Our Working Board of Directors:
The following distinguished persons comprise the Working Board of Directors for The Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation, Inc.
Caryl P. Griffin, MDiv— Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation
Caryl Griffin, from Knoxville, TN USA, received a BS in Nursing from University of Tennessee College of Nursing in Memphis, a Master of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing from Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA, and a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. She is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church and her current ministry is with the Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation, featuring work in Africa and the Middle East in the areas of Public Health, Occupational Health, and Biosafety/Biosecurity.
Caryl practiced nursing for 35 years, in hospitals, clinics, public health, and hospital administration. She created a national healthcare consulting business for doctors’ offices and hospitals, consulting across the U.S., helping develop more effective methods and processes of caring for patients. She has created and led national leadership/management workshops and retreats for hospitals and institutions in the US and abroad. Previous work in Ministry includes being Associate Pastor at First Broad Street UMC in Kingsport, TN, and Director of Wesley Leadership Institute serving 700 pastors in the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. She has led numerous spiritual retreats, including retreats for parish nurses, youth retreats, and church staff retreats. Her special interests are the areas of spiritual development, biosafety, systems development, Leadership, as well as life and stress management. Caryl has published several articles in the areas of biosafety, play therapy for children, and public health nursing.
She is the widow of Dr. Bill Griffin, Dermatologist, and has a daughter, Kimberly, who practices pediatrics in Knoxville, TN, a son-in-law, and two grandsons. Her hobbies are bicycling, hiking with her dog, Bailey, fitness training, and travel.
Maureen Best Ellis— International Federation of Biosafety Associations
Maureen Ellis is the Executive Director of the International Federation of Biosafety Associations. She is the former Senior Biosecurity Advisor to Canada’s Global Partnership Program where she was responsible for delivering biosafety and biosecurity programs worldwide. She is an Honorary lifetime member of the Asia-Pacific Biosafety Association and a Past-President of both the Canadian and American Biological Safety Associations. In 2007, she was awarded the Arnold G. Wedum Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contributions to biosafety. She is the first Canadian to receive such an award. M. Ellis holds a Masters Degree in Microbiology from University of Ottawa.
Dr. Gary Fujimoto— Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Dr. Fujimoto is a board-certified internal medicine and occupational medicine physician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation in California. He completed his undergraduate degree in Biology at Oberlin College and went to medical school at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, completing his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine where he continued as a Chief Medical Resident and Assistant Professor. He is currently an Adjunct Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and the Program Director of Occupational Medicine at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Dr. Fujimoto specializes in consulting on biological and chemical hazards for many pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies including serving on multiple Institutional Biosafety Committees. He served as the occupational medicine physician for Stanford University for over 20 years and currently consults for a variety of research facilities. His lectures include Bloodborne pathogens (hepatitis B,C and HIV), working with agents such as HIV virus, Herpesvirus simiae (Herpes B virus from non-human primates), viral vectors and a half-day course on Occupational Medical issues for biological labs. He has been a contributor to several textbooks in Occupational Medicine and written a book “The Traveler’s Medical Guide” that provides medical instructions for travelers when medical care is not available.
Robert Heckert, BSc, DVM, PhD, CBSP, SM (NRCM)— Robert Heckert Consulting, LLC
Dr. Heckert is currently the president of Robert Heckert Consulting, LLC which provides international biosafety consulting and training all over the world. He is a veterinarian with a PhD in virology who has over 25 years of experience working in animal health at various levels of biocontainment. He received his BSc in Agriculture from the University of British Columbia in 1980, a DVM degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1984, a PhD in preventive medicine and epidemiology from The Ohio State University in 1990. He has worked for both the US and Canadian governments in various capacities of animal health and veterinary diagnostics and has authored over 50 publications in peer reviewed journals. He is internationally recognized as an expert in biosafety and is accredited by the American Biological Safety Association as a Certified Biosafety Profession (CBSP) and by the American Society for Microbiology and as a Specialist Microbiologist (SM) in Biological Safety Microbiology through the National Registry of Microbiologists, American College of Microbiology. He is currently on the executive committee (councilor) of the American Biological Safety Association and serves as liaison to the Professional Development Team.
He is intimately familiar with many biocontainment levels (BSL1/ABL2, BSL2/ABSL2, BSL3/ABSL3, BSL3-Ag) and all the enhancements required for working with highly infectious biological agents. He has participated in the design, preconstruction and reviews of many different laboratories working at various biosafety levels. He has extensive experience training laboratory staff on safe operating procedures, creating biosafety management programs, designing laboratory manuals and conducting oversight and review. As a scientific expert and biosafety professional Dr. Heckert has supported the US Bioengagement Program (BEP), the Canadian Global Partnerships Program, the World Bank and the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization by traveling to various countries, providing scientific guidance, reviewing facilities, providing building design and construction advice, biosafety program development, biosafety/biosecurity training, and biosafety officer program development. He has provided this in-country work in Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Egypt, Georgia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Julia Hilliard, PhD— Georgia State University, National B Virus Resource Center
Dr. Julia Hilliard has had a life-long passion for laboratory investigations in virology and immunology. She received her Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine in Pharmacology and Biochemistry, and subsequently studied viral immunology at Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Virology and M.D. Anderson Tumor Institute and Hospital. She joined the faculty at Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio TX where she studied B virus for 18 years prior to moving to her current laboratory at Georgia State University where she serves as the Director of the Viral Immunology Center and Director of the National B Virus Resource Center, Professor of Biology, and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. She is an Honorary Member of the Association for Primate Veterinarians and an Honorary Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Medicine.
Martin Kuster, MD— Novartis
A native of Switzerland, Martin Kuster was born on October 17, 1958 in a family of six. He was raised and educated in the Basel region. He graduated from the University of Basel medical school in 1984 and was promoted to MD at the University of Basel in 1986. He holds residencies in Occupational Medicine, Pathology, OB/GYN, Surgery and Internal Medicine and specialized in Family Medicine by the Swiss Medical Society in 1992.
He undertook post-graduate studies and a residency in Occupational Medicine at the Harvard School of Public Health between 1992 and1994 (Master in Occupational Health, 1993), and specialized in Occupational Medicine at the Swiss Medical Society in 1994.
Martin started work as site physician (with Sandoz in Basel, Switzerland in 1997 and after the merger with Ciba-Geigy at Novartis HQ for 4 years). / in a major pharmaceutical company in Switzerland. He has been Corporate Medical Director / Health Manager since 1998, is involved in NEM & CHSE training and assumed the position of Corporate Biosafety Manager in addition to the health function in 2006.
Externally, Martin is on the Board of Directors of the Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation, the Board of Directors of the International Federation of Biosafety Associations, the Board of Directors of the Swiss Toxicological Information Centre and was elected President (2010/2011) on the Board of The European Biosafety Association.
He has been married for 25 years, is father of two adult children and is interested in music, art, hiking, cycling.
Patricia Olinger— Emory University
Ms. Patricia Olinger is the Director of the Environmental, Health and Safety Office (EHSO) for Emory University. EHSO has University-wide responsibility for developing, implementing and maintaining EHS programs to control occupational exposures and to oversee the implementation of the mandated federal/state laws, regulations, and guidelines. Prior to joining Emory in 2006, Ms. Olinger spent 21 years in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Ms. Olinger is currently the vice-president for the Campus Safety Environmental Management Association (CSHEMA) and a Board of Directors Member for the Elizabeth R. Griffin Foundation. Previously, she has served on the Scientific Advisory Board for the NIH - National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program, was a council for the American Biological Safety Association and the ABSA representative and steering team member for the CEN Workshop Agreement 15793:2011 and 16393:2012.
William Griffin, MD— Honorary Director Emeritus (*Deceased)
William C. (Bill) Griffin, MD, deceased. Dr. Griffin practiced dermatology in Kingsport, TN, for 29 years. Formerly, he practiced Pediatrics. Dr. Griffin received a BA in English from Emory University, Atlanta, GA, an MD from University of Tennessee, and was board certified in pediatrics and dermatology. Following the death of their daughter, Beth, Dr. Griffin and his wife, Caryl, and daughter, Kimberly, established the Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation.
Dr. Griffin served as president of the Independent Physicians Association in Kingsport, was an avid bicyclist, played golf, and enjoyed the relentless pursuit of knowledge in history, the arts, classics, science, politics, and finance. In addition, Dr. Griffin has provided countless acts of private charity and random acts of kindness for persons and institutions encountered through family, work, friendships, church, and daily life.
James M. Welch— Executive Director, Elizabeth R Griffin Research Foundation
Jim Welch is the Executive Director of the Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation (ERGRF), a non-profit foundation in the United States that collaborates globally with public and private organizations and institutions in promoting effective biosafety and biosecurity training, occupational health awareness, and advocacy of responsible research.
Educated at East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee, Jim is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program at the National Institutes of Health. He currently serves as a member of the transition board of directors of the International Federation of Biosafety Associations and on the board of directors of the International Centre for Infectious Diseases.
Jim has experience working with various entities in organizational assessment, creating and implementing action strategies and training programs, personnel recruitment, leadership development, government relations, and human resource programs.
As ERGRF’s executive director, he travels the world on behalf of the Foundation working on initiatives in occupational medicine, safe research, advocating safe and secure science, the strengthening of research capacity to improve public and animal health, and the importance of scientific discovery. In addition to presenting at a number of conferences and institutions, he was the keynote speaker at the 2012 CDC International Symposium on Biosafety, and in 2011 was the keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Canadian Biosafety Association, the inaugural Safety Day at NIH in Bethesda, MD and also at the inaugural conference of the Association of Biosafety for Australia and New Zealand. In 2011, he was named an honorary member of the Association of Primate Veterinarians and was also the 2011 recipient of the John H Richardson Humanitarian Award of the American Biological Safety Association.
E.R.G.R.F. Honorary Board of Directors
Kimberly Griffin Hicks, MD— Pediatrician
Joseph D. Hicks, DDS, MDS— Hicks Orthodontics
Karen Thompson, PhD— Agnes Scott College, Associate Professor of Biology
Mr Satch Zungia— Charles River Laboratories, Sparks, NV