Executive Directors

Natalie Blake

Natalie Blake is the Executive Director over programs and services, advocacy and outreach, and fund development. She served as Director of Program Services for MS Focus from 2012-2022, after being promoted from her position as Associate Director of Patient and Professional Educational Programs. She directs all the organization’s programs and services, and has been instrumental in growing and adding programs to meet the critical needs of those with MS, including our Uber/Lyft transportation program which started out as a collaboration with the University of Miami.

Natalie oversees our patient advocacy and outreach efforts and has built relationships with pharmaceutical industry funders, advocacy leaders, MS centers, MS neurologists and others who specialize in treating those with MS and other autoimmune diseases. Through her efforts, the Foundation has been actively involved in coalitions with other patient health groups including PCORI (she is an Ambassador of PCORI, and represents the Foundation and those with MS for patient centered research initiatives), IConquerMS, We Work for Health, The Urological Association of America’s Bladder Health Alliance, the Spasticity Alliance, the Advocacy Exchange, the Partnership to Improve Patient Care, and the Bristol Myers Squibb Health Equity Alliance, and others. She is also currently Vice-President of the MS Coalition. She also serves on several advisory boards within the pharma industry representing the needs of those with MS.

Natalie has been actively involved in patient advocacy since 1986. She testified before Congress in 1994 regarding portability of insurance and represented the needs of Florida residents during a Health Right Conference at the Capitol. Her efforts were instrumental in the passage of COBRA, and laws requiring group health plans to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions. As a holder of various board positions for NCJW, Natalie participated in several legislative days in Washington D.C. and Tallahassee, speaking to local, State and Federal representatives on behalf of issues relating to women, children and families. In November 2017, Natalie testified before the Florida Senate Insurance and Banking committee in Tallahassee urging members to provide protections for people with MS to have access to their disease modifying drugs without having to fail therapies first.

Natalie has an extensive background in fund development. Prior to working for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, she worked for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America where she was responsible for fund development, special events, and volunteer recruitment.


Kasey Minnis

Kasey Minnis is the Executive Director over communications, administration, and campaign fundraising. After joining the Foundation in 1993, she served as director of Information Technology, Director of Operations and HR, and finally Director of Communications. She has been the editor-in-chief of MS Focus Magazine since 1996, and the Foundation’s chief health educator. She is the primary architect of the Foundation’s databases for donor relations and client service delivery, a task which combined an understanding of programming and technology with deep and expansive knowledge of the inner workings of all the Foundation’s activities.

During her long career with MS Focus, Kasey has been in demand as a writer and speaker for many organizations inside and outside the MS space. She has given presentations on advocacy or nonprofit management to the Bladder Health Alliance, the United Nations Association (whose local chapter declared her their Advocate of the Year for 2012), the Blackbaud Users Group, the Humane Society, Boys and Girls Club, and other organizations. She has written articles about MS for USA Today, the Spasticity Alliance, The Mighty, and ShareCare. Kasey has been asked to sit on advisory panels for pharmaceutical partners, Facebook (now Meta), and the MS Coalition, and has served as the chair of the MS Coalition’s Communications Committee since its inception. Also in her role as media liaison for the Foundation, Kasey works with such outlets as WebMD, Everyday Health, and Healthline.

She has participated in the planning and execution of scientific research on the effects of MS. She has co-authored studies on perception of MS care among diverse populations and patient-provider interactions regarding treatment. She also designed the surveys that provide our internal success metrics.

As a chronically ill and dynamically disabled woman, Kasey is passionate about disability advocacy, and empowering health education for the chronically ill.

Departmental Management 

Maria Rosa Alvarez
Director of Accounting
Traci Shur
Director of Philanthropy
Guy Ferrier
Director of Internal Operations
Patricia Totera
Campaign Call Center Director


Board of Directors

Members of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation Board of Directors serve voluntarily and receive no compensation. Formal meetings are conducted each year to facilitate their responsibility for the organization’s stewardship and oversight. Adherence to a conflict of interest policy is mandatory for membership.

Charles Eader
President - Bridgewater, N.J.
John Blackstock
Secretary - Bradenton, Fla.
William Sheehan
Director - Chicago, Ill.
G. Mark Shalloway, Esq.
Vice President - West Palm Beach, Fla.
Elaine J. LaFlamme, Esq.
Treasurer - Miami, Fla.
Melody Ridley
Director - Atlanta, Ga.


Healthcare Advisory Panel

The Healthcare Advisory Panel is responsible for ensuring the accuracy and relevance of all medical and health-related information the Foundation provides.

Ben Wade Thrower, M.D.
Neurology, MS Focus Senior Medical Advisor
Daniel Kantor, M.D.
Aaron L. Boster, M.D.
Annette F. Okai, M.D.
Darin T. Okuda, M.D.
Herb Karpatkin, PT, DSc, NCS, MSCS
Physical Therapy
Marissa A. Barrerra, MS.M.Phil, MSCS, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathology
Cherie Binns, RN, MSCN
MS Nursing, MS Focus Patient-Healthcare Liaison
Pearl Werfel, Ph.D