Starting November 29, 2023, TMA will have a new executive director. After a months-long national search, TMA’s Board of Directors has found the perfect candidate to serve as TMA’s executive director.
“We couldn’t be more delighted to welcome Paula Eichenbrenner to TMA,” says Board of Directors Chair Dave Mochel. “She possesses not just the business skills we need to grow the organization, but also a huge heart and a genuine interest in the well-being of our members. We are so fortunate to have found such an incredible leader!”
Paula Eichenbrenner comes to TMA after nearly 20 years leading nonprofit associations related to pharmacy, nutrition, affordable housing, and community development. This professional experience gives Paula a broad view of the healthcare delivery system in this country.
On a personal level, however, she serves as a care partner for her brother who has a complex behavioral health diagnosis. That is, in part, why she felt called to the opportunity with TMA and is thrilled to lead an organization that directly represents the patient experience.
“Throughout my career I’ve really focused on community building,” Paula says. “I’m a people person, and I like to marshal people together for a cause. Serving as TMA’s executive director means I can do even more to reduce the fragmentation of our nation’s medical, social, and public health systems.”
Paula knows that the only way to really understand the community of people who live with these rare diseases is to spend time with them. So in September, she took some time to attend TMA’s Annual Patient Conference in San Diego where she spoke with dozens of TMA members and participated in several informative sessions.
She came away from the event with a powerful sense that the myositis community is built on stories. It was also clear to her that TMA members are resilient and resourceful and have a well-developed sense of humor, qualities that are essential to navigate the mental health and well-being challenges that come with the diagnosis.
“TMA’s track record of creating meaningful connections and funding groundbreaking research is impressive,” Paula says. “I’m excited to work with the terrific TMA team to enhance the resources available to families navigating myositis, starting from day one of the diagnosis. Together we will continue to deliver on the TMA mission: improving the lives of persons affected by myositis.”
Paula lives in Alexandria, Virginia where she enjoys museum hopping and hiking trips to Virginia’s waterfalls. Her fiancé, Iain, is a native of New Zealand, and they have one dog and two cats. With an undergraduate degree in foreign languages and an MBA specialization in global business, she sees opportunities for collaboration on patient-centric approaches modeled by international myositis organizations.