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The inaugural group of 11 volunteer Ambassadors to work with GLA to raise public awareness of tick dangers and teach people in their communities how to prevent Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.


In an effort to reduce the risk of Lyme disease, the fastest growing vector-borne infectious disease in the U.S., Global Lyme Alliance (GLA) announced today the launch of its new Lyme Education Ambassador Program (LEAP). The inaugural group of 11 volunteer Ambassadors will work with GLA to raise public awareness nationally and teach people in their communities how to prevent Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

“More than 329,000 people in the United States are newly diagnosed with Lyme every year and yet there is an incredible lack of understanding about this disease,” said Sara Tyghter, GLA’s Director of Education and Outreach. “Our Education Ambassadors will play an important role in strengthening our efforts to protect people from this insidious disease.”

Composed of a diverse group of Lyme patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals determined to educate as many people as possible about Lyme, GLA’s Lyme Education Ambassadors undergo formal training to prepare them for presentations and meetings with local organizations, civic groups, corporations and others on behalf of the Lyme community. Each Ambassador makes an initial one-year commitment and must hold a minimum of four presentations each year.

“After being diagnosed with Lyme disease,” said Carmen Saverino, an event planner in Coral Springs, Florida and one of GLA’s new Ambassadors, “I realized the more I spoke about my chronic pain and diagnosis, the more my friends and family found out that they had Lyme disease.

Being a Lyme Education Ambassador will give me the opportunity to use my voice, talents, and knowledge for others, and not just myself.”Another new GLA Education Ambassador, Holly Tuten, Ph.D., a vector ecologist/medical entomologist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (pictured left), said she decided to volunteer because the program “bridges citizens and science and embodies the best direction forward for the prevention of tick-borne diseases.” Serving as an Ambassador, Dr. Tuten said, “seems like the perfect complement to my research and my goals of educating the public and helping to prevent vector-borne diseases.”
 Others in GLA’s inaugural LEAP class are:
  • Pat Bannerman, Vermont
  • Brianna Deutsch, British Columbia, Canada
  • Rika Keck, New York and Connecticut
  • Jan Ledford-Fiorillo, Oklahoma
  • Angela Maniak, Maine
  • Maureen McKasey-Donlin, Colorado
  • Terri Michaelson, Massachusetts
  • Robin Reich, Florida
  • Jenna St Pierre, Virginia
The GLA Lyme Education Ambassador Program is open to men and women nationwide with exceptional communication skills who are “engaged, energetic and passionate about spreading awareness and educating people about the risk of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases,” said Tyghter. To learn more about LEAP, including how to become a part of the program, go to GLA.org/joinleap. If you are interested in having an Ambassador present to a group in your area, contact GLA at 203-969-1333, education@GLA.org or go to GLA.org/workshop. GLA educates hundreds of thousands each year on Lyme and tick-borne illness and the importance of tick-bite prevention. In addition to LEAP, GLA’s education and outreach initiatives include an interactive school curriculum, a camp tick-bite prevention and awareness program, and a CME-accredited medical education program for health care providers.
ABOUT GLOBAL LYME ALLIANCE Global Lyme Alliance (GLA) is the leading 501(c)(3) dedicated to conquering Lyme and other tick-borne diseases through research, education and awareness. GLA has gained national prominence for funding the most urgent and promising research in the field, while expanding education and awareness programs for the general public and physicians. Learn more at GLA.org.