Board of Directors
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Chairman of the Board
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s reputation as a resolute defender of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions. Mr. Kennedy was named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet” for his success helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group’s achievement helped spawn 300 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe.
Mr. Kennedy serves as President of Waterkeeper Alliance and of counsel to Morgan & Morgan, a nationwide personal injury practice. He was previously Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper, Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and a Clinical Professor and Supervising Attorney at Pace University School of Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic. He is co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio. Earlier in his career he served as Assistant District Attorney in New York City.
He has worked on environmental issues across the Americas and has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties protecting traditional homelands. He is credited with leading the fight to protect New York City’s water supply. The New York City watershed agreement, which he negotiated on behalf of environmentalists and New York City watershed consumers, is regarded as an international model in stakeholder consensus negotiations and sustainable development.
Among Mr. Kennedy’s published books are American Values: Lessons I Learned From My Family, The New York Times’ bestseller Crimes Against Nature (2004), The Riverkeepers (1997), and Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr: A Biography (1977) and two children’s books St. Francis of Assisi (2005), American Heroes: Joshua Chamberlain and the American Civil War and Robert Smalls: The Boat Thief (2008).
His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Nation, Outside Magazine, The Village Voice, and many other publications. His award-winning articles have been included in anthologies of America’s Best Crime Writing, Best Political Writing and Best Science Writing.
Mr. Kennedy is a graduate of Harvard University. He studied at the London School of Economics and received his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. Following graduation he attended Pace University School of Law, where he was awarded a Masters Degree in Environmental Law.
He is a licensed master falconer, and as often as possible he pursues a life-long enthusiasm for white-water paddling. He has organized and led several expeditions in Canada and Latin America, including first descents on three little known rivers in Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela.
Mary Holland, J.D.
Mary Holland is a former Research Scholar and Director of the Graduate Lawyering Program at NYU School of Law. She has written several law review articles and blog posts on vaccine law and policy and is the co-author and co-editor of the books “Vaccine Epidemic” and “HPV Vaccine on Trial: Seeking Justice for a Generation Betrayed.” She has testified to retain or expand vaccination exemptions in the California, West Virginia, Maine and Vermont legislatures. She has appeared in several documentaries and programs on vaccine issues. She is chair of the advisory board of Health Choice and a member of the advisory boards for the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy, the Otto Specht School and Actionplay. Educated at Harvard and Columbia Universities, Holland has worked in international public and private law. Prior to joining NYU, Holland worked for six years at major U.S. law firms, with three years based in Moscow, Russia. She also worked at a U.S. human rights organization as Director of its European Program. After graduating law school, she clerked for a federal district court judge in the Southern District of New York. She has taught courses at Columbia Law School and has served as a consultant to the Aspen Institute Justice and Society Program.
Brian S. Hooker, PhD, PE, is an Associate Professor of Biology at Simpson University in Redding California where he specializes in microbiology and biotechnology. He also teaches chemistry at Shasta College.
Brian dedicated over 15 years as a bioengineer and the team leader for the High Throughput Biology Team and Operations Manager of the DOE Genomics: Genomes to Life (GTL) Center for Molecular and Cellular Systems at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Dr. Hooker also managed applied plant and fungal molecular biology research projects at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where systems biology researchers are focused on understanding gene and protein networks involved in individual cell signaling, communication between cells in communities, and cellular metabolic pathways. Dr. Hooker also served as Research Director for the plant biotechnology company, PhytaGenics.
In 1985, Dr. Hooker earned his Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering, from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California. He earned his Masters of Science degree in 1988 and his doctorate in 1990, both in biochemical engineering, from Washington State University, in Pullman, Washington.
Brian Hooker has many accomplishments to his credit including: co-inventor for five patents, recipient of the Battelle Entrepreneurial Award in 2001, and a Federal Laboratory Consortium Recognition Award in 1999, for his work on “Reactive Transport in 3-Dimensions.” The breadth of Hooker’s over 60 science and engineering papers have been published in internationally recognized, peer reviewed journals.
Dr. Hooker has been active in the autism community since 2001 and has a 19 year old son with autism. He currently serves on the board of trustees for Focus for Health. In 2013 and 2014, Dr. Hooker worked with the CDC Whistleblower, Dr. William Thompson, to expose fraud and corruption within vaccine safety research in the CDC which led to the release of over 10,000 pages of documents.
Alix Mayer serves Children’s Health Defense as a Board Member and as a pro bono member of the Communications and Development teams. In the 1990s, at the age of 29, she ran a worldwide research group at Apple until six vaccines physically disabled her and gave her brain-damage. Sequelae included: encephalopathy, encephalitis, nausea, chronic fatigue, arthritis, digestive issues, and insomnia. Twenty-three years later, Alix manages a recovery of about 80%. An award-winning blogger since 2005, she published almost 900 articles, most on the topic of health and medicine. From 2008 to 2018, Alix worked part-time as a health strategist with clients suffering complex illness. In 2018, she retired from health consulting to devote her time to the vaccine movement. Alix grew up in the Oscar Mayer family. She is a graduate of Duke University (BA) and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University (MBA.)
Katie Wright graduated from Boston University with a BA in History. She received an EdM and an MA in Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. While a student at Columbia and after graduation, Katie worked as a therapist for the Archdiocese of New York’s free counseling service. From 1999 to 2004 Katie serviced as the Clinical Director of Stamford CT’s Sexual Assault Crisis Center.
In 2004 Katie’s typically 20-month-old son, Christian, regressed into severe autism. Soon afterwards, Katie had to quit her job in order to care for Christian full time. Katie’s parents founded Autism Speaks in 2004. When it became clear Autism Speaks was not going to fund environmental research or biomedical treatment Katie joined SafeMinds, the National Autism Association and Generation Rescue. Katie is currently an active board member of SafeMinds and Children’s Health Defense. She is married with two sons and lives in NYC.