September 6, 2018
ANN ARBOR — Dennis Michael Ritter, M.D., has been hired as the managing director of the University of Michigan ALS Center of Excellence, it was announced today (Sept. 6) by Eva Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., research director for the ALS Center of Excellence and director of the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery.
Additionally, Feldman announced that the ALS Center of Excellence has assembled a 13-member Board of Directors, comprised of business and community leaders.
As managing director, Ritter has oversight of the strategic direction of the Center and its newly-formed Board of Directors. He will provide leadership and professional expertise on matters related
to the management of the Center. Ritter will collaborate with the Board to foster public awareness of ALS, expand marketing efforts through written and visual materials, and assist with the fulfillment of fundraising goals.
“Given Dr. Ritter’s experience in a variety of hospital committees and clinic management at Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis, he will bring the ALS Center’s level of operation to new heights,” said Feldman, the Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology. “He also has a deep appreciation for patient care as a result of his outstanding career in medicine.”
A native of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, and two-time graduate from the University of Michigan, Ritter joins the ALS Center of Excellence following a distinguished career as an anesthesiologist in St. Louis. Dr. Ritter’s Complete Biography
“I could not be more proud to join the world-class ALS Center of Excellence team at Michigan Medicine,” said Ritter. “My longstanding experience as medical director of a large clinic in St. Louis will give me the tools to honor and assist our ALS patients and their caregivers, to achieve the goals of our Board, and to support the outstanding contributions to ALS research and clinical care by our physicians Dr. Eva Feldman, Dr. Stephen Goutman and Dr. Dustin Nowacek.”
The Board will support the Center’s mission of conducting basic science and clinical research, and providing exceptional clinical care to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients and their caregivers. Board members are also charged with improving public knowledge about ALS and how it is treated.
“ALS is a disease that we must defeat and not be defeated by,” said Feldman. “It is a disease that requires more attention from the scientific community, as well as the general public. I am thrilled to welcome these public leaders to our Board, many of whom have been personally touched by ALS.”
The inaugural 2018 board of directors:
Doris Fortier Allen: a respiratory therapist at the Henry Ford Health System’s Harry J. Hoenselaar ALS Clinic with more than three decades in respiratory care and ventilatory support. Complete Biography
Dr. William T. Allen: a retired pulmonary and critical care physician with experience with hospital executive management at St. Joseph Mercy Hospitals in Michigan. He also was a faculty member at the University of Michigan. Complete Biography
Harold Burrell, Jr.: a partner, senior vice president and account executive of Lighthouse Insurance Group in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has also served as a board member for ALS Association – Michigan Chapter. Complete Biography
Christina Clark: a former trustee of the ALS Association and member of the National Institutes of Health Director’s Council of Public Representatives from 2005-2009. Complete Biography
David Forbes: a partner of The Forbes Company, a nationally recognized developer, as well as owner and manager of luxury shopping destinations throughout Michigan and Florida. Complete Biography
Garlin Gilchrist, II: an experienced technology and community leader and founding executive director of the Center for Social Media Responsibility at the University of Michigan School of Information. Complete Biography
Lauren Hendel: a senior at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, pursuing a bachelor of business administration. She is the founder of “A Lot Stronger Together,” the first student-run organization at U-M dedicated to supporting ALS research. Complete Biography
Willard Holt, III: an of counsel attorney at Plunkett Cooney, P.C., in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and a member of Plunkett Cooney’s Business Advisory Group. Complete Biography
Hilary King: the current president of Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, Michigan, the largest reform Jewish congregation in North America and a past board member of the Anti-Defamation League. Complete Biography
Sheri Mark-Slaim: a registered nurse, attorney and writer from metro Detroit. She was previously president of the board of directors for Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures, and for North Star Reach Camp, a non-profit organization providing ill children with camp experiences in Pinckney, Michigan. Complete Biography
Scott Pranger: the principal manager for the Pranger Family Foundation in Spring Lake, Michigan. Previously he was the CEO and owner of EQI, LTD., and the vice president of Kurdziel Industries, Inc. Complete Biography
John Scarbrough: a retired global automotive supplier executive with many years of management experience in sales, engineering, and manufacturing. He has organized successful events to benefit the ALS Association. Complete Biography
Ari Weinzweig: the co-owner and founding partner of Ann Arbor-based Zingerman’s Delicatessen, a nationally-renowned restaurant that has grown into a community of more than 10 businesses. He is also active in the community, having served as a board member for a variety of organizations. Complete Biography
About the ALS Center of Excellence at Michigan Medicine: The ALS Center of Excellence at Michigan Medicine is comprised of an active basic science, translational, and clinical research program and the Multidisciplinary ALS Clinic. This structure engages collaboration between physicians, basic scientists, nurses, ancillary providers, and research coordinators all working towards better treatments, an understanding of why a person develops ALS, and ultimately a cure for ALS.
About ALS: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive fatal neurodegenerative disease that leads to the death of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. This in turns causes progressive weakness of voluntary skeletal muscle often leading to death in 2 to 4 years. Current therapies only minimally slow disease and new therapeutic options are critically needed.