SAA Memory Book

Give a gift of love in memory of those members of the Spondylitis Community who are no longer with us.

To commemorate our 35th anniversary, we are remembering the special individuals who have made meaningful contributions to the spondylitis landscape. To share your loved one’s story and create a gift of love for SAA, please submit a picture and biography to Sean Ewert, Development & Annual Giving Manager, at or call 818-855-2106 for more information. Additionally, we encourage you to consider our Quest Legacy Society. By remembering SAA in your estate plan, you can help ensure that SAA will continue to fund research and to provide programs to empower future generations.

Chris Miller

Donate In Their Memory Learn More About Chris

Chris had been with the Spondylitis Association of America since 2004 – having first joined us as our Web Specialist – and whether you knew him or not, if you’ve been at all involved with SAA and our services, you’ve been impacted by his work. He was closely involved in numerous aspects of our programs, and served as our Programs Director from 2011 to 2015, after which –having moved to Missouri – he remained involved with SAA as an independent contractor. From our website to our seminars, our news items and the eSUN e-newsletter, our news magazine, Spondylitis Plus, everywhere we look today we see Chris’ substantial contributions and the rich legacy he’s left behind.

We remember the life and achievements of this talented, creative, kind, and caring man.

Laurie Savage

Donate In Their Memory Learn More About Laurie

Laurie dedicated 21 years to the Spondylitis Association of America, having joined in 1996 as our Programs Director and Editor-In-Chief of SAA’s magazine, Spondylitis Plus. In 2007, she was asked to lead the organization as its Executive Director. She is co-author of multiple peer-reviewed journal articles and white papers, served as co-principle investigator for the administrative core of the NIH funded, and was responsible for the oversight of one of the multi-center national patient recruitment and enrollment centers under the auspices of the University of Texas in Houston. In 2016 she co-authored a chapter in Oxford University Press’ Oxford Textbook of Axial Spondyloarthritis, titled, “Patient support and advocacy in Axial Spondyloarthritis.”

Laurie served as co-chair on the Steering Committee of the NIH’s National Institute of Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Coalition in Bethesda, MD; served on the Advisory Board of the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA), at Stanford University, CA; as well as on the Board of Directors of the Angels for Hope Neuroblastoma Research Foundation, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in NYC.

The number of lives Laurie touched and improved through her work is incalculable. The loss to the spondyloarthritis community is huge; and the loss to her family, many friends, colleagues, and the SAA family is immeasurable.

Mark Asquith

Donate In Their Memory Learn More About Mark

Mark dedicated his career to the study of immune mechanisms in rheumatic disease, was an expert in his field on the microbiome, and had made many important contributions to spondyloarthritis research, making incredible progress in the understanding of spondyloarthritis. He was a recipient of the SAA/Bruckel Early Career Investigator Award in Axial Spondyloarthritis, among many other well-deserved recognitions and was a frequent invited speaker at premier conferences. He was generous with his time, his friendship, and his warm smile, and he is already dearly missed by all who had the honor of knowing him.

Mark was teaching me something new every day. I have ideas that I want to share with him because he always had insight. Everywhere he worked or studied, he established a community of friends and admirers. The most consistent comment that I have received from those who knew him: ‘Mark was brilliant.’
- James Rosenbaum, MD

Michael Tracy Smith

Donate In Their Memory

The deeply loved and talented Michael Tracy Smith - tireless spondylitis advocate, friend to thousands, leading voice and constant presence in the spondylitis community, and writer of haikus (among many, many other things) - passed away on December 6th, 2016, at the age of 65, after having suffered a fall and a heart attack. With his 66th birthday one day away, he passed in the hospital, surrounded by loved ones. We would like to remember the life and many achievements of our dear friend, and offer our deepest condolences to his family and his many loving friends.

“Don’t feel discouraged
when your back’s against the wall…
you’ve found some support.” ~Michael Smith”

Dr. Pamela Prete

Donate In Their Memory

Dr. Prete was perhaps one of the most active and knowledgeable rheumatologists of her time. In addition to being granted numerous awards for her research on rheumatic diseases, she was also a chief of aerospace medicine in the United States Air Force Reserves, earning the rank of colonel before retiring and being awarded four meritorious service medals and two national defense medals. As a director or a Rheumatology fellowship program, she was also a great teacher and mentor and was recognized as a Master of the American College of Rheumatology for her outstanding service to her patients, students and profession.

But above all, Dr. Prete was a kind and compassionate individual. Her dedication to her work was evident in the selfless care she provided for all of her patients and reflected in the many individuals who have shared their memories of Dr. Prete.

Dr. Paul Terasaki

Donate In Their Memory Learn More About Paul

Dr. Terasaki’s work revolutionized the field of organ transplantation. His research findings and protocols for assessing the compatibility of organ donors and recipients have become the international standard for genetically matching donors and recipients. His work has greatly increased the success rates of organ transplants, saving countless lives. Besides being one of the most important transplantation scientists, and establishing the largest transplantation registry of his time, Dr. Terasaki was responsible for discovering the linkage between HLA-B27 and ankylosing spondylitis in the U.S. in 1971.

We remember the life and achievements of Dr. Terasaki, whose work and generous spirit touched and saved many lives.

Stephen Katz, MD, PhD

Donate In Their Memory

Steve came to NIH in 1974 and had served as NIAMS Director since 1995. To quote NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins:

Over these years he has ably led an Institute that has made major contributions to research across a broad portfolio of disorders that affect millions of Americans. … But I would claim that there is no Institute Director who has done more over the last two decades to help the entire NIH enterprise flourish.

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