Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner, JD (Healthcare), LLM (Insurance), MBA, BD, CPCU, CLU

co-Founder, Lyme Disease Foundation (LDF)

Ms. Vanderhoof-Forschner became involved in the response to Lyme disease after contracting it during pregnancy. Her son, Jamie, who was infected perinatally, died of the disease in 1991 at age 5.  With intensive treatment, Ms. Vanderhoof-Forschner was able to have a healthy child in 1994, and she has remained symptom-free for 20 years.

For 24 years, Ms. Vanderhoof-Forschner oversaw the LDF’s daily operations, and led its fundraising and outreach activities.  She managed $500,000 in external grants which led to the publication of 130 scientific articles on Tick-Borne Disease, and she founded a peer-reviewed scientific journal, the Journal of Spirochetal and Tick-Borne Disorders.  Her education efforts included designing and distributing 10 million brochures and tick cards, and producing nine award-winning television programs and videos. She also launched a high-profile media campaign that raised national awareness about Lyme disease in 1988.  This feat gained the attention trying to call attention to little-known illnesses.

Through her leadership, the LDF obtained the first federal funds to establish a research unit for tick-borne disease.  She has also worked closely with members of Congress and state legislators to analyze and develop legislation to support people living with tick-borne disease.

In Her Own Words.  

“Lyme Disease handicapped and killed my son.  The time for definitive solutions was years ago.  I am determined not to leave this medical conundrum for the next generation.  When I first conceived of this committee years ago, it was a team of experts looking for scientific solutions that would stop Lyme disease from wrecking lives.  I know there are 14 people in the United States who can work together to develop an action plan – not only to stop the spread of tick-borne diseases, but also to find solutions for those individuals who are currently suffering from them.  Now is the time to assemble a team, roll up our sleeves, and get to work!”