Neil Friedman MD
Dr. Neil Friedman obtained his medical degree from the University of Cape Town, South Africa in 1987. He spent the next 18 months working in a rural hospital in South Africa before working in London, England, for the next three years in various pediatric subspecialty fields. This included 10 months of research in pediatric neuromuscular disorders under Professor Victor Dubowitz at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School. Dr. Friedman’s specialty training included a pediatrics residency at the University of Arizona (1995) with subsequent completion of a neurology fellowship with special qualifications in Child Neurology through Children’s Hospital, Boston (1998). Dr. Friedman was a staff physician in Pediatric Neurology at the Cleveland Clinic until 2019, where he was the director of the Pediatric Neurology Training Fellowship from 2003 to 2008 and Director of the Center for Pediatric Neurology from 2014-2019. Today he works in pediatric neurology at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. He is board-certified in Pediatric Neurology.
Following her daughter Cameron’s death in 2001 from Tay-Sachs, Blyth offered her perspective on the needs of families caring for children with life-limiting illness and how providers can best meet these needs, representing the parent perspective on panels and in workshops with pediatric residents and specialists. Then, drawing on this experience and more than 20 years as a television producer (ABC News, WGBH), she produced an award-winning film with the American Academy of Pediatrics to help train doctors in how to work with families from the time of diagnosis through to the end of life.
Blyth founded Courageous Parents Network in 2014 and has since worked full-time with leaders in pediatric palliative care—doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners, social workers, patient advocacy groups, palliative and hospice care providers—as well as with bereaved families, and families whose children are currently living with life-limiting illness. She serves on the board of National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association, where she helps oversee NTSAD’s family support services, and as co-chair of the Parent Working Group for the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
Ashley Zakikhani MA
Ashley is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Ohio. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Baldwin Wallace University, she felt called to a relationship-centered ministry. Ashley went on to receive a Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary, which included formal theological training. Ashley’s clinical practice has included individual, family and group counseling. Some areas of competence include mood and anxiety disorders, adjustment disorders, process/behavioral addictions, spiritual issues, eating disorders and young adult issues. Ashley is also a certified practitioner for the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI).