RLS Foundation Board of Directors

The Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) Foundation Board of Directors is responsible for setting organizational goals and priorities, monitoring fiscal status and planning for the Foundation’s future.


Shalini Paruthi, MD, Chair

St. Louis, MO

Paruthi, Chair of the RLS Foundation’s Board of Directors. Dr. Paruthi practices in St. Louis, MO, where she sees patients of all ages. She has a particular interest in sleep disorders of childhood – obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, and – of course – restless legs syndrome. Dr. Paruthi is board-certified in Sleep Medicine and Internal Medicine and received her medical degree from The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. She completed her internal medicine residency and sleep fellowship at The University of Michigan. Not only do her patients benefit from her clinical care, but she is also a teacher as well – as an adjunct professor at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

Paruthi has contributed widely to activities of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), chairing sleep-focused conferences, participating in task forces, and serving on committees, including the Education Committee and National SLEEP Meeting Program Committee. Currently, she is on the editorial advisory board for Sleep Review: The Journal for Sleep Specialists.

Greg Oberland

Greg Oberland, Treasurer

Whitefish Bay, WI

Oberland joins the Foundation with an extensive amount of work and non-profit experience that will serve him greatly with his duties as a board member.

Greg was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame. He earned his law degree from Georgetown University and worked for Northwestern Mutual for 36 years, starting as an attorney and eventually switching to the business side of things where he worked his way up to the position of the company president. Over the past 20 years, he has served on five other non-profit boards, and has occupied the role of president for the Milwaukee Red Cross of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, and he is currently serving as the president of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.


David J. Loskutoff, PhD, Secretary

Solana Beach, CA

Loskutoff is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Cell Biology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA. He grew up in San Francisco, earned his BS degree from The University of California, Berkeley and his PhD from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He did post-doctoral work at the Rockefeller University in New York City, and in 1975 accepted a faculty position at Scripps Research. He remained there for over 30 years and in 1993 was appointed Chair of the newly formed Department of Vascular Biology. His research employed a variety of animal and cell culture models as well as biochemical and genetic probes to investigate the cells, proteins and genes that promote vascular disease. This work was supported continuously by grants from the NIH.

Although he was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Scripps Sleep Center for a number of years, he did not begin to show interest in RLS until years later when he was first diagnosed with this disorder. This is the first time he has been a member of a national board. He looks forward to working with other RLS Board members as well as members of the Scientific and Medical Board to improve the lives of RLS patients through the development of innovative educational and quality of care policies and the support of cutting-edge scientific studies, all while maintaining fiscal responsibility. He is retired and lives in Solana Beach, CA.

Jacci Bainbridge

Jacquelyn (Jacci) Bainbridge, PharmD

Englewood, CO

Bainbridge serves as a clinical pharmacy specialist at the Anschultz Outpatient Pavilion's Neurology Clinic, an extension of the Neurology Residency Teaching Program at the University of Colorado Denver. She is also a professor in the Department of Neurology at the university's School of Medicine, and teaches at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, where she was awarded Professor of the Year for three years in a row (2010-2012).

Bainbridge manages patients with neurologic disease states such as epilepsy, Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis, migraine and restless legs syndrome. She is currently involved in research projects funded by the CDPHE using marijuana. In her recent past she has had projects funded by the NIH, spanning subjects such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuroprotection trials in Parkinson disease.

Marcia Ball

Marcia Ball

Grosse Pointe Woods, MI

Ball received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education/Speech from Westminster College and her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood/Special Education from George Washington University. Ball spent her career as an elementary school teacher, taking on major projects such as redesigning and executing a New Resource Room at Walter Hays Elementary School in Palo Alto, California. Although teaching will always be her passion, she began volunteering after motherhood and has been a dedicated volunteer since—actively giving back to the Detroit community where she resides. In recognition for her work, she has been the recipient of several outstanding volunteer awards, including the Junior League of Detroit's Adult Well Being Award, for her extraordinary service to the senior community.

After having RLS for over 30 years, and seeking care from a knowledgeable healthcare provider when her RLS was untreated for at least 10 years, Ball was particularly drawn to the Foundation’s mission to educate the medical community and the general population on RLS. She plans to use the lessons that she has learned from teaching and volunteering to serve the RLS community.

Jeffrey Durmer

Jeffrey S. Durmer, MD, PhD

Denver, CO

Durmer is a systems neuroscientist, neurologist and sleep medicine physician with particular expertise in technology enabled sleep-health delivery systems. He is the Chief Medical Officer at Nox Health, where he oversees the development of innovative medical systems that provide scalable solutions using platform-based technologies to access, diagnose, treat and manage sleep problems and disorders in large populations. His past research spans from uncovering subcortical visual systems involved in blind sight, to developing the first standardized clinical interview tool for pediatric Restless Legs Syndrome. He served nearly ten years on the RLS Scientific and Medical Advisory Board and in 2019 joined our Board of Directors.

Laura Hoffman

Laura Hoffman

Sarasota, FL

Hoffman is a retired VP & Chief Information Officer with experience in global systems for manufacturing companies including Kodak, Exxon Mobil Chemical Films, and Carpenter Technology. She grew up in Pittsburgh, PA where she obtained a Fine Arts degree at Carnegie Mellon University, a Computer Science degree at Salisbury University (MD), and an MBA at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Hoffman has RLS and has a deep commitment to helping others suffering from this disease. She frequently leads virtual support group meetings.

LewPhelps - 115x115

Lewis Phelps

Pasadena, CA

Phelps is a strategic public relations consultant with Sitrick And Company, a Los Angeles-based firm that specializes in handling crisis situations. He has worked in behalf of an international clientele of corporate clients in the transportation, energy, finance, manufacturing, and service industries, and an array of non-profit organizations. Previously, he was head of the public relations function for the nation’s second largest electric utility and for two major U.S. rail transportation companies. Early in his career he was a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal for 10 years. He served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam.

Phelps has extensive non-profit board experience in addition to serving as Chair and Chair Emeritus on the RLS Foundation board. He has chaired United Way campaigns in two cities, co-founded an anti-litter organization in Roanoke, Virginia, was on the board and executive committee of the California Science Center for 15 years, and has served as chair of the board of Pasadena Heritage, one of the nation’s leading local historic preservation organizations.

Paul Rochester

Paul Rochester

San Francisco, CA

Rochester is an angel investor, Public and Private Board Member, CEO Mentor, and CEO to high tech companies and founders at all stages seeking growth and significance. He is known to be successful at raising money, generating liquidity and creating high performance teams and organizations from 50 to 5000 people with revenues from $5 million to $1 billion.

Rochester is a trusted business advisor to numerous companies and active board member to another half dozen. His interests surround angel or VC partner investments with exceptional founders and providing mentoring and support for all the unique challenges faced by every founder CEO at any stage. Rochester brings to the board his business experience, mentorship, and leadership skills, which are all invaluable to the RLS Foundation.

Paul J Vicary

Paul J. Vicary

The Villages, FL

Vicary is a former senior executive within the advancing technology, financial and software services spaces with companies that included Digital Equipment Corporation, Fiserv Inc., Unisys and Burroughs Corp. He was also founder and CEO of Mr. Golf, Inc. based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl forming strong ties with the golfing community. He holds an Economics and Business degree from the University of Western Ontario.

Vicary is a highly sought motivational speaker and senior management consultant within the financial services and technology sectors. He has previously contributed to numerous for-profit and nonprofit organizations as an independent director over the years.

Vicary is also an avid golfer, club fitter and instructor. He brings considerable business experience, leadership skills and board expertise which will prove invaluable to the RLS Foundation. He and his wife Susan currently reside in The Villages, Fl.

RLS Foundation Scientific and Medical Advisory Board

The Foundation’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board is responsible for monitoring medical and scientific/research issues, reviewing content of all Foundation publications, reviewing research grant applications,and advising the Board of Directors on issues of medical or scientific interest and importance.


Meet the Board


Christopher J. Earley, MB, BCh, PhD, FRCPI, Chair

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center; Baltimore, MD

Earley is a Professor of Neurology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he also co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Restless Legs, a certified RLS Quality Care Center. Earley is board certified in internal medicine, neurology and sleep medicine. Earley's research interests include RLS and sleep medicine, specifically the pathophysiology of RLS and revealing the value of various treatments. He is chair of the RLS Foundation’s combined Scientific and Medical Advisory Board (SMAB) and an active member of the Foundation's Research Grant Committee and the Revised Treatment Consensus Committee.


Philip Becker, MD

Dallas, TX

Becker is the founding partner and retired president of Sleep Medicine Associates of Texas, P.A., and served as medical director for the Sleep Medicine Institute at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas for nearly 25 years. Becker served as a Clinic Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas until his retirement in 2019. Becker is an active member of the RLS Foundation's Opiates Committee and Quality Care Certification Committee.


J. Andrew Berkowski, MD

ReLACS Health, Ann Arbor, MI

Before receiving Board Certification in Sleep Medicine and Neurology, Berkowski earned his bachelor's degree in religious studies at Stanford University. Next, he returned to his home state of Michigan to study medicine, graduating from Wayne State University School of Medicine. He completed a transitional year internship at Henry Ford Hospital and neurology residency training at the Detroit Medical Center/Wayne State University. Berkowski completed his fellowship training in sleep medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center. Berkowski is a sleep specialist at ReLACS Health, a direct specialty care clinic specializing in telemedicine care of RLS and complex sleep disorders, currently serving patients in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. Berkowski serves on the Foundation's Brain Bank Committee.


Mark J. Buchfuhrer, MD, FRCP(C), FCCP

Stanford Health Care, Stanford, CA

Buchfuhrer is a pulmonologist in Downey, California and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including PIH Health Hospital-Downey and Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital. He received his medical degree from University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years. Buchfuhrer serves on the Foundation's Medical Bulletin Committee, the Opiates Committee and the Revised Treatment Consensus Committee.


Stefan Clemens, PhD, HdR

East Carolina University, Greenville, NC

Clemens is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. His research focuses on investigating the neural networks in the spinal cord, especially their role in neurological disorders, like RLS. He studies the role of dopamine in the spinal cord, and how the interactions between its different receptor subtypes may play a role in augmentation. At the Foundation, Clemens chairs both the Brain Bank Committee and the Research Grant Committee.


James R. Connor, PhD, MS

Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine; Hershey, PA

Connor is a distinguished professor of neurosurgery, neural and behavioral sciences and pediatrics at The Pennsylvania College of Medicine. He also serves as the vice chair of neurosurgery research at the university, as well as the director for the Center for Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases. His primary areas of research focus on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which cells regulate their iron status. Connor is an active member of the Research Grant Committee.


Sergi Ferré, MD, PhD

Integrative Neurobiology Section National Institute on Drug Abuse
 IRP, NIH, DHHS; Baltimore, MD

Ferré is chief of the Integrative Neurobiology Section at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, IRP, NIH. He is an RLS Foundation research grant recipient where he researched cortico-striatal transmission in iron-deficient rats as a model for the screening of drugs potentially useful in the treatment of RLS. Ferré's research interests focus on the role of neurotransmitter receptor heteromers as targets for drug development in neuropsychiatric disorders, including substance use disorders. At the Foundation, he serves as a member of the Research Grant Committee.


Jennifer G. Hensley, EdD, MSN, RN, CNM, WHNP-BC, LCCE

Baylor University, Louise Herrington School of Nursing; Waco, TX

Hensley is a certified nurse-midwife and women's health nurse practitioner. She built her clinical scholarship on restless legs syndrome during pregnancy and sleep disorders in women across the lifespan. Hensley is an active member of the RLS Foundation's Quality Care Certification and Medical Bulletin Committees.


Byron C. Jones, PhD

University of Tennessee Health Science Center; Memphis, TN

Jones is a professor of genetics, genomics, and informatics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, where he also serves as a member of the university's Neuroscience Institute. At Pennsylvania State University, Jones is a Professor Emeritus in behavioral health. His research interests include:

  • Response to chronic and acute stress in adaptation and alcohol consumption
  • Toxiogenetics of pesticides and neurotoxins
  • Genetics of metal regulation in the brain (copper, iron and zinc)

At the RLS Foundation, Jones is an active member of the Research Grant Committee.


Elias G. Karroum, MD, PhD

The University of Virginia Primary Care Center, Charlottesville, VA

Karroum is board-certified in Neurology and is an Assistant Professor at The University of Virginia Department of Neurology. Karroum’s clinical interests include sleep disorders in general, movement-related sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome, and sleep disorders in patients with neurological diseases. Karroum is fluent in Arabic and French in addition to English and serves on the Research Grant Committee.


Brian Koo, MD

Yale Center for Sleep Medicine; New Haven, CT

Koo is the director for the Yale Center for Restless Legs Syndrome, an RLS Foundation certified RLS Quality Care Center, as well as the medical director of Sleep Laboratory at the Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System. Koo is an associate professor of neurology at Yale University, and has been an active member of task forces and section committees related to the sleep-related movement disorders in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Koo is board certified in both neurology and sleep medicine, and much of his research lies in those categories. His research on RLS and PLMS has included animal modeling, epidemiology, proteomics and genetic analysis.


Mauro Manconi, MD, PhD

Sleep and Epilepsy Center; Civic Hospital Neurocenter of Southern Switzerland

Manconi is director of the Sleep Center, Neurocenter of Southern Switzerland, a certified RLS Foundation Quality Care Center. He also teaches at the Master School of Medicine at Bern University, the Institute of Communication and Health at the Italian Swiss University of Lugano (USI), as well as at the Professional University School of Italian Switzerland (SUPSI). Manconi's research focuses on sleep disorders, specifically sleep-related movement disorders like RLS and PLMS, and he currently serves on the scientific board of the European Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group (EURLSSG). At the RLS Foundation, Manconi is an active member of the Medical Bulletin, Revised Treatment Consensus and Quality Care Center Certification Committees.


William Ondo, MD

Houston Methodist Neurological Institute; Houston, TX

Ondo serves as director of the Movement Disorder Clinic at the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute, a certified RLS Quality Care Center. Throughout his career, Ondo has written more than 250 articles and book chapters. A movement disorder specialist, he is board certified in adult neurology and sleep medicine. Ondo's research specializes in Parkinson's disease, essential tremors, the use of botulinum toxins in treating movement disorders, and restless legs syndrome. At the RLS Foundation, Ondo is an active member of the Opiates Committee.

kathy Richards

Kathy Richards, PhD, RN, FAAN

University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Richards is a research professor at The University of Texas at Austin, School of Nursing. As a UT Austin PhD graduate, Kathy has conducted sleep research in Alzheimer's disease for 20 years, and received over $25 million in NIH funding to support her research endeavors.

Her newest project is the NightRest project and the Behavioral Indicators Test for Restless Legs Syndrome in older adults. In partnership with Christine Kovach, PhD, RN, FAAN, a research professor in aging at the Jewish Home and Care Center at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Richards received a $3.9 million five-year grant from the National Institute on Aging to improve the treatment of nighttime agitation in those with Alzheimer's disease. They hypothesize that RLS may be a cause for nighttime agitation and sleep disturbance in these individuals. This study marks the very first time that a new diagnostic tool will be used in research on nighttime agitation. Richards serves on the Foundation's Research Grant committee.


Denise Sharon, MD, PhD, FAASM

Pomona Valley Medical Center, Claremont, CA

Sharon works as an independent consultant out of the Sleep Disorders Adult and Children Center of the Pomona Valley Medical Center in Claremont, CA.

Throughout her education, training and work, Sharon has amassed research experience including, but not limited to, work as a Research Associate/Quantitative Electroencephalographer in the Laboratory of Psychoelectrophysiology, Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior through MCG. Her research has been published in numerous journals, as well as industry supported pieces on Restless Legs Syndrome for Pfizer, Xenoport, Luitpold, and more.

Sharon has been involved in multiple committees for the American Association of Sleep Medicine (AASM), such as the Center Accreditation, Fellowship Accreditation, Nosology Committees and Movement Disorders Section (vice-chair). She is a member of the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study group and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Task Force on the update of the treatment of RLS and PLMD; just another way in which she is helping those with RLS. Sharon serves on the Foundation's Pediatrics and Quality Care Center Certification committees.


Michael H. Silber, MBChB

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Silber is a board certified neurologist and sleep specialist and serves as Director of the Mayo Clinic RLS Foundation Certified Quality Care Center and Dean, Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.

At the RLS Foundation, Silber is current chair of the Revised Treatment Consensus committee and serves on the Opiates committee. With a particular focus in neurology, Silber's areas of research include:

  • Relationship of REM sleep behavior disorder to neurodegenerative diseases
  • Drug management and predisposing factors related to restless legs syndrome
  • Epidemiology and pathogenesis of narcolepsy with special reference to the hypocretin system

George Uhl, MD, PhD

New Mexico VA Healthcare System; Albuquerque, NM

Board certified in neurology -- with a PhD in neuropharmacology and with substantial contributions to clinical trials, human genetics, mouse genetics, neuropharmacology and in vitro studies -- Uhl now manages a research program based at the New Mexico VA Healthcare System and his own laboratory and translational/clinical research. He has long studied the mu opiate receptor, at which several RLS drugs work, and the RLS gene PTPRD, for which he has discovered novel ligands. Uhl also has experience in addiction and Parkinson’s disease. Uhl's major research interests include:

  • Translational studies of complex genetics of RLS and other brain disorders
  • Mechanisms of RLS, addictions and Parkinson’s disease
  • Discovery of novel therapeutic approaches to RLS, addictions and Parkinsons disease

At the Foundation, Uhl is a member of the Research Grant and Brain Bank committees.


Arthur S. Walters, MD

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; Nashville, TN

Walters works at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he is Professor of Neurology in the Seep Division. He is also director of the RLS Foundation Quality Care Center at Vanderbilt. Throughout his career Walters has focused his research on sleep-related movement disorders. From 1992-1998, he helped found and served as the first chair of the Foundation's Medical Advisory Board, and continues to serve on the Foundation's combined Scientific and Medical Advisory Board. Additionally, as the founder and first chair of the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group, Walters helped establish the universal clinical criteria for the diagnosis of RLS. Walters has played an integral role in the history of the Foundation. Walters was a key player in establishing and validating the first scale to be used for the measurement of RLS severity, a scale that is now the most widely used for measuring RLS severity in both academic and industry sponsored studies. Walters is currently serving as chair of the Foundation's Quality Care Certification committee, chair of the Pediatrics committee and is also a member of the Opiates committee.


John W. Winkelman, MD, PhD

Harvard Medical School; Boston, MA

Winkelman is board certified in both Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine and treats sleep disorders patients at Massachusetts General Hospital. He specializes in RLS, insomnia, sleep apnea, sleep-related eating disorders and parasomnias. His research primarily focuses on epidemiology, physiology, cardiovascular consequences and the treatment of RLS as well as the neurobiology and treatment of insomnia.

Winkelman is Chair of the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group and is consultant to DSM-5-TR RLS section and the AASM Sleep-Related Movement Disorders section. He served as chair of the American Academy of Neurology Practice Parameter Committee for the treatment of RLS. At the RLS Foundation, Winkelman is the current chair of the Opiates committee and serves on the Revised Treatment Consensus committee.