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Biographies of MDCC Members


Valerie A. Cwik, M.D.
Dr. Cwik is Medical Director and Executive Vice President for Research with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Dr. Cwik has an extensive background in neuromuscular disease management and research. She is a resource on matters relating to the increased complexities of patient management and clinical trials. She is the chief spokesperson for the MDA in media matters relating to their health care services program and advances in scientific research.

Brian Denger
Mr. Denger is a parent of two children affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Mr. Denger is a Collaborative Programs Administrator with the Parent Project for Muscular Dystrophy. Mr. Denger has been active in seeking new or improved therapies and possible cures for muscular dystrophy. He has made advocacy an important part of his life, and he strongly supports programs that enhance patient lives by increasing access to current research and care information, services, or participation in efforts to improve the prognosis for acute or chronic conditions.

Alan Guttmacher, M.D.
Dr. Guttmacher is the Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the focal point at the National Institutes of Health for research in pediatric health and development, maternal health, reproductive health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and rehabilitation medicine. A pediatrician and medical geneticist, Dr. Guttmacher previously was at the National Human Genome Research Institute, where he served in several roles, including Deputy Director and Acting Director, overseeing that institute’s efforts to advance genome research, integrate that research into health care, and explore the ethical, legal, and social implications of human genomics. Among Dr. Guttmacher’s areas of expertise is the development of new approaches for translating genomics into better ways of diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine.

Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Katz has been Director of the NIAMS since August 1995; muscle biology and the muscular dystrophies are areas of research emphasis for NIAMS. Dr. Katz has served many professional societies in leadership positions including as a member of the Board of Directors and President of the Society for Investigative Dermatology, on the Board of the Association of Professors of Dermatology, as Secretary-General of the 18th World Congress of Dermatology in 1992, as Secretary-Treasurer of the Clinical Immunology Society, and as Past President of both the International League of Dermatological Societies and the International Committee of Dermatology. He is also a Senior Investigator in the Dermatology Branch of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Katz is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine.

Anne M. Rutkowski, M.D.
Dr. Rutkowski is co-founder and Chairman of Cure CMD, and an emergency medicine physician in Los Angeles. Dr. Rutkowski’s daughter has congenital muscular dystrophy, subtype, dystroglycanopathy. She would like to shrink the diagnostic odyssey, decrease variability in health care delivery to people with CMD and focus the approach to identifying therapeutic targets. Cure CMD's mission is to find treatments and cure for the CMDs.

Wanda L. Salzer, M.D.
a. Colonel Salzer became Director, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Department of the Army, in 2013. She was previously the Deputy Director overseeing the neurotrauma portfolio of grants. The Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Research Program is among the CDMRP programs that she oversees. Colonel Salzer has received numerous awards and serves on several committees. She is currently a panel member for the Militarily-Relevant Peer Reviewed Alzheimer's Disease Program whose mission is to detect traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related Alzheimer's disease and promote studies which may improve quality of life for those affected.

Theresa B. San Agustin, M.D.
Dr. San Agustin lost her hearing at the age of 4. She began her medical career as a Staff Fellow in Molecular Genetics at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), NIH. Currently, Dr. San Agustin leads and coordinates the Congressionally-mandated Model Spinal Cord Injury and Burn Injury Rehabilitation Programs and serves as a Project Officer in the Traumatic Brain Injury Program, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center in Neuromuscular Diseases and other health-related rehabilitation research at the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), U.S. Department of Education. She is a member of several Advisory and Federal Interagency Coordinating Committees and co-chairs the Congressionally-mandated Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR), Subcommittee on Medical Rehabilitation, which reports to Congress annually. Dr. San Agustin is well-published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Burn Care and Research, and various Human Genetics and Otolaryngology Journals. She is a chapter contributor to 'Welner's Guide to the Care of Women with Disabilities', published in 2004.

Peter H. Wald, M.D., M.P.H
Dr. Wald is Vice-President, Enterprise Medical Director, United Services Automobile Association (USAA). He is responsible for the oversight and management of delivery of medical services, integrated disability management and wellness services for all USAA employees in the United States and Europe. As a physician who also has a Masters of Public Health, Dr. Wald has a unique background to contribute to activities of the Muscular Dystrophy Coordinating Committee. Notably, he has a form of myotonic dystrophy and is one of two MDCC members who are, themselves, directly affected by muscular dystrophy. This knowledge of myotonic dystrophy from a personal perspective will be invaluable to the MDCC.

Last updated April 8, 2015