 year career in financial services, she has advised company founders, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and private equity partners as a trusted advisor on wealth management. Gwen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania with a dual degree. She holds a B.S. in Finance from the Wharton School and a B.A. in European History from the College of Arts and Sciences. Penn awarded her the Alfred A. Berg Award for Academic and Extracurricular Achievement. She earned her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She has served on several national boards, including the of University of Pennsylvania Trustees’ Council of Penn Women and on the Executive Advisory Board of FIRST, which promotes the study of math and science through robotics competitions. Gwen also served on the Board of Girls, Inc. of Alameda County.

    Christine Chambers, PhD

    Dr. Christine Chambers is an international leader in the study of children’s pain. She holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Children’s Pain and is a Killam Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychology & Neuroscience at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She and her research team are based in the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research at the IWK Health Centre. Her award-winning work spans research, training, knowledge translation, and advocacy.

    Rachael Coakley, PhD

    Dr. Rachael Coakley is a pediatric pain psychologist in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School. She is the Director of Clinical Innovation and Outreach in Pain Medicine and the Associate Director of Psychological Services. Additionally, she is founder and director of the Comfort Ability Program (CAP), an internationally disseminated program that teaches pain management skills to adolescents with chronic pain and their parents. An internationally recognized leader in the pain world, she is the current chair of the Society of Pediatric Psychology Special Interest Group in Pain and also deeply involved in ChildKind International. Dr. Coakley has focused her career on the translational research of evidence-informed psychological intervention for pediatric pain management and has received numerous honors including the David Weiner award for Innovation in Child Health and the 2020 Carolyn Schroeder award from the American Psychological Association for Outstanding Clinical Practice in pediatric psychology. Her 2016 book, When Your Child Hurts (Yale University Press), won a national book award for best parenting book (NAPPA) and her work has been featured in many major news publications including the Washington Post and New York Times. www.thecomfortability.com

    Emily Edlynn, PhD

    Dr. Emily Edlynn is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in pediatric health psychology. She previously served as the Clinical Director for the Comfort and Palliative Care Team at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and as the Clinical Director for the Medical Day Treatment program at Children’s Hospital Colorado, where she was also Assistant Professor in the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. Emily now lives in Oak Park, IL and works with children and teenagers presenting with a wide range of diseases and chronic pain conditions. As a mother of three, Emily has developed a passion for supporting parents in the modern landscape of high stress and low support. To this end, Emily authors a parenting blog, The Art and Science of Mom, and has been featured across national publications, including Scary Mommy, HuffPost Parenting, and Parents. She pens the weekly advice column, Ask Your Mom, for Parents.com. When she’s not at work or writing, Emily can be found overly consuming podcasts, planning the next great travel adventure, and attempting to maintain a semblance of order in a household of three busy (and messy) kids! https://www.emilyedlynnphd.com/

    Dr. Jeffrey Fisher

    A Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Connecticut and the founding Director of its Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP). He is groundbreaking leader in the field of health behavior change.Dr. Fisher has been involved with over $30.6 million in grants as Principal Investigator, Co-Director, or Co-Investigator. He has lectured and consulted internationally in the areas of HIV preventive behavior and adherence to medications. In addition, he has served on the National Institute of Mental Health Psychobiological, Biological, and Neuroscience Subcommittee, the Mental Health Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Research Review Committee, and the editorial boards of several journals.

    Stefan Friedrichsdorf, MD

    Dr. Stefan Friedrichsdorf is the Medical Director of the Department of Pain Medicine, Palliative Care & Integrative Medicine at Children’s Hospitals of Minnesota and an Assoc. Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. He has presented more than 600 lectures about pediatric pain medicine around the world, and has done extensive research and publications in the field, including contributions to more than 20 books. He is associate editor of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, was the principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute on the creation, implementation and evaluation of a Pediatric Palliative Care Curriculum.

    Grace Kao, PhD, ABPP

    Dr. Grace Kao is a board-certified clinical health psychologist, with expertise in pediatric and pain psychology, in the Departments of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine and Pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) and an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine. She serves as the Associate Director of the Chronic Pain Service and helped to co-found and develop the Interdisciplinary Pain and Medicine Clinic and Multidisciplinary Abdominal Pain Program (MAPP) at TCH. In addition to pediatric pain and chronic illness, Grace’s interests include narrative medicine and writing and integrative techniques. She hopes to combine all these interests in service of helping families achieve greater health, empowerment, and well-being.

    Leora Kuttner, PhD

    Leora Kuttner, Ph.D. has followed her passion to understand and relieve pain for 39 years. She is a Clinical Psychologist, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at University of British Columbia at BC Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, Canada, and a documentary filmmaker, creating five award winning films on children’s pain. She pioneered work in pediatric pain-relief, using methods such as hypnosis for children, has written two books, published journal articles and teaches world-wide. Leora won The Woman of Distinction in Vancouver, the Outstanding Alumni for Professional Achievement from Simon Fraser University, The American Pain Society’s Jeffrey Lawson Award on Advocacy for Children’s Pain Relief and in 2014 the ASCH William C. Wester Award for Excellence in Child Hypnosis. Above all, Leora loves children!



    Aisha G. Quaintance

    Aisha is the founder of one of the leading executive recruiting firms in Silicon Valley currently driving outcomes for enterprise technology and life sciences companies through management and technology consulting. As a dynamic, entrepreneurial sales and operations executive with a proven track record of achievement driving sales growth and business coaching, Aisha is supporting the efforts and awareness of the Meg Foundation. Currently, Aisha is the Head of Industry Solutions for Healthcare and Life Sciences for Slalom Consulting in Palo Alto, CA.

    Joshua Reuben Silverstein

    Joshua is an award-winning actor, comic, director, writer, beatboxer, and educator. His various performances and productions throughout the country have received admiration from creative geniuses ranging from Norman Lear to Prince. As an educator, he has designed and guided countless theater, improvisation and spoken word workshops, as well as in-school residencies, to create a safe and open space where students can safely engage in vulnerable dialogue without judgement. Since he began his training as a member of the National Conference for Community and Justice, Joshua’s work has been focused on addressing the question of how to build representative communities that spotlight inclusivity and equal justice. He can be found during the school year as the co-host and co-producer of Emmy award-winning “Downbeat 720.” Additionally, he serves as the Director of Virtual Programing for Cazadero Performing Arts Family camp and is also an original member of Norman Lear’s DECLARE YOURSELF ROAD TRIP SHOW, a 3-year spoken-word/musical performance tour encouraging the American people to register to vote.

    Bryan Vaniman

    Bryan Vaniman has been involved in the Silicon Valley start-up ecosystem for over 20 years. Passionate about disruptive technologies, innovation and entrepreneurship, he currently heads Corporate Development for Adobe where he leads their M&A and Investment initiatives. Prior to Adobe, Bryan was head of Corporate Development and Strategy at Zynga, where helped close over a dozen deals, ranging from small tech/talent tuck-ins to large-scale strategic acquisitions. As a retired college wrestler, Bryan continues to maintain a keen interest in most sports and when he’s not at work, he’s likely banking hours on the most important goal of all… trying to be an awesome dad and husband.

    William Zempsky, MD, MPH

    William T. Zempsky, MD, MPH is the Francine L. and Robert B. Goldfarb-William T. Zempsky, MD Endowed Chair for Pain and Palliative Medicine at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. Dr. Zempsky is an international expert on pediatric pain medicine . He currently is an investigator on multiple NIH grants regarding novel interventions in pain. He has received major awards including the Donaghue Investigator Award, as well as the Mayday Pain and Society Fellowship. His division was designated a Center of Clinical Excellence by the American Pain Society in 2014. Dr. Zempsky is also a co-editor of the Oxford Textbook of Pediatric Pain.

    Melanie Noel, PhD, RPsych

    Melanie Noel, PhD, RPsych is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary and a Full Member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. She directs the PEAK (Pain Education, Advocacy, Knowledge) Research Laboratory within the Vi Riddell Pain & Rehabilitation Centre at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Canada.


    Dr. Noel’s expertise is on children’s memories for pain and co-occurring mental health issues and pediatric chronic pain. She published guiding conceptual models of children’s pain memory development, co-occurring PTSD and chronic pain, and fear-avoidance (143 publications; H index = 35). In recognition of her contributions to advancing knowledge of the psychological aspects of children’s pain, Dr. Noel received early career awards from the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), the Canadian Pain Society, the American Pain Society, the Canadian Psychological Association, and the Society of Pediatric Psychology. She was named Avenue Magazine Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 (Class of 2017), a Killam Emerging Research Leader (2020), and the Killam Memorial Leader Chair (2021).