Learn more about the people that have made the Arthritis Foundation such a successful non-profit, including our National Leadership Team.
National Leadership Team
President & Chief Executive Officer
A mission-first leader in the voluntary health space, Steve has over three decades of experience devoted to making life better for patients with life-altering diseases.
Since joining the Arthritis Foundation in 2021, Steve has established the organization’s multi-year strategic mission plan, which outlines the Foundation’s clear pathways to finding a cure and improving quality of life for the nearly 60 million Americans diagnosed with arthritis. Steve is passionate about aligning the Foundation’s advocacy agenda and science strategy with the organization’s priorities, which are shaped by patient voices. Steve’s leadership is guided by the Foundation’s strong community of patients and volunteers — who are critical in driving the organization’s progress in audaciously attacking arthritis and its effects.
Prior to being named President & CEO in 2022, Steve served as the Arthritis Foundation’s Executive Vice President, Mission & Strategic Initiatives for the past year. Previously, he served as President & CEO of the Sjögren’s Foundation for 18 years from 2003-2021. While there, Steve worked to make Sjögren’s a household name, increasing awareness among the general public and health care professionals. He also notably led the development of the first-ever Clinical Practices Guidelines for Sjögren’s, a resource to help physicians treat, manage and monitor their patients.
Since childhood, Steve has been devoted to worthy causes, including the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s telethon and American Heart Association’s Jump Rope Heart program. He has also served in staff leadership positions at the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society and, in 2012 and again in 2019, served as volunteer chair of the National Health Council board of directors.
Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston University and an executive MBA from Auburn University. He is the proud father of three sons.
“It is my greatest honor and joy to work alongside our volunteers and patients — who serve as my biggest inspiration,” says Steve. “That’s what is so powerful about being a part of a mission like ours. Their stories are what fuel us as we champion the fight against arthritis, together.”
VICKIE FUNG, MPH
Senior Vice President, Mission Delivery
Vickie joined the Arthritis Foundation in 1996 and has held roles of increasing responsibility in mission delivery.
As vice president of mission delivery, Vickie oversees mission-driven initiatives across the organization, including patient education and engagement, juvenile arthritis programs, and enterprise-wide health partnerships. Her team develops and executes consumer-based patient education resources and tools, develops strategies that drive patient and volunteer engagement in mission opportunities, and maintains an appropriate feedback loop with patients, volunteers and staff for ongoing quality improvement.
Vickie holds a Master of Public Health, Public Education and Promotion from the University of California, Los Angeles. She resides in Arcadia, CA.
“Our mission is to help people with arthritis feel empowered and to know that they are not alone in our fight against arthritis. It is very inspiring to me to see the lives we’ve been able to impact. I am privileged to be part of an extraordinary group of staff and volunteers that work hard to make a difference every day,” says Vickie.
Senior Vice President, Operations
As senior vice president of operations, Kelly is responsible for providing oversight and strategy development for operations, information technology, human resources and finance.
Kelly comes to us from Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), where he most recently served as vice president of business strategies. While working at BIO, Kelly was responsible for driving strategic growth planning and key improvements in revenue generation, internal systems, data processes and financial operations.
Kelly has diverse leadership experience in association, nonprofit and commercial organizations. He has delivered positive business outcomes in roles at the American International Automobile Dealers Association, the National Federation of Independent Business, the American National Red Cross, Lockheed Martin and Sycamore Networks.
Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Cincinnati. He resides in the Washington D.C. area.
“I am honored to be a part of the life-changing work we do at the Arthritis Foundation,” says Kelly. “Seeing the direct impact we have on people battling arthritis inspires us to work even harder each day to fulfill our mission, so we can touch more lives.”
Senior Vice President, Marketing, Communications & e-Commerce
Sabrina joined the Arthritis Foundation as senior vice president of marketing, communications and e-Commerce in 2020. After working in agencies and consulting firms, she held leadership roles at Stanley Black & Decker, SunTrust Bank and the American Cancer Society. Sabrina is based in Atlanta and leads the Foundation’s integrated marketing, brand, content and digital experience efforts. She has a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Georgia and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®).
“I’ve learned that creating an authentic human experience is the best way to be both meaningful and memorable,” Sabrina says. “Good design is not just making things pretty. It’s about solving problems, which I’m honored to do alongside passionate staff, volunteers, partners and supporters on behalf of the entire arthritis community.”
MARIA VASSILEVA, PHD
Senior Vice President, Science Strategy
As the Senior Vice President of Science Strategy at the Arthritis Foundation, Dr. Vassileva leads and oversees all aspects of our scientific programs, including strategic planning, development and evaluation of all new projects and management of the scientific awardee portfolio and internal Science Team.
Dr. Vassileva is focused on applying innovative approaches while building multi-stakeholder consortia and to position the Foundation as a conceptual and programmatic leader in arthritis research and drug development.
Dr. Vassileva holds a doctorate of philosophy in biochemistry and cellular biology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, with a minor in vaccine science and policy. She holds a bachelor of science in biology and chemistry with a concentration in mathematics.
Prior to her role at the Arthritis Foundation, Dr. Vassileva led the clinical research team at Navitas Clinical Research, formerly KAI Research, a global contract research organization, as the Director of Clinical Research and a member of the senior management team there. Her previous roles include Director for Strategic Program Development at Social & Scientific Systems, a Senior Scientific Program Manager at the Foundation for the NIH (FNIH) and a Senior Research Associate at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. At FNIH she oversaw a portfolio of complex clinical public-private partnerships with budgets over $60 million, including the Accelerated Medicines Partnership in Type 2 Diabetes, and all programs under the Biomarkers Consortium Metabolic Disorders Steering Committee umbrella, including projects in musculoskeletal disorders and bone quality.
Dr. Vassileva is an expert in biomedical public-private partnerships and multi-stakeholder collaborations. She has multiple publications in peer review journals, and has extensive teaching, mentoring and contract negotiation experience.
FRANK P. LONGOBARDI, CPA
Chair, Board of Directors
Frank Longobardi, CPA, was named chair of the Arthritis Foundation’s board of directors in November 2020.
Frank is the former CEO of CohnReznick, one of the country’s largest public accounting firms. His term as CEO ended in January 2020. Frank previously served as strategic advisor to the CEO and executive board on key growth initiatives while also overseeing CohnReznick’s Mergers and Acquisitions Program. Frank retired from CohnReznick, effective January 31, 2021.
During Frank’s tenure, CohnReznick experienced sustained growth with current revenue of $660 million, over 2,700 employees and 25 offices in the U.S., Hong Kong, Australia, the Netherlands and India. Prior to being elected CEO, Frank held various leadership positions within the firm, including roles overseeing its industry practices and go-to-market strategy, managing an audit efficiency initiative and launching CohnReznick’s strategic plan and its diversity and inclusion task force.
Frank is a committed corporate citizen and has served in numerous volunteer leadership roles at the Arthritis Foundation over the past 20 years, dedicated to giving back to the arthritis community. In 2016, he received the organization’s Legacy of Volunteer Service Award. He also serves on the board of the Safe at Home Foundation, where he chairs the audit committee.
Frank now resides in Jupiter, Florida, with his wife, Pat. He is an avid golfer and loves to read.
“I am honored and humbled to part of such great organization,” says Frank. “Our focus is on helping people with arthritis improve their daily lives through advocacy, programs and research. I love the passion and commitment of our staff and volunteers.”
Meet Our Board
2022 National Board Roster
Officers & Executive Committee
Frank Longobardi | Chair | Florida
Matt Mooney | Vice Chair | Georgia
Winell Belfonte | Treasurer | Maryland
Dennis Ehling | Secretary | California
Steven Taylor | President & CEO | Georgia
Rose Thomas | Assistant Treasurer | Georgia
Cathy Hood | Assistant Secretary | Georgia
Board of Directors
John L. Coalson, Jr. | Georgia
Mary (Peggy) Crow, MD | New York
Robin Dore, MD | California
Thomas Fleetwood | Georgia
Mark Froimson, MD | Ohio
Helen King | Pennsylvania
Martin Lotz, MD | California
Kevin Mandrell | Indiana
Diana Milojevic, MD | Florida
Amanda Parks | Georgia
Paulo Pinho, MD | New Jersey