Mar 28, 2019

Foundation Fighting Blindness Announces Staffing Changes to Enhance Strategic Direction

Press Releases

The Foundation announces several staffing changes with a focus on new strategies to increase awareness and engagement with the community.

COLUMBIA, Maryland – March 28, 2019 – The Foundation Fighting Blindness, the world’s leading non-government funder of cutting-edge retinal disease research, has made several changes and additions to its departments and staff to enhance the Foundation’s strong engagement and relationships with all stakeholders.


Steve Rose, PhD, who has served the Foundation for more than 14 years, leading its science program and managing its extensive portfolio of research grants and projects, is transitioning from his current role as chief scientific officer to the new position of senior scientific advisor. In his new capacity, Dr. Rose will provide scientific support to academic centers and researchers, provide advice and guidance on the Foundation’s strategic direction, and assist with providing up-to-date science information to drive communications and outreach efforts.

Additionally, Brian Mansfield, PhD has been promoted to executive vice president, research and will be acting as interim chief scientific officer effective immediately. Dr. Mansfield has been with the Foundation for eight years and is now primarily responsible for the Foundation’s science program, genetic testing program and the successful My Retina Tracker patient registry. “Under Brian’s leadership, our patient registry and genetic testing study have grown significantly,” said Benjamin Yerxa, PhD, CEO of Foundation Fighting Blindness. “I look forward to working closely with him as we develop strategies to enhance our science programs.”

The Foundation is also very pleased to announce the promotion of Nancy Davenport to vice president, finance. Since joining the Foundation in 2017, Ms. Davenport has taken on significant responsibilities across a wide range of the business, leading the transformation of the Foundation’s IT systems, business processes, and improvement in its financial reporting and tracking systems.

New to Foundation Fighting Blindness, Todd Durham, PhD, has joined the team as vice president, clinical and outcomes research. He is responsible for the strategic planning, collaboration and execution of all clinical and outcomes research activities; including directing the development of clinical research strategies for new clinical endpoints and treatment outcomes, natural history studies, and new therapeutic approaches. Todd is a biostatistician with more than 20 years of experience designing and analyzing Phase 2 and 3 studies, post-marketing studies, regulatory interactions, and successful new drug applications.

Also new to the Foundation is Chris Adams as vice president, marketing and communications. Chris will lead Foundation awareness efforts and be responsible for furthering our mission through strategic marketing initiatives and other targeted communication channels. Mr. Adams has extensive non-profit and marketing experience having served with the American Cancer Society, USA TODAY, and the Discovery Channel prior to joining the Foundation.


In a strategic move, the Foundation has established a new department for outreach to physicians and doctors throughout the country to acquaint them with the many resources and benefits the Foundation provides to patients and families impacted by retinal degenerative diseases. The patient resources include: information about emerging treatments and cures, My Retina Tracker patient registry, genetic testing and counseling, and fundraising through local chapters. The department will also work to enhance the experience and support for patients newly diagnosed and/or introduced to the Foundation.

The outreach and engagement department will be led by Ben Shaberman, senior director, scientific outreach and community engagement, with the recent addition of Michelle Glaze serving as associate director, professional outreach.

“The addition of new talent and creation of new departments at the Foundation will assist with the pursuit of our goals to continue developing strong engagement and relationships with all Foundation constituents. Those who are affected by inherited retinal diseases, the research and scientific community, donors, volunteers and corporate partners are the heart of every decision we make,” said Jason Menzo, COO for Foundation Fighting Blindness. “Through these partnerships, the Foundation Fighting Blindness seeks to raise brand awareness while continuing to lead the acceleration of research for treatment of inherited retinal diseases.”

About the Foundation Fighting Blindness

Established in 1971, the Foundation Fighting Blindness is the world’s leading private funding source for retinal degenerative disease research. The Foundation has raised more than $750 million toward its mission of accelerating research for preventing, treating, and curing blindness caused by the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases including: retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, and Stargardt disease. Visit for more information.

Organization’s Contact:
Chris Adams
Vice President, Marketing & Communications