Introducing Wounded Warrior’s Dedicated Board of Directors

wounded warrior projectAlongside an executive leadership team headed by CEO Mike Linnington, Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) operates under the guidance of a 12-member board of directors that provides governance and oversight for the group’s various programs and activities.

Drawing on their diverse backgrounds in military, government, nonprofit, business, and medicine, the board members work together to ensure that WWP is meeting the needs of veterans while gaining the resources required to continue its programs well into the future.

In January 2020, Wounded Warrior strengthened its board by adding three new members with both military and business leadership experience. Keep reading for a brief introduction to the new members and the rest of the WWP board of directors.


Kathy Hildreth

A former test pilot and aviation maintenance officer in the US Army, Kathy Hildreth served in the military for over five years before going on to launch a career in the defense industry. Her company, M1 Support Services, carries out complex government support contracts and is dedicated to providing jobs for military veterans. Along with Bill Selman and Ken Hunzeker, Hildreth is among the newest members of the WWP board.


Lt. Col. (Ret.) Bill Selman

West Point graduate Bill Selman served as an active-duty Army officer for five years and continued his military service in the Army Reserve, eventually retiring as a lieutenant colonel. As a civilian, he has held various leadership positions in finance, sales, engineering, and insurance while supporting various nonprofit groups.


Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Ken Hunzeker

Also a West Point graduate, Ken Hunzeker commanded various Army forces throughout a military career spanning 35 years. After retiring from the military in 2010, he worked for several years in government relations. Hunzeker’s recent accolades include his selection as a 2020 Distinguished Graduate of the US Military Academy.


Lisa Disbrow

Lisa Disbrow joined the US Air Force in 1985. Her military career, which spanned over three decades, included work in signals/electronic intelligence and deployments during Operations Desert Storm and Southern Watch. Disbrow’s activities since retiring from the Air Force Reserve in 2008 include serving as the 25th Under Secretary of the US Air Force.


Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Michael T. Hall

Like many other members of the WWP board of directors, Michael T. Hall has spent his entire adult life in service to his country. As an Army officer, he completed multiple deployments and earned several decorations, including the Bronze Star Medal and Distinguished Service Medal. Hall retired after 34 years of military service and has since worked as a defense consultant, executive coach, and dedicated supporter of several veterans organizations.


Juan Garcia

Currently a managing director at Deloitte in Washington, DC, Juan Garcia previously served for six years as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs). He was appointed to the leadership position after serving active and reserve Navy duty for over 15 years. Alongside his military service, Garcia, who holds a juris doctor and a master in public policy from Harvard, has worked as an attorney and member of the Texas House of Representatives.


Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Rick Tryon

Lieutenant General Rick Tryon retired from the Marine Corps in 2014 after nearly four and a half decades of military service. His military career began in 1970 and included leadership assignments in Japan, Iraq, Turkey, and several European countries. In addition to serving on the WWP board of directors and WWP advisory council, Tryon serves as a senior fellow in international leadership at the University of North Florida.


Cari DeSantis

With a professional background focused on government and nonprofit organizational management, Cari DeSantis brings unique expertise to the WWP board of directors, which she joined in 2017. Much of her work has focused on the health and human services sector. Alongside her activities with WWP, DeSantis currently leads a Maryland-based nonprofit that connects people of differing abilities with employment opportunities.

Named one of the Top 100 Women for 2017 by the Daily Record in Maryland, DeSantis is an award-winning author of three books.


Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Alonzo Smith

Alonzo Smith is an experienced combat veteran with firsthand knowledge of the difficulties faced by the nation’s wounded warriors. During a deployment to Afghanistan, Smith sustained severe wounds that led to several surgeries, prolonged hospital stays, and a long recovery process aided by physical rehabilitation. Following his 33-year military career, he has been dedicated to helping his fellow veterans as a WWP alumnus and board member.


Kathleen Widmer

Another West Point graduate, Kathleen Widmer has balanced her professional pursuits in business management and marketing leadership with her activities as an advocate for military veterans. Her work in this area includes serving as co-chair of the Veterans Leadership Council at Johnson & Johnson. Since 2018, Widmer has helped lead the WWP board of directors as vice chair.


Dr. Jonathan Woodson

Board certified in internal medicine, general surgery, vascular surgery, and critical care surgery, Dr. Jonathan Woodson joined the WWP board of directors in 2016 and now serves as board chair. Outside of his work at WWP, Dr. Woodson has held positions in the Military Health System, including Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. He currently serves as a professor of surgery, management, health law, and policy at Boston University Medical Center in addition to serving as Army Reserve Medical Command commanding general.


Lt. Col. (Ret.) Justin Constantine

Like Sergeant Major Alonzo Smith, Lieutenant Colonel Justin Constantine has also overcome wounds received in military combat. After miraculously recovering from a sniper gunshot to the head, he joined WWP and launched a civilian career that has included work as an inspirational speaker and writer on military and leadership issues. For his courage and work with military veterans, WWP awarded him the George C. Lang Award and appointed him to board of directors in 2011. Today, he stands out as the group’s longest-serving member.


Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. 

AHA Highlights Advancements in Cardiovascular Disease Research in 2019

AHAlogoThe American Heart Association (AHA) has been behind some of the most important research breakthroughs related to heart disease and stroke care. Funding from the AHA has helped researchers to develop a better understanding of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, as well as to advance treatments that have improved and extended lives.

In addition to providing research funding, the AHA reports on the latest significant research advancements through press releases and other publications. One of these is its year-end list of leading research accomplishments, which it has compiled annually since 1996. This blog post offers a look at several discoveries in heart and stroke science highlighted by the association in 2019.


Improvement in Blood Pressure Control

It is well established that controlling one’s blood pressure is a key factor in preventing heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions. Two research studies published in 2019 provided new insights on improving blood pressure control and underscored the importance of doing so.

A study published in the European Heart Journal in October 2019 suggested that bedtime might be the best time to take prescribed blood-pressure medication. According to the clinical trial, which involved over 9,000 patients with hypertension, taking all prescribed hypertension medications before bed rather than the next morning can improve ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) control and reduce one’s risk of a cardiovascular event by 45 percent.

Another study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that controlling blood-pressure might offer benefits that extend beyond cardiovascular health. Based on the results of a randomized clinical trial of individuals age 50 and over with high blood pressure, lowering systolic blood pressure to under 120 millimeters of mercury decreased the chances of mild cognitive impairment as compared to lowering it to under 140.


Insights from Gene Studies

lab study

Developing novel treatments for cardiovascular disease and prevention requires that researchers increase their understanding of the underlying factors contributing to the problem. In some cases, this can include looking at a person’s genetic makeup. Many researchers are examining the human genome, and their work is leading to new insights on heart disease and heart-related issues.

In 2019, researchers released the results of a study that shed light on genomic regions potentially linked to venous thromboembolism (VTE), a blood-clotting condition that affects between 300,000 and 600,000 Americans each year. The analysis, published in Nature Genetics, examined the DNA of over 650,000 people and led to the discovery of 22 new genomic regions in the human body that might overlap with VTE. Moreover, the journal Nature Medicine published the results of a study that identified 18 new regions of the human genome connected to peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Along with gene studies related to VTE and PAD, new gene research into pulmonary hypertension also emerged in 2019. For instance, the results of a study published in the AHA journal Circulation explained how the protein coding gene BOLA3 (BolA Family Member 3), plays a critical role in this type of hypertension. With this genetic knowledge, researchers can explore different avenues for treating the disease.


Evidence Reiterates the Importance of Physical Activity

The role that physical activity plays in keeping one’s heart healthy has been well understood for a long time. Recent research focusing on older women, however, has provided new insights into the importance of exercise for those in their senior years.

Two studies that appeared in Circulation and JAMA Network Open, respectively, examined groups of women averaging 79 years old who had no known history of stroke or myocardial infarction. In the first study, researchers found that reducing sedentary activity by as little as one hour a day could lower the risk of heart disease by 26 percent. The second study suggested that daily physical activity, even light activities such as walking and gardening, can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease among older women.


Research Studies Drive Care Strategies

In addition to increasing the scientific understanding of heart disease and stroke, research drives shifts in care by furthering opportunities for new therapies and treatments. The AHA’s list highlighted the results of several such investigations published in 2019.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that adults taking statins for elevated triglyceride levels might reduce their risk of stroke or another heart-related event by up to 25 percent by adding a fish oil derivative to their therapy regimen. Following this data, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new prescription form of the same fish oil derivative for treating elevated triglyceride levels. The medication is prescribed under the name Vascepa.

The New England Journal of Medicine also published studies focused on ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) heart attacks and ischemic stroke. The study on heart attacks concluded that percutaneous coronary intervention, an artery-clearing procedure used for STEMI heart attacks and epicardial coronary artery obstructions, might have better long-term effects if performed to open and clear both the artery that caused the attack and other partially clogged ones.

In the study examining ischemic stroke, researchers determined that the clot-busting drug alteplase might be beneficial for some patients up to nine hours following the onset of symptoms. Previously, physicians generally believed that the drug needed to be administered within a four-and-a-half-hour window.

More information about these and other research advancements from 2019 can be found at


Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional health-care provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.