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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 for the past 26 years 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.

Janet Corroo

Janet Corroo, RN

Vice President

Clinical Nurse, USCF Headache Center

Janet Corroo is a clinical nurse for the UCSF Headache Center caring for adults and children with headache. Janet’s role is to support the physician’s inpatient and outpatient patient care activities. Ms. Corroo is dedicated to improving the lives of the patients beyond her role as the Clinical Nurse, and is committed to working with Miles for Migraine in developing programs such as the Migraine Youth Camp.

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.

David Watson

David Watson, MD

Board Member

Dr. David Watson is Chair of the WVU Department of Neurology and Director of the WVU Headache Center. His clinical work focuses on patients with headache disorders, and in access to clinical care for under-served populations. He has been active in clinical research focused on new treatment options for headache patients. In addition, Dr. Watson is involved with resident and student education at all levels.

He is very active in patient and professional advocacy, having founded Runnin' for Research, Inc., a charity which raises funds for headache and migraine research, and attending numerous lobbying days in Washington D.C.

He currently is a member of the AMA Opioid Task Force, has served as the Chair of the AAN Grassroots Working Group, currently chairs the American Academy of Neurology Advocacy Engagement Subcommittee and is a member of the Advocacy Committee of the American Academy of Neurology.

He was awarded the Palatucci Advocate of the Year award in 2017 by the American Academy of the Neurology, and the American Headache Society Above and Beyond Award in 2018.

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.


Karissa N. Arca, MD

Board Member

Dr. Arca  is currently the Headache Fellow at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. She received her medical degree from Loma Linda University and went on to complete a Transitional Year residency and Neurology residency at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. During her final year of residency she was awarded the Manfred D. Muenter Award for Excellence in Clinical Neurology.

Dr. Arca is an active member of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society. She has received multiple scholarships to attend AHS meetings as well as multiple poster presentations and an oral presentation.  Most recently, she was awarded the Frontiers in Headache Research scholarship award by the AHS which will be presented in the upcoming Scottsdale meeting.

Dr. Arca has multiple peer-reviewed publications and abstracts in the field of Headache Medicine. She has a special interest in the cross-section of autonomic disorders and headache as well as CSF dynamics.


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