diane tower, chair
Diane was diagnosed with MG 16 years ago, and brings passion and commitment to her role as chair of mgMN. She was secretary of the MGFA Minnesota chapter and has been a support group member for 15 years. "I hope to reach out to more people locally who have MG," she says. "I am looking for ways to identify, reach out to, and provide support to everyone who has this condition. I am especially interested in expanding our support group network and developing new strategies that meet the needs of young people with MG."
Dan formato, vice chair
When Dan's wife was diagnosed with MG in 1998, they read all the information they could find about MG. They attended a support group in Nevada, where they spent winters. Upon returning to Minnesota, they joined the Twin Cities support group, where they have met many people, and made friends. They've learned from others about treatments and medications used to treat MG and maintain a quality of life. "I serve on the board because I want to further the effort to share MG information across the state," he says. During his career, Dan worked in the public sector as a city fire chief and emergency manager. He has served on a number of nonprofit boards.
Pete Engler, Secretary
Pete was first introduced to Myasthenia Gravis at the start of his administrative fellowship with HealthPartners in 2018. He was given the opportunity to partner with a neuromuscular physician to improve care for patients with MG and similar conditions in the community. Throughout the project, he met many patients and clinical leaders to understand life with MG and was welcomed to the mgMN support group in Roseville. He was invited to serve on the board in early 2019 and is excited to partner with board members to further the mission of mgMN, develop relationships in the community, and assist in creating a strategic plan for the organization. Prior to healthcare, Pete worked in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and interned for Senator Al Franken. He completed a Master of Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota and a degree in Political Science from University of Minnesota Duluth.
Monica St. Germain, Treasurer
Monica was born and raised in Chicago and moved to Minnesota after college. She held various accounting management positions in prominent Twin Cities companies for over 39 years. After retirement she taught English to adult immigrants. Her husband, Bud was diagnosed with MG on Christmas Day, 2016. Bud and Monica enjoy trailer-traveling and have a goal of visiting all 417 National Park facilities. Both Bud and Monica find the support group especially important in their mission of disseminating accurate information about MG and emotionally supporting members with this disorder.
Barb corner, communication chair
Barb was diagnosed with MG more than 50 years ago. "I told my parents I would not let this rare disease stop me, and it hasn't," she says. Barb went on to obtain her bachelor's and master's degrees and had a 33-year career as a teacher. She and her husband have three grown children, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild. Barb began attending annual meetings of the state's MGFA chapter in 1990. A couple years later, she started (and still leads) the Mid-Minnesota support group. Barb started a lending library for people with MG in 1995, and chaired the MGFA state chapter for more than a decade.
lianne anderson, conference facilities chair
Lianne has had MG since 1975. She began serving on the MGFA Minnesota chapter board of directors in the late 1970s, and chaired the Twin Cities support group since its inception. She also served as chair of fundraising, with efforts bringing in tens of thousands of dollars for the chapter. Lianne and her mother, Millie, established the Anderson Fund in honor of her late father, Irv. Before retiring from the University of Minnesota, Lianne worked in the arts and communications, and she continues to pursue these interests as possible.
Andrea brixius, PUBLICITY Chair
Andrea was diagnosed with MG in February 2017, and has had some ups and downs with the disease. Andrea will be the first to tell you to rest up and conserve your energy because she does not like to let this disease get the best of her. She says this is either her stubbornness or her strong-willed personality, but she tries to keep as much of her “pre-MG life” as she can, and attends as many concerts as possible. Andrea has a love of music, mental health, animals, and helping others. Until February 2018 she worked as a licensed mental health therapist in the Twin Cities, and has also worked in child protective services and the children’s juvenile justice system when she lived in Milwaukee, WI. She loves helping others and as a result of her MG, has become a strong advocate for herself and for others. Andrea became a board member in 2019 and hopes to spread awareness of the disease and the group through word of mouth, social media, and doctor’s offices. She also plans to continue being a strong advocate for herself and others with the disease, as well as continue being a support person for others who have MG or are affected by MG.
Medical ADVISORY Board
Gaurav K. Guliani, M.D.
295 Phalen Blvd 3rd Floor
Saint Paul MN 55130
Dr. Guliani is a neurologist with Healthpartners, his practice includes work with neuromuscular medicine. He has been a valuable resource for our community. He has been a keynote speaker at our annual conference. He also visited the Twin Cities support group.
Visit Dr. Guliani’s page, click here