Our Team

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 Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and President of Waterkeeper Alliance. He is also a Clinical Professor and Supervising Attorney at Pace University School of Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic and is of counsel to Morgan & Morgan, a nationwide personal injury practice. 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 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, The 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.

Lyn Redwood


Lyn Redwood, R.N., M.S.N., is a Nurse Practitioner who became involved in autism research and advocacy when her son was diagnosed with autism. In 1999 she calculated the level of mercury exposure received from multiple thimerosal (mercury) containing vaccines and found her son was exposed to levels 125 times EPA Federal Safety guidelines and suffered with mercury toxicity. Since that time, Ms. Redwood has testified before the Government Reform Committee on “Mercury in medicine: Are we taking unnecessary risks?” and before a subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness, “Truth revealed: New scientific discoveries regarding mercury in medicine and autism health in 2004.

Ms. Redwood co-authored Autism: A novel form of mercury toxicity, a landmark paper linking the symptoms of autism with excessive exposure to mercury in 2000 and is published in Neurotoxicology, Medical Hypothesis, Molecular Psychiatry, Mothering Magazine and Autism-Aspergers Digest. She has appeared on “Good Morning America” with Diane Sawyer, the Montel Williams Show and numerous national news outlets. Ms. Redwood has been interviewed by U.S. News and World Report, Wired Magazine, People and is prominently featured in the award winning book by David Kirby “Evidence of Harm.”

  • Ms. Redwood is co-founder of the Coalition for SafeMinds and the National Autism Association.
  • She served as a public member of the National Institute of Health, Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee from 2007-2014 and was an Integration Panel Member for the Department of Defense, Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Program from 2007-2009.
  • She was awarded “Person of the year” in 2010 by Spectrum Magazine and was the recipient of the National Autism Association “Believe Award” in 2013.

Laura Bono

Director of Marketing and Media

Laura Bono has a journalism and marketing background. Since her son regressed after his vaccinations in the early 1990’s, and was subsequently diagnosed with heavy-metal toxicity and autism, Laura has advocated for services, biomedical treatments, and civil rights for autistic children/vaccine injured in Congress, NIH, CDC, HHS and other governmental agencies. Laura is a co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the National Autism Association and was on the Board of Directors for SafeMinds from 2005-2015. Laura is currently a member of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Public Interest Partners.

She served as a planning committee member and was a speaker for the 2007 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Workshop, “Autism and the Environment: Challenges and Opportunities for Research.” She also served as a Community Advisory Board Member for the NIEHS Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI) Study, the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) “Study of Health Outcomes in Children with Autism and their Families,” and a collaborative study on Wandering by Johns Hopkins, NIH and autism groups. Laura helped to plan and execute the 2005 SafeMinds/National Autism Association/NIEHS collaborative workshop, “Environmental Factors in Neurodevelopmental Disorders,” served as a panel member in the NIH Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) workshop, “Identifying Priorities for Autism Spectrum Disorders Research on Risk Factors” and has been a contributing columnist to Autism File Magazine. Laura was instrumental in the passage of the Combating Autism Act, working to increase National Institute for Health (NIH) funding for the environmental triggers of autism, specifically autism/mercury research.

She has been interviewed by numerous magazines newspapers, appeared on the NBC Nightly News, CBS News, The Today Show, and provided background research to NBC Dateline, Meet the Press, Congress and independent documentaries. Her advocacy has also included planning press conferences and rallies to focus media attention on the link between vaccines and autism in children. Along with other directors of SafeMinds, her son’s autism story and Laura’s advocacy was chronicled in the book, Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic.

Heidi Kidd

Chief Financial Officer

Heidi Kidd has over 30 years of accounting experience, mostly in a Corporate Retail environment as well as ten years of Accounting and Tax Prep for a Non Profit Organization.

She was one of the parents involved with passage of the New Jersey Infantile Autism Biomedical Research Act passed in New Jersey. Heidi helped craft the original draft of the first federal autism legislation, the Children’s Health Act of 2000. Heidi was a co-author on “Autism: A Novel Form of Mercury Toxicity,” a landmark paper linking the symptoms of autism with excessive exposure to mercury and was published in Neurotoxicology, Medical Hypothesis, Molecular Psychiatry, Mothering Magazine and Autism-Asperger’s Digest. She served as president of the Cure Autism Now New Jersey chapter for two years and co-chaired the first New Jersey/New York Walk Now event, which raised more than $300,000. Heidi is a founding board member of SafeMinds and is very involved in the public policy arena. She has one child, Andrew, who has autism.

Rita Shreffler

Director of Development

Rita Shreffler is the Executive Editor of the Autism File magazine. She is also a founding board member of the National Autism Association and served as Executive Director from 2006-2011. Rita earned her BA and MA from the University of Missouri, and has worked in advertising and public relations for The Kansas City Star and The Daily Oklahoman. She has spent the past 15 years working to build public awareness of the relationship between increased toxic exposures to children and the development of neurological disorders such as autism and ADHD, working at state and national levels towards the removal of mercury from vaccines. Rita has been interviewed by numerous newspapers and magazines including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Mother Jones and has provided background research for Meet the Press and In These Times. She and her husband Arnie live near Springfield, Missouri.

Sarah Bridges, PhD

Director of Donor Relations

Sarah Bridges, PhD has over 20 years of experience as a psychologist, executive coach and organizational consultant. She is also an avid writer and speaker on the intersection between neuroscience and behavior. In her consulting practice, Sarah advises senior executives at a broad range of Fortune 500 companies, including: 3M, UnitedHealth Group, Robert Wood Johnson, Target, Alcoa, and Cargill. She also works with start-ups on issues of organization design, culture, and talent.

Formerly an executive for a $1.7 billion Fortune 1000 company and a practice leader for the assessment business at Personnel Decisions International (PDI), she draws on this “both sides of the desk” experience to focus on what really works, not just what’s possible. A lively, stimulating, and practiced presenter to a broad range of audiences, Sarah is a frequent speaker at corporate training events, universities, and conferences.
Sarah’s interest in the field of psychology and human development extends to her work as a writer. She has published investigative articles and personal essays for the Washington Post, Realizing Leadership magazine, Mothering magazine, and Organic Style. She also wrote more than a dozen children’s books. Her memoir, A Bad Reaction chronicles the story of her son’s vaccine injury.

Sarah received her B.A. in psychology from Wesleyan University. She completed her Ph.D. and post-doctoral fellowship in Neuropsychology on an NIH fellowship from the University of Minnesota. Born and raised in Northern California, Sarah lives in Minneapolis with her husband and six children.

Kim Spencer

Director of Advocacy & Outreach

Kim Spencer graduated from the University of Georgia in 1989 and pursued careers in television, public relations and project management before her son was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, an issue rooted in mercury poisoning. Kim has spent more than a decade intensively researching mercury and its effects, and advocating for hundreds of families dealing with environmentally-triggered developmental issues. In 2012, she co-founded The Thinking Moms’ Revolution, a children’s health advocacy and activism group, served as Vice President, Public Relations and subsequently co-created TEAM TMR, a not-for-profit organization which raises and distributes money in the form of treatment grants to families living with autism and other spectrum disorders. She co-authored a book, The Thinking Mom’s Revolution, Autism: Beyond the Spectrum published by Skyhorse Publishing in NY, and toured the nation sharing her story at events, conferences, and television broadcasts.

Kim’s son is now in his teens and is recovered after years of intense medical intervention for mercury toxicity and autoimmune related health issues. She also has a teenage daughter who loves the theater. Kim, her husband Sam and two children live in Savannah, Georgia.

Katie Weisman

Assistant to the Chairman

Katie Weisman is the mother of identical triplet sons who all have autism. After a career as a technical designer, she is now a full-time mom and autism advocate. She has done a wide variety of work with local school districts and police related to autism and has worked on state and federal legislation related to autism.

All three of Katie’s sons have mercury poisoning, which she believes is the primary cause of their disability. They received high doses of thimerosal in their vaccines as infants. Despite their prematurity, their vaccine schedule was neither delayed, nor adjusted for their body weights. Katie is also allergic to thimerosal and other metals herself. She is on the Board of Health Choice and an ex-board member of SafeMinds. She lives in Mount Kisco, New York with her husband, Doug, and her three sons.