Executive Team

Joseph Caravalho, MD, Chief Executive Officer and President, serving HJF since 2017

Dr. Caravalho graduated with a Medical Doctorate from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences School of Medicine in 1983. For more than 30 years, he has served the U.S. Army in various leadership positions, including commanding general of the Southern Regional Medical Command and Brooke Army Medical Center, the Northern Regional Medical Command, and the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick in Maryland.

Before becoming Joint Staff Surgeon, he was Army Deputy Surgeon General and Deputy Commanding General (Support) of the U.S. Army Medical Command. Clinically, Dr. Caravalho held positions as a staff internist, nuclear medicine physician and cardiologist.

Previous to joining HJF, Dr. Caravalho served as the Joint Staff Surgeon at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. He was the chief medical adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, providing recommendations to the Chairman, the Joint Staff and Combatant Commanders on a wide range of medical and readiness issues.

Elizabeth (Betsy) Folk, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff, serving HJF since 1992

Betsy Folk is a senior vice president and chief of staff. She is responsible for keeping the headquarters functions coordinated and synchronized on behalf of the president and CEO.

Previously, she led HJF’s Office of Sponsored Programs and Acquisitions, which serves as the central point of contact for administrative activities for grants and contracts awarded to HJF. The office handled many activities, including award set-up, management and compliance, procurement of supplies and services, and negotiation and management of agreements with collaborating institutions.

Before joining HJF as manager for the Finance Department, Folk worked for Deloitte for five years. She has held various roles at HJF, including director of financial planning and vice president of program services. She has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland and is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).

Cynthia Gilman, J.D., Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, serving HJF since 2007

As senior vice president of Strategic Initiatives, Cynthia Gilman supervises all strategic communication, business development and public-private partnership efforts.

Previously, Gilman led the Center for Public-Private Partnerships, where she directed the effort to foster collaborations among the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, civilian academia and industry to advance the long-term health and well-being of America’s wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans and their families. She also led the Heroes of Military Medicine Awards dinners and The Veterans Metrics Initiative.

Prior to joining HJF, Gilman was a partner for 11 years in a Washington, D.C., law firm after practicing law for 10 years in San Diego. She received her bachelor’s degree from Emory University and her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. She also studied for one year at the London School of Economics.

Alyssa Shepard, Ph.D., Vice President for Research Administration, serving HJF since 2001

Alyssa Shepard, Ph.D., leads HJF’s Office of Research Administration, which serves as the central point of contact for managing grants and contracts awarded to HJF. The office handles numerous activities, including award set-up, management and compliance, procurement of supplies and services, and negotiation and management of agreements with collaborating institutions.

Before joining HJF as Manager of Intellectual Property, Dr. Shepard worked in the biotech industry in both research and technology transfer positions. She has held various roles at HJF, including HJF Director of Intellectual Property and Director of USU Services. She has a Ph.D. from Harvard and is a Registered Patent Agent.

John W. Sigmon, Senior Vice President and Chief HR Officer, serving HJF since 2017

John Sigmon leads HJF's human resources efforts, including recruitment and retention, for more than 2,600 team members.

He joined HJF from AARP, where he rose from Senior Human Resources Business Partner to Vice President, Group Human Resources Consulting Services, and then to Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. In his most recent role, he was responsible for a human resources enterprise of more than 2,200 employees that spanned all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Before joining AARP, Sigmon worked in human resources at the U.S. Library of Congress, U.S. Federal Election Commission, Government Accountability Office, Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Naval Medical Center. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Western Illinois University and a Master of Public Health in Administration and Policy from the University of North Carolina.

Jessica Bejarano, J.D., Vice President, Compliance, serving HJF since 2018

As Vice President of Compliance, Ms. Bejarano is responsible for establishing, maintaining and overseeing an effective compliance and ethics program for the Foundation.

Prior to joining HJF, Ms. Bejarano served as Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at PAE where she was responsible for the ethics and compliance program, the Code of Conduct, ethics and compliance training, and leading investigations as needed. She also chaired the Compliance Council and Privacy and Data Protection Council. Ms. Bejarano also served as an Empowered Official for the International Trade Compliance Office and managed government contracts for Lockheed Martin.

Ms. Bejarano received her bachelor's degree in Government and International Relations from Cornell University, and her Juris Doctorate and General Counsel Certificate from Syracuse University College of Law.

Nadine Shewell, Interim Senior Vice President, Program Management, serving HJF since 1996

Nadine Shewell serves as the Interim Senior Vice President, Program Management. She previously served as the Director of HJF’s Program Management Office.  She has been with HJF since July 1996.  Prior to joining HJF, she served as an Arabic linguist in the U.S. Army.

As Interim Senior Vice President, Program Management, Ms. Shewell oversees HJF’s customer focused operational units, processes and strategies. The primary focus of these operational units is on domestic and international research program management and support. In addition, HJFMRI’s Regional Office reports through this unit.

Ms. Shewell has held several different positions across HJF’s Operations units. These positions have included: Director, Clinical Trials Department; Program Manager for the Center for Prostate Disease Research at Walter Reed Army Medical Center; and, Senior Program Manager in HJF’s Program Management Office. As the Director of PMO, she managed the long-term goals and the day-to-day operations of the Program Management Office, developed training opportunities for program managers, and supported a portfolio of HJF programs. Her experience in these positions has given Ms. Shewell a unique understanding of HJF’s operations and customers.

Ms. Shewell holds a B.A. in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis and is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute. She is a veteran and the spouse of a military veteran. She is a former member of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals and a current member of the Project Management Institute. 

Tracey Patillo, MPP, Interim Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, serving HJF since 2000

Tracey Patillo is Interim Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. She previously served as HJF’s Director of Financial Planning.  She has been with HJF since May 2000.  Prior to joining HJF, Ms. Patillo was the Manager of Financial Analysis and Reporting at the World Wildlife Fund.

Ms. Patillo is responsible for all aspects of HJF’s domestic and global financial strategies, processes and operations.  Ms. Patillo oversees six key areas including, Disbursements, Financial Planning, Finance/AR/Treasury, General Accounting, Internal Controls and Reporting and International Accounting. 

During her tenure as Director of Financial Planning, Ms. Patillo implemented a three-year budget process and forecast; expanded the depth and breadth of the corporate financial analysis; lead the implementation of the PeopleSoft Financials Upgrade and later Oracle Financials; co-implemented the HJF Directors’ meeting and initiated an intern program in the Finance department.  She has been known for meeting facilitation skills and public speaking, problem-solving and excellent customer service.

Ms. Patillo holds a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Michigan and a B.A.in Economics with honors from Swarthmore College.

Rizwan Jan, CISSP, PCIP, CTPRP, Interim Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Security Officer, serving HJF since 2016

Rizwan Jan, CISSP, PCIP, CTPRP, serves as HJF’s Interim Chief Information Officer and is also Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). He served previously as Lead Associate, Incident Response at Booz Allen Hamilton. He has been with HJF since May 2016.

As CISO, Mr. Jan directs staff in identifying, developing, implementing and maintaining processes across HJF to reduce IT risks. Under his leadership is the Global Information Security Office which he created to protect HJF’s information according to Federal cybersecurity regulations. Mr. Jan also developed the Cybersecurity Awareness Program to maintain awareness among HJF employees.

Mr. Jan holds a B.S. in Business Administration (Finance) from Frostburg State University. He is a member of (ISC)², an international nonprofit association for information security leaders. He has been a Payment Card Industry Professional and Internal Security Assessor from the PCI Security Standards Council and is currently a Certified Third Party Risk Professional from Shared Assessments. He is also a member of the ISACA CSX Working Group and sits on the Enterprise Mobility Advisory Board.

William B. Kinner, J.D., M.P.S., Interim Vice President for Legal Affairs, General Counsel and Secretary, serving HJF since 2004

William (Buddy) B. Kinner serves as the Interim Vice President for Legal Affairs, General Counsel and Secretary. He previously served as HJF’s Senior Assistant General Counsel, Assistant General Counsel, and Assistant Secretary.  He has been with HJF since September 2004. 

Mr. Kinner leads the Legal and Technology Transfer functions and advise senior management and the Council of Directors on legal matters affecting the corporation.

Before joining HJF, Mr. Kinner was corporate counsel for former TRICARE contractor Sierra Military Health Services, Inc., in Baltimore, MD.  Prior to that, Mr. Kinner practiced law at two D.C. law firms focusing on complex litigation before administrative agencies and federal courts.  Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Kinner held various positions in the Finance and Contracts and Compliance departments of Motorola, Inc. supporting the sale of communication systems to the federal government. 

Mr. Kinner holds a J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Baltimore School of Law, an M.P.S. (Regulatory Policy) from the University of Maryland Graduate School, Baltimore (UMBC), and a B.S. in Business Administration (Finance) from Towson University.  Mr. Kinner is licensed to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Council of Directors

Philip A. Odeen

Chairman Philip Odeen is lead independent director of global power company AES Corp., and non-executive chairman of Convergys Corp., which is engaged in customer management and information management. He retired in 2002 as chairman of TRW Inc., an aerospace, defense and automotive company that merged with defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp.

Previously, he was president and chief executive officer of BDM International Inc., an IT firm acquired by TRW. Before joining BDM, Odeen was vice chairman of management consulting services at accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand. He has served on several Department of Defense advisory boards.

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona)

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and serves on the Senate’s committees on Foreign Relations, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Indian Affairs.

He entered the Naval Academy in June of 1954 and served in the U.S. Navy until 1981. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona in 1982 and elected to the Senate in 1986.

His military honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island)

U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) is the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. After graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1971, he received an active-duty commission in the Army.

Over the course of his military career, he earned the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist Badge, and Expert Infantry Badge. He later earned a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1982.

He served three terms in the Rhode Island State Senate and three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Reed was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996.

U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio)

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, was elected in 2012 to the United States House of Representatives. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where he is chairman of the Subcommittee on Health. 

He brings experience as a doctor, Army Reserve officer, Iraq War veteran and small business owner to HJF’s Council of Directors.

Rep. Wenstrup graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1980, and during his time in Congress, he is fulfilling his Reserve duties by treating patients as a podiatric surgeon at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-California)

Salud Carbajal, a Democrat who serves California’s 24th congressional district, is a member of the House Committee on Armed Services.

He attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and Fielding Graduate University, where he earned a master’s degree in organizational management. Carbajal also served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve for eight years.

Before his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016, he served on the Board of Supervisors for Santa Barbara County.


Marine Corps General John “Jay” Paxton Jr. (Ret)

Marine Corps General John “Jay” Paxton Jr. (Ret) joined the Council of Directors in 2017. He served as the 33rd Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps before retiring in 2016. As the second-highest ranking officer in the Marine Corps, he played a critical role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of Marines. With deployments to locations worldwide, he emphasized, advocated and recommended priorities for the Marine Corps.

Richard W. Thomas, M.D., D.D.S.

Richard W. Thomas, M.D., D.D.S., is the sixth president of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. In his position, Thomas is responsible for the academic, research and service mission of the University. He advises the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs and the four surgeons general on a wide array of issues related to graduate health professions education and health care research.

He retired from the Army in May 2016 at the rank of major general. He is a physician and dentist whose last assignment was chief medical officer and director of the Defense Health Agency Healthcare Operations Directorate.

He graduated from West Virginia University (WVU) on an ROTC scholarship in 1981. He is a graduate of the WVU School of Dentistry and served in the U.S. Army Dental Corps before receiving his Doctor of Medicine degree from the WVU School of Medicine in 1994. He earned a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2006.

The Honorable Beverly Byron

The Honorable Beverly Byron served seven successive terms in Congress as a Democratic representative from Maryland.

She was the first woman to head a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, chairing the Military Personnel and Compensation Subcommittee, where she oversaw more than 40 percent of the Department of Defense’s budget. She also chaired the House Special Panel on Arms Control and Disarmament. She was named to the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission in 1993.

The Honorable John Dressendorfer

The Honorable John Dressendorfer retired as vice president of government affairs at L-3 Communications Corp. Previously, he was vice president of government relations for Titan Corp., which L-3 acquired in 2005.

Prior to working with Titan Corp., he was vice president of government and external affairs for the American Forest & Paper Association. He was president and founder of the lobbying firm Dressendorfer Laird.

He also served as a special assistant to the president for legislative affairs under President Reagan and was an assistant to Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird during the Nixon administration.