About the Howell Foundation

About the Howell Foundation

The Foundation and its Purpose: The Need for Women’s Health Research

The Board of Directors of the Howell Foundation works on key initiatives that are focused on guaranteeing an emphasis on all areas of research that may affect women’s health: promoting the need for further women’s health research, avoiding research bias by addressing the backlog of research efforts that include women, and ensuring that all the progress in research is integrated in educational publications and information sources available to our community.

The group of dedicated volunteers makes it possible for us to accomplish our mission: to invest in scholars’ research and community education to improve women’s health..  Through our guiding philosophy of “Keeping the Women We Love Healthy” we serve to make a lasting impact on society and the overall well-being of women.

Foundation Board of Director stats

Our Composition

Researchers/Medical Professionals
community volunteers
The Howell Foundation - who we are

Our Founder

Howell Foundation - Dr. Doris Howell Portrait
Founder (1923 - 2018)

Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist and internationally renowned leader in pediatrics and hospice care; Dr. Doris Howell was a faculty member at Harvard and Duke Schools of Medicine, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and Chair of the UCSD Medical School Department of Community and Family Medicine. In 1995, the Soroptimist International of La Jolla honored Dr. Howell by establishing a foundation in her name.

Susan Baxter, PhD
2024 Board Chair

Susan joined the Howell Foundation Board of Directors in 2020. Susan is Former Executive Director, California State University Office of the Chancellor.  Susan has contributed much of her time with the Foundation assisting with the scholarship review committee. Previous to joining the Board, Susan was a valuable contributor on the Foundation’s Advisory Council.

Angel Ryan
2024 Board Vice Chair

Senior Research Coordinator, IMS Consulting and Expert Services

Howell Foundation Board Member - William Wurch, JD, CPA, LLM

William A. Wurch, JD, CPA, LLM
2024 Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer

William joined the Howell Foundation Board of Directors in March 2018, assuming the role of Chief Financial Officer. William is a lawyer and a CPA who has practiced for 25 years, and has owned and operated successful businesses.

Eileen Gaffen
2024 Secretary

Public Relations Strategist, Founder and President, Steres Gaffen Media


Carol Tuggey
Immediate Past Board Chair

As the former CEO of Tuggey Interior Design and a past president of Soroptimist International of La Jolla, Carol brings both business and community to her board service.  She joined the Howell Foundation Board in 2015 with over 35 years of experience in the non-profit world in San Diego, and previously served as Chair of the Health Lecture Series Committee.

Talent. Creativity. Experience. The dedication, commitment and the gift of time from the Board Members of the Howell Foundation to further the need for women’s health research and education makes us strong.

Trista R. Campbell, PHD, RN, CPHQ, Co-Chair of Scholarship Committee
CEO,  Dream Care Group Homes, Righteous Inc.,  Howell Alumni Scholar                                    

 Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN, Chair of Scholar Relations
Dean, Hahn School of Nursing & Health Science

Diana Hill
Soroptimist International of La Jolla

Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD
Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology, Director, Women’s Health Center of Excellence, Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, UCSD

Bill Littlejohn, Chair of Development Committee
Senior Vice President and CEO, Sharp HealthCare Foundation

David Mulvaney
Fundraiser, Philanthropist and Community Leader

 Mary H. Nunnally, PhD
Retired Medical Device Quality Executive

Katherine “Meg” Richman, MD, FACR
Emeritus Professor of Radiology UC San Diego, Per Diem Radiologist for SD VA, Kaiser, and Sharp Rees Stealy

Marjorie L. Slankard, MD
Professor of Medicine Allergy and Immunology Emerita, Columbia University Medical Center

Elizabeth Sophy, MD
Attending Palliative Care Physician, Scripps Palliative Care
Attending Family Physician, 
Father Joe’s Village Village Health Center


Marla Black
Executive Director

Marla Black is an accomplished Senior Executive, Consultant, Thought Leader, and Non-Profit Board Member with more than 40 years of success across the banking and non-profit management industries. Leveraging extensive experience with strategic planning, change management, business development, go-to-market strategy, fundraising, training and coaching, and media relations, she is a valuable advisor for an organization needing to integrate company culture when going through an M&A or growing and scaling. Her broad areas of expertise include organizational leadership, performance management, global operations, executive coaching, corporate governance, and P&L.

Marla graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in telecommunications in 1978 and Pacific Coast Banking School in 1999. She recently completed the Executive Leadership and Corporate Governance certificate program at the University of California, Los Angeles John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management. Marla resides in Poway, California with her husband Larry. They have three adult children.

Tanya Fortuna, Administrative Coordinator (tanya@howellfoundation.org)

Tanya has a passion for helping the Foundation continue to grow and expand on Dr. Howell’s original mission to “keep the women we love healthy.” As Administrative Coordinator, Tanya brings her 17 years of Howell Foundation history and insight towards helping the Howell Foundation achieve its goals.


Howell Foundation - Committees Boardroom

In our path to becoming the premier organization advancing women’s health, the talent and experience of each Committee Chair and members ensures funding for women’s health research.

Community Engagement & Education Committee
Oversees outreach efforts such as the  Howell Health Lectures Luncheons, Webinars, Special outreach events and other similar efforts.

Development Committee
Oversees and obtains philanthropic support for the Foundation to ensure the long-term financial viability of the Foundation.

Finance & Budget Committee
Oversees the Foundation’s financial investments and expenditures.

Scholarships Committee
Reviews and oversees the Howell Scholarship Program applications and award recipients.

Scholar Alumni Committee
Focuses on creating an organized and systematic outreach to Howell Scholar Alumni which highlights their achievements and builds a sense of community.

Interested in joining a Howell Committee? Call 858-454-7797 or email friends@howellfoundation.org
Howell Foundation Legacy Council Members Group Photo

Foundation Legacy Council Members

Comprised of advisors of inestimable talent whose collective minds help the Foundation achieve its mission, the Legacy Council was established in 2015 to highlight the exceptional commitment of former Board Members.  Thank you for your continued involvement and dedication!  

Carole Banka, PhD**
Brad Benter**
Betty Brayshay**
Mandy Butler, PhD
Cher Conner
Kathleen Franklin**
Gladys Kohn – Howell Board Emeritus**
Hamilton Loeb, Jr.**
Jean McGrath
Priscilla Moxley
Carolyn Northrup
Colleen Peterson
Kay Pierce – Howell Board Emeritus
Marilyn Tedesco
Pattie Wellborn
Cheryl Wilson, RN – Howell Board Emeritus

Howell Board Emeritus are recognized for their 18+ years of service on the Howell Foundation Board of Directors.

**Includes link to blog article highlighting their involvement.

Howell Foundation Advisory Council Boardroom Table Photo

Foundation Scientfic Advisory Council

The Advisory Council of the Howell Foundation enlists the expertise of researchers and clinicians who have served as a speakers at Howell events, reviewers of Howell Scholarship applications, mentors for Howell Scholars, or in some other way shown significant support for the Howell Foundation or women’s health. 

The Council advises the Howell Board on cutting-edge research topics, evidence-based changes to standards of care, and new research developments that impact women’s health. The Council also assists with connecting the Foundation with engaging researchers and clinicians to speak at our ongoing health lecture series.

The composition of the Scientific Advisory Council varies by year, but is always comprised of advisors of inestimable talent whose collective minds help the Foundation achieve its mission.

About Our Partners

Through our guiding philosophy of “Keeping the Women We Love Healthy” we serve to make a lasting impact on society and the overall well-being of women.  The primary goal of the Howell Foundation is to influence students to pursue careers impacting women’s health, and to develop financial support for researchers that will accelerate solutions to women’s health problems for women in our community.  We have established academic and business partnerships in California that make our efforts to advance women’s health research possible. We thank you!

USD School of Nursing and Health Science 2c
CSU Logo
Howell Foundation - Dr. Doris Howell with Howell - UCSD Scholarship Recipients

About Our Founder

Doris A. Howell, M.D., a graduate of McGill University, was devoted to improving the lives of others. Her pervasive humanitarian outreach to those in need and to education is legendary.  In addition to the recognition on behalf of the Mayor’s office in 2013, Dr. Howell was also the recipient of the McGill University Life Time Achievement Award in October, 2013.  Tributes to a life-long focus on health and education include numerous awards: the Salvation Army Woman of Distinction Award, the Humanism Award from the Health Care Foundation of New Jersey, and awards for leadership and service from the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has been listed in Who’s Who in American Women.

Your Donations at Work!

25 years of impact in the community

Undergrad and Graduate Scholarships
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Guests at our events
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Dedicated to Scientists & Community Organizations
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Help us accelerate research to create a positive impact on women's health

As you think about the well-being of your mother, your sister, your wife, your best friend, please know that with any contribution, large or small, you are having a huge impact in fulfilling Dr. Howell’s dreams and the Foundation’s goal of “keeping the women we love healthy.”

We thank you!

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