Laura Crandall, MA
Co-Founder, President and Executive Director
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Laura Gould Crandall, MA is currently a research scientist in the Department of Neurology at the NYU School of Medicine, joined NYULMC as the director of the SUDC Registry and Research Collaborative, and President and Executive Director of the SUDC Foundation. Laura is also a licensed Physical Therapist in New Jersey and New York. She earned her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from New York University in 1990 and 1996.
In 1997, her first child, Maria, succumbed to Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) at the age of 15 months. Through the death investigation of Maria, Laura was convinced that changes in the system could and should be achieved. So, she advocated for new child death investigation legislation in New Jersey, which became law in 2000. A subsequent New Jersey law regarding research passed in 2006, and in 2014, “The Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act” was signed into law by President Obama. At the SUDC Foundation, Laura strives to support families by upholding the mission of being the centralized resource for SUDC information, support, advocacy and crucial research. Laura’s work has been important for epilepsy, because a third of SUDC cases have a history of febrile seizure.
In 2007, Laura was honored as Glamour magazine’s “Woman of Your Year”, and in 2015, she was the recipient of the “Portrait of Courage” award from the National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD). Laura is a member of the National Association of Medical Examiners, an advisory member of the National Sudden Death In the Young (SDY) registry, an executive board member of the North American SUDEP Registry (NASR), executive officer of the (Federal) Organization for Scientific Area Committees (OSAC), subcommittee for medicolegal death investigation, and board member of the National Forensic Science Commission’s subcommittee on medicolegal death investigation.
Bonnie StarrDirector of Family Services
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Bonnie is a seasoned Program Director with a diverse background, including more than 10 years of program and staff/volunteer management experience. Since a very young age, she has had a passion for working with individuals and families to provide support and resources when they are most needed, while looking towards the “big picture” to ensure that an organization is offering an array of programs and services to best fit the community being served. Prior to joining the SUDC Foundation, Bonnie has provided coaching, training, event and program oversight in business and non-profit settings that serve women, children and families. She holds a bachelor’s degree from The College of New Jersey and continuously seeks out the latest research, training and development opportunities to best help those that she serves.
Bonnie lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter, and their fish “Purple” and “Orange.” She enjoys baking, drinking lots of coffee and tea, and watching tv shows that provide an escape.
Family Services Assistant
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Michelle has excellent organizational and people skills. She is an essential part of the Support Services team as a behind-the-scenes coordinator. Prior to being a full-time mother to three children, she worked as an account executive for a large telecommunications company. Michelle and Chelsea Hilbert (cofounder of The SUDC Program in 2001) were neighbors in Charlotte, NC when Chelsea’s son died. Michelle and her husband, Etienne, were a great source of support and information. In fact, Michelle researched information about metabolic disorders and assisted Chelsea’s family with finding metabolic testing when their second child was born. Michelle and her family live in Southern California.
Special Events and Ambassador Program Assistant
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Stacy graduated from George Washington University with a BA in Psychology. After college, she spent the next eight years working at her family’s retail business in Wayne, New Jersey. After having her first child, Stacy made the decision to become a stay-at-home mom and immensely enjoyed the many years she spent being home raising her two daughters. Once her children became teenagers, Stacy felt the desire to return to work. Prior to the SUDC Foundation, Stacy enjoyed using her strong organizational, interpersonal and creative skills at local businesses including a travel agency, invitation store and as an office manager at a law firm.
Stacy lives in New Jersey with her husband and children. She loves cooking, eating, yoga, reading and spending time with friends and family.
SUDC Foundation Social Worker
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Tracy Hacker is a licensed clinical social worker and is currently employed with HCA Hospitals. She works in their psychiatric intake department and assists patients that are in crisis with their admission. Tracy has experience working with children and their families that have been reunified after completing a child protection case plan. She is experienced working with children and families, including foster and adoptive youth and families.
In 2015, Tracy tragically lost her 18-month old daughter, Daria (1/25/14-8/13/15). Tracy feels that both her professional and personal experience give her better insight and understanding when caring for those affected by SUDC.
Digital Media Manager
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Megan is a graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey where she studied Communication Arts with a concentration in Creative Writing. With a 10 year career in writing, editing, and marketing, her experience has taken her from writing for professional sports team publications with PSP Sports in Manhattan to co-founding the digital design and marketing agency Eighty6, serving the NJ/NYC area. As Managing Editor at the agency, she honed her skills as a digital strategist, helping clients find their voices and share them with the world. She most recently has had the privilege of serving as the Marketing Director for an award-winning reclaimed wood company in New Jersey.
In addition to her work as a Marketing Specialist, Megan is a certified Reiki Master Teacher. She resides in New Jersey and enjoys yoga, being outdoors, all things natural beauty, and deepening her knowledge of different holistic healing modalities.
Co-Founder, Vice President, Business Operations Manager
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Lorri is a graduate of Katherine Gibbs's business school and has vast administrative knowledge. After a 10-year career as a legal assistant and paralegal, she experienced the tragic loss of her firstborn daughter in 2003. Jenna was a thriving, healthy and happy child. She passed away while taking a nap at her daycare on January 10, 2003, at the age of 16 months, and subsequently died on life support the following day. After Dr. Krous of The SUDC Research project reviewed Jenna's records and autopsy report, the medical examiner ruled Jenna's death unexplained and related to SUDC. A short time after Jenna's death Lorri found the SUDC Program.
Lorri feels that the resources offered to her have given her the building blocks to manage to live after such a tragic loss. She began volunteering for The SUDC Program in 2003 and, in 2004, she took on a larger role in an administrative position within the organization. Today, she is the Cofounder, Vice President and Assistant Executive Director of the SUDC Foundation launched in 2014. Lorri is committed to making a difference for SUDC families. In addition to her work at the Foundation, she also holds leadership positions within her local Woman's Club, as a Girl Scout Leader and serves as a Catechist as a CCD teacher. She is a lifelong resident of NJ, where she and her family lives.
Director of Development
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Elizabeth is a vibrant business professional with twelve years of experience in strategic operations and non-profit development. She brings a successful track record of achieving earned and contributed revenue growth by fostering relationships with individuals, foundations, and corporations through the coordination and execution of a comprehensive fundraising plan. Elizabeth also has extensive experience in providing complete special event planning and marketing support through various media platforms.
A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, Elizabeth holds a B.A. in Behavioral and Social Sciences. She recently completed the Executive Philanthropy and Resource Development Certificate program at Fairleigh Dickinson University, is a Level III Certified Grant Writer and has taken coursework in Corporate Sponsorship and Sustainability Analysis Planning. She has participated in several National Points of Light Foundation Conferences.
Elizabeth lives in New Jersey with her husband, children and yellow Labrador; she enjoys the arts and spending time outdoors with family and friends.
Heather Maher, MSFS
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Heather earned her undergraduate degree from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. At Quinnipiac, Heather’s concentration was in Biomedical Sciences with minors in Chemistry and Psychology. She continued her education and earned a Master of Science in Forensic Science from Pace University in New York City. Her thesis was presented at the 35th Annual North Eastern Association of Forensic Scientists Meeting in 2009. Heather also attended the Lorenzo Di Medici University in Florence, Italy.
Prior to joining SUDC, Heather worked for the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory as a Forensic Scientist for six years. At AFDIL, she participated in many missions. One of which, was to identify the remains of soldiers from past wars. While there, Heather gained vast knowledge and experience in working with DNA and genetic analysis. Heather is a resident of New Jersey and is married with a son.
Ambassador Program and Public Relations Manager
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Stephanie lost her first and only daughter, Scarlett, in January 2017 when she was just 16 months old. Being Scarlett’s Mama, as well as Mama to Scarlett’s little sister, Eliana, is Stephanie’s favorite and most important job. Stephanie has spent over a decade of her career working in communications, public policy and nonprofit advocacy. Stephanie is the Ambassador Program and Public Relations Manager for the SUDC Foundation, where she created and oversees the Foundation’s formal volunteer program and supports the Foundation’s communication efforts. Stephanie began her career working for U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s press office and at Spitfire Strategies, a communications firm that works with nonprofits and foundations in Washington, DC where she provided direct support to her clients to develop and implement their communication strategy and training to help them do it themselves. Before losing Scarlett, Stephanie served as the Volunteer Coordinator at Animal Friends, an animal rescue organization in Pittsburgh, PA. In addition to her work with the SUDC Foundation, Stephanie is the Assistant Executive Director and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Scarlett Lillian Pauley Foundation, a foundation she and her husband, Ryan, founded in Scarlett’s memory to raise money and awareness of SUDC and support bereaved families in their community. Stephanie also volunteers with the Still Remembered Project, a nonprofit located in Southwestern Pennsylvania, which provides bereaved parents and families Christian-based support and encouragement for a loss due to miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death. Stephanie received her undergraduate degree in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science from Syracuse University. She is a grammar nerd, animal lover, hockey fan, theatre enthusiast, unapologetic reality TV viewer and amateur fiber artist. Stephanie lives outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with Ryan, Eliana and their two dogs and three cats.
Jill Diana Chasse, DrPH, PhD, MPA, MS
Director of Education and Grants
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Dr. Chasse is a dedicated public health practitioner and health scientist/ epidemiologist with strengths in global maternal-child health and disease prevention and control. As a Doctor of Public Health, her focus is on preventing, promoting and protecting the health of the public through health literacy, medical research, and program development.
In 2002 she lost her baby girl to SIDS and soon after became the Family Services Director of the SIDS foundation of Oklahoma. She has since worked as a grief counselor for ShareGrief and trained midwives and doulas in perinatal loss. While in the Washington DC metro area for over a decade, Dr. Chasse attended graduate school and acquired hands on and field experience, including community based participatory research and training as a Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps first responder in field epidemiology, outbreak investigations and response to public health threats.
For over a decade, Dr. Chasse worked in federal public health for Tricare, NIH, and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, where she was involved with research, review, and study design for numerous areas including perinatal and reproductive health, pedagogy, and maternal mental health in the area of PMADs. She has also designed and implemented global training programs in preventive medicine and vectorborne and infectious diseases.
Dr. Chasse is currently an adjunct professor at William Paterson University, College of Science and Health. She has been on the Board of Directors for Birth Options Alliance and is a member of the American Public Health Association (APHA), Childbirth & Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA), and American Psychological Association (APA).
She currently lives in NJ with her fiancé and their family.