June 25, 2018

Contact:  Clifford F. Gorski
UMDF Director of Communications
412.793.8077 –


(Pittsburgh, PA) The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF) announced that its board of trustees chose Brian Harman as the organization’s next chief executive officer and president.   Harman will begin his new role with UMDF on July 9, 2018.  Harman succeeds Charles A. Mohan, Jr., the UMDF’s current CEO and founder, who announced that he was transitioning out of current role as CEO and Executive Director.

“After a comprehensive national search process, the board of trustees found Brian to be the best candidate to build on Chuck’s legacy in the discovery of treatments and cures for our patients and their families,” said Brent Fields, Chairman of the UMDF Board of Trustees.   Fields along with three current and one former board member led the search process and will now guide the transition in leadership.  “Brian’s expertise in donor development, advocacy, support, and education makes him a great fit for UMDF and we are delighted that he has accepted the position,” Fields added.

Since 2014, Harman has served as Senior Director, Corporate Engagement and Community Partnerships at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation in Pittsburgh.  Prior to that, he spent nearly a decade as Director of Annual Giving at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH.  Brian also served as an Executive Director for the American Cancer Society in Ohio as well as roles within development and grassroots advocacy for that organization.  Harman is a graduate of Ohio University and has a degree in communications.   He and his family live in Pittsburgh.

Mohan, expressed confidence in the search committee’s choice.  “I’ve had the opportunity to talk with Brian and I am confident that he will successfully steer UMDF towards continued success in the years ahead.”

Founded in 1996, the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF) works to promote research and education for the diagnosis, treatment and cure of mitochondrial diseases and to provide support for affected individuals and families. Since its inception, the UMDF has funded more than $11 million in research, making it the leading non-governmental contributor of grants focused solely on mitochondrial disease. The UMDF, based in Pittsburgh, PA, is a national organization represented around the world by thousands of members. For more information about mitochondrial disease or the UMDF, visit

Every 30 minutes, a child is born who will develop a mitochondrial disease by age 10, although the actual number of children born with the disease is thought to be much higher. More and more adults are being diagnosed with a mitochondrial disease.  Mitochondrial diseases result from the failure of the mitochondria, which are located in the cells of our bodies. Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed to sustain life and support growth. When mitochondria fail, less energy is produced causing cell injury or cell death. On a larger scale, organ systems begin to fail. The disease is often debilitating. In some cases, it may result in death.  There is no cure for mitochondrial disease.