Mission

Our goal is to unite our community, educate, support research, and awareness for complex regional pain syndrome.

Our Story

Our Founder and Executive Director was diagnosed with CRPS in 2011. While searching for valid information about her diagnosis, she realized there wasn’t a message board forum for The CRPS Community. In 2014, she decided to create CRPS Forum and launched it that fall. In addition to creating the first message board Forum for CRPS, she also began to work with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and The County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors to create awareness, support and proclamations for our annual awareness day.
 
Los Angeles and Los Angeles County have proclaimed and supported CRPS Awareness Day for the last six consecutive years and Anaheim joined the tradition in 2018 and 2019. On July 21st, 2017, she organized the first Major League Baseball game and CRPS Awareness game, which was held at Dodger Stadium. In order to continue her mission, CRPS Forum became a 501(c)(3) in the beginning of 2018.
 
On August 26th, 2018, we organized our Second Annual CRPS Awareness Day and Fundraiser at Dodger Stadium along with the first CRPS Convention at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel in Anaheim on November 3rd and 4th, 2018. Our Third Annual CRPS Awareness Game and Fundraiser at Dodger Stadium on August 3rd, 2019, and Second Annual CRPS Convention on November 2nd and 3rd, 2019 at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa in Anaheim, CA.
 
In 2020, due to the pandemic, we postponed our Fourth Annual CRPS Awareness Game and Fundraiser at Dodger Stadium on Friday, August 7th, 2020 and virtually held our first CRPS Pediatric Warriors Friday Night Zoom Webinar on Friday, November 6th, 2020 and Third Annual CRPS Convention on Saturday, November 7th-Sunday, November 8th, 2020. We also continued to hold and added additional virtual support groups and launched our first community created CRPS Coloring Book. CRPS Forum donated over 200 coloring books to children’s hospitals and CRPS specialists who treat pediatric CRPS Warriors. 
 
We are both excited and thankful to watch CRPS Forum continue to grow in support of our mission to educate, support research and awareness, and thank you for your support.

CRPS Forum Team

Board of Directors

Roxanne Piszczek - Board Chair

Our founder has been living with CRPS since 2011. Prior to contracting complex regional pain syndrome, Roxanne, held a successful career in the music industry. At 18, she was signed to Polygram Records, had two successful singles and toured worldwide. She later became a disc jockey and collaborated with brands which included Monster Energy, Red Bull, Jägermeister, and Maxim, as well as with pop, dance, rock, and hip hop artists, and NBA, NFL, and MLB athletes.

She graduated college with a focus on psychology. In college, she volunteered for various nonprofits including The Make-A-Wish Foundation. As a volunteer, she became a Wish Granter, acquired physical donations, greeted families at the airport, attended sporting events with Wish Kids, and contributed to their annual ice cream social, and black tie gala.

Along with CRPS Forum’s mission, Roxanne’s goal is to unite her community and instill hope. She enjoys learning about fellow warriors forming new friendships and seeing frowns transform to smiles at CRPS Forum events. She also donates her time to partner with local doctors for informal counseling, education, support and advocacy for newly diagnosed CRPS Warriors. She understands that while living with complex regional pain syndrome is a difficult journey, when a community unites, they can form a great power and create great accomplishments together.

Rissa Lynch - Board Secretary

Rissa Lynch has been living in Orlando, FL for the past 11 years. She’s interested in how she can help people who are living with complex regional pain syndrome and helping them gain and maintain a positive and hopeful outlook. She looks forward to being a part of the CPRS Community and doing her part with awareness, education, supporting research, motivating others to live their best lives, and staying positive.

Nick Memeti - Board Treasurer

Nick Memeti is one of the most highly acclaimed names in the Chicagoland mortgage industry. He was taught the fundamentals of real estate as a teenager long before he started his career as a mortgage professional at the young age of 20. Now, with over 24 years experience Nick Memeti is an expert on all residential financing, excelling in Jumbo and “niche” portfolio lending. 

He serves as a passionate and knowledgeable advocate for his clients, and understands that everyone has a unique story that requires a fresh approach. He looks forward to being a part of the CPRS Community, continuing to awareness, and supporting our mission.

Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Shahin Sadik is one of the founding physicians of Universal Pain Management. Dr. Sadik graduated with a medical degree at Eastern Virginia Medical School of Medical College of Hampton Roads. He then completed his residency in anesthesiology and fellowship training in pain management at the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, Dr. Sadik works as a pain management physician and Medical Director at Universal Pain Management in California.

Board-certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology with special qualification in pain management and also by the American Board of Pain Medicine, Dr. Sadik has vast experience managing chronic pain. In addition to his duties at Universal Pain Management, Dr. Sadik holds a faculty position at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine as Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology.

Dr. Chopra is a Pain Medicine specialist with a special interest in complex chronic pain conditions. He had his residency in Anesthesia and Critical Care, Fellowship in Pain Medicine – all from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Chopra is currently an Assistant Professor (Clinical) at Brown Medical School and work full time as a Pain Medicine specialist. He has a special interest in chronic complex pain conditions and their associated co-existing conditions in adults and children.

Dr. Jacqueline Weisbein is a board-certified, fellowship-trained Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine specializing in Pain Management. She is dually board certified in pain management and physical medicine and rehabilitation. Dr. Weisbein has a profound dedication to improving patients’ quality of life utilizing comprehensive care plans. She is a leader in the field of interventional pain medicine with particular interests in neuropathic pain syndromes, sports injuries, and implantable devices. 

Dr. Jennifer Goldin graduated medical school at Wright State University School of Medicine and is board certified in family medicine. She created our Guide for the Newly Diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and CRPS: Guide for Teachers and Other School Personnel booklets. You may view her article featured on The Mighty here and the booklets she created under our resources page.

Dr. Katinka van der Merwe grew up as the daughter of a successful chiropractor outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. She first started studying to become a Doctor of Chiropractic at The Witwatersrand Technikon in South Africa in 1993. She immigrated to the United States of America in 1994 at the age of 20, and received her Doctor of Chiropractic degree at Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas, Texas. Upon graduation, she set out to study post graduate techniques and courses that would allow her to treat chronically and acutely ill patients without any hope.

Dr. van der Merwe has dedicated her career to informing and treating patients who live with chronic daily pain, and those having suffered catastrophic neurologic damage, such as Traumatic Brain Injuries, amputation and paralysis, resulting in chronic neurologic pain.

Dr. van der Merwe is the founder and CEO of The Spero Clinic in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She has treated patients from 47 US states and 34 countries to date. She has gained a world- wide reputation for her significant success in treating non-retractable pain syndromes and chronic pain.

 

Jim Scherer Graduated with his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Ohio University in 2008. He received his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology and Minor in Psychology. While working on his Bachelor’s degree Jim worked at recreation unlimited, a summer camp for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities.

He was the sports program leader and climbing tower director. He went on to become a McKenzie Certified practitioner in 2010, a Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedics in 2010, and completed a Fellowship in Movement Science through Washington University in St. Louis in 2013-2014. 

Jim has been involved a multidisciplinary chronic pain program for the past 6 years, specializing in CRPS ( Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). He has become more interested in the role of the central nervous system in pain, Graded Motor Imagery and the power of cognitive beliefs in chronic pain.

Jim’s treatment philosophy includes a holistic approach to treating chronic conditions that afflict the athletic population, the disabled population, and everyone in between. Jim’s treatment sessions include techniques such as spinal manipulation and mobilization, soft tissue massages, as well as detailed movement analysis to train individuals to move in a less painful way.

He and his patients discuss fears regarding returning to activities, relaxation strategies, and perform visualization to improve confidence and calm down the nervous system. Jim wants to know who you are as a whole person and what your goals are.

In his spare time, he enjoys outdoor adventures including trail running, backpacking, camping, mountain biking, rock climbing, snowboarding and mountaineering. 

Dr. Gutierrez is an interventional  pain  physician based in Austin, Texas.  He first began learning, training and doing research in the treatment of CRPS while in anesthesiology residency at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC. He later completed his subspecialization in pain management at Harvard Medical School’s Arnold-Warfield Pain Center in Boston, MAKE. His academic work researching the use of sub-anesthetic dosed ketamine infusions has been presented and won awards at various pain conferences. 
Dr. Gutierrez believes in a step-wise and aggressive multimodal approach in the treatment of CRPS utilizing therapy, medication and strategic use of neuromodulation. 
Getting his CRPS patients into remission continues to be his mission and greatest motivational force. 

Mental Health Advisory Board

Susan Schuster-Bacon is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (# LMFT 12346), as well as a credentialed teacher in both Regular and Special Education. Professionally, Susan likes to integrate her interests in both therapy and education. She began her career working in the Berkeley Unified School District as a Resource Teacher, mainstreaming children with special needs into typical classrooms.Then, she worked at UCLA with inpatient children who were on the Autistic Spectrum. Subsequently, she was an administrator at the Julia Ann Singer Therapeutic School at Vista del Mar Child and Family Services, where she was in charge of the training program for MFT trainees and associates. She also worked at Para los Ninos as the Clinical Supervisor for MFT and MSW trainees and interns, in addition to having a private practice. More recently, she is an adjunct professor at both Antioch and Pepperdine Universities. In 2020 she became the director of ACTS (Antioch Community Therapy Services), which provides no-cost therapy to individuals in California, as well as Practicum training experience for Antioch students who are studying to become Marriage and Family Therapists.

Marisol is the owner of Peaceful Counseling and Therapy. She is a Latinx bilingual (English/Spanish) and bicultural Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Marisol creates a collaborative, warm, and non-judgmental environment where clients feel empowered with tools and at peace with their story. She believes that it is an honor and privilege to join her clients through their healing process. Marisol uses a person-centered and strengths-based approach while helping you navigate through your experiences and feelings. She specializes in helping survivors of trauma and those with chronic illness. Marisol has a special interest in helping clients with medical-related traumas and/or chronic illness-induced trauma. Marisol’s story of resilience in overcoming her adversities and living with multiple chronic illnesses are the driving forces behind her work. She has a passion for destigmatizing mental health, chronic illness, trauma, and disabilities. Marisol practices cultural humility and is committed to inclusivity, anti-racism, and is LGBTQIA+ affirming.

Marisol is a New York City native and relocated to North Carolina in 2017. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from New York University, where she concentrated in integrated health care and evidenced-based modalities. Marisol graduated cum laude from the City University of New York, Herbert H. Lehman College where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. She has experience providing services in various settings including community outpatient agencies, primary care settings, and private practice. During her spare time, Marisol enjoys practicing mindfulness, playing her singing bowls, creating floral arrangements, and spending time with her husband, 3 dogs (Píto, Snoopy, and Bear), plants and extended family.