Senior Leadership Team

Read brief biographies of NPF's Senior Leadership Team:

Joyce A. Oberdorf, President and Chief Executive Officer

Joyce A. OberdorfMs. Oberdorf can be reached at

Ms. Oberdorf has been President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Parkinson Foundation since March 2008. She has focused on transforming NPF into a technology-enabled, 21st century foundation focused on the mission of improving care through research, education and outreach aimed at better treatments and better care now. 

In her role as head of NPF, Ms. Oberdorf is also a member of the board of the Parkinson’s Action Network, the advocacy arm for Parkinson’s.

Her most recent position prior to joining NPF was as Vice President, Policy, Planning and Communications for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson Research. In that role, she was responsible for strategic planning projects, public policy and communications and marketing.  She was previously a member of the board of the Thomas J. Hartman Foundation for Parkinson Research.

Prior to joining the Fox Foundation, Ms. Oberdorf was Vice President, Corporate Public Relations at Aetna Inc, one of the nation’s leading health insurance providers. In addition to oversight of all corporate and financial communications, as part of the senior management team, she was also tapped to help devise strategies for broader projects, such as corporate center restructuring and revamping health business products to be more consumer-centric.

Ms. Oberdorf began her career in financial services and financial public relations and held positions at Lehman Brothers, where she was Senior Vice President, Deputy Director of Corporate Communications; Chemical Bank, where she was Vice President, Corporate Communications; and Burson-Marsteller, where she was Vice President, Client Services Manager. Prior to that, she was a financial consultant at Merrill Lynch.

Ms. Oberdorf holds an A.B. degree, cum laude, from Douglass College, Rutgers University and an M. A. degree from Northern Illinois University.

Oksana Cardini, Vice President of Finance & Administration

Ms. Cardini can be reached at

Oksana Cardini joined NPF as Vice President, Finance & Administration in January 2015.

Ms. Cardini brings solid experience in accounting, finance, and treasury functions. Prior to joining NPF, Ms. Cardini was the CFO at Legal Services of Greater Miami Inc., a non-profit public interest law firm. She was instrumental in the development of a $15 million quasi-endowment fund for LSGMI.

Over the past few years Ms. Cardini has served on the Florida Institute of CPAs Not-For-Profit Conference Committee, where she is currently the vice-chair. She also served on the board of Management Information Exchange, a non-profit organization that supports the national legal aid industry. Ms. Cardini is a frequent speaker at the state and national level where she presents on technology efficiencies, Excel for non-profits, dashboards, metrics, and financial planning.

Ms. Cardini is a CPA licensed in the state of Florida, member of the Florida Institute of CPAs and American Institute of CPAs. Educated in Russia and the United States, she earned her Bachelor's degree in accounting and finance, magma cum laude and her Master's degree in accounting from Florida International University.

Amy Gray, Vice President of Chapter Relations and Community Partnerships

Ms. Gray can be reached at

Ms. Gray joined NPF as Vice President, Chapter Relations and Community Partnerships in February 2013. 

Ms. Gray has 15 years experience in fundraising, volunteer, and community partnership development, as well as chapter management.  She comes to NPF with a solid grounding in chapter relations and strategic issues. She most recently worked with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) as the executive director of the Florida chapter for over five years, and brings an understanding of and interest in chronic disease management programs.  During her time with CCFA, Ms. Gray launched a national walk campaign and a national endurance training program, as well as expanded services for those living with Crohn’s and colitis state-wide through new education and support programs, and developed a major gift campaign and leadership boards across the state of Florida.

Prior to joining CCFA, Ms. Gray was with the Muscular Dystrophy Association for over seven years in several positions, including more recently as the divisional field representative for the Southeastern US, where she was responsible for the development of fundraising programs and sponsor and donor development across four states.

A native of Minnesota and educated at St. Cloud State University, Ms. Gray relocated to Florida 10 years ago, where she now lives with her husband and two children.

Leilani Pearl, Vice President, Marketing & Communications

Ms. Pearl can be reached at

Leilani Pearl joined the National Parkinson Foundation in 2008. As Vice President of Marketing & Communications, she guides the communications strategy to articulate the mission of the foundation and to increase awareness of Parkinson's disease. Ms. Pearl is passionate about helping people with Parkinson's advocate for quality care. As the editor of NPF's newsletter, Parkinson Report, she is continually inspired by stories of people living well with Parkinson's.

Ms. Pearl began her work in non-profit healthcare communications as the Communications Manager for Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, focusing on women's health issues. Prior to that, Ms. Pearl worked in the field of education for nearly a decade teaching literature at Boston College and the University of Puerto Rico; she also served as a high school administrator and as an English teacher in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ms. Pearl is a graduate of the University of Vermont and holds an MA in English Literature from Boston College.

Peter N. Schmidt, Ph.D., Chief Information Officer, Vice President, Research Programs

Dr. Schmidt can be reached at

Dr. Schmidt joined NPF as Chief Information Officer and Vice President, Research and Professional Programs in June 2009 where he is responsible for the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, a longitudinal study of Parkinson’s disease to identify best practices in care to achieve optimal patient-reported and clinically measured outcomes.  With over 17,500 clinical evaluations of over 7,500 patients, the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project is the largest clinical study of Parkinson’s disease ever conducted and includes the largest set of patient-reported outcome measures ever collected in a prospective study.  

Prior to NPF, Schmidt was an investment banker in Norwalk, CT., president of a software company supporting chronic disease management, and COO of an on-line education joint venture of Oxford, Stanford, and Yale universities. He is an active member of several trade groups and is widely published in both scientific and trade journals on issues around medicine, health information technology and finance.

Dr. Schmidt earned his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University and was awarded an M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University, Sibley School of Mechanical Engineering where he studied gait and balance and total joint replacement. He completed a fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Darcy Taylor, Vice President of Constituent Relations

Mr. Taylor can be reached at

Darcy Taylor joined NPF as Vice President of Constituent Relations in February 2013.

Mr. Taylor has over 20 years experience in corporate business as well as an extensive background in development, fundraising and coalition building. Prior to joining NPF, Mr. Taylor worked with the National Alliance for Mental Illness as its development director for over 9 years. Prior to that, he held positions with the National Coalition for Children and Families, the International Justice Mission and the Woodley House. Mr. Taylor specializes in major gifts, planned giving, DM mail, general donor programs, foundations and corporations. Mr. Taylor also has an extensive background in strategic planning.

Educated in California, Mr. Taylor oversees NPF’s efforts to develop and successfully execute funding strategies. His personal experiences have forged a passion and determination for dealing with issues of health and their impact on the lives of individuals in all communities.

John Kozyak, Chairman

Mr. Kozyak can be reached at

Both of Mr. Kozyak’s parents are living with Parkinson’s disease.  Kozyak is a founding partner of Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton a commercial litigation and bankruptcy law firm in Miami, Florida. Mr. Kozyak is a passionate advocate for better care and support services for families affected by a Parkinson’s diagnosis. He believes strongly in NPF’s historic commitment that all people with Parkinson’s deserve access to expert care and information. He established the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation to fulfill his lifelong commitment to minorities and the underserved. In 2014, Mr. Kozyak received the Justice Thurgood Marshall Award for Civil Rights from The Dade County Bar Association and Dade Legal Aid.

Dr. Michael S. Okun, National Medical Director

Dr. Michael OkunMichael S. Okun, MD, received his B.A. in History from Florida State University, and his M.D. from the University of Florida where he graduated with Honors. Dr. Okun completed an internship and Neurology residency at the University of Florida. Following residency he was trained at Emory University, one of the world’s leading centers for movement disorders research, in both general movement disorders and in microelectrode recording/surgical treatments. He is currently Co-director of the Movement Disorders Center located within the McKnight Brain Institute and the University of Florida College of Medicine. The center is unique in that it is comprised of over 25 interdisciplinary faculty members from diverse areas of campus, all of whom are dedicated to care, outreach, education and research.

Dr. Okun has been dedicated to this interdisciplinary care concept, and since his appointment as the National Medical Director for the National Parkinson Foundation in 2006, he has worked with the NPF Centers to help foster the best possible environments for care, research and outreach in Parkinson's disease. Dr. Okun has been supported by grants from the National Parkinson Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Parkinson Alliance, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research, and he currently runs the online “Ask the Doctor” forum on the National Parkinson Foundation web site. Dr. Okun has dedicated much of his career to helping in the development of care centers for people suffering with movement disorders, but has also has enjoyed a prolific research career exploring non-motor basal ganglia brain features and he has participated in some of the pioneering studies exploring the cognitive, behavioral, and mood effects of brain stimulation.

Dr. Okun holds the Adelaide Lackner Associate Professorship in Neurology, has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, is a published poet (Lessons From the Bedside, 1995), and has served as a reviewer for more than 25 major medical journals. He has been invited to speak about Parkinson's disease and movement disorders in various regions throughout the world, and he is currently a faculty and founding member for SUPPORT-PD, which aims to bring functional Parkinson and Movement Disorders Surgery to “countries in need” around the globe.

Dr. Ariel Y. Deutch, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Advisor and Chair of NPF’s Clinical and Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Ariel Y. Deutch, PhDDr. Deutch is a Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology and Director of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center—a designated NPF Center of Excellence. Dr. Ariel Deutch joined the Vanderbilt Faculty in 1996. His studies focus on central dopamine systems and their involvement in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease, and in the mechanisms of action of antipsychotic drugs. He is a member of the Scientific Council of NARSAD and is Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Parkinson Foundation.

NPF’s Clinical and Scientific Advisory Board performs peer review accreditation processes, sets research agendas, directs clinical research programs, issues request-for-application (RFAs), and forms grant review committees.