Jeanne Fontana, MD. PhD, is a patient and stem cell advocate focused on bringing together patient advocacy groups, healthcare workers, scientists, policy makers, governmental agencies, and industry to advance regenerative medicine therapies. As an experienced Board member of both non-profit and for-profit organizations, she has a deep understanding of how organizations and people function together for optimal results when the goal is keeping people alive and healthy and economically viable. Her talent for communicating complex concepts and subjects to the lay public has been greatly valued and utilized throughout her work experiences. Her background as both a scientist with a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and an MD, trained as an internist, truly give her a comprehensive perspective.
Dr. Fontana became a patient advocate when her mother was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in in the late 90’s. She dedicated decades of her life to make the lives of those with ALS better; clinics and patient services, in finding a therapy (drug discovery) and with policy makers on the state and federal level to pass laws, amendments and increase funding. In her scientific efforts she also became a stem cell advocate, which when serving as a member of the Boards of Trustees for the ALS Association and The Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, she developed a varied experience educating the public on health care issues and the importance of the advancement of science.
Dr. Fontana served for years as a highly active alternate member of the Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee (ICOC) of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the governing body charged with implementing California’s Proposition 71, a $3 Billion USD stem cell initiative. CIRM’s goal is to fund and promote the best of science, efficient translation into therapies providing much needed access to state-of the-art regenerative therapies.