After 17 years of tireless work on behalf of HD families while at HDSA and the HDSA Center of Excellence at the University of Iowa, HDSA’s Assistant Director of Community Services, Anne Leserman, has decided to retire on September 3, 2020 to spend more time in Seattle, Washington with her family and new puppy, Gracie.
Anne joined HDSA in 2012 as Manager of Community Services and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Social Worker. Anne’s expertise and passion for the HD community allowed her to take on more and more responsibilities within the Society. Currently, Anne is the Assistant Director of Community Services. At HDSA, Anne has the critical mission of managing the entire Social Worker and Support Group network of resources around the country. This involves the management of 70 Center of Excellence, Chapter and Affiliate Social Workers and more than 150 Support Groups. As if that was not enough, Anne also provides counseling and resources for families with HD and professionals through management of our national helpline and professional training programs. In addition, Anne’s hard work led to the development and launch of HDSA’s free telehealth service in partnership with AmWell that has to date provided free counseling and behavioral telemedicine support to hundreds of people across the country.
Anne’s dedication to the HD community was recognized in 2011 when she received the Patient and Family Service Award from Huntington’s Disease Society of America at our Annual Convention. Her colleagues at the national HDSA office will miss her sage advice, sarcastic wit and wonderful baking.
When asked to reflect on her time working with the HD community, Anne said, “My HD journey has been very meaningful to me. I have learned and shared a lot of knowledge with families and social workers throughout my time. The complexity of HD has kept me, and all my fellow HD social workers on our toes. I will miss my daily interactions with you all, but am more hopeful than ever that relief in the form of effective treatments for HD are on the way.”
“Social workers are the lifeline for our HD families and I can think of no one more suited to train the next generation of HD social workers than Anne. She has made many people’s lives better and my job easier. Anne’s retirement is a big loss for HDSA and the community, but we are excited for Anne as she embarks on her next chapter,” said Dr. George Yohrling, Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Mission Officer at HDSA.
“Under Anne’s care and tutelage, all families affected by HD had more support, not only with important HDSA programs, but also through her personal commitment to connect with every family who asked for help,” said Louise Vetter, HDSA’s President & CEO. “Congratulations, Anne, on your legacy of care for HD families and best wishes for a retirement filled with many happy adventures. Thank you!”
Upon Anne’s retirement on September 3rd , Jennifer Simpson will assume the role of Assistant Director of Community Services and be responsible for the management of Anne’s programs. Jennifer is well known to our HD family. She has worked for HDSA for the last 6 years as Manager of Advocacy and Youth Programs. You can reach Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.