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USA Patient Network Board of Directors

                       Penny Burau





Penelope is an administrator for the           Essure Problems group and                       numerous subgroups of the Essure           Problems group.  She joined the                 group after experiencing severe                 side effects from the Essure                       medical device. One of the ways               that she helps is by being                           extremely active with helping                     women to find the information they             need in regards to the Essure                     device. 


                       Jamee Cook

                    (Princeton, TX)



 Jamee is an advocate for raising public awareness on breast implant illness and complications, including Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL). She is part of an  informal organization called Breast  Implant Victim Advocacy, working with victims of other medical devices to bring attention to these issues. They are pushing for better informed consent and improvements in a flawed approval process and legal limitations for patients who have been harmed.

                      Amanda Dykeman

                   (Orion, IL)



Amanda had to undergo major surgery after complications related to the female sterilization device Essure. Her advocacy efforts contributed to the FDA calling a safety hearing which resulted in a Black Box Warning as well as additional  clinical studies to gather more data about the health risks Essure may impose. She is vice-president of ASHES(Advocating Safety in Healthcare/E-  Sisters) which focuses on improving our    drug and device approval system as         well as patient safety.


                       Jonathan Furman

                    (Richmond, VA)




 Jonathan has 15+ years of experience      living with the permanent side effects of    fluoroquinolone antibiotics. It wasn’t          until 2012 and the 5th administration          of a fluoroquinolone that he began to  suspect that the drugs were harming his  health. He learned that physicians are  often not aware of the risks associated      with such popular drugs and are unable    to diagnose and treat side effects             appropriately. Since then he has been an  advocate for the full disclosure of the  risks of fluoroquinolones.

                       Marie Garlock

                    (Durham, NC)




 Marie Garlock, PhD (UNC at Chapel  Hill), is a communication specialist      focused on health, civil rights, and  community-led social change. As a  patient advocate, Marie has  partnered with people facing  advanced cancers to develop  research-based and story-driven testimony for the FDA, EPA, US   Commission on Civil Rights, and for CME and professional development for 1,000s of clinicians. Marie is a Community Leader for Change with Breast Cancer Action, a national watchdog group with 60k members who pursue healthcare,       environmental, and policy justice. Marie came to USAPN after her mother Barbara had organ rupture  from the drug Avastin, and died at 53 from liver failure due to an  understudied, off-label use of chemotherapy also approved via        surrogate endpoints.

                    Maria Gmitro

                    (Charleston, SC) 



Maria holds a Master's Degree in Instructional/Educational Technology from the University of Central Florida and is the Director of Community Outreach & Patient Advocacy for TrackMy Solutions. Maria was harmed by breast implants and is President and co-founder of Breast Implant Safety Alliance (BISA Nonprofit). She collaborates with patients, healthcare professionals, professional societies, and the FDA. She advocates for better informed consent and helps raise awareness for Breast Implant Illness and BIA-ALCL (a cancer of the immune system caused by breast implants.)



                    Kristina Kaiser

                    (Altamonte Springs, FL)

Kristina became a public health and safety advocate after her teenage daughter and father suffered adverse drug effects and medical errors that precipitated their deaths in 2013. She believes when patients and caregivers receive fully Informed Consent prior to treatment, adverse outcomes can be reduced. Kristina has authored an accredited course and academic textbook chapter about akathisia, developed marketing curriculum for the Virginia commonwealth, provided FDA testimony, and presented at national and international conferences. Kristina has more than 20 years of professional experience in communications and education and has worked for several nonprofits, corporate headquarters and public school districts. She holds a bachelors in journalism, masters in communication, and several interdisciplinary teaching credentials.

                     Maureen Robbins                               (Ashburn, VA)



Maureen Robbins, Account Director for CoreLogic, is a highly accomplished sales and marketing executive with over 35 years experience in in the mortgage industry.  She received her Masters in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University in 1995.  Maureen became a patient and family advocate after the death of her father due to medical negligence. Her 84 year old father suffered from dementia. He was denied his rights as a patient, inappropriately restrained and incorrectly treated with chemical sedation in an emergency room and then, because of these events, failed to recover. A mere six weeks passed from the date of the hospital incident to his preventable death, which was accelerated by the careless actions of hospital staff.  Since the death of her father, she has worked with many families to help prevent this tragedy from happening to their loved ones.  She participates in various fundraising events along with planning several large events such as the World Patient Safety Day march in DC.  Maureen’s mission is to create awareness for improved patient rights in addition to highlighting the need for thorough legal knowledge and action concerning power of attorney for Black Box drugs. Choosing appropriate POAs and family advocates – and ensuring that all family members have knowledge and access to current and relevant information – is imperative in a hospital setting. She is constantly working to protect the patients impacted by altered/variant cognition who can no longer protect themselves


                    Dru West

                    (Petaluma, CA)




Dru holds a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of San Francisco and has been a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California for 30 years.  Dru is actively involved in advocating for women regarding the risks of hormonal birth control. Dru's daughter Julia died from pulmonary embolisms caused by using NuvaRing. Since her daughter’s death, Dru has become painfully aware of how all combination birth control increases the risk of life-threatening and life-altering damage to a woman’s body. Dru is an active member of a group focused on educating women about the real risks of hormonal birth control, and advocating for women’s right to know not only the effects of hormonal birth control but to learn the warning signs in order to get medical help.  She was also involved with other parents in the development of the documentary The Business of Birth Control produced by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, 2021

                    Kim Witczak 

                    (Minneapolis, MN)

Kim is a leading national drug safety advocate and speaker with over 25 years professional experience in advertising and marketing communications. She became involved in pharmaceutical drug safety issues after the death of her husband, Tim “Woody” Witczak in 2003 as a result of an undisclosed drug side effect. Since then she has launched a national public awareness campaign through, an organization dedicated to making sure the patient perspective is represented.





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