Officers, Boards & Staff

Board of Directors

* Tamara S. Thomas - President

Tamara became President in 2014, but has been involved with CHF and The Children's Heart Foundation Ohio Chapter since 2006. Her passion for CHF and Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) research funding comes from her son Adam, who was born in 1995 with CHD.



* Kevin Slawin

Kevin is Managing Partner at KS Capital, LLC, Board Member of Trustmark Companies and an Executive Committee Member for The Children's Heart Foundation. He has previously served on the boards of a number of businesses, professional and charitable organizations, including the Allstate Life Insurance Company, Allstate Bank, American Heritage Life Insurance, Lincoln Benefit Life Insurance Company, Lumex Corporation, Insurance Market Standards Association, The Children’s Heart Foundation, and North Suburban YMCA.

Kevin was born with a heart defect and had open heart surgery when he was young. He credits being alive and healthy 50 years after his surgery to groundbreaking research at the time of his surgery. He is passionate about CHF’s mission.

* Sally Powers - Secretary and VP Chapter Development

Sally has served on the Board of Directors since 2012. She was the founding President of The Children's Heart Foundation - Michigan Chapter and founding Chair of the SE Michigan Congenital Heart Walk. Her passion for CHF and CHD research funding comes from her son, who was born with a Congenital Heart Defect.



* William Roach - VP Strategy

William H. Roach, Jr. is a retired capital partner of the global law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

Bill serves as a Director and Vice President of The Children’s Heart Foundation, an organization devoted to supporting research for pediatric congenital heart disease. He served for a number of years as a Director and as the 2011-12 Chairman of the National Board of Directors of the American Heart Association. From 2013 to 2017, he served as the Chairman of the Strategic Advisory Committee of Voices for Healthy Kids, the national advocacy coalition supported by the Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He continues to serve on numerous committees of the Association’s National Board. Bill has served in numerous national and local bar associations and is a former president and founding director of the Illinois Association of Hospital Attorneys.

* Betsy Peterson - VP of Advocacy and Founder

Betsy and her husband Steve started The Children's Heart Foundation in 1996 after their son, Sam, died suddenly due to complications from his complex congenital heart defects. He was 8 years old. Doctors couldn't tell them why their son was born with CHD's or why he died from them. If it hadn't been for research, Sam would not have lived more than a day.

Betsy and Steve bravely responded to their loss by creating The Children’s Heart Foundation, whose mission is to fund the most promising research to advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of CHDs.

* Dr. Jennifer Romano - Medical Advisory Board Chairperson 

"I am a Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon at the University of Michigan and see firsthand every day the power of research and innovation to change the lives of children with congenital heart disease (CHD).

 As a researcher, my focus is in reducing the impact of intensive care and hospital stays on infants undergoing open heart surgery.
The mission of The Children’s Heart Foundation  - to fund the most promising CHD research - is well known in our field and the organization is held in high regard for its dedication to high quality and impactful research. The commitment of CHF to improving the lives of children with CHD is unparalleled by any other organization in the country."


Debbie DeGrace
Bianca Garilli
Kristin Goessl
Martha Hauber
Lori Jones
Julie LeGassick
Danielle Pradas
Kathryn Osteen
Rex Homme
Melonie Stothers
Anne Witte
Kristen Vicknair

* Executive Committee



Executive Director

The Children's Heart Foundation is currently looking for its next Executive Director. View the Executive Director Position Guide here.

To be considered for this opportunity, please send a letter of interest and resume to:
Alexandra Catuara
Associate Consultant, Executive Search - Campbell & Company
[email protected]
Phone: (312) 506 – 0060  

Lauren Chatman - Director of Marketing and Communications
[email protected]

Mike Tancredi - Director of Volunteer Relations and Event Management
[email protected]

Mari-Lynn Peters - Director of Finance and Operations
[email protected]

Cindy Adams - Adminstrative Coordinator
[email protected]

For general questions and information contact: [email protected]


Medical Advisory Board

The Children’s Heart Foundation is not affiliated with any one medical institution; rather, funds are directed by the Medical Advisory Board to the most promising research anywhere in the world.   More than 30 leading international pediatric cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons comprise the CHF Medical Advisory Board, which oversees the research granting process, including:

Dr. Jennifer Hirsch-Romano* Chairwoman - C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI
Dr. Carl Backer*, Past Chairman –Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago, IL
Dr. Emile Bacha – Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York/Columbia, New York, NY
Dr. D. Woodrow Benson – Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI (Emeritus Status)
Dr. Christopher Caldarone - Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
Dr. Mitchell Cohen - Phoenix Children's Hospital, Phoenix, AZ
Dr. David Cooper – Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH
Dr. John Costello – Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago, IL
Dr. Barbara Deal - Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago, IL
Dr. Richard Friedman - Cohen Children's Medical Center, New Hyde Park, NY
Dr. Joseph Forbess - Ann & Robert H Lurie Children's Hospital, Chicago, IL
Dr. Nancy Ghanayem – Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Dr. Andrew J. Griffin – Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital, Oak Lawn, IL (Emeritus Status)
Dr. Courtney Hardy - Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago, IL
Dr. Jeffery Jacobs – The Congenital Heart Institute of Florida, St. Petersburg, FL
Dr. Jim Jaggers - Denver’s Children’s Hospital, Denver, CO
Dr. Patrick Jay - Washington School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
Dr. Kathy Jenkins - Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA
Dr. Joseph Kay – The Children’s Hospital, Aurora, CO
Dr. John Lamberti – Children’s Hospital and Health Center, San Diego, CA (Emeritus Status)
Dr. Bradley S. Marino – Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago, IL
Dr. Marla Mendelson – Northwestern Adult Congenital Heart Center, Chicago, IL
Dr. Peter Mohler - The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, OH
Dr. Jane Wimpfheimer-Newburger – Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA
Dr. Sara Pasquali - C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI
Dr. David Sahn – Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR (Emeritus Status)
Dr. Kenneth Schowengerdt – Cardinal Glennon Hospital, St. Louis, MO
Dr. James Tweddell - Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Dr. Catherine Webb – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Dr. Thomas Weigel – Private Practice, Chicago, IL
Dr. Vincent Zales – Pediatric Cardiology, Brick, NJ