Bonnie Strauss joined the Board of Directors of The Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2014. As a person living with dystonia for over 30 years, and with a mother and grandmother who lived with Parkinson’s disease, she has become one of the world’s leading advocates working to raise awareness, support research and find a cure for dystonia and Parkinson’s.
Dystonia is a poorly understood condition characterized by painful, prolonged muscle contractions that cause involuntary repetitive twisting and sustained muscle contractions. Dystonia can occur within Parkinson’s disease or on its own, and some therapies hold benefits for both. In 1995, Bonnie established the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson’s Foundation (BSDPF) as Founder and President. BSDPF raised over $36 million and funded 235 grants, enabling researchers to secure an additional $117 million in follow-on funding from the National Institutes of Health and other sources. Under Bonnie’s leadership, the Foundation also established four Bachmann-Strauss Centers of Excellence for the research and treatment of dystonia and Parkinson’s disease.
In January 2015, BSDPF formed a collaborative research alliance with The Michael J. Fox Foundation to establish a major prize for excellence in dystonia research and facilitate support of research overlapping dystonia and Parkinson’s disease.
In addition to her work on behalf of people with dystonia, Bonnie is a committed patron of the arts. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation based in Chicago, as well as New York’s Museum of American Folk Art and the New York City Ballet, where she rejoined the Board in 2014 for her fourth term of service after first being elected to the NYCB Board in 1987.
Bonnie holds a B.A. from Elmira College in upstate New York. A lifelong New Yorker, Bonnie is married to Thomas W. Strauss, Chairman of Ramius, LLC, and Vice Chairman of Cowen Group, Inc. Bonnie is a devoted mother and grandmother.