Laura Crandall, MA
Cofounder, President and Executive Director
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Laura Gould Crandall, MA is currently a research scientist in the Department of Neurology at the NYU School of Medicine, joined NYULMC as the director of the SUDC Registry and Research Collaborative, and President and Executive Director of the SUDC Foundation. Laura is also a licensed Physical Therapist in New Jersey and New York. She earned her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from New York University in 1990 and 1996.
In 1997, her first child, Maria, succumbed to Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) at the age of 15 months. Through the death investigation of Maria, Laura was convinced that changes in the system could and should be achieved. So, she advocated for new child death investigation legislation in New Jersey, which became law in 2000. A subsequent New Jersey law regarding research passed in 2006, and in 2014, “The Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act” was signed into law by President Obama. At the SUDC Foundation, Laura strives to support families by upholding the mission of being the centralized resource for SUDC information, support, advocacy and crucial research. Laura’s work has been important for epilepsy, because a third of SUDC cases have a history of febrile seizure.
In 2007, Laura was honored as Glamour magazine’s “Woman of Your Year”, and in 2015, she was the recipient of the “Portrait of Courage” award from the National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD). Laura is a member of the National Association of Medical Examiners, an advisory member of the National Sudden Death In the Young (SDY) registry, an executive board member of the North American SUDEP Registry (NASR), executive officer of the (Federal) Organization for Scientific Area Committees (OSAC), subcommittee for medicolegal death investigation, and board member of the National Forensic Science Commission’s subcommittee on medicolegal death investigation. Laura lives in NJ with her three daughters.
Family Services Assistant
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Michelle has excellent organizational and people skills. She is an essential part of the Support Services team as a behind-the-scenes coordinator. Prior to being a full-time mother to three children, she worked as an account executive for a large telecommunications company. Michelle and Chelsea Hilbert (cofounder of The SUDC Program in 2001) were neighbors in Charlotte, NC when Chelsea’s son died. Michelle and her husband, Etienne, were a great source of support and information. In fact, Michelle researched information about metabolic disorders and assisted Chelsea’s family with finding metabolic testing when their second child was born. Michelle and her family live in Southern California.
Special Events and Ambassador Program Assistant
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Stacy graduated from George Washington University with a BA in Psychology. After college, she spent the next eight years working at her family’s retail business in Wayne, New Jersey. After having her first child, Stacy made the decision to become a stay-at-home mom and immensely enjoyed the many years she spent being home raising her two daughters. Once her children became teenagers, Stacy felt the desire to return to work. Prior to the SUDC Foundation, Stacy enjoyed using her strong organizational, interpersonal and creative skills at local businesses including a travel agency, invitation store and as an office manager at a law firm.
Stacy lives in New Jersey with her husband and children. She loves cooking, eating, yoga, reading and spending time with friends and family.
Social Media Manager
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Cofounder, Vice President, Ass't Executive Director & SUDC Parent
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Lorri is a graduate of Katherine Gibbs's business school and has vast administrative knowledge. After a 10-year career as a legal assistant and paralegal, she experienced the tragic loss of her firstborn daughter in 2003. Jenna was a thriving, healthy and happy child. She passed away while taking a nap at her daycare on January 10, 2003, at the age of 16 months, and subsequently died on life support the following day. After Dr. Krous of The SUDC Research project reviewed Jenna's records and autopsy report, the medical examiner ruled Jenna's death unexplained and related to SUDC. A short time after Jenna's death Lorri found the SUDC Program.
Lorri feels that the resources offered to her have given her the building blocks to manage to live after such a tragic loss. She began volunteering for The SUDC Program in 2003 and, in 2004, she took on a larger role in an administrative position within the organization. Today, she is the Cofounder, Vice President and Assistant Executive Director of the SUDC Foundation launched in 2014. Lorri is committed to making a difference for SUDC families. In addition to her work at the Foundation, she also holds leadership positions within her local Woman's Club, as a Girl Scout Leader and serves as a Catechist as a CCD teacher. She is a lifelong resident of NJ, where she and her family lives.
Director of Development
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Elizabeth is a vibrant business professional with twelve years of experience in strategic operations and non-profit development. She brings a successful track record of achieving earned and contributed revenue growth by fostering relationships with individuals, foundations, and corporations through the coordination and execution of a comprehensive fundraising plan. Elizabeth also has extensive experience in providing complete special event planning and marketing support through various media platforms.
A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, Elizabeth holds a B.A. in Behavioral and Social Sciences. She recently completed the Executive Philanthropy and Resource Development Certificate program at Fairleigh Dickinson University, is a Level III Certified Grant Writer and has taken coursework in Corporate Sponsorship and Sustainability Analysis Planning. She has participated in several National Points of Light Foundation Conferences.
Elizabeth lives in New Jersey with her husband, children and yellow Labrador; she enjoys the arts and spending time outdoors with family and friends.
Heather Maher, MSFS
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Heather earned her undergraduate degree from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. At Quinnipiac, Heather’s concentration was in Biomedical Sciences with minors in Chemistry and Psychology. She continued her education and earned a Master of Science in Forensic Science from Pace University in New York City. Her thesis was presented at the 35th Annual North Eastern Association of Forensic Scientists Meeting in 2009. Heather also attended the Lorenzo Di Medici University in Florence, Italy.
Prior to joining SUDC, Heather worked for the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory as a Forensic Scientist for six years. At AFDIL, she participated in many missions. One of which, was to identify the remains of soldiers from past wars. While there, Heather gained vast knowledge and experience in working with DNA and genetic analysis. Heather is a resident of New Jersey and is married with a son.
Ambassador Program and PR Manager
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SUDC Foundation Social Worker
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Tracy Hacker is a licensed clinical social worker and is currently employed with HCA Hospitals. She works in their psychiatric intake department and assists patients that are in crisis with their admission. Tracy has experience working with children and their families that have been reunified after completing a child protection case plan. She is experienced working with children and families, including foster and adoptive youth and families.
In 2015, Tracy tragically lost her 18-month old daughter, Daria (1/25/14-8/13/15). Tracy feels that both her professional and personal experience give her better insight and understanding when caring for those affected by SUDC.