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Fighting every day to free individuals — and the families who love them — from the harmful effects of muscle-debilitating diseases so they can live longer and grow stronger

MDA Names Kristin Stephenson to VP of Policy and Advocacy to Build on Recent Landmark Victories

MDA Hires Member of its Community to Head Policy Work After MD CARE, Achieving a Better Life Experience and Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act Victories in 2014

WASHINGTON, January 15, 2015 – The Muscular Dystrophy Association has named Kristin Stephenson, an accomplished lawyer, seasoned public health advocate and active member of the MDA community, as its Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, effective immediately. Stephenson is now responsible for developing, implementing and overseeing advocacy and government relations strategies to achieve the organization’s public policy goals on behalf of those living with muscle disease.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Kristin to our team. Not only is she a formidable health care advocate with years of experience in nursing, health care management consulting, health law and public policy advocacy, but she has firsthand knowledge of the challenges muscle disease can present in a family’s life,” said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks, who will work closely with Stephenson in maintaining the results-driven focus of MDA’s public policy and advocacy program. “I’m confident that Kristin’s professional experience and personal connection to our mission have prepared her well to step into this key leadership role.   She is passionate about getting real results that make a difference in the lives of the families we serve.”

Kristin’s personal journey with muscle disease began when she married Bradley Stephenson, who was diagnosed with Becker muscular dystrophy in his school years. In their 20 years of marriage, as the disease has progressed, both have dedicated their time to advocating on behalf of those living with neuromuscular diseases. Bradley was a member of MDA’s National Task Force on Public Awareness, and both lobbied Congress and the White House for the MD-CARE Act of 2001 as well as other initiatives.

“MDA’s mission is one that hits close to home,” Stephenson said.  “I’ve had the opportunity to learn what life with muscular dystrophy is like for the person affected, as well as for their families. I am thrilled and honored to join at such an exciting time, and I look forward to helping MDA achieve its mission.  I cannot think of a more important undertaking.”

MDA has redoubled its urgency and commitment to work with lawmakers to give families a voice to fight muscle disease through policy change and recently helped usher through landmark victories such as the MD-CARE, Achieving a Better Life Experience and Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Acts. Stephenson will take the lead in developing and implementing MDA’s overall government relations and advocacy priorities and represent MDA to members of Congress and their staff, patient advocacy groups, government officials, and other partners and stakeholders.

Kristin has dedicated her career to health issues, beginning with a stint in the Government Relations department of the American Public Health Association in Washington D. C., while earning her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Catholic University of America. Subsequently, she earned a Master of Science in health care administration and worked as a Senior Health Care Consultant with Arthur Anderson, an international consulting and accounting firm, where she was deployed nationwide to multisystem health care organizations to assist with staffing, utilization, and supply chain cost reduction issues. After consulting, she pursued her law degree and served as an Associate in the health care litigation practice groups of the international law firms of Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP (now Norton Rose Fulbright) and Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld, LLP. Stephenson’s law practice has been focused on complex corporate litigation pertaining to pharmaceutical matters and intellectual property disputes involving medical devices.

About MDA
The Muscular Dystrophy Association is the world’s leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to saving and improving the lives of people with muscle disease, including muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases. It does so by funding worldwide research to find treatments and cures; by providing comprehensive health care services and support to MDA families nationwide; and by rallying communities to fight back through advocacy, fundraising and local engagement.

Visit mda.org and follow us at facebook.com/MDAnational and @MDAnews. Learn more about MDA’s mission by watching this video.

Roxan Olivas
MDA Vice President  — Public Relations & Community Programs
(520) 529-5317
rolivas@mdausa.org