Community Health Leaders
Last updated: May 2023
In order to stay up to date on latest treatments, drug discovery, clinical studies, and how to cope with sleep apnea every day, SleepApnea.Sleep-Disorders.net brings you frequent articles, points of view, and advice from health leaders and experts.
Current health leaders
Alida Davis Abdullah
Alida Davis Abdullah is a wife, mother of four, and K-12 educator that has served in numerous educational capacities and settings over the past 20 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Master of Education from Walden University. Read more.
Katelynn Bauer was diagnosed with sleep apnea when she was about 16 years old after being tired constantly. She was referred to a sleep study clinic that confirmed it. She tried using a CPAP machine but ultimately decided to get surgery to reverse the effects and is doing very well to this day. Read more.
Lisa Bond, RPSGT, RST, FAAST
Lisa’s entrance into sleep medicine began in the early 1990’s when she was diagnosed with OSA and began to look for understanding of her own sleep disorder. Read more.
Lisa has written on health and healthcare for more than 25 years as a business journalist and digital marketing strategist. She holds an M.S.J. in journalism from Northwestern University and a B.A. in English from Case Western Reserve University. With dual diagnoses of IBS-M and sleep apnea, she has a lot to write about! Read more.
Kristen Cascio was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea at age 31 after struggling with daytime fatigue for 15 years. The diagnosis changed everything for her, allowing her to wake up feeling rested and to go through (most of) her days with energy. Read more.
After feeling tired most of the time for about a year, and with my blood pressure problems getting worse, I decided to talk with my doctor. He ordered a sleep study based on my symptoms and I was diagnosed with mild obstructive sleep apnea in the late fall of 2017. Read more.
Vashanti has suffered with sleep apnea since her teenage years, but wasn't diagnosed until her late 30's. She has been using CPAP successfully for the last 5 years to manage her sleep apnea. Read more.
Matt is a sleep advocate, who's been living with a sitting disability since 2011. He chose to have weight-loss surgery (March 2013), and then a spinal fusion (December 2013). Read more.
Meaghan Kennedy is a 27-year old from New Jersey. She was diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea during her undergraduate college experience. She was continuously falling asleep in her classes and doing her homework. She was beginning to notice that her tiredness was directly impacting her life and leading to multiple difficulties. Read more.
Brian was diagnosed with sleep apnea five years ago. He initially didn’t know how to handle his sleep apnea but has come to accept the condition and leads a healthy life. He found forums and community groups extremely helpful in dealing with his anxiety about sleep apnea. Read more.
When Ray Li was 10, she started experiencing RLS and Fibromyalgia symptoms. This was soon followed up with sleep issues. Her Mom just thought it was part of growing as a kid. This halted her dance classes and prevented any future high-energy activities due to her being tired and not having much energy. Read more.
Isela is a social worker living in Phoenix, Arizona. She was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea in 2021. With dual diagnoses of sleep apnea and hidradenitis suppurativa, Isela has a lot to share about living with chronic illnesses!
Genna Nielsen, RRT
Genna Nielsen lives in Buffalo, New York with her husband and son. She has been a Respiratory Therapist for over 10 years working in the sleep field. Being diagnosed with sleep apnea, she understands the problems that new and experienced patients have while on cpap therapy. Read more.
Mike lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. He was 1st diagnosed with Obstructed Sleep Apnea in 1995 when he was 18 years old. The first few years of his diagnosis, Mike refused to wear his CPAP. Since his mid 20’s he’s a big believer in nightly CPAP usage. Read more.
Nessie is a scientist in the biopharmaceutical industry and a mother of two teenage boys. She graduated from Youngstown State University (Ohio) with a Master’s and Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry with a focus in Biochemistry. She found out she had mild obstructive sleep apnea and narcolepsy at the age of 37, after being misdiagnosed since about the age of 14. Read more.
Brittany is a 2010 alumna of St. Ambrose University. She is a wife, mother, blogger, and owner/creator of My Beautiful Fluff, a body-positive, plus-size brand that celebrates the beauty of loving yourself as you are. Read more.
Laura Wheatman Hill
Laura Wheatman Hill was a restless child with restless legs and slight sleep apnea who was told she needed to be less of a Gemini and commit to one task. She refused. A theatre kid by heart, she felt most at home on stage and with her theatrical peers. Read more.
When Simone was young, she thought she knew who she was. Now she has no idea. She spent more than three decades teaching and performing the flute before transitioning into writing and editing by completing a Masters in Journalism. She has since worked with a mentor to hone the craft of writing and has just completed her first book. Read more.
Previous health leaders
Amber Blackburn is a Registered Nurse turned blogger and patient advocate for those with chronic illnesses. She was forced to leave the workforce after ten years as a nurse; this gave her the patient medical experience and perspective. That being said, being diagnosed and living with a chronic illness has given her the experience of everyday living so she understands both sides of the coin. Read more.
Emma Cooksey was initially diagnosed with Sleep Apnea in 2008, at the age of 30. Now, with hindsight, she thinks her Sleep Apnea also affected her as a child and young adult. Symptoms such as anxiety, depression, morning headaches, difficulty concentrating and daytime sleepiness were all clear indicators of sleep apnea but Emma and her doctors treated these as separate complaints until the sleep apnea diagnosis was confirmed. Read more.
Stacy Erickson Edwards
Stacy Erickson Edwards is a sleep disorders advocate living in Seattle with her husband, young son and two cats. She was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2015 and with idiopathic hypersomnia in 2018. Read more.
Chris lives in Strawberry Plains, TN, and was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2012. He was made aware of his snoring and apneic periods of sleep by his wife and sought help from a sleep specialist. After the two separate nights in a sleep clinic, he was officially diagnosed and prescribed a CPAP machine. Read more.
Matthew Horsnell is a person having narcolepsy with cataplexy, obstructive sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome. He received his narcolepsy with cataplexy and restless legs syndrome diagnosis when he was 25 years old: however he has been experiencing symptoms since he was twelve. Read more.
Hi my name is Aaron Nuest and I'm a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT). I’ve worked as a sleep technologist for over 10 years! I’ve heard several hundred stories of sleep issues. Read more.
I was an EMT-I and working ambulance for numerous years before health changed things. First, I was diagnosed with adult asthma and allergies. In 2011, I was sent to have my sleep study. Read more.
Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH is a career journalist (Columbia Chicago, ’90). She was diagnosed with upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) in 2010. Her sleep problems inspired her to go back to school to become a sleep technologist in 2012 and a professional sleep educator in 2014. Read more.
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