John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health Community Symposium

Saturday, April 14 2018, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM [EST]

110 Irving Street NW, True Auditorium, Washington, DC, Washington, DC, United States


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Event Information

Saturday, April 14 2018, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM [EST]

About the Event



The John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health

Community Symposium


Researchers will provide perspectives on thoracic aortic disease and the latest advances in aneurysm and dissection risk, detection and treatment.  Survivors and family members will share their personal stories to shed light on the challenges of diagnosis, surgery and recovery from the patient’s perspective.





  Saturday April 14, 2018




 Community Symposium Schedule

8:30 am - 9:00 am         Registration

9:00 am- 9:15 am          Amy YasbeckWelcome and introduction

9:15 am- 10:00 am         Dr. Dianna MilewiczUnderstanding the Genetic Basis for Aortic Aneurysm and Dissection

10:00 am- 10:20 am       Jennifer Hair, CGC – Genetic Testing for Aortic Aneurysm and Dissection

10:30 am- 11:10 am       Dr. Christian ShultsDiagnosis and treatment of aortic dissection

11:10 am- 11:40 am       Dr. Siddharth PrakashImaging and medical therapies

11:50 am- 12:30 pm       Question & Answer Panel

12:30 pm – 1:00 pm       Complimentary  Lunch/Family Stories

1:00 pm – 1:20 pm         Carmen DavidSurvivor

1:20 pm - 1:40 pm          Carin Andersen Survivor, Co-founder of Aortic Hope

1: 40 pm- 2:00 pm          Question & Answer Panel



Please learn more about our speakers on the 'Event Speakers' tab for this event 


Symposium is sponsored in memory of  J E F F   R E T T E R E R


Cancellation policy

We look forward to you participating in our 2018 Symposium; we will be providing a complimentary lunch for attendees, if you find your plans change and you can no longer attend, we would appreciate you notifying us of your cancellation

Event Location

About the Organizer

The John Ritter Foundation is dedicated to improving the identification of individuals at risk for aortic dissections and the treatment of thoracic aortic disease through medical research. The foundation also seeks to provide accurate information to the general public about the disease and its risk factors, along with support to individuals who have thoracic aortic disease or have lost a loved one to the disease. Finally, the foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of thoracic aortic disease, including risk factors, proper medical and surgical management, and recognition of symptoms of an acute aortic dissection.


Event Speakers

Amy Yasbeck

Founder, the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health

Amy Yasbeck has appeared extensively on both the big and small screens. Her feature lm work includes The Mask, Robin Hood Men in Tights and Problem Child. Her work includes numerous guest star and series work: most notably her role as Casey in NBC’s long-running hit comedy Wings. Ms. Yasbeck was married to legendary comic actor John Ritter who succumbed to a misdiagnosed acute aortic dissection in 2003.
Dr. Dianna Milewicz

Director of the Division of Medical Genetics and Vice-Chair of the Dept of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston

She completed her postgraduate training in internal medicine, specialized further in cardiology and medical genetics, and forged a career in translational studies focused on genetic predisposition to vascular diseases. Her research team identified many of the genes for inherited thoracic aortic disease and she organized the International Montalcino Aortic Consortium to define the phenotype associated with these genes.
Dr. Christian Shults

Co-Director of the Complex Aortic Disease Program at Medstar Heart and Vascular Institute

He received his cardiothoracic training at Emory University where he focused on Complex aortic disease and transcatheter therapies. Trained in both open and endovascular techniques, he brings those skills to bear to treat all aspects of aortic disease. Dedicated to providing the best solution to each patient, the approach to complex aortic disease is highly collaborative at MHVI bridging two specialties (Cardiac and Vascular Surgery) that have historically worked apart.

Dr. Siddharth Prakash

John Ritter Research Program in Aortic and Vascular Diseases

At UT Houston, Dr. Prakash’s research focuses on the contribution of rare genomic copy number variants (CNVs) to bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), the most common adult congenital heart defect. Dr. Prakash uses an innovative strategy to identify new candidate genes for BAV, based in part on the hypothesis that reduced dosage of genes on the X chromosome is responsible for the increased prevalence of BAV in males and in women with Turner syndrome.

Jennifer Hair

Senior Cardiovascular Genetic Counselor at GeneDx

She has an expertise in cardiovascular genetic testing for inherited arrhythmias, cardiomyopathies, and connective tissue disorders, including thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissectionJennifer received her Master’s degree from the Boston University Genetic Counseling Program in 2009. She is a diplomat of the American Board of Genetic Counseling and a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), NSGC's cardiac special interest group, and NSGC's industry special interest group.

Carmen David

Aortic Dissection Survivor

Carmen David survived an aortic dissection at the age of 33, 22 hours after delivering her second daughter. Since then, through her own leadership, volunteering or assisting in various established initiatives, her enthusiasm and positivity have inspired many in the aortic community and beyond. She is a knowledgeable patient, passionate advocate and incredible wife and mother. She is a force that cannot be slowed down.

Carin Andersen

Aortic Dissection Survivor, Aortic Hope Founder

Carin Andersen is a survivor of a Type A Aortic Dissection and also lives with Moderate to Severe Crohn's disease. She is a Co-Founder of the non-profit, Aortic Hope, whose mission is to focus on patients, survivors and caregivers by spreading hope, creating awareness, and providing support during the recovery and management of aortic disease. In addition to her various initiatives with Aortic Hope, she is devoted to her family and makes time to enjoy musical theater and painting.