Putting Patients First: New CEO Focuses on Priorities | Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation

Putting Patients First: New CEO Focuses on Priorities

On July 16, Kathleen Weis began as AA&MDSIF’s new CEO, taking the helm from John Huber, who retired after eight years of dedicated service. Kathleen comes to AA&MDSIF from serving in several capacities with the American Red Cross, most recently as CEO of the Red Cross Gold Country Region. Here, she speaks about her initial impressions and ideas as she begins as her leadership of the organization.

What led to your interest in AA&MDSIF, and this leadership position in particular?

For me it’s always been about an organization’s call to mission, and how strong their mission is in what they do on a day-to-day basis. What appealed to me about Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation was how strong the mission is, and at the center of it, that it’s all about our patients and doing what we need to do help them as they struggle with these diseases.

What are your priorities getting started?

One of my first priorities is of course, learning and understanding what we do in our many programs, and meeting our patients and the external stakeholders. Looking to the future, it will be continuing the primary focus on the patient and giving the overall support, help and education they need, and how to become empowered as self-advocates as they move through the healthcare system.

This also includes working with the medical community and healthcare providers, so they are better able to diagnose these diseases more quickly and get treatment to the patients. Lastly, it’s the research side—the best thing we can do to help patients is be part of the search to find cures, and so that will be another very important part of what we’ll be doing. We will want to spur funding of research for these researchers and clinicians as they try to find treatments and a cure.

Do you have immediate and long term goals for AA&MDSIF programs and services?

Our immediate goals are ensuring that everything we are offering is useful to the patient – this is making sure that everything we deliver to them is of the highest quality and value. That’s the short-term. Long-term is looking at where the gaps may be – finding what we are not offering our patient and provider communities that they still need and that we can provide. We’d like to know where else we can take a leadership role in terms of advocacy for our patients with these diseases.

How would you describe your time at AA&MDSIF thus far?

So far, it’s been great. The staff working here are very passionate and dedicated to the mission. The Board has been very helpful in getting me connected with various individuals – and I haven’t met a single person who has been anything but positive in their regard for this organization. The past month has been lots of learning, to say the least, but has really been a fantastic experience!
Interviewee: 

Kathleen Weis

Lead Photo
Position / Title: 
CEO
Institution: 
Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation

Kathleen comes to AA&MDSIF from serving in several capacities with the American Red Cross, most recently as CEO of the Red Cross Gold Country Region. Here, she speaks about her initial impressions and ideas as she begins as her leadership of the organization.