The NEC Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis, was founded in 2014. In just three years, the organization has engaged talented and dedicated clinicians, investigators, impacted families and a strong board of directors.
As the NEC Society continues to grow, we’d like to introduce our directors to our wider community. The individuals within this organization care deeply about our shared mission and are driven to improve outcomes for our most fragile of infants.
We are grateful for the time each of our directors dedicate to the NEC Society!
Angelique Abed, Esq.
Angelique is a technology transaction attorney at a technology company in the California Bay Area. She completed both her undergraduate degree in Legal Studies and law degree at UC Berkeley. She has a personal relationship to childhood illness, as she has witnessed family and dear friends cope with chronic and fatal childhood disease, including necrotizing enterocolitis.
Jennifer Canvasser, MSW
Jennifer Canvasser founded the NEC Society after losing her son Micah to the disease in 2012. Jennifer’s expertise includes children’s environmental health, nonprofit leadership, community organizing and advocacy. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA and earned her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California with a focus on community organizing.
Kathy Crusco, Executive VP, Chief Financial Offer, Epicor Software Corporation
Ms. Crusco has served as Epicor Software Corporation’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since May 2011. Ms. Crusco joined Activant as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in May 2007, and was promoted to Executive Vice President in November 2010 and served in that role to May 2011. Prior to joining Activant, Ms. Crusco was Vice President, Worldwide Finance at Polycom, Inc. from March 2005 to May 2007 and Vice President, Worldwide Controller from January 2002 to March 2005. In addition, Ms. Crusco served as Chief Accounting Officer at Polycom, Inc. from August 2002 through March 2005. From April 1999 through January 2002, Ms. Crusco served as Vice President, Worldwide Controller at Documentum, Inc. and from July 1997 through April 1999, as Director of Finance at Adaptec, Inc. Ms. Crusco also spent 10 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in various management roles. In December 2013 Ms. Crusco was appointed to the Board of Directors of Mitchell International, Inc., additionally she will serve as the Audit Committee chairperson. Ms. Crusco has a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in accounting from California State University, Chico.
Gary Hunt, Esq.
Gary Hunt is an attorney practicing in Fresno, California where he lives with his wife Melissa and their two amazing boys Owen and Holden. Driven by his own good fortune and love for his children, Gary sees the NEC Society as a method to bring awareness to a disease that has had an incredible impact upon those who he holds dearly.
Chelsea Matter is an independent documentary producer. She has worked on films that have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca and IDFA and have covered social issues ranging from income inequality to responses to terrorism to the effects of chemicals in consumer products on our health. Chelsea has also produced and written documentary television series for networks including The History Channel, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel and Travel Channel. A graduate of Stanford University, Chelsea began her career as a television news journalist, working for affiliate stations in Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Rebecca Meuninck, Ph.D.
Rebecca is the Deputy Director for the Ecology Center, a Michigan-based non-profit working to protect human health and the environment. She has worked on environmental health and environmental justice issues for more than 17 years. Rebecca coordinates the environmental health work for the Ecology Center and the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health and serves on the steering committees of several state and national environmental health coalitions. In the wake of the Flint Water Crisis, Rebecca was appointed by Governor Snyder to the state’s Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission. Rebecca’s work centers around her passion for protecting children’s health. Rebecca holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology, with a graduate specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change from Michigan State University, and a BS from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan.
Erin Umberger, M.Arch
Erin Umberger is an Architect with undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Biology. In May 2014, Erin and her husband Ryan lost their baby daughter Sarah to NEC at two months of age. Erin’s loss has motivated her to be an advocate for preemies and their families. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
NEC Society International Advisors
We are also grateful to the NEC Society’s International Advisors, Joanne Ferguson who is based in the UK, and Simone Rosito who is based in Brazil. By collaborating with the Special Interest Group in Necrotizing Enterocolitis (SIGNEC), which was established in the UK, and the Instituto Pequenos Grandes Guerreiros, we have created a groundbreaking global effort aimed at improving the care and outcomes for all fragile infants at risk of necrotizing enterocolitis. Learn more about these impactful organizations:
Joanne Ferguson, Special Interest Group in Necrotizing Enterocolitis of the United Kingdom
Joanne lost her son, Guy, to NEC when he was eight days old. Joanne was the first parent representative to serve on the clinical reference group that advises NHS England on neonatal care. By asking questions of the lack of NEC data and research in the UK, she met Dr. Minesh Khashu and became the first parent of a baby who had the disease to contribute to the Special Interest Group in Necrotizing Enterocolitis (SIGNEC). In the past eight years, Joanne has worked with professionals on a variety of neonatal projects; she has supported parents, helped charities, and lobbied politicians. Her breadth of voluntary experience and knowledge of neonatal care and NEC is rare, which is why she worked with Dr. Khashu to produce a website for SIGNEC and is keen to support the NEC Society.
Joanne was born in Zambia and recently moved to Northern Ireland. She has a degree in Business Administration and has worked in the UK, the USA and Middle East. She knows that greater international collaboration and support is needed to reduce the suffering and strains that necrotizing enterocolitis causes to babies, families and professionals around the world.
Simone Rosito, Instituto Pequenos Grandes Guerreiros (Little Big Warriors Institute) of Brazil
Tom and Dani’s auntie, Simone holds a degree in Management and International Relations by the University of Aberdeen, a Masters in Middle East Politics, from the University of Durham and is currently specializing in Social Projects. With a long international career in Latin American Equities desks, Simone has lived in the UK and Australia and is a keen traveller with a taste for exotic locations. Her trips to places such as Syria, Bhutan and Algeria resulted in the book “Oh My Buddha” soon to be available in English and proceeds to be donated to Instituto PGG.