ACHA Emeritus Board

In October 2018, the ACHA Board of Directors voted to create an Emeritus Board to recognize distinguished individuals whose contributions of time, talent or treasure to the ACHA Board stand out above all others.

Individuals to be considered for the Emeritus Board are those select former Board members without whom ACHA would not have existed or realized significant growth, and who have created a legacy that will last for years or even decades to come. The first emeritus board members were announced in July 2019.


John Fernie

“If I were to search for an important mission—a cause worth supporting and fighting for—I would hope to give it my best, my time and treasure. When my daughter was diagnosed with a CHD at 10 days I didn’t foresee the many events, fears and hope that would surface.

When I was in my 50s, my daughter found ACHA.  I volunteered in different capacities over a number of years and witnessed this small organization grow and evolve through challenges but continue to find balance, support and many more members who understood its important mission.

After serving as board chair and on the board from 2013 to 2018, I know that the committed, knowledgeable and success driven staff and board members have laid a very firm foundation.

My commitment to ACHA’s mission has taken many forms.  I have complete confidence that the mission will be carried forward and am gratified that I’ll be able to serve on the Emeritus board and continue to contribute in whatever ways I’m able.”

John Fernie’s professional experience includes a stint as a college professor and subsequently 32 years in management positions in the finance and real estate industries. He has served on the governing boards of several for-profit and non-profit organizations.


 Dr. Mary Kay Klein

“I have had a unique opportunity to watch ACHA grow over the last 20+ years. My daughter, Karen Klein McNulty, one of the three co-founders, was the first President of ACHA. The office was located in our home in Boston for the first seven years.

It is amazing to me that the six priorities outlined by the original Board have come to fruition: newsletter publication, mutual support, a web presence, a national ACHD resource directory, education of the general public, and the promotion of research. The conferences, walks and other events have raised the profile of ACHA, and helped to strengthen the connections among adults living with CHD, the original impetus for forming the organization. The accreditation program has improved care, and advocacy has impacted legislation. The research grants recently awarded by ACHA are another huge step forward.

I have made many efforts to continue Karen’s work, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate more fully in ACHA as a member of the Emeritus Board.”

Dr. Mary Kay Klein is retired, after having worked in various teaching and administrative positions throughout her career. She also spent many years involved in the interfaith spirituality movement in the Boston area. She was a founding Board member of ACHA, and was ACHA’s first secretary/treasurer.