| The Marfan Foundation

2017 Honorees

Distinguished Research Award

Dr. Christina A. Gurnett is an Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Neurology, Division of Pediatric Neurology; Department of Pediatrics; Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Faculty, Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Human and Statistical Genetics Program. She is Co-Director, Precision Medicine Pathway for Doctoral Students, Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences; and Director, Clinical and Translational Core, Intellectual and Development Disabilities Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

Dr. Gurnett earned her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Notre Dame, IN and went on to the University of Iowa where she earned a medical degree and Ph.D, in Physiology and Biophysics.

Dr. Gurnett states that "her lab is interested in understanding the range of human phenotypes that arise from the vast amount of genetic diversity that each of us has in our genomes. For Marfan syndrome, specifically, we are beginning to understand that small changes in fibrillin may not cause the complete syndrome, but may make you taller or prone to scoliosis. As genetics moves into the clinic, our work will help clinicians interpret mutations so that they can deliver the correct treatment to the right patient at the right time, which is really the goal of 'precision medicine.'"

Heroes with a Heart Award

Barb Stehman serves as Nurse Coordinator for Dr. Alan Braverman at Washington University Cardiology Consultants in St. Louis. She earned a nursing diploma at St. Luke’s School of Nursing and completed her Bachelors of Science in Nursing at St Louis University.

Barb has been employed at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis her entire career. She started as a nursing school graduate working in various inpatient and outpatient settings, beginning in oncology and moving to the cardio-thoracic intensive care unit.

She found her home working at Washington University Cardiology, primarily with Dr. Braverman. She currently assists the organization of Multidisciplinary Marfan Clinic, with the goal of providing one-day, seamless comprehensive screening of new patients for Marfan Syndrome and related disorders. Barb arranges and coordinates genetic testing and communicates the results to patients and the physicians involved. Barb also assisted in planning and organizing the 2005 National Marfan Conference held at Barnes Jewish Hospital, sharing responsibilities in planning and coordinating hundreds of clinic visits with other appointments with other medical specialties.

Barb is most proud to serve as an advocate for Marfan’s patients and their families. She works alongside Dr. Braverman in his fast-paced Cardiology Clinic and helps coordinate care with other physicians and team members, reviews patient test results and coordinates patient testing.

Barb also serves as a mentor and role model and mentor for the Barnes-Jewish Nurse Residency Program to support new nursing hires, foster critical thinking and encourage professional growth for new nurses. Barb is married to Peter Stehman and has three children, Courtney, Christopher and Nathan.

Dana Gima graduated from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University), in 1986, and began her nursing career at Barnes-Jewish Hospital specializing in high risk cardiology and BMT patients. Her love of cardiology led her to the Coronary Intensive Care Unit, where she worked for five years. Dana then joined the Cardiovascular Division as a nurse coordinator, where she has worked for 24 years.  Dana also served in leadership roles as the Clinical Supervisor of the cardiology nurses.

Dana began working as nurse coordinator in the Marfan Clinic and Related Disorders Clinic at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine 1995.  She assisted in the organization of the multidisciplinary Marfan Clinic with the goal that new patients seeking evaluation would undergo a comprehensive evaluation in a single day. Dana assisted in the planning and organization of the 2005  Marfan Foundation National  Conference that was held in St. Louis, with over 700 attendees, coordinating hundreds of clinical assessments among various specialties. In 2003, Dana and Barb Stehman were recognized by Barnes-Jewish Hospital with a Community Service Award for Public Awareness of Marfan Syndrome. In 2014, she was a finalist for the St. Louis Magazine Excellence in Nursing Awards.

Dana is married to Scott Gima. They have three children, Zach, Kelsey and Nick.

Spirit of Service Award

Cheryl Marshall is an Administrative Coordinator in the Cardiovascular Division, Washington University School of Medicine. She has worked in the Division of Cardiology for 20 years in various positions. Cheryl received her Bachelor’s Degree from Northeast Missouri State University, now known as Truman State University.

Cheryl currently serves as the assistant to Dr. Alan Braverman as well as Supervisor to four medical secretaries. She assists Dr. Braverman and his nurses in the day to day running of his practice as well as the organization of the Marfan Clinic.

In 2005 when the Annual Marfan Conference was held in St. Louis, Cheryl assisted with the planning and organization in multiple areas including coordinating appointments for hundreds of clinic visits in several medical specialties. In recognition of her volunteerism and dedication to the Marfan community, Cheryl was awarded the “Star Performer Award” from the Department of Medicine in 2006. Cheryl also volunteers her time and expertise to the organization of Heartworks St. Louis Gala and the St. Louis Marfan Chapter Walk for Victory fundraisers.

Cheryl and her husband John have lived in St. Louis most of their lives with a few detours along the way.