Shirley Kessel

Shirley Kessel

Executive director

Shirley is the mom of three daughters, two of whom live with migraine. When her youngest daughter Sydney became diagnosed at an early age, they both decided that it was time to take action to bring awareness and raise money for migraine research. They contacted Eileen Jones, who founded the Miles for Migraine race in San Francisco, and brought the race to the Philadelphia community in 2013. She became the Executive Director in 2017 when it became apparent that Miles for Migraine should take the race series around the USA.

Shirley has worked in healthcare since 1983 and has served on various non-profit boards since 1991. She won’t retire until a cure is found for this disabling disease.

Dr. William Young

William Young, MD, FAHS


Dr. Young is a neurologist at the Jefferson Headache Center. He received his medical degree from Penn State College of Medicine and has been in practice for 30 years. The Jefferson Headache Center is one of a very few academic headache centers in the country. The Center, founded in 1982, specializes in the treatment of patients with all types of headache pain. Dr. Young is the President of Miles for Migraine, and former president of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy. Click for detailed information pertaining to Dr. Young’s extensive research profile, including research pertaining to migraine and stigma.


Eileen Jones, RN, PHN

Founder and Past President

Eileen is the Founder of Miles for Migraine and served as President from 2008 – 2016. A migraine patient herself for many years, she started the nonprofit organization after a 2007 visit to Congress, along with mostly headache disorders physician research specialists from across the US, to advocate for the acute need for migraine research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). That group formalized into the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy, where Eileen is a founding board member, and returns annually at their own expense to ask Congressional representatives for headache research support. Miles for Migraine races exists to raise public support for the needs of migraine and headache disorders and direct funds to research. It is her fervent desire to expand the race to major U.S. cities.

After graduating from Stanford University, Eileen worked as a critical care unit nurse for many years and a disaster nurse specialist for the American Red Cross since 1998.

Kenneth Jones

Kenneth Jones, MBA

Senior Vice President - Health System Affiliates, UCSF Health

Kenneth M. Jones, UCSF Health’s Senior Vice President, having previously worked as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of UCSF Medical Center. He joined the organization in 2001. Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Cain Brothers and Company, LLC, in San Francisco and was President and Chief Executive Officer of Summit Hospital in Oakland.

Among his chief accomplishments at UCSF Medical Center, Jones was responsible for planning and executing the February 1, 2015 opening and operation of the new 875,000 square foot Women’s, Children’s and Cancer Hospital and clinic complex at Mission Bay, and implemented key elements of the Medical Center strategic plan, including the 2014 merger with Children’s Hospital Oakland, and the development of a medical foundation to affiliate with community physicians. He maintained operating margins of over $100 million per year from 2010 to 2015. Patient satisfaction increased from 90 % to 92.8% from 2009 to 2014. In 2006, he was named CFO of the Year by the San Francisco Business Times magazine.

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Mr. Jones received his Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) in Mathematics from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. He moved west to California, where he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Stanford University.


Kerry Knievel

Board Member

Dr. Knievel is the Director of the Jan & Tom Lewis Migraine Treatment Program at Barrow Neurological Institute. She is Board-Certified in headache medicine. Dr. Knievel received her Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri. She completed her Residency in Neurology and a Neuromuscular Fellowship at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Knievel and her team specialize in migraines, headaches, and headache disorders and are adept at finding relief for headaches regardless of their cause. Dr. Knievel is a Member of the American Headache Society, International Headache Cooperative of the Pacific, and is a Fellow of the American Headache Society.

Nina Riggins

Nina Riggins, MD, PhD, FAAN, FAHS

Board Member

Nina Riggins, MD, PhD, FAAN, FAHS is a Director of Headache and Traumatic Brain Injury Center at the University California San Diego (UCSD).

She completed her Neurology Residency at PENN State Medical Center and her Clinical Neurophysiology Fellowship at State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo.

She completed her Headache Fellowship at the University California San Francisco (UCSF). She is a UCNS certified Headache Neurologist. She served as Associate Clinical Professor at UCSF prior to her current position at UCSD.

Dr Riggins is an innovative leader in headache treatment and neurological science, excelling in initiating and managing outpatient services and inpatient programs in a medical academic center. She is mentoring students, residents, and fellows. Dr Riggins devoted to the patient's care. She is developing educational materials for professionals via workshops, presentations, lectures, and podcasts. She is a member of First Contact Committee, American Headache Society and Member of BrainPac Executive Committee, American Academy of Neurology.

Dr Riggins is an Advocate for her Patients and Profession. She is leading multiple research projects with a goal to advance treatments for patients.

You can see link to her website here for more information

Ginny Valenze

Virginia A. "Ginny" Valenze

Board Member

A senior-level,  Public Affairs/Patient Advocacy/Communications professional with a demonstrated history of success in the pharmaceuticals industry. Strong business development professional skilled in Neuroscience, Oncology, Biotechnology, Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, who has won several prestigious industry awards in addition to numerous internal Presidential awards and the highest recognition from the various corporations she has worked for. In addition, she has been recognized by several medical Centers of Excellence with individual awards for her dedication to patients as well.

Virginia (Ginny) Valenze, most recently National Director of Patient Advocacy & Association Relations at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, where she led all patient advocacy and professional association activities for neuroscience since 2011, has just established her own consulting firm for advocacy and communications.

Prior to Novartis, Ms. Valenze held senior public affairs, communications and advocacy positions with several of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, including Roche/Genentech, Pfizer/Pharmacia and Eisai.

With more than 35 years in public affairs, corporate communications and marketing, Ms. Valenze’s previous experience includes senior management positions in financial services, consumer goods and sports marketing for Fortune 100 companies including American Express, Dun & Bradstreet and Sports Illustrated (Time Inc) and Adolph Coors Company.  Additionally, Ms. Valenze has held public information positions for state governors in New York and Colorado, as well directing public affairs for the NY State Olympic Authority and interstate non-profit governors’ associations. She has been a sought-after guest speaker and panelist, and has taught numerous courses in public relations and communications at New York University as adjunct faculty.

Throughout her career, Ms. Valenze has been a strong supporter, advisor and key advocate for numerous patient advocacy organizations and developed a passion for ensuring patient access to innovative therapies and services. She has board positions for several non-profit organizations, most recently as President of the Board of Trustees for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure North Jersey Affiliate, and also held a national board of directors position for Healthy Women until 2013.

A native of Plattsburgh, NY, Ms. Valenze is a graduate of Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY), and has done post-graduate work at the University of Colorado. While studying for her degree, she was a park tour guide/naturalist ranger in Yellowstone National Park. She resides in Whippany, NJ.

Michelle Vargas

Michele Vargas

Board Member

Michele is an Aromatherapist who is an active member in several aromatherapy associations.  She teaches internationally on essential oil uses and safety as well as how to eliminate toxic products from one’s life.

She openly shares her personal struggle with chronic migraine and has become well known in the headache community.  She is a Patient Advisory board member of MFM and Patient Leadership Council of the National Headache Foundation and was a former board member of American Headache and Migraine Association. For several years, she has participated in speaking to her legislators during the Headache on the Hill event in Washington DC.