Pledge to Act


Staff Bios

David Bluestone

David Bluestone has been a stem cell research advocate for over a decade. One of the first hires to the Proposition 71 campaign, David managed volunteer and campus outreach, as well as helped to build the campaign's (very nascent) online presence.  After Proposition 71, he worked with Americans for Cures as the Public Policy Director and helped the organization expand its advocacy beyond California in key states throughout the country.  In this role, David coordinated grassroots advocacy strategy and messaging communications to increase public and political support for expanded embryonic stem cell research policy.  He has served on the Board of Americans for Cures Foundation since its inception.

Bluestone is the founder and partner of consulting and public opinion research firm, ClearPath Strategies.  He has over 10 years of experience providing strategic consulting and public opinion research to non-profits, politicians, and companies in the United States, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. His deep understanding of research, public policy, and campaigns helps organizations create and maintain the will to affect transformative change in politics and public policy in the United States and throughout the world.  He brings deep academic grounding and understanding of politics, policy, and foreign affairs as a Master’s of Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a Fulbright Scholar. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California—Berkeley.


Mary Bass

Director, Public Policy and Charitable Programs


Mary Bass became involved with Americans for Cures as an intern while still a student at Stanford; she has since embarked on a career in stem cell research advocacy and is now on the leadership team of the organization.  Mary’s academic exposure to the life sciences, economics, and public policy gives her a comprehensive understanding the myriad complexities, perspectives, and challenges surrounding stem cell research.  The breadth of her academic background leaves her uniquely equipped to handle the intersection of these different fields as they apply to stem cell research.


Mary’s responsibilities at Americans for Cures span a range of issues. On the scientific front, Mary is responsible for synthesizing dense scientific research and creating easy-to-grasp materials for public consumption.  In terms of economics, Mary has a deep understanding of bond financing and its applications to medical research; she is directing the organization’s economic analysis of Proposition 71’s impact over the past decade.  On the communications front, Mary is responsible for coordinating the 71 patient advocacy orgs that supported Proposition 71. She is managing an active coalition of stem cell supporters throughout the state and country.


Mary graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Public Policy, concentrating in Health Policy and Biomedical Ethics.  She grew up in northwestern Montana and is an avid snowboarder. 


Don C. Reed
Vice President, Public Policy

Don Reed has served on the Board of Americans for Cures Foundation and its predecessors since start-up. He is currently our Vice President, Public Policy on a part-time basis.

Don is an extraordinary patient advocate who has made it his life's work to advance and protect all forms of stem cell research. His motivation comes from his son, Roman Reed, who was paralyzed in a college football game in 1994.  He's a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post.

Don's accomplishments include:

  • Citizen-sponsor, California's Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act (1999)
  • Chair and co-founder, Californians for Cures (2000-present)
  • Grassroots organizer, California Senator Deborah Ortiz' legislation on stem cell research (2002-2003)
  • Recipient, Willie Shoemaker Award for Advancing Spinal Cord Injury Awareness (2005)
  • Stem Cell Research Advocate of the Year, Genetic Policy Institute (2006)
  • Board Member, Americans for Cures Foundation (previously Alliance for Stem Cell Research) (2004-present)
  • Board member, Proposition 71 Campaign/Americans for Cures Action Network (2003-present)
  • Weblog author, Stem Cell Battles (2005-present)
  • Author, five books and 30 magazine articles
  • Recipient, National Press Award, Juvenile Series (1996)

Jacqueline Hantgan
Director, Patient Organization Relations

Jacqueline Hantgan joined Americans for Cures Foundation as Outreach Director in 2006 on a part-time basis. She is responsible for our national Speakers Network which comprises over 160 people whom we have trained to speak on stem cell related issues. She also maintains our relationships with patient advocacy organizations. She was previously Outreach and Advocacy Associate for Proposition 71 (2004-2005).

Jacqueline's immediate past  position was as Director of Community Events, Albert L. Schultz Jewish Community Center (2005-2008). Her work there included management of an annual fundraiser (which raised over $300,000 last year). From 1995-2001 she was an elementary school teacher in schools in California and New York City. Her volunteer experience includes serving on the Board of the Women's Alliance for Jewish Federation (2005-2006) and the non-profit charity Kavod (1994-present).

Jacqueline holds a masters degree in anthropology and education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She and her husband Josh have three children.