Our Team

Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation

Nadine Dehgan

CEO

Nadine Dehgan proudly serves as chief executive officer of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation (CPARF). She is thrilled to bring her passion for funding scientific research to the CP space.

There are 17 million people living with cerebral palsy worldwide, and Nadine and CPARF are committed to helping each of them live the best life they possibly can through funded research into cutting-edge therapies that manage CP’s effects and technological innovations that empower people and foster independence.

Nadine was drawn to CPARF because it is propelled by science and hope — twin fuels that cannot exist without each other. CPARF delves into the why, the when, and the how of CP, focusing on its management, prevention, and, ultimately, its cure. Nadine is excited to collaborate with the CP community and to continue sharing CPARF’s advancements as they happen.

Before leading CPARF, Nadine served as CEO of the Hearing Health Foundation, where she forged deep relationships with dozens of institutions, corporations, and individuals, and exponentially widened pathways for research funding. Prior to that, Nadine held executive positions with various educational and service organizations.

Nadine earned her BA from the University of Winnipeg and her MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business. She lives in New York with her family.

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Glen Deutscher

VP PARTNERSHIPS & OPERATIONS

Glen first joined the team at Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation in May 2017 to help launch Steptember across the United States. Since 2012 Glen has worked with Cerebral Palsy Alliance in Australia as Head of Events. Prior to this, Glen worked for Mission Australia (supporting homelessness & Youth at risk) as Senior Manager for Corporate Partnerships and latterly, National Manager Market Development.

Glen is a marketing and fundraising professional with 25 years’ experience in the Not for Profit and corporate marketing sectors gained across key business disciplines including strategic partnership development, relationship fundraising and Blue Chip consumer marketing management. His passion for advocating on social issues and building social capital to drive sustainable change is the primary driver for his career and community volunteering activities.

Glen has a Post Graduate Degree in Business and an MBA (Non Profit Major) from University of Technology, Sydney.

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Sarah Agopian

Sarah Agopian

Director of Marketing

Sarah joined the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation team in February 2018. She is responsible for managing all marketing, social media, and communications for Steptember, CPARF’s signature fundraiser.

Prior to CPARF, Sarah served as the National Development Manager for the AVON 39 walk series, where she focused on digital strategy. By streamlining e-communications and pushing digital projects forward, Sarah served as a key leader in the success of the 2017 fundraising campaign. Sarah has also served as a Fundraising Manager and Fundraising Coach for AVON 39, including an exemplary year of successfully raising $17.8 million for breast cancer research and services with her team in 2016. Sarah earned her Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies at University of California, Berkeley.

With Sarah’s passion for storytelling and radical transparency in the fundraising space, Sarah is deeply committed to the mission of CPARF and their vision to find a cure for CP.

Email Sarah Agopian

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Pamela Kass

Corporate Partnerships Manager

Pamela Kass is a Corporate Partnerships Manager for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. She is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and marketing the organization’s main initiative, STEPtember.

She comes to CPARF with a successful track record in the non-for-profit space. Prior to her current role, Pamela served on the Development Team of the AVON 39 walk series, assisting in numerous multi-million dollar fundraising campaigns across seven U.S. markets. A native of North Carolina, Pamela earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Services and Communication Studies from Wingate University. She also serves as the youngest member of the Board of Visitors for her Alma Mater.

Pamela has a passion for social impact and desire to change the trajectory and prevalence of CP through corporate engagement.

Email Pamela Kass

Headshot of Brooke Harrelson

Brooke Harrelson

Corporate Partnerships Manager

Brooke Harrelson is a Corporate Partnerships Manager for Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. She is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and marketing the organization’s main fundraiser, STEPtember. In addition to being an accomplished sales professional, CPARF’s mission is very close to her heart, as she has a brother with cerebral palsy.

Brooke has worked across the US, including the Southeast and Southern California, as a top tier business development professional, spending 15 years in medical device sales in the hospital environment, Through her experience launching new medical products across markets, she has developed a passion for emerging medical treatments and technologies and thrilled to bring this passion into the disability space and ultimately moving the dial for research into cerebral palsy.

When not growing business initiatives, Brooke can be found volunteering with her therapy dog, Cali, at Ronald McDonald House.

Email Brooke Harrelson

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Jocelyn Cohen

Director of Communications

Jocelyn Cohen is a writer and a storyteller at heart. She knows a compelling story when she sees one, and that’s why she’s excited to serve as Director of Communications for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. She will connect CPARF with the community, sharing our dynamic work as it unfolds — our advancements, our discoveries, and our breakthroughs.
Jocelyn has cerebral palsy, and she understands that people with CP each experience it differently — it’s personal. That’s why she’s energized by CPARF’s work and proud to use her voice and professional expertise to make a difference for other people with CP.
Prior to joining CPARF, Jocelyn spent several years as a senior writer at UJA-Federation of New York, where she shaped messaging and drove fundraising communications for some of the organizations largest divisions, helping to raise nearly $46 million each year.
Outside of work, Jocelyn speaks with local physical therapy students about her life with CP.
Jocelyn earned her BA in Creative Writing/English from Emory University and her JD from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Email Jocelyn Cohen

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James Renard

Office and Database Manager

James Renard is a data base and systems integration professional. He specializes in identifying software applications and developing processes to improve business operations and to enhance and streamline fundraising and communications efforts.

James has more than twenty years’ experience at a variety of national and international direct service and educational not for profit organizations in New York City, among them the National Foundation For Teaching Entrepreneurship and the French-American Foundation.

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Iona Novak

Dr. Iona Novak

PhD MSc (Hons) BAppSc

I was told that preventing curing cerebral palsy was impossible, but we are already 1/3 of the way there - help us make the impossible possible for families!
Dr. Iona Novak

Dr. Novak manages the strategic development of research into the prevention and cure of cerebral palsy and conducts clinical research into effective interventions for people living with cerebral palsy, including evidence-based practice initiatives and collaborative international and inter-agency research work.

As a Fulbright Scholar in 2013, Professor Novak travelled to the University of California, San Francisco, for four months to establish and lead an International and American cerebral palsy research consortium with an emphasis on stem cells to aggregate data and accelerate the rate of research. Professor Novak continues this research to translate the findings to direct improvements in clinical services.

Professor Novak has extensive clinical experience as an Occupational Therapist and holds: a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) from the University of Sydney; a Master of Science (Hons) and a PhD from the University of Western Sydney. She has won dozens of awards and prizes for her cutting edge work. Through Dr. Novak’s work with the International Cerebral Palsy Conference, the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine and dozens of other summits and collaborations she is an international leader whose expertise is relied upon to find and fund the best research minds in the world.

Nadia Badawi

Professor Nadia Badawi AM

PhD FRACP FRCPI MSc

Our Interns

Andres Martinez headshot

Andres Martinez

Graphic Design Intern

Andres is a graphic design intern working with CPRAF in communicating and visualizing their vision of spreading awareness, informing the general public, and bringing people together on Cerebral Palsy research. This will, in turn, bring upon the research and development towards the aid and treatment of Cerebral Palsy. Andres grew up in Fairview, NJ a small town overlooking the NY skyline and graduated from Montclair State University with a B.A. in Fine are with a concentration in drawing. This has given him knowledge in different respective disciplines in the arts (e.g graphic design, illustration, photography, painting, etc.). After graduating Andres continues to expand his knowledge and is using his time interning with CPRAF in order to gain experience, create opportunities, and work towards his goal to become a creative director.

Coming into CPRAF, Andres was able to learn about the many research programs established by CPRAF and immediately was interested in stem cell research. It is a subject that he feels will revolutionize the way medicine will be implemented in society similarly along the lines of how the internet has changed communication. It is a field that not only will change the lives of individuals with Cerebral Palsy but many people with other disabilities, impairments, and degenerating conditions.

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Shanice Lyle

Office Intern

College: Manhattan College
Hometown: Henryville, Pennsylvania
Area of study: Healthcare Administration

Shanice Lyle is a first-semester junior at Manhattan College. Her major is healthcare administration and she aims to work for the FDA or OSHA one day. Shanice does work-study for the Radiological and Health Professions department on campus and is an active member of various clubs. She plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Regulatory Science after completing her undergraduate studies. She loves to help others and in her spare time, she volunteers for the Crisis Text Line as a Crisis Counselor.
Shanice is most interested in the research that goes into the prevention of cerebral palsy. She is big on noticing warning signs and think it’s really important that the proper pre-cautions are being taken to ensure that the best level of care can be given to ensure the best outcome for the patient.

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Marko Papic

IT and Database Intern

College: New York City College of Technology
Born: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Area of Study: Data Forensics & Cybersecurity

Marko Papic is a last-semester Networking & Cybersecurity IT/Project intern who will pursue a Graduate Program in Data Forensics & Cybersecurity at John Jay School of Criminal Justice. His experience includes working with a contracting company under the Department of Homeless Services as a Network and IT Administrator/Analyst. His goals are to work as a cybersecurity analyst, fighting for information privacy.
CPARF was an amazing opportunity for Marko, providing valuable experience working in a non-profit organization focused on helping millions of people living with CP, as well as providing college credit requirements as an internship
The main project Marko is currently working on is the CPARF database transition. The transition will greatly benefit the company providing meticulous records and fluent future record-keeping overall, alongside increasing reliability and upkeep.

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Morgan Echman

Social Media Intern

Morgan is most interested in better understanding how to use social media to get the word out for a good cause. Morgan is compassionate, caring and friendly. Her goal is to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. Morgan is fulfilling this goal by working as a social media intern at CPARF and helping to improve the lives of people afflicted with CP.
Morgan graduated with honors from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. She spent her summers in 2017 and 2018 as a social media and marketing/communications intern for companies to better learn the skills required to raise awareness in different projects. She hopes to one day work in a career where she can use her skills in marketing and communications.

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Meryem Ugras