Board of Directors

Katherine Leighty, Ph.D., Board Chair

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Dr. Leighty has worked with chimpanzees and a variety of other primates for over 20 years. She has a Ph.D. in comparative psychology from the University of Georgia and is the Animal Care Director at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, FL.  Dr. Leighty has published a number of papers and presented at scientific meetings on primate cognition, behavior and welfare, in addition to related work in other animals including elephants, tigers, and turtles. Dr. Leighty chairs the Research and Technology committee of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and served on the Executive Council of the International Primatological Society for over 10 years.

Joseph Bielitzki, DVM, MS

Science and Technology Advisor, Ott, Bielitzki & O’Neill

With more than 45 years of experience as a veterinarian, Dr. Bielitzki’s love of science and commitment to animal welfare has led his career in a variety of animal-related fields and industries, including work with zoos, wild populations, and primates. He served as one of the first full-time zoo veterinarians in North American before spending more than 20 years directly involved in the care and welfare of primates in research, and in 2022, will retire as Chief Veterinary Officer for NASA. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for Chimp Haven, Dr. Bielitzki serves as veterinary consultant for the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) Center in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He holds a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois, and was the recipient of the Outstanding Leadership Medal from NASA and the Exceptional Civilian Service Medal from The Office of the Secretary of Defense. Dr. Bielitzki is proud to have had the opportunity to help drive U.S. policy on animal welfare and enjoys mentoring and training many young people pursuing careers in animal related fields.

Sharon Dewar

Public Communications Inc.

Ms. Dewar is Vice President at Public Communications Inc, a mid-sized independent communications agency in Chicago. She brings more than two decades of public relations expertise to her clients, specializing in destination marketing, science communications, animal conservation and welfare issues, media strategy and training.

Prior to joining the agency, Ms. Dewar directed public relations for Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo and managed media relations for San Diego Zoo Global. In addition to extensive public relations and media relations experience, Sharon also has great knowledge in strategic and crisis communication, skills she nurtured as a public affairs specialist in the United States Navy.

Kathy L. Hudson, Ph.D.

Hudson Works, LLC

Dr. Hudson is a consultant and advisor to nonprofits, academia, government, and biotech/tech companies. She previously served as Deputy Director for Science, Outreach, and Policy at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where she led the science legislation, policy communications, and outreach efforts. Dr. Hudson holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. in Microbiology from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College.

Margaret Landi, VMD, MS, DACLAM, MBioethics

Chief Laboratory Animal Veterinarian and Bioethicist

Dr. Landi recently retired as the founding Chief Veterinarian of the Office of Animal Welfare, Ethics, Strategy and Risk at GSK Pharmaceuticals.  She obtained her veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania, has a Master’s in Comparative Medicine, is a Diplomate in the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and most recently completed her training in Bioethics from Penn.  She has served on the ACLAM Board of Directors and the Institute of Laboratory Animal Research Council.  Dr. Landi has received a number of awards and recognitions for her contributions to laboratory animal science and animal welfare, including the Harry Roswell Award from the Scientists Center for Animal Welfare.  Dr. Landi served on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Future of Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research the founding document leading to the end of the use of Chimpanzees in research.

Elizabeth V. Lonsdorf, Ph.D.

Emory University

Dr. Lonsdorf is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Emory University. Her research program integrates her interests in health, learning and development in both wild and captive primates. Currently, she works with several collaborators on a long-term health monitoring program for the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park, Tanzania. In addition, she co-manages the largest long-term data set on infant chimpanzee development. Dr. Lonsdorf was the founding Director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo and served as the Vice President for Education and Outreach for the International Primatology Society for eight years. She currently serves on a number of committees for professional primatological organizations,  including the Jane Goodall Institute, the American Society of Primatologists, and the Section on Great Apes of the IUCN’s Primate Specialist Group.

Charlton Havard Lyons, IV

Ameriprise Financial

Mr. Lyons is a Certified Financial Planner at Ameriprise Financial with more than 16 years of experience and a practice covering 12 states.  He is a native of the Shreveport-Bossier City area and has been heavily involved with the local nonprofit and business community since he returned to the area in 2007.  In addition to his work with Chimp Haven, he currently serves as the President of the Ark-La-Tex chapter of the Financial Planning Association and as co-Treasurer of the Northwest Louisiana Susan G. Komen affiliate.  His work includes retirement and investment planning, and charitable giving strategies.

Madalyn Monarch, CPA


Ms. Monarch is a Vice President and Commercial Relationship Manager for First Horizon, where she focuses on commercial banking and lending for the north Louisiana region. She brings nearly a decade of experience in accounting and finance to the board, previously serving as a member of the financial institutions team of Ernst & Young, LLP in San Antonio, Texas, and most recently as an Audit Senior with Heard, McElroy, and Vestal, LLC CPA Firm in Shreveport.

Monarch graduated Magna Cum Laude from Centenary College of Louisiana with Bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Finance in 2011 and became a Certified Public Accountant in 2016. Upon obtaining her license she became a member and still maintains her membership with the Louisiana Certified Public Accountants. In addition to her work with Chimp Haven, she serves as the Treasurer on the Executive Council for The Friends of the Algur Meadows Museum and was a member of the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class of 2017.

Edward D. Ragan, Ph.D.

Centenary College

Dr. Ragan is an expert in early American history, Native American ethnohistory and public history.  He has extensive experience as a teacher, researcher and historian. His teaching experience includes institutions such as Syracuse University and Virginia Commonwealth University. In his current role as Associate Dean at Centenary College, he not only teaches classes on “Ancient American Religion”, but is also the Director of Quality Enhancement Plan and the Director of Educational Outreach. Since 1996 he has served as the Historian for the Rappahannock Tribe in Indian Neck, Virginia.

He is a contributing author on many published volumes, book reviews and manuscripts and has received numerous research awards and fellowships. Dr. Ragan received his Bachelor’s and Master’s from Louisiana State University at Shreveport and a Ph.D. in History from Syracuse University.

Crystal Miller-Spiegel, M.S.

American Anti-Vivisection Society

Ms. Miller-Spiegel is a senior policy analyst at the American Anti-Vivisection Society. She received her Bachelor’s in Anthropology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.  Her professional experience is in animal welfare public policy and advocacy.  She has also served as Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Animal Policy and Advocacy at the Humane Society University in Washington, DC.  Ms. Miller-Spiegel has published numerous papers, articles and essays in her fields of expertise.  She is the co-founder of Down to Earth Farm, an animal sanctuary in Bucks County, PA, and in the past has served as an executive board member for Lulu’s Rescue and completed naturalist training at the Bucks County Audubon Society at Honey Hollow.

Karen A. Terio DVM, Ph.D., DACVP

University of Illinois

Dr. Terio is a Professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, where she also serves as Chief of the Zoological Pathology Program. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and has previously served on their Board of Directors. She provides comprehensive pathology diagnostic services to zoological institutions and to local, national and international wildlife agencies and conservation programs. Her research focuses on the impact of disease on wild animal populations, specifically non-domestic cats and non-human primates, including as the lead pathologist for the Great Ape Heart Project. Dr. Terio is an editor of the textbook “Pathology of Wildlife and Zoo Animals.”

Rana Smith, Ex Officio

President and Chief Executive Officer, Chimp Haven


The following individuals have provided significant and long-time service to Chimp Haven and have been awarded the status of Trustee. Trustees serve in an advisory capacity to Chimp Haven’s Board of Directors.

Linda Brent, Ph.D.

Primate behaviorist, founder and past president of Chimp Haven

Mollie A. Bloomsmith, Ph.D.

Head of Behavioral Management at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, former member of the board of directors

Tom Butler, D.V.M., DACLAM

Retired Chairman, Department of Laboratory Animal Medicine and Attending Veterinarian, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, former board of directors chair

Candy Peavy, P.T.

Former member of the board of directors

Marty Stephens, Ph.D.

Former member of the board of directors

Robert Whitney, D.V.M., DACLAM

Veterinarian, former member of the board of directors

Frans B. M. de Waal, Ph.D.

Primatologist and former member of the board of directors

Erna Toback, Ph.D.

Primatology and Primate Behavioral Consultant, former member of the board of directors