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Our mission is to empower people living with neuromuscular diseases to live longer, more independent lives.

MDA Names Kristine Welker Interim CEO

CHICAGO, February 13, 2017— MDA today announced that Kristine Welker, a member of the Board of Directors, has been appointed Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately, and is succeeding Steve Derks, MDA's President and Chief Executive Officer since December 2012, who is stepping down after helping lead MDA through this important time of transformation.

R. Rodney Howell, M.D., Chairman of the MDA Board of Directors, commented, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank Steve for his contributions during his tenure. He shepherded our transformational rebranding, helping to reposition MDA for greater impact. MDA is moving forward to build on its leading role in curing, caring and championing individuals and families living with muscular dystrophy, ALS and other muscle debilitating diseases. We wish Steve success in his future endeavors.”

“The Board and I believe the time is right to bring in new leadership to continue advancing MDA’s mission. It has been a privilege and an honor to serve such an amazing and impactful mission-centric organization and to learn from and be inspired by families facing neuromuscular disease. I plan to take a little time and then will be back looking for ways to make a difference and help lead important non-profit missions,” said Steve Derks.

Dr. Howell continued, “The Board enthusiastically supports Kristine Welker, who has been an active member of the MDA Board, and deeply involved in nearly every aspect of MDA’s work. As a strategic, seasoned, and respected leader of high-growth businesses, Kristine has a track record of helping organizations move forward successfully. She also understands, from her own personal experience, how muscle disease can affect a family. Kristine takes on this new interim leadership role with a great deal of energy and excitement for connecting with our families, sponsors and other MDA supporters.”

“We are very pleased to have three new drugs approved to treat neuromuscular disease, with even more leading-edge therapies in the pipeline. We would not be where we are today without the research and clinical community, our generous sponsors and donors, and our tireless employees and volunteers. The Board looks forward to working closely with Kristine and our talented MDA team to advance MDA’s mission to fight to free individuals — and the families who love them — from the harmful effects of muscular dystrophy, ALS and related life-threatening diseases so they can live longer and grow stronger,” concluded Dr. Howell.

About MDA
MDA is leading the fight to free individuals — and the families who love them — from the harm of muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle-debilitating diseases that take away physical strength, independence and life. We use our collective strength to help kids and adults live longer and grow stronger by finding research breakthroughs across diseases; caring for individuals from day one; and empowering families with services and support in hometowns across America. Learn how you can fund cures, find care and champion the cause at

Roxan Triolo Olivas
MDA Vice President
Public Relations and Community Programs
(520) 529-5305