Pat Bannerman, Vice President
Pat’s professional career was in the health, fitness and wellness industry. The last 22 years of her career she was a physical education teacher in the Williston school district. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in health and physical education.
Pat served as co-chairman of the Vermont Lyme action committee from 2011 to 2014. This committee was instrumental in the passing of the Vermont H.123 bill related to Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. As part of her Lyme disease advocacy work, she designed an educational PowerPoint presentation on Lyme disease and tickborne illnesses, highlighting prevention and awareness. Pat presents to the public at libraries, hospitals, schools, and other public venues. For many years she was co-coordinator of the northern Vermont Lyme Disease support group that meets monthly at PT360 in Williston, VT.
Pat lives in Essex Junction with her husband. They have two adult children, both of whom have medical careers. Pat’s drive to educate, support, and spread awareness comes from her own struggle with Lyme, having gone misdiagnosed/untreated for several years.
Kristin Kassis, President
Kristin is the principal and owner of Pinnacle Ridge Consulting (PRC), a professional services firm that specializes in business process analysis and change management services in the Customer Relationship software sector. PRC is a firm founded on the principle that organizations do not change – people do – one-by-one. The firm’s passion is to help companies and individuals adapt and thrive through all dimensions of transformational change by aligning people, processes and technology.
Kristin has over 25 years of Program Management experience in the Financial Services, Software and Retail industries. She is an energetic, results-driven leader able to execute and deliver against strategic business plans by utilizing best-practice program management disciplines to increase operational efficiencies and improve ROI.
For Kristin, Tickborne disease is very personal as she and her family battle this disease together. She is dedicated to raising awareness, educating the community and being a driving force towards change so no other family has to deal with the impacts this disease imposes.
Sallie Mack, Secretary
Sallie practiced as home birth midwife in Alaska, California and Vermont for over 25 years, prior to becoming a constitutional homeopath. Sallie teaches homeopathic medicine at Northern Vermont University, and has been a professional musician for over 40 years.
Currently, Sallie teaches guitar, ukulele, bass, singing and songwriting both privately and at CVU thru the ACESS program. She currently co-leads the Burlington and Addison area Lyme Support Groups, informed by her own long journey with Lyme disease.
Sallie’s favorite hobby is to sail on Lake Champlain with her husband and little dog, Chickadee.
Jim Miller, Treasurer
Jim is an owner of Pathway Financial Advisors, LLC, a financial planning firm in South Burlington, Vermont. Prior to joining Pathway, he was Senior Trust Officer at Merchants Trust Company. Jim received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Lawrence University and is a Certified Financial Planner ™ (CFP®) practitioner.
Jim has volunteered for several community organizations. His roles included serving as board member and treasurer for the VNA of Chittenden and Grand Isle County and for Essex Meals on Wheels.
Jim lives with his wife in Essex Junction and has two adult children. He has witnessed the life altering impact of Lyme Disease on his wife, who has struggled with Lyme over the past several years.
Rebecca Zelis, Founder & Content Creator
Rebecca’s experience parenting a child with neuroborreliosis (neurological Lyme disease) led to her work advocating for families affected by pediatric illness and tickborne diseases.
Rebecca educates health providers and education professionals about the psychiatric and cognitive manifestations of tickborne diseases. She facilitates workshops and developed free online resources to support parents of children with complex Lyme disease.
Rebecca is an artist and writer. Her work ranges from personal projects to designing systems that support the well being of families, employees, and communities.
VTLyme.org Advisory Board
Alexis Chesney MS, ND, LAc
Dr. Alexis Chesney is a naturopathic physician and acupuncturist specializing in Lyme disease and other tickborne illness. Originally from New York, Dr. Alexis Chesney received a BA from Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts. She earned a Masters in Science in acupuncture from the University of Bridgeport Acupuncture Institute and a doctorate in naturopathic medicine from the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine, in Connecticut. She is one of the first naturopathic students to complete a hospital-based medical rotation. With five of her colleagues from across the nation, she founded the Naturopathic Medical Student Association, which is a recipient of the AANP President’s Award. Naturopathic residency brought Alexis to Vermont, where she has continued to work with a team of integrative practitioners at Sojourns Community Health Clinic, in Westminster. The majority of her practice entails the treatment of Lyme disease, other tickborn illness and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). Dr. Chesney enjoys working with patients of all ages on chronic disease, general wellness, nutrition and lifestyle counseling. She is a member of the Vermont Association of Naturopathic Physicians (VANP) and the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS). She has been featured as an expert on tickborne diseases at the ILADS conference, other professional and non-professional conferences, local talk radio, and in various news publications.
Ronald Stram, MD
Dr Stram, the Founder of The Stram Center for Intergrative Medicine, is a Board Certified Medical Doctor with a focus on Integrative and Functional Medicine. His 25 years of work as a board certified emergency medicine physician prompted him to recognize the need for holistic and preventative care as a means to reduce the debilitation associated with chronic disease so often seen too late in the emergency setting.
He felt a strong connection to his original motives for becoming a doctor and decided to expand his career in a new direction by seeking out the Integrative Medicine fellowship program at the University of Arizona with Dr. Andrew Weil in 2001. After successfully completing his two-year fellowship training, he felt committed to providing this form of medicine to his own hometown. This inspired him to establish the Stram Center for Integrative Medicine in 2003.
The Stram Center’s collaboration between conventionally trained medical doctors with complementary providers is anchored by the respect for the wisdom and science across shared disciplines. More minds working as a team has proved to be more effective in addressing the needs of his patients. The Stram Center’s integrative approach continues to reinforce his belief that when a medical environment focuses on the social, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of individuals with chronic health conditions and their support network, healing can occur. It is his experience that this is the kind of healthcare people are seeking. Every day at the office, he feels privileged to work with his colleagues who share this philosophy of healthcare.
Dr. Rhiannon Woolwich-Holzman
Dr. Rhiannon Woolwich-Holzman was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania College of Arts and Sciences in 1987, with a Bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology.
Dr. Woolwich-Holzman has a long-standing and deep interest in One Health, and is a member of the One Health Task Force of the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA). With a lifelong interest in infectious and metabolic diseases, and an interest in vector borne diseases and tick borne diseases in particular, she has closely followed research and treatment of tick borne diseases across the US. Her great interest in the severity and chronicity of these diseases in animals and people who are late to proper diagnosis and treatment has been a focus of her personal advocacy over many years. As a founding volunteer and educator with the annual Gear Up for Lyme Mt. Equinox Uphill Bicycle Climb fundraiser in Manchester, Vermont, 2002-2014, she has and continues her support and advocacy for improved diagnostic testing and treatment of tick borne diseases in animals and humans. Her interest and dedication to this cause, with the ultimate goal being accurate testing and a complete cure for all patients, continues.