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04 Sep 2020


Dear RDA US Members,


We hope this update finds you safe and well. We are looking forward to virtually seeing many of you at Plenary 16! We realize it has been quite some time since we have connected and want to share latest news and updates.


First, we want to thank Leslie McIntosh-Borrelli for her stewardship of the RDA-US. Leslie successfully transitioned and built our team to focus on furthering our US network and partners; she secured an NSF grant to support the dissemination of recommendations and outputs, successfully initiated and secured hosting Plenary 16 in Costa Rica and fostered the discussions of broadening our US region to include North America. We are grateful for Leslie’s foresight and leadership.


While Leslie has served as the RDA-US Executive Director during these past 3 years, she has recently transitioned out of this position and Rebecca Koskela, one of our seasoned RDA-US members, has been selected to assume the role of Executive Director. Leslie will remain part of our team through November in a consultative role. This transition brings continuity to the RDA-US work, and we are very excited about the direction the RDA-US is taking to further support RDA-US membership and engagement. We will greatly miss Leslie’s contributions and leadership on behalf of the RDA-US, and wish her the very best in her new endeavor!


The RDA-US team has been solidified and is better able to serve our RDA-US community members and expand our US network and reach.


Rebecca Koskela: Executive Director

Rebecca has a background in scientific data management, bioinformatics, and high-performance computing. Prior to this position, she was Executive Director of the EarthCube Office and DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth). She is the current Treasurer on the Board of the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) and also leads the cohort of data repositories assembled to apply for the CoreTrustSeal certification as part of the AGU Coalition Enabling FAIR Data Project. Her bioinformatics positions include Life Sciences Informatics Manager for Alaska INBRE and the Biostatistics and Epidemiology Core Manager for the Center for Alaska Native Health Research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, member of the senior management team at the Aventis Cambridge Genomics Center, bioinformatics specialist at the Mayo Clinic, Director of Informatics in the Department of Genetics at Stanford University and member of the staff at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In addition to her bioinformatics experience, Rebecca specialized in system performance and analysis at Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Cray Research, Intel, and IBM.


Mary Uhlmansiek: Implementation and Outreach Director

We are pleased to welcome Mary Uhlmansiek who as an RDA member understands the mission and challenges of the RDA in making progress towards the ultimate delivery of recommendations and outputs. Ms. Uhlmansiek has a Master of Arts degree in Clinical and Experimental Psychology. She possesses the strong analytical, organizational and communication skills needed for this role. For one of her first efforts at the RDA-US, she provided organizational support for the RDA COVID-19 WG, so some of you may have already met her through that initiative. She will continue as a member of the RDA with expertise and interest in health data sharing and reproducible research, and will also support the activities of the Secretariat.


Anthony Juehne: Senior Implementation and Evaluation Analyst

Anthony is leading adoption components of US activities, as well as providing adoption support for the Global RDA infrastructure. Anthony has over ten years of experience in health informatics and a Master of Public Health specializing in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. His primary aim is supporting the discoverability and usability of the RDA outputs and recommendations for multiple diverse stakeholders, as well as measuring the impact of RDA outputs across the research landscape.


Yolanda Meleco: Project Director for RDA-US and Communications Lead for the Global RDA

Yolanda is the Project Director for RDA-US and communications lead for the global RDA organization. Her responsibilities include contributing to the project direction of the RDA-US organization, budget and financial administration for the RDA-US grant administered through Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, sustainability and strategic planning, development and execution of a RDA communications plan and oversight of RDA Plenaries. Before joining RDA in 2014, Yolanda served as Director of Corporate Communications at AMRI. Prior to that, she worked in various senior-level communications positions at Beacon Health, Healthcare Association of NYS, SUNY Research Foundation and the NYS Comptroller’s Office.


Laura S. Wittcoff: Capacity Development Consultant

Laura is familiar with RDA, both as a member and through her role as a consultant supporting the development of the RDA-US infrastructure. Laura is delighted to remain involved as a consultant supporting sustainability efforts by building relationships with funders including government, foundations, corporations as well as potential partnerships for plenaries and on specific projects. Laura brings her expertise in nonprofit growth, capacity building, marketing and management. Laura has a doctorate in Social Work, specifically in social change and innovation focused on securing ways for nonprofits to raise their visibility, expand their reach and build their networks.


Meghan Underwood: Special Project Administrator

We have been very lucky to find Meghan, whose role is to help us stay organized, to handle reimbursement reports from members awarded travel grants, assist with communications and video production, and perform general administrative duties for the team and the Secretariat. Meghan has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, and a background in office management and medical billing. Meghan also supported the RDA COVID-19 WG initiative and helped see it to fruition.


We are very excited to have our team in place to support the continued important work of the RDA!