The ALS Association

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Brian Frederick
The ALS Association
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The ALS Association Adds Four New Members to National Board of Trustees

A Respected Business Leader Living with ALS, An ALS Clinician, and Two Long-Time Chapter Board Members Bring Invaluable Experience to Board

Washington, D.C. (April 11, 2019) — The ALS Association announced on Thursday that Keith A. Gary, Ph.D., Clifton “Cliff” Gooch, M.D., Tobin “Toby” Kucharski, and J. Thomas “Tommy" May have joined its national Board of Trustees.

Dr. Gary is vice president at BioNexus-KC (formerly the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute) and long-time board member for The ALS Association Mid-America Chapter. Dr. Gooch is chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, Florida. Kucharski is a retired investigations chief for Cook County, Illinois, and a long-time board member for The ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter. May is a military veteran and respected Arkansas business leader who has been living with ALS since 2005.

“Each of these new members offer a unique viewpoint to the Board of Trustees at this pivotal time in the Association’s growth,” said Sue Gorman, chair of The ALS Association Board of Trustees. “Tommy May brings us his vital perspective as a person living with ALS, while Cliff Gooch brings a deep understanding of our mission from his decades of service to the ALS community. Toby Kucharski lost his father to ALS and has served the Greater Chicago Chapter for more than 13 years, while Keith Gary is a respected scientist who has served as a board member for the Mid-America Chapter for more than a decade.”

About Dr. Keith Gary
Dr. Gary is vice president at BioNexus-KC (formerly the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute), responsible for building regional scientific collaboration to compete more effectively for federal funding, ensuring the availability of a competent workforce well-trained in STEM areas and advocating for life sciences research and commercialization at the local, state, and federal levels.

Prior to joining BioNexus KC, he was an assistant professor and director of Basic Science Laboratories in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Connecticut. Dr. Gary positioned his research program at the preclinical/clinical interface, allowing new discoveries in the laboratory to quickly impact clinical care and to bring clinical observations back to the lab for analysis in appropriate animal models.

His research interests were focused on thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) as a neurotransmitter in the brain and what role TRH played in mechanisms underlying mood disorders (bipolar disorder, depression). His research aimed at understanding neurochemical changes in specific brain regions and their relationship to psychiatric disorders has led to his interest in supporting patient advocacy groups focused on neurological and psychiatric disorders.

In addition to his research activities, Dr. Gary was actively engaged in medical, graduate, and postgraduate education. He served as co-director of the Psychopharmacology Didactic Courses for Psychiatry Residents (PGYII/III) and was a member of the faculty in the Neuroscience and Pharmacology Graduate Programs.

He received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Missouri-Kansas City under the direction of Dr. Bibie Chronwall. He completed postdoctoral training with Dr. Andrew Winokur at the University of Pennsylvania in neuropsychopharmacology.

Dr. Gary is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the Society for Neuroscience. He has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals and was a contributing author to Basic Mechanisms and Therapeutic Implications of Bipolar Disorder.

Dr. Gary has served over 10 years with The ALS Association Mid-America Chapter, working in care services, advocacy, and fundraising. He served as president of the chapter’s Board of Directors from 2015 to 2018.

He and his wife, Susan, live in Kansas City, Missouri.

About Dr. Cliff Gooch
A leader in the ALS community, Dr. Gooch developed his interest in ALS at the beginning of his neurology training at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, working with Dr. Stanley “Stan” Appel, whom he calls his mentor and inspiration. Throughout his career, Dr. Gooch has been very involved in ALS research, clinical care, and administration.

He began his career as junior faculty with the ALS Center at Baylor College of Medicine in the early 1990s, then moved to Columbia University in New York, New York, in 1999, where he was a part of the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig ALS Center and the Columbia Motor Neuron Research Center. Since 2008, he has served as chair of USF’s Neurology Department.

Dr. Gooch has held numerous leadership positions at USF, including establishing and directing the USF Neuroscience Collaborative for interdisciplinary research and founding the USF ALS Center. During his tenure, the USF Neurology Department has more than tripled in size, has greatly expanded its research portfolio, and now is conducting more than 100 clinical trials per year.

The USF ALS Center has become one of the largest ALS clinical care and clinical research centers in the Southeast.

In addition to his national leadership positions as president-elect of the Association of University Professors of Neurology, Dr. Gooch serves on the American Neurological Association (ANA) Board of Directors, has been a member of the FDA’s Nervous System Drug Approval Advisory Panel, and has provided expert testimony to Congress on improving the federal drug approval process.

A fellow of both the American Academy of Neurology and the ANA, Dr. Gooch is highly sought as a speaker by many organizations across the country and internationally.

About Toby Kucharski
Kucharski retired as the chief of investigations for the public administrator for Cook County, Illinois. He first became involved with The ALS Association when his mother, Martha, founded The ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter in 2004. When his mother passed away in 2005, he joined the chapter’s Board of Directors.

Martha founded the chapter in memory of his father, Edmund J. Kucharski, who was diagnosed with ALS and died four months later. Kucharski has served the Chicago Chapter as Advocacy/Public Policy chair, chairman of the board, and president.

He has continued to work with the State of Illinois in securing state grants for ALS-research and patient services, which total to date over $10 million dollars. Kucharski was awarded the Rasmussen Advocate of the Year award in 2007.

Prior to his election to The ALS Association Board of Trustees, Kucharski was an active member of the Board of Representatives, where he served both as vice chair and chair.

Kucharski is a graduate of Columbia College-Chicago with a degree in broadcast communications. He resides in Des Plaines, Illinois, with his wife, Diane. They have a daughter, Sam, and son-in-law, Ryan.

About Tommy May
As a Marine, May served in psychological operations in Vietnam from 1967-70. He returned home to finish his bachelor’s degree and then his MBA at University of Arkansas.

His then 50-year career in banking began in New Orleans and eventually led him to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where he grew Simmons Bank from a statewide bank to a regional powerhouse in the banking industry. May is chairman of the Simmons First Foundation. He is former chairman and chief executive officer of Simmons First National Corporation.

He serves on the University of Arkansas Campaign Arkansas Steering Committee, University of Arkansas Walton College of Business Dean’s Executive Advisory Board, Arkansas Research Alliance Board, and the Arkansas Executive Forum. May previously served as chairman of the Arkansas Bankers Association and served on the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees for 10 years including as chairman of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustee from 2002-2003.

His honors include the James E. Harris Nonprofit Leadership Award, Sidney M. Brooks Fellow Award, Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch Children’s Award, Arkansas Business Hall of Fame, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Chancellor’s Award, University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business Lifetime Achievement Award, and the University of Arkansas Chancellor’s Medal.

May has served on a number of boards including the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and has dedicated his time to many organizations, including the Boys Club of America and Habitat for Humanity. May is also loyal to his alma mater and is a huge fan of the Razorback football and basketball teams.

May enjoys family time with his wife, Kathryn, whom he credits along with other family, friends and the Simmons employees and staff for providing the support he needed to get his life on course after his diagnosis of ALS in 2005. In 2008, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences dedicated the J. Thomas May Center for ALS Research.

About ALS
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Over the course of the disease, people lose the ability to move, to speak, and eventually, to breathe. On average, it takes about a year before a final ALS diagnosis is made. The disease is always fatal, usually within five years of diagnosis. There is no cure. For unknown reasons, veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population.

About The ALS Association
The ALS Association is the largest private funder of ALS research in the world. The Association funds global research collaborations, provides assistance for people with ALS and their families through our nationwide network of chapters and certified clinical care centers, and advocates for better public policies for people with ALS. The ALS Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while urgently searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information about The ALS Association, visit our website at

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