Serving To Educate Primary Care Clinicians On Respiratory Issues
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Steering Committee

Mission Statement | Steering Committee | Membership Benefits | Supporters and Collaborators

Mark H. Belfer, DO, FAAFP

Mark H. Belfer, DO, FAAFP arrived in late 2012 to assume the position of Chief Medical Officer for the Greater Rochester Independent Practice Association, a 1,400 physician multispecialty group affiliated with Rochester Regional Health System.  Dr. Belfer had previously served as Chief Medical Officer at St. Vincent Physician Network in Indianapolis, IN, and prior to that as president and CMO of Akron (OH) General Partners Physician Group. Prior to that, for six and one-half years he served as program director of the Akron General Medical Center / NEOUCOM Family Medicine Residency Program.  Before coming to Akron, he had been in private practice in Warren, Ohio; was a program director at St. Elizabeth’s Family Medicine Program in Youngstown, Ohio; and served as a program director in Kansas City, Missouri.  He is also currently a Clinical Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology.  He completed his internship at Grand Rapids (Michigan) Osteopathic Hospital and his residency training at Martin Army Community Hospital in Ft. Benning, GA.  He is a graduate of Michigan State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree and the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in Des Moines, IA where he earned his Doctor of Osteopathy degree.  He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.

Dr. Belfer has held several leadership positions, including service as president of the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians and president on the board of directors of the AAFP Foundation.  He has been active within the American Academy of Family Physicians, serving as Chair of the Finance and Insurance Commission and Chair of the AAFP Commission on Education.  A former editorial board member for the Core Content Review of Family Medicine, Dr. Belfer has refereed for the American Family Physician, Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, Journal of Family Practice, Annals of Thoracic Medicine, Drugs & Aging, and Postgraduate Medicine.  His teaching interests include procedural skills, practice management, and curriculum development.  He has published and lectured in several areas, and is a frequently invited speaker on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lipid therapy, men’s health, cancer screening guidelines, and practice management.  Along with Nancy, his wife of 44 years, they have 3 children, Rachel, Aaron, and Bret.

M. Elayne DeSimone, PhD, NPC, FAANP  

Dr. M. Elayne DeSimone is a graduate of one of the first nurse practitioner programs at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1981. Over forty four years of clinical and teaching experience have taken her from critical care to research to primary care. Dr. DeSimone is a Clinical Professor and Director of the Master’s Program at Widener University, Chester, PA. Her primary teaching responsibilities are in the Family Nurse Practitioner and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.

Dr. DeSimone practices at Community Volunteers in Medicine, which is a free primary care clinic for the uninsured in West Chester, PA. She is the Associate Editor for Clinician 1, an online community for Nurse Practitioners and PAs, and is an editorial board member of the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Board certified in Adult Health and Family (Across the lifespan) Health, Dr. DeSimone is a fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and an active committee and board member for several local, state and national organizations.

Len Fromer, MD, FAAFP

Dr. Leonard Fromer is a graduate of Downstate Medical School in Brooklyn, New York and the Memorial Hospital Family Practice Program in Long Beach, California. Subsequently, as a partner in a large primary care medical group in Santa Monica, he juggled a thriving medical practice with involvement in numerous professional organizations. A past president of the California Academy of Family Physicians, Dr. Fromer is also a longtime member and former chairman of the Commission on Healthcare Services for the American Academy of Family Physicians; a member of the Advisory Board, IMAP Allergy and Asthma, California Department of Health Services; served on the advisory board for the World Foundation for Studies of Female Health; the Board of Directors, Program Chair, and AAFP Liaison for the American Medical Informatics Association; assistant professor, Family Medicine, at the UCLA School of Medicine; and was also a nominee to the National Committee on Vital Health Statistics, United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Fromer has appeared on CBS, NBC, and Fox News, and has been interviewed for the Wall Street Journal, AMA News, American Family Physician, and several other medical journals. He is also a frequent guest speaker at medical meetings on a variety of topics, including allergies, asthma, and national health policy. He served on the editorial Board of Issue Scan Quarterly Review of Health Care Reform and is currently on the editorial board of the International Primary Care Respiratory Journal. He was an editor for A Guide to Forming Physician Directed Managed Care Networks, American Medical Association.

Dr. Fromer has written numerous articles on a variety of subjects ranging from “Diagnosis and Management of Nighttime Reflux” to “The Most Cost Effective Health Care” to “Ethics in Managed Care.” His most recent allergy and asthma related article is “Clinical Rationale for Obtaining a Precise Diagnosis.”

In addition, Dr. Fromer is a Diplomate, American Board of Family Practice; Diplomate, National Board of Medical Examiners; a Fellow, American Academy of Family Physicians, and a recipient of the Physicians Recognition Award from the American Medical Association.

Kurtis S. Elward, M.D., MPH, FAAFP 

Kurtis S. Elward’s clinical practice in Charlottesville Virginia, includes the full spectrum of Family Medicine. He holds an academic appointment as Assistant Professor of Research in Family Medicine at the University of Virginia. He also serves as Medical Director for Quality at Southern Health. He holds an MD from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and a Masters’ degree in Public Health from the University of Washington, where he completed an NIH fellowship in Primary Care and Health Services Evaluation. He is board certified in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, and is Board-eligible in Preventive Medicine.

He is currently leading “TOGOAL-COPD”, an initiative of the Medical Society of Virginia Foundation (MSVF). This project combines recertification activities with state of the art performance enhancement to achieve improvements in NAEPP and NQF measures of excellence, and support primary care practices’ COPD care and their development of foundational elements of the Patient Centered Medical Home.

Dr. Elward has extensive experience in working with large numbers of practices in office-based quality improvement initiatives. He has led community-based disease management/quality improvement projects in diabetes, asthma, influenza vaccination, congestive heart failure, and myocardial infarction.

He is a member of the NAEPP Coordinating Committee and its Select Guidelines Implementation Panel, having authored the sections on inhaled steroids and assessment of control. He serves on the AMA-NCQA Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement panel on asthma,  the JCAHO Child Asthma Care Advisory Panel, and the Centers for Disease Control Community Guide development team for asthma, and also on the Steering Committee for the Virginia Asthma Coalition.

He has a special interest in process improvement and change management at the medium and small practice level, translational research, and in understanding disease triggers and the dynamics of clinical exacerbations of asthma and congestive heart failure.

Charlene M. Morris, MPAS, PA-C 

Charlene M. Morris, DFAAPA, MPAS, PA-C, is a Family Medicine Physician Assistant living in Louisville, KY.

PA Morris earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Sciences and Physician Assistant certificate from George Washington University in Washington, DC in 1980 and her Masters of Physician Assistant Studies degree from the University of Nebraska, 2002. She was awarded AAPA's distinguished fellow (DFAAPA) in 2008.

Ms. Morris has over 40 years of experience in all facets of Family Medicine, with special interests in preventive medicine and acute care. She has enthusiastically worked in Rural practice, ER, Urgent Care, Hospitalist and Military Medicine throughout her career.

Ms. Morris has developed and presented many health care programs in addition to writing journal and on-line articles for clinicians and for Medscape's "Ask the Expert PA". She has served on the editorial and review staff for Prescriber’s Letter since 2002. Recently, PA Morris edited an entire 10 module CME through AAPA and American Academy of Nephrology PAs. She has published in numerous professional journals including The Journal of Family Practice, Advance for NPs & PAs and Physician Assistant.  Ms. Morris has also authored and reviewed chapters in several textbooks.

She is Past President of the North Carolina Association of Physician Assistants and and Past President of the Association of Family Practice PAs. PA Morris actively works as an advocate for PAs in the Kentucky legislature and continues to be involved in the PA and medical community as mentor, life-long learner and patient advocate.

Barbara P. Yawn, M.D., M.Sc, FAAFP

Dr. Yawn is an investigator and research consultant for several large NIH funded studies in asthma and COPD.  She is also the Chief Science Officer of the COPD Foundation.  After 12 years as a full time rural family physician, Barbara returned to graduate school and transitioned into a full time research position. She opened the Olmsted Medical Center Department of Research in 1990 with one employee and when she retired from that position had 18 employees and had completed over 12 million dollars in Federally funded research with additional investigator initiated studies from industry sponsors.

Dr. Yawn’s areas of research include the diagnostic process, women’s health, and COPD and asthma identification and management. Her work in asthma has included pilot studies on the natural history of asthma in primary care patients, asthma school based screening, stigmatization in children with asthma and disease labeling in people with asthma. She was a member of the NIH National Asthma Education and Prevention Program for the past 8 years chairing several committees and co-chairing the 2003 NIH National Asthma Summit. In 2002, she began work with the World Health Organization’s committee to develop symptoms asthma diagnosis and management guidelines. She was a member of the Expert Review Panel that developed the 2007 NHLBI asthma guidelines.  More recently she served on the NIAIA’s food allergy guideline panel, chair a national taskforce on the role of allergy evaluation in asthma and since 2012 has served on the development and update committee for the COPD Foundation’s COPD pocket guide for primary care physicians.  

In addition to over 450 peer reviewed articles she has published since 1987, Dr. Yawn has authored or edited three books, written many book chapters, developed and produced a national syndicated radio health program and written a health column for rural newspapers in the US. She does 50 or more grand rounds and large and small venue CME presentations around the US and in foreign countries each year. She has two grown sons, one who is an electrical and computer engineer and one who is a family physician. Her husband is a retired general internist.  Dr Yawn lives in Blaine, MN—near her grandchildren.

 Gabriel Ortiz, MPAS, PA-C

Gabe has been a Physician Assistant in Allergy and Asthma since 1991. He has participated in numerous clinical trials for allergy and asthma medications and antibiotics.

He received his third BS degree in Physician Assistant studies from  the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston in 1989 and his Masters of Physician Assistant studies in Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1999.

Gabe is Co-founder and past president of the American Academy of Physician Assistants in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. 

Gabe is the former Liaison from the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) and the AAAAI Liaison to the AAPA. He is also the former AAPA Liaison to the National Institutes of Health-National Asthma Education and Prevention Program –Coordinating Committee. 

His research on the use of pharmacotherapy in the management of asthma and topics related to the treatment of allergies has appeared in Annals of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, Physician Assistant, Journal of the AAPA, Journal of Asthma, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Advance for the PA, Advance for NP and PA, Clinical Advisor, The Journal of Family Practice and CHEST.

He has served as chair or co-chair for several PA and NP conferences and has given numerous lectures at local, state and national conferences including the AAAAI.

In February 2008, Gabe was awarded the recognition of Distinguished Fellow of the AAPA.

In January 2017, Dr. Ortiz became a full-time employee of Thermo Fisher Scientific serving as a Clinical Educator/Clinical Science Liaison.

James W. Stout, MD, MPH

Dr. Stout is a Professor of Pediatrics and Adjunct Professor of Health Services at University of  Washington (UW) in Seattle, Washington.  He practices general pediatrics with a focus on asthma care and newborn medicine. Since 1996 he has served as Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on externally funded trials and quality improvement projects around the theme of reducing health disparities domestically and internationally. This includes a focus on the health impact of asthma Community Health Workers.

He founded, and directs, a multi-disciplinary group at UW known as Interactive Medical Training Resources (iMTR). iMTR has supported several other remote health training projects and trials with production and distribution of interactive online tutorials, Spirometry 360, an iMTR online training and feedback program, has been used to train clinicians in over 300 practices domestically and in 10 other countries Dr. Stout collaborates on development of smartphone-based apps including SpiroSmart, which remotely monitors lung function, and BiliCam, that remotely estimates newborn jaundice.

 Dr. Stout is currently a member of the Expert Panel Report – 4 Working Group of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Coordinating Committee, of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.  He serves on the Board of Advisors for D-Rev  He is also a member of the Education Subcommittee of the International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG), based in London . With IPCRG colleagues, he is developing a clinical decision-support app for children under 5 years old in respiratory distress, for developing countries.  He has three grown sons, lives in Seattle, WA and is also a potter.


Tonya Winders, MBA

Tonya Winders, MBA

Tonya Winders. MBA is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Allergy & Asthma Network, the leading patient advocacy organization dedicated to ending the needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions.

Tonya has over 20 years experience in leadership roles within the allergy and asthma industry. From sales and marketing leadership to managed markets access, she has worked tirelessly to ensure patients have access to effective diagnostic and treatment tools.

Tonya serves on several expert panels including the ATS Public Advisory Roundtable & GINA international guidelines. Furthermore, she is on the board of directors for the Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires Disease and the American Respiratory Care Foundation and is the current president of the Global Allergy & Airways Patient Platform, representing >50 patient organizations throughout the world.

Personally, Tonya is the mother of five children, four of whom have asthma and/or allergies, ranging in age from 15-22 years old. She enjoys spending time with her husband of 24 years Brian Winders and cheering on her children in various sports.