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Seattle - (May 18, 2011) — The Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) has named Kay A. Branz as director of Communications. Branz was previously vice president of Communications and Marketing for the American College of Healthcare Executives based in Chicago, a professional association of 35,000 members. In that position, she led the organization's print and online communications efforts, social media initiatives and published Healthcare Executive, a top-ranked magazine for health care leaders. Her prior experience includes more than two decades of strategic marketing and marketing communications within hospitals, health care organizations and associations. She has a masters of business administration from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.
 
Branz is the first director of Communications for BRI, a new position created to provide leadership for media relations and community outreach efforts to inform the public about BRI, autoimmune diseases, and clinical trials opportunities. In assuming this role, Branz will also serve as executive director of Communications for the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN), a large federally funded clinical research consortium with a central office in Seattle led by BRI Director Gerald Nepom, MD, PhD.
 
"The ITN and BRI are international leaders in medical research to eliminate autoimmune and immune-mediated diseases. I'm pleased to support these efforts with effective communications to inform both the scientific community and people affected by these diseases about the breakthrough research being achieved," says Branz.
 
About Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason
Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI), founded in 1956, is an international leader in immune system and autoimmune disease research, translating discoveries to real-life applications. Autoimmune diseases happen when the immune system, designed to protect the body, attacks it instead. BRI is one of the few research institutes in the world dedicated to discovering causes and cures to eliminate autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and many others. Visit BenaroyaResearch.org or Facebook/BenaroyaResearch for more information about BRI, clinical studies and the more than 80 different types of autoimmune diseases.
 
About the Immune Tolerance Network
The Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) is an international research consortium funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) International. The ITN develops and conducts clinical studies of immune tolerance therapies - highly targeted treatments designed to prevent disease-causing immune responses, without compromising the natural protective properties of the immune system. The ITN consortium is led by several institutions, including University of California, San Francisco; Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, Seattle; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston; and Duke University, Durham. For more information about the ITN, visit www.immunetolerance.org
 
For Media Inquiries, Contact: Rachel Martin (206) 342-6519

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