The passion and dedication of our NEPANS board help make us who we are today. Our board members are committed to raising awareness, helping to find treatments and new solutions for those affected by PANS/PANDAS as well as supporting families.
Peggy Chapman, RN
Melissa Glynn Hyman, LICSW
Emily Klein, M.Ed.
Jennifer Whelan, MS, CCP-SLP
Jennifer M. Vitelli, MBA
Lisa is one of the founding members of the New England PANS/PANDAS Association, she helped create and execute the vision for the board. Lisa started the first PANDAS support group in Massachusetts in 2008 and also helped facilitate the South Shore Lyme Disease Support Group. Lisa is a board-certified Medical Esthetician and Educator. She has two children diagnosed with PANDAS as well as a grandchild that is autistic. She is dedicated to assisting and increasing education on this disorder. In the past, she has helped, along with other committee members, to plan New England PANS/PANDAS conferences and doctor’s functions.
Peggy Chapman, RN
Margaret (Peggy) Chapman is a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Board Certified, in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing. Peggy received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Creighton University in 1976. In 1982 she graduated from Boston University with a Master of Science in Nursing and was certified as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in 1983. She has worked in various capacities in the Omaha and the Boston areas: Head Nurse of Child, Adolescent and Adult psychiatric units, has been a child, adolescent and adult therapist and has done psychopharmacology for all ages since 1998. Peggy co-led the Asperger Association of New England Parent Support Group for eleven years on the South Shore. From 1999-2006 Peggy was a Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) Practitioner. She currently integrates the principles of functional medicine in her practice. She has presented numerous talks to fellow professionals as well as to parents and educators regarding the use of nutrition and psychiatric pharmacology for children and adolescents. She treated her first PANDAS patient in 1999.
Melissa Glynn Hyman, LISCW
Melissa Glynn-Hyman is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with over 15 years of clinical experience providing counseling and therapeutic support to children, adolescents, adults and families. Melissa received her Master’s in Social Work degree from the Simmons College School of Social Work and further specialized training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the treatment of anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, PTSD, and conduct disorders through Judge Baker’s Children Center and Harvard University.
Prior to graduate studies, Melissa worked in a residential care facility for adolescents and then in a protective services program for the elderly. For over 10 years she worked in outpatient mental health focusing on individual, family, and group therapy for children, adolescents, and adults. Melissa has provided community-, home-, and school-based interventions, as well as have served as a liaison within elementary schools. Currently, Melissa maintains a private practice in Brookline, MA.
Personal experiences with Lyme/PANS led to Melissa’s initial exploration and understanding of the disease and how it effects both the person living with it and those around them. She joined the New England PANS/PANDAS Association in 2014 as its Co-Vice President to advocate, educate and help families gain access to resources and support. She is honored to now have the opportunity to combine her personal experiences and clinical expertise in Cognitive Behavioral Interventions to provide individual, family and group psychotherapy.
Michelle Danubio received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Merrimack College in 1999; additionally she has completed most of a master’s in human resources program at Emmanuel College in Boston. She has worked for 10 years in the Human Resources field before becoming a stay-at-home Mother. As a Human Resource Director, Michelle has skills in conflict management, hiring, interviewing, organizational change, training, and employee relations. These skills transfer to her work as Treasurer of the New England PANS/PANDAS Association in several ways. Specifically, she is able to apply her business acumen to the work the group has done in its communications, publications and internally at board meetings. As a mother of a child diagnosed with PANS, Michelle has spent countless hours researching and reaching out to specialist that are able to treat this illness, as well as networking with other parents. Being the parent of a child with this diagnosis is the best qualification for being able to work in this organization. The empathy and understanding of what goes into treating these children or the struggles and obstacles faced by parents of these children is in itself is the most unique and important qualification Michelle has.
Emily Klein, M.ed.
Emily Klein, M.Ed., is currently an Education Specialist in the Office of Student, Community and Academic Supports at Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). Her primary role focuses on Response to Intervention (RTI), specifically in special education, and serving as a state education liaison to urban districts regarding education of students with disabilities and English Language Learners (ELLs). In that role, Mrs. Klein coordinates RTI technical assistance statewide with a team of professionals from parent organizations, higher education, and contracted trainers and coaches. She participates as a team leader and report writer in IDEA and ELL onsite monitoring visits across Rhode Island and analyzes district data for disproportionate identification in special education by race and ethnicity; she also provides technical assistance and reviews policies, procedures, and practices for revision to correct/prevent disproportionality in specific disability categories, placement, and discipline.
In addition, she is a member of the RIDE ELL team to support statewide professional development and federal funding activities and has worked as a coach in the Bristol Warren Regional School District for the National Center on Intensive Intervention. More recently, Emily has been an active member for the development of the new State Systemic Improvement Plan for improving outcomes for children with disabilities. Emily holds a M.Ed. in Special Education from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Psychology from the Allegheny College. She completed additional graduate work in Urban Multicultural Special Education at Rhode Island College resulting in an ESL teaching endorsement. As part of her role at RIDE, Emily represents the department at various meetings of the State Advisory Council for English Learners as well as the RI Special Education Advisory Council.
As a parent to a child with PANDAS, Emily works with 2 other RI moms to coordinate the RI PANDAS parent support group meetings and Facebook community in addition to helping moderate a Educating PANDAS/PANS Facebook group as well as one for Teachers of Children with PANDAS/PANS. She lives with her husband and two children in RI. Emily Klein joined the board in 2014 with a primary focus on fostering a better understanding of PANDAS/PANS in school settings with the organization of materials for both schools and families.
Jennifer Whelan is the mother of four children Lillian, Graham, Caleb, and Jonah. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Disorders at Bridgewater State College in 1993. She also received her Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology at Worcester State College in 1997. She was awarded Certificate of Clinical Competence by the American Speech Language-Hearing Association in 1998. She is currently a stay at home mom who volunteers her time at her children’s schools. She is a parent representative and chair of the Jacob’s School Council. Her son Graham has been struggling with PANS since he was seven and since then Jennifer has dedicated her time and efforts to getting him better. She joined the NEPANS Board in an effort to help support other parents who have children with PANS and educate professionals working with these children.
Jennifer M. Vitelli, MBA
Jennifer is an experienced executive & co-founder with a demonstrated history of building, managing & leading organizations. Dynamic leader in public and private administration with demonstrated ability to build new departments and teams from the ground level to success. Jennifer is an award-winning MBA with nearly 3 decades running one of the largest recreation departments in the State of Massachusetts. She oversaw 300 employees/volunteers/independent contractors, managed over $1MM budgets, secured millions of dollars in grants, led & developed numerous special projects, executed community wide events among many other accomplishments too numerous to mention.
Jennifer has volunteered her time to develop & manage countless charitable fundraisers throughout the years.
Jennifer has four sons (three of her four children living with PANDAS/PANS). Jennifer’s desire to advocate and “never give up” attitude turned into an unyielding need to learn more, to find answers and to spread awareness about PANDAS/PANS. Jennifer aligned herself with six other parents & a medical advisor to found the New England PANS PANDAS Association in 2013.
Jennifer now serves the Board of NEPANS as the Legislative Liaison to the Massachusetts Coalition of PANDAS/PANS Legislation. Jennifer is actively working to pass HB 920/S613: An act relative to insurance coverage for PANDAS/PANS into law in the State of Massachusetts.