About Us

Ryan R. Fortna, MD, PhD, President

Dr. Fortna is the President of AFFIRMATIVhealth.  He is a practicing pathologist and a member of the American Association of Neuropathologists.  His PhD is in cellular and molecular biology, and his PhD research focused on the molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease, in particular the  gamma-secretase enzyme complex that is involved in the generation of amyloid plaques.  His pathology work focuses on diagnostic pathology, including anatomic and molecular pathology techniques.

Denise M. Kalos, MS, Chief Operating Officer

Ms. Kalos is the Chief Operating Officer for AFFIRMATIVhealth, PLLC. Prior to joining AFFIRMATIVhealth she was the Vice President, Cognitive Wellbeing Programs for the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, a non-profit research institute focused on aging and age related disease. Ms. Kalos developed the RE:Mind immersion program for the Buck, in 2015 in reaction to readership interest in the Dr. Dale Bredesen’s paper published August 2014 entitled Reversal of Cognitive Decline.

Ms. Kalos holds a Master’s of Science Degree from University of Leicester.

Brian Kennedy, PhD, Scientific Director

Dr. Brian Kennedy is internationally recognized for his research in the biology of aging and is committed to translating research discoveries into new ways of delaying, detecting, preventing and treating age-related conditions. He was the President and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging from 2010 to 2016 and remains a professor at the Institute. During his tenure as head of the Buck, and in conjunction with the University of Southern California, he launched the nation’s first PhD Program in the Biology of Aging. Dr. Kennedy earned his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is well known for work during his graduate studies with Leonard Guarente PhD, which led to the discovery that Sirtuins (SIR2) modulate aging. Dr. Kennedy has published more than 160 manuscripts in prestigious journals including Cell, Science and Nature, serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Aging Cell, and is on the editorial board of a number of other scientific journals.

Ginger Schechter, MD, Principal Physician

Dr. Ginger Schechter, MD attended the Chicago Medical School in Chicago, IL where she graduated with honors followed by a Transitional Medicine Residency at the Illinois Masonic Medical Center. She completed her three years of Internal Medicine Residency training at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Schechter worked for the Veteran’s Administration in California both as Staff Physician and Chief Medical Office of the Santa Rosa Community Based Outpatient Clinic. Throughout her career, Dr. Schechter has always been a proponent of nutrition, lifestyle and mental health as being keys to health and wellness. Aligning Eastern and Western philosophies together, including Ayurveda, to attain health and well-being for her patients is now her life’s work.

Marci L. Hardy, PhD, Health Resource Director

Dr. Hardy holds a PhD in Health Education and Health Promotion, with a minor in Nutrition Education, and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology, from the University of Alabama.  She has spoken at national conferences on physical activity, nutrition, risky behaviors, yoga, and Certified Health Education Specialist responsibilities and competencies. She has taught university level courses covering stress management, nutrition, health education theory, program design, dynamics of weight control, drug education, yoga, and many more. She has also worked in clinical and worksite settings with various populations on a myriad of health conditions.

Allison McKeany, MS, RD, Director of Participant Success

Allison McKeany, MS, RD is the Director of Participant Success for AFFIRMATIVhealth’s RE:Mind program. Her role includes overseeing diet and nutritional protocol recommendations and follow-on coaching programs. Allison was formerly the Outpatient Dietitian at Sonoma Valley Hospital and worked with individuals, groups, and community members to improve health, manage nutrition-related medical conditions, and prevent chronic disease.  Allison’s approach to healthy eating is to present it in a way that is realistic, sustainable, and enjoyable.

Advisory Board

Julie Mangada, PhD, Head of Training and Technical Support, Genomics Division at LGC Biosearch Technologies

Dr. Mangada, PhD earned her BS in Microbiology from the University of New Hampshire and a PhD in Molecular Medicine from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She joined the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in 2008 and began working with human embryonic stem cells and their differentiation into neurons for cell replacement therapies. Her work lead to the development of a MRI-based imaging platform for studying transplanted dopaminergic neurons during the peri-transplant period in a Parkinson’s Disease model. While at the Buck Institute Dr. Mangada was appointed Director of Education Outreach and created several community education programs aimed at illuminating how scientists are uncovering the molecular mechanisms of aging and disease and extending “healthspan”, the healthy years of life. As a former colleague of Dr. Bredesen, Dr. Mangada has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Re:mind protocol for several years and remains passionate about translating the science for patients in ways that bring clarity and hope.

Nancy Hurley, Founder and Principal Consultant at GTM Insights LLC

Nancy Hurley is a highly accomplished visionary C-level executive with over 25 years in strategic marketing, business operations, major account management and sales roles. Prior to founding the consulting firm GTM Insights, Nancy was VP of Sales and Marketing and later CEO of Bocada Inc, a VC funded data protection software firm. Nancy has held Executive Marketing positions at Sun Microsystems, Enterprise Strategy Group and Tektronix. She was also with Hewlett Packard for ten years in various senior sales and marketing roles. Nancy holds a B.S.E.E. from Syracuse University.

Kelly Mather, CEO SONOMA VALLEY HOSPITAL

Kelly Mather’s passion for healing and wellness is contagious as she has created the Healing Hospital™ model using the four levels of healing to improve health.  Kelly has written and published eight health improvement books and many health education modules for all ages through her company, Harmony Healing House, based on the “Five Keys to Wellness.” She holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Administration from Auburn University and a Master’s in Health Administration from Medical College of Virginia (VCU).

John Fandel, Cofounder and CEO of DEPlabs

John Fandel is Cofounder and CEO with DEPlabs, Inc., a technology design, development and systems integration company focused on and deploying enterprise software solutions and supporting client companies in ever evolving digital commerce strategic objectives.  Prior to DEPlabs, John has held senior management positions with other technology companies, as well as leading the Business Case practice for a Management Consulting company where he worked directly with over a dozen Fortune 100 Financial and Technology companies advising them on their M&A and Reorganization activities.  An active board member and advisor to several web-based startup and early-stage companies, John provides strategic and operational guidance.