Board of Directors
The Adult Congenital Heart Association is overseen by an elected Board of Directors.
The members of the Board meet monthly to discuss ACHA matters and each member spends at least 12 hours a month working for ACHA, from fundraising independently to working with volunteers on numerous ACHA committees. Each member brings a variety of talents to the Board and working together, they are able to combine their strengths to best serve ACHA's mission to educate and advocate for adults with congenital heart defects.
Interested in joining the ACHA Board of Directors? Click here for a full description of responsibilities.
Board of Directors
John C. Fernie, Chair
Cindy Huie, Vice Chair
Kevin Gordon, Treasurer
Denise Garvy, JD, Secretary
Curt J. Daniels, MD, Medical Advisory Board Chair
Christy Uher Ferguson
Elyse Foster, MD
Carrie S. Rydin
Arwa Saidi, MB, BCh, MEd, FACC
Jerry Boegler has more than 10 years in business development and marketing in the defense and federal marketplace and is a Senior Manager with one of the world’s largest defense and aerospace companies. Jerry has been involved in the congenital heart community through his husband and former ACHA Board member, Brian. Brian was born with Transposition of the Great Arteries and a ventricular septal defect. He had corrective surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston currently receives care at the ACHD program at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Jerry understands the unique role a spouse plays in the lifelong care of an ACHD patient.
Curt J. Daniels, MD, Medical Advisory Board Chair, is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics in the Division of Cardiology at The Ohio State University and Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He is the Founder and Director of the Columbus Ohio Adult Congenital Heart Disease (COACH) and Pulmonary Hypertension Programs. Board certified in both pediatric and internal medicine cardiology, Dr. Daniels serves on the Adult Congenital/Pediatric Cardiology Council and the ACHD Working Group of the American College of Cardiology and is also the Chair of the Quality Metrics Working Group for ACHD. In addition to the ACHA MAB, he is a member of the Professional Affairs Committee, the Research Committee, and was a member of the Steering Committee for ACHA Vision 2020. Dr. Daniels is the current President–Elect of the International Society for ACHD. He is committed to education and has developed a fellowship program for ACHD and has worked to develop subspecialty board certification in ACHD. Dr. Daniels is also committed to patient education and for the past three years has led a bi-monthly regional patient education lecture series for ACHD patients. He has also led the effort to provide a personalized electronic medical record for all ACHD patients followed in their program. Dr Daniels has designed, implemented and successfully completed multiple ACHD research studies and presented his research nationally.
Christy Uher Ferguson has been developing marketing strategies and enterprise-wide initiatives as an experienced and innovative senior marketing communications executive for more than 15 years. She currently leads Customer Content Marketing at a global technology and services company. Christy has led volunteer recruitment for the American Heart Association Walk in Denver, participated on the Board of the Women in Leadership and Service (WILS) Committee at West Chester University and previously was an active participant with Cardiac Kids. She became involved in ACHA after attending a webinar. She firmly believes that the mission and work of ACHA is critical for the education and advancement of medical care for the many adults now surviving with CHD. She is passionate and committed to producing top-notch awareness strategies that will resonate with ACHA’s members and influencers. Christy lives in Denver with her husband, Jeff.
John C. Fernie, Board Chair, became curious about ACHA as his young adult child with congenital heart defects discovered ACHA. They found that the organization provided extremely important support and encouragement through its forums, previous local groups, conferences, leadership and educational opportunities. John attended the 2011 ACHA national conference and was very impressed with the professionalism that ACHA exhibited during the conference as well as the commitment of patients and medical professionals to ACHA. John’s professional experience includes a stint as a college professor and subsequently 32 years in management positions in the finance and real estate industry. He is currently a Trustee on the Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation and has served on the governing boards of several for-profit and non-profit organizations. John and his wife Barbara, who is a hospital Chaplain and also an active member in several charitable organizations, have two children.
Elyse Foster, MD, received her undergraduate degree and M.D. from Tufts University. She did her residency in Internal Medicine and Cardiology Fellowship at Boston University Hospital. She joined the faculty at University of California, San Francisco in 1989, and she is currently Director of the Adult Echocardiography Laboratory and the UCSF Adult Congenital Heart Disease Practice. The UCSF Core Research Echocardiography Laboratory has analyzed echocardiography data for numerous large clinical trials under her direction. Her current research interests include the natural history of congenital heart disease and vascular function in patients with repaired congenital heart disease. Dr. Foster has had an active role in the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the International Society of Adult Congenital Cardiac Disease. She is currently the co-Chair of the newly formed Committee on Adult Congenital Heart Disease of the AHA.
Denise Garvy, JD, Secretary, became involved with ACHA through her husband, who was born with d-transposition of the great arteries. Denise and her husband have found ACHA to be a tremendous resource for adults with congenital heart defects and have been extremely impressed with the organization’s commitment to improving the quality of life of adults with congenital heart disease. As the spouse of an adult congenital heart patient, Denise is acutely aware of the need for quality and accessible care for this patient group, as well as the need to empower these patients to manage their care. Denise is passionate about ensuring that ACHD patients receive appropriate care from specialists who understand their unique issues. Denise is an attorney who has practiced nearly 20 years in a wide range of legal areas, including corporate, employment, litigation, real estate and estate planning. She is currently taking a leave from the practice of law as she focuses on raising her two young daughters. Denise resides in a suburb of Chicago with her husband, their two daughters, and their two English bulldogs.
Kevin Gordon, Treasurer, hasn't allowed his complex congenital heart defect (d-TGA) to keep him from a wonderful life and a successful career. Professionally, Kevin has significant experience in retail sales, sales management, advertising, marketing, consumer research, technology development, e-commerce, retail concept development, strategic planning, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, financial strategy, and new ventures. After 20+ years in corporate life, much of it with Best Buy, Kevin spent another decade as a founding partner in a retail strategy consulting firm. Personally, Kevin has traveled much of the world, and continues to pursue his passion for friends, books, music, theater, photography, sports cars, and (spectator) sports. Kevin finally hooked up with the Adult Congenital Heart Association after he attended the 3rd National Conference held at the Mayo Clinic in 2004. Kevin is excited about the opportunity to use his skills to help others with CHD learn more about their condition. Kevin lives in Minnetonka, MN, and Palm Springs, CA, with his wife, Michelle Traeger, and Squirt, their adorable Maltese.
Cindy Huie, Vice Chair, lives in Scottsdale, AZ, where she and her husband, Richard, own and operate a landmark seafood restaurant. She is the mother of an adult with CHD, Andi Young, and discovered ACHA in 2007 when they were in search of ACHD care. In 2008, Cindy and her daughter attended the ACHA National Conference in Philadelphia and came away very impressed with ACHA’s commitment to improving and prolonging the lives of heart defect survivors. They both soon became ACHA volunteers in Phoenix, working on advocacy, awareness and education projects jointly with the local ACHD program staff and administrators. In 2009, they initiated and coordinated a successful ACHA fundraising event in Phoenix which will continue to be an annual event. Prior to Cindy’s involvement with ACHA, she sat on the state and regional Boards of Directors of Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic for almost 9 years; during those years, she served as Chairman of the state Board for 3 years. Cindy comes to the Board excited to bring her non-profit resource development experience and put it to work helping grow ACHA.
Barry Meil, a resident of Potomac, MD, develops commercial real estate in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Meil serves on the board of several health-related charitable organizations and runs the Meil Family Foundation. He also previously served on the ACHA Board of Directors from 2008-2013. Barry’s wife Wendy is an ACHA Ambassador. His son Jason was born with tetralogy of Fallot in 1981. Jason had corrective surgery in 1984 and is currently being seen at Children’s National Medical Center in D.C.
Nicholas Pottebaum is an experienced finance and accounting professional, currently serving as a business analysis director at CNA, a large insurance carrier in Chicago. Prior to his current role, Nicholas was a consultant in CNA’s financial planning and analysis group, and before that he held various positions at KPMG in both audit and business valuation consulting. Nicholas holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Financial Analyst. Nicholas was born with a coarctation of the aorta that was diagnosed and surgically repaired when he was 11. He became actively involved with ACHA in 2014 and is passionate about creating awareness around the need for CHD-specific medical treatment to save and extend lives. Nick resides in Chicago with his wife, Andrea, and son, Robert.
Carrie S. Rydin first found ACHA as she transitioned from an adolescent with congenital heart disease to an adult living with new complications from CHD. She is passionate about educating adolescents on transitioning their CHD care as they become adults as well as identifying and connecting with those who may have fallen out of care as they’ve gotten older. Carrie’s professional experience includes more than eight years of experience in the medical device industry where she helps companies ensure they are making safe products for patients. Currently Carrie works as a Quality/Risk Manager for the medical device company Terumo BCT. Previously, she worked for the cardiovascular company Edwards Lifesciences as a quality compliance auditor, where she also helped spearhead activities to raise funds for the American Heart Association through corporate-sponsored community events. Carrie and her husband Russ, who is a medical device engineer, both hail from Chicago but currently live with their beloved rescued dogs in Denver.
Arwa Saidi, MB, BCh, MEd, FACC, received her degrees from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, in 1988. She completed a residency in internal medicine/pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. After working in Dublin for several years, she returned to the United States and worked briefly in Orlando before joining the faculty at the University of Florida in 2003, where she currently serves as director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program. Residents have twice chosen her as the department’s “Outstanding Teacher of the Year.” Away from the hospital, she enjoys traveling, watching movies and running marathons.