Mary J. Wheatley Is New Scleroderma Foundation CEO
Mary J. Wheatley will succeed Robert J. Riggs as CEO of the Scleroderma Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting scleroderma patients, promoting public education concerning the disorder, and helping to fund research into effective treatments and a possible cure.
The change will be effective July 1.
“This is an exciting time for the Scleroderma Foundation,” Cos Mallozzi, chair of the Foundation’s national board of directors, said in a press release. “We thank Robert for his years of dedication and look forward to the foundation’s future under Mary’s leadership.”
Wheatley has more than 15 years experience in research administration and nonprofit management. She formerly served as executive director of the Rheumatology Research Foundation, beginning that role in 2014. During her time there, she played a major role in helping grow the organization in size, scope, and national recognition.
She also oversaw fundraising campaigns that raised more than $135 million for rheumatology research and training.
Wheatley graduated at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she studied psychology and biology. She is a member of the Health Research Alliance, the NIH-NIAMS Coalition, the Georgia Society of Association Executives (GSAE), and the American Society for Association Executives.
Her past work for the nonprofit community earned her the GSAE 2019 Skelton-Massey Award and induction into the Association Forum Forty Under Forty Class of 2014, among other accolades.
“I am honored to follow in Robert’s footsteps, and build on the legacy that he has created with the Foundation’s leadership and partners,” Wheatley said. “It is truly a privilege to lead an organization that is committed to advancing support, education, and research in scleroderma, and I look forward [to] serving the needs of the community.”
Riggs played a key role in creating the Scleroderma Foundation from the merger of the United Scleroderma Foundation and the Scleroderma Federation. He recently was involved in developing a strategic plan to improve the Scleroderma Foundation’s fundraising capabilities.
The foundation acts through its network of 19 active chapters and 160 support groups throughout the United States. It currently budgets an average of $1 million per year in research funding, with project proposals chosen by a Peer Research Review Committee composed of medical experts on scleroderma from around the world.
Recently funded projects include those seeking to advance personalized medicine, create lab-grown skin, discover new therapeutic targets, and more.