A familiar face will be the new leader of the Rheumatology Research Foundation. Mary Wheatley has been named the Foundation’s new executive director. Mary has been with the Foundation for more than six years and has helped it grow tremendously during that time. Many volunteers and leaders with the ACR and the Foundation say they know Mary will bring energy and dedication to her new role.
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Explore This IssueAugust 2014
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Mary brings extensive experience from both the grant-receiving and grant-making sides of research to her new role. Before joining the Foundation, she studied psychology and biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she also gained invaluable experience working in a research lab. Mary started as a research assistant, eventually moving up to program manager. She managed several grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and worked on projects that led to publications and additional funding from the NIH. In 2008, Mary decided to make the switch from research to grants administration and started working at the Foundation as director of awards and grants. She was promoted to senior director of research and training in 2010, working for both the Foundation and the ACR.
During her time with the organization, Mary has overseen significant changes, such as implementation of the targeted research initiative and a redesign of the awards and grants program. She also managed the ACR’s Blue Ribbon panel on academic rheumatology. The panel developed a list of recommendations to strengthen academic rheumatology that is still being referenced today as a guide for building and expanding successful programs. Mary says that while working at the Foundation, she has greatly appreciated taking part in developing a strategic plan for the organization’s future.
“I really enjoy dreaming big about what the Foundation can become,” Mary says. “Strategic planning also presents a wonderful opportunity to engage the members of our board and learn more about their hopes and goals for our organization.”
Leaders on the Foundation’s Board of Directors and with the ACR say Mary’s vision and dedication played a big role in her latest promotion. David Karp, MD, PhD, president of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, has been working closely with Mary for years. Shortly after Mary started, Dr. Karp took over as chair of the Scientific Advisory Council, which meant he interacted with Mary on a regular basis. They have been working together ever since. He says, Mary has proven herself over the years as a forward-thinking leader.