Jennifer Canvasser, M.S.W.
Founder & Director
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, advocacy and community organizing. Jennifer has presented on diverse children’s health topics nationally and internationally. She completed her undergraduate studies at U.C.L.A. and earned her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California with a concentration in community organizing.
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.
Board of Directors
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.
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.
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.
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.