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Honorary Board Members

Jo Pike

Co-Founder President/Executive Director
Mom to Matt, Aaron, Taylor, and Hunter

Jo was a full time Mom with a strong management background who advocated for children at local, state, and national levels through media and legislation for many years. She served on the School Improvement Council, was a presenter at local and national autism conferences, and very active in her local church as a co-director for the children’s choir. She helped coordinate several rallies and press conferences involving parents and legislators. It was Jo’s goal to see that all families and individuals with autism have access to the services and biomedical care that they need to live life to their fullest potential. Jo served as President and Executive Director during her tenure with NAA from its incorporation in 2003 through 2005.

Please click here to read a special tribute to Jo written by Lori McIlwain.

Liz Birt
Founding Board Member

Liz started her career in health insurance and then decided to go to law school at the ripe old age of 32. Liz began researching the role of vaccines and autism in 1998 shortly after Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s first article was published in the Lancet. Liz started Medical Interventions for Autism, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to funding the possible link between inflammatory bowel disease, immune system disorders, viruses from vaccines and autism in 1999 shortly after her son, Matthew was treated at the Royal Free Hospital by Dr. Wakefield’s colleagues. In 2000 she helped found the advocacy group SafeMinds and as General Counsel obtained various important documents relating to the CDC’s knowledge of the dangers of Thimerosal. In 2001 she “retired” from the private practice of law to become a full time employee of the Committee on Government Reform under the Chairmanship of Rep. Dan Burton R-Ind.. Liz’s main function was to review thousands of pages of government and industry records, conduct interviews of key FDA and CDC employees and to write a report on this issue to Congress. She accomplished this in May of 2002 when the Committee’s staff report was released to Congress and the public entitled “Mercury in Medicine-Taking Unnecessary Risks”.

Sadly, Liz was killed in a tragic car accident in December of 2005.  She is deeply missed by her family including her three beautiful children, Sarah, Andrew and Matthew and countless friends whose lives she touched in her own very special way.

Laura Bono
Founding Board Member

Laura has worked in marketing and publishing for over 20 years.  Presently she serves as Director of Marketing for a multi-million dollar publishing company providing copy writing, strategy, direct mail, product development and public relations expertise. Like so many others, the rest of her life is devoted to making a positive difference in the lives of autistic children and their families. Along with her husband, Scott, she focuses on helpful biomedical interventions and lobbies the government to seek the cause, treatments, and a cure for autism.

Scott Bono
Founding Board Member

Scott Bono is the father of 18-year-old Jackson Bono. Scott has been actively advocating on behalf of autistic children and families since the early 1990s at the local, state and national levels. He has appeared before the US Congress, spoken at universities and local service organizations to increase awareness of the need for biomedical research, therapies, and improved educational opportunities for the those with autism. He has spoken out about the toll that an autistic child takes on the family, the financial future of the family and the impact on the community.

Ann Brasher
Former Board Member and Vice President.

Ann is a grandmother of six, two of which were diagnosed with autism. The oldest has recovered and is enjoying life. Her daughter’s son, Dean, is still affected. Ann’s many years of work for the autism community included organizing her state’s first Autism Rally, conferences, meeting with legislators, trips to D.C. to meet with her state’s Senators and Representatives, fund-raising efforts and helping families with bio-medical and emotional issues.

2004 brought her recognition within her state (MS) for ongoing efforts on behalf of the children and families dealing with autism when she was honored by The TEAAM Organization with their Spirit of Family Award at their annual convention. This award is given to a family member(s), who is a leader and inspiration to other families and who has demonstrated a strong commitment towards assisting and empowering individuals with Autism and their families.

Dr. Alan Clark
Scientific Advisory Board Member

The National Autism Association was deeply saddened by the loss of Alan D. Clark, M.D. A member of our scientific advisory board, Alan was respected and admired by all who had the honor of working with him. His love for his family was boundless, as was his compassion for all families affected by neurological disorders resulting from mercury exposure.

Although a genteel, soft-spoken man, Alan’s words and intellect were powerful. He was a selfless seeker of medical truth, even when that truth might prove unpopular with the medical community in which he served. Alan was one of only a handful of physicians in the entire state of Missouri brave enough to confront the reality that overexposure to mercury through vaccines has led to epidemic numbers of neurologically injured children.  Alan’s tireless pursuit to educate others about the devastating effects of mercury upon children led him to all parts of the country, where all who met him were struck by his sincerity, kindness, and dedication to helping others.

Deirdre Imus
Board Member

Ms. Imus, a national leader in children’s health and environmental issues, is the founder and president of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center ™ at Hackensack University Medical Center. The Center represents one of the first hospital-based programs whose specific mission is to identify, control, and ultimately prevent exposures to environmental factors that may cause adult, and especially pediatric cancer, as well as other health problems with our children.

Deirdre is also co-founder and co-director with husband, Don Imus, of The Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer, a 501(C) (3) not-for-profit authentic 4,000 acre working cattle ranch in northern New Mexico, which provides the experience of the American cowboy to children suffering from cancer and various blood diseases, as well as to children who have lost a brother or sister to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Adrienne Levesque

Founding Board Member

Adrienne is a busy Mom of six whose day-time career is in the family business, Summit Chase Country Club. Outside of the family business, she is committed to fighting for families affected by autism across the country, beginning with Xander. She is also a conference speaker committed to training parents and professionals in the diverse aspects of life unique to the autism community.

Lyn Redwood
Founding Board Member

Lyn, R.N., M.S.N., CRNP is a Nurse Practitioner and has worked in the nursing profession for 25 years specializing in pediatrics and women’s health care. In the late 1990’s she became involved in autism research when her son was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified and found to be mercury toxic. Ms. Redwood is co-author of Autism: a novel form of mercury toxicity and has testified before the Government Reform Committee on Mercury in Medicine: Are we taking unnecessary risks? As a writer and researcher on autism and mercury toxicity, Ms. Redwood has been published in Neurotoxicology, Medical Hypothesis, Molecular Psychiatry, Mothering Magazine and Autism-Aspergers Digest. She has also appeared on “Good Morning America” with Diane Sawyer and has been interviewed by U.S. News and World Report, Wired Magazine and numerous other publications. Ms. Redwood is co-founder of the Coalition for SAFEMINDS and is currently serving on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.

Dr. Bernard Rimland

A research psychologist, Dr. Rimland studied the relationship between nutrition and retardation, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, delinquency and, primarily, autism since the mid-1960’s. He was the director of the Autism Research Institute, editor of the Autism Research Review International, and founder of the Autism Society of America. His book Infantile Autism: The Syndrome and Its Implications for a Neural Theory of Behavior is credited with dramatically altering the field of psychiatry with the recognition that autism is a biological disorder, not an emotional illness. Dr. Rimland served as the chief technical advisor for the Academy-award winning film Rainman.

Dr. Rimland was awarded NAA’s Pioneer Award at our first National Autism Conference, he passed away soon after.  Dr. Rimland’s presence is and always will be missed in the autism community.

Rita Shreffler
Founding Board Member
Mom to Andrew and Mary Kathryn

Rita Shreffler is a founding board member of the National Autism Association and served as Executive Director from 2006 – 2011. She earned her BA and MA from the University of Missouri, and worked in advertising and public relations for The Kansas City Star and The Daily Oklahoman for ten years. She has spent the past decade working to build public awareness of the relationship between increased toxic exposures to children and the development of neurological disorders such as autism and ADHD, lobbying at state and national levels for the removal of mercury from vaccines. Rita has been interviewed by numerous newspapers and magazines including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Mother Jones and has provided background research for Meet the Press and In These Times. Rita and her husband Arnie live with their two children near Springfield, Missouri.