Staff

Meet SWHR’s dedicated team.

Amy M. Miller, PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer
Amy M. Miller, PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer

Miller previously worked at the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC), where she served as Executive Vice President, working with innovators, scientists, providers and payers on scientific policy and business challenges impacting personalized medicine.

Before joining PMC, Miller worked in the office of the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), where she served as a liaison among the scientific community, the legislative branch, and the consumers of mental health care and their families.

A former American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, Miller also served as a domestic policy adviser to Senator Jay Rockefeller. She began her career as a researcher at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Miller serves on the Editorial Board of Genome Magazine and the Journal of Women’s Health. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Orleans and holds a doctoral degree from the University of Connecticut.

Lucy Erickson, PhD
Director of Scientific Programs
Lucy Erickson, PhD
Director of Scientific Programs

Erickson leads SWHR’s innovative science programs to increase awareness of and investment in women’s health and sex differences research.

She previously worked as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation, where she supported data science programs, provided insights from cognitive and developmental psychology, organized interdisciplinary dialogues, and contributed to communication efforts.

Prior to working at NSF, Erickson completed postdoctoral work at the University of Maryland and Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. She earned her PhD in Developmental Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University.

Erickson has written 15 published peer-reviewed articles, contributed to several books, reports, and blogs, and presented her research at numerous scientific conventions. She is also proficient in German and received a bachelor’s degree in the language at the University of Maryland.

Yonas G. Fsahaye, MBA
Chief Financial Officer
Yonas G. Fsahaye, MBA
Chief Financial Officer

Fsahaye joined SWHR in 2008 and is responsible for all financial functions including accounting, audit, and human resources activities.

He offers over 18 years of experience in auditing, accounting, administration, and human resources functions.  Prior to joining SWHR, he was a Finance and Administration Director at British Council for six years, handling finances and administration responsibilities. Other previous experience includes working at Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and Brooks and Brooks Water Treatment Corporation, where he focused on financial reporting, budget analysis and cash flow forecasting.

Fsahaye received his B.S. in accounting from the University of Asmara and his Masters of Business Administration.

Melissa Laitner, PhD, MPH
Director of Science Policy
Melissa Laitner, PhD, MPH
Director of Science Policy

Laitner implements science programs designed to improve women’s experiences in health care and serves as the policy liaison within a targeted portfolio of women’s health and science-specific issue, including legislative and regulatory activity related to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Prior to joining SWHR, Laitner worked as a health policy fellow in the office of Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), where she covered a wide-ranging portfolio, with an emphasis on matters related to FDA, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, prescription drugs, mental health, and topics relevant to health care transparency, costs, and coverage.  Her fellowship year was supported by the American Psychological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Before her fellowship, Laitner worked for six years at an academic medical center while obtaining her doctorate in clinical health psychology and a master’s degree in public health. Her research focused on behavioral management of chronic health diseases in rural populations. Clinically, her work targeted low-income and indigent populations facing acute and chronic medical conditions, including chronic pain, cancer, and organ/stem cell transplant.

She remains a licensed clinical psychologist in the District of Columbia and recently spent eight months as a volunteer domestic violence liaison with the District’s Metropolitan Police Department. She is an active member of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Behavioral Medicine.

Laitner received her PhD in 2017 and her MPH in 2016 from the University of Florida, where she also completed her clinical internship and a clinical postdoctoral fellowship. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina.

Emily Ortman
Director of Communications
Emily Ortman
Director of Communications

Ortman leads development of SWHR’s strategic communications efforts to maximize the reach and impact of its scientific programs and policy activities. She also oversees implementation of media relations, social media, and website content.

Before joining SWHR, Ortman managed media relations and communications at the Society for Neuroscience. She coordinated press activities for hundreds of reporters at the SfN’s annual meeting, oversaw production of the Society’s member communications, and crafted compelling advocacy communications on biomedical research funding, animals in research, and more.

Prior to entering the nonprofit sector, Ortman worked in journalism as an editor and web producer at a daily newspaper in Indiana and at Roll Call, a respected political newspaper covering Capitol Hill and the White House.

Sarah Wells Kocsis, MBA
Vice President of Public Policy
Sarah Wells Kocsis, MBA
Vice President of Public Policy

Wells Kocsis leads policy development, government relations, and stakeholder engagement activities on behalf of SWHR.

She brings more than 20 years of expertise in driving public policy solutions aimed at improving patient access to care. Wells Kocsis has held diverse public policy and government affairs leadership roles at Hologic, Amgen, and Boston Scientific.

She received a bachelor of science in Biology from Tulane University and earned an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

Joy S. Braun, MA, MPA
Vice President of Development
Joy S. Braun, MA, MPA
Vice President of Development

Braun leads SWHR’s strategic partnerships, external relationships, and philanthropic initiatives to secure transformational philanthropy and opportunities, and develops new and diverse revenue streams to support the organization’s mission and goals. She develops and implements creative strategies to support science, policy, communications, and education initiatives; advances Policy Advisory Council membership; and leads the annual awards dinner.

Before joining SWHR in 2017, Braun led development initiatives at the Association of Academic Health Centers. She has over 20 years of experience leading development and partnership initiatives, as a consultant and in leadership positions for a wide-range of New York, Washington, DC, and international nonprofit organizations. She has MPA, and a BA and MA in political science.