Mission Doctors Association

MDA Team

Board of Directors

Mission Doctors Association is led by a dedicated Board of Directors, many of whom have served themselves in mission.

Guiding the efforts of MDA, the Board of Directors works to ensure that Catholic Doctors and their families will have the support necessary to provide care for our sisters and brothers around the world.


Thomas Liautaud

Vice President

Lynn Powe, RN, JD


Martin Casaus, CPA

Executive Secretary

Timothy Cavanagh, MD

Auxiliary President

Bonnie Flaherty


Rev. Ed Benioff

Board of Directors

Eli Ayoub, MD

Martha Franz de Leon, MD
Melanie Elfrink, MD

Brother John Kiesler, OFM

Margaret Liautaud

MaryLou Malphus

Ashley Martabano, JD
John Nguyen

Anne Marie Raffo, MD

Henoc Rodriquez, MD
John Ruley
Patrick Ryan, MD

Jennifer Thoene, MD

Mission Doctors Staff

Under the direction of the Board of Directors, the staff of Mission Doctors Association sees to the day to day efforts to recruit, train, send and support Catholic Doctors and their families.

Elise Frederick, Executive Director

Elise and her husband Tom and their young family served as in Thailand as lay missionaries from 1978 to 1981, and she left her heart in the missions. Since returning, she has worked for Mission Doctors, working with the doctors who serve long and short term, with the Auxiliary and all the friends of MDA. She has visited the Bishops and Religious, as well as the Mission Doctors in Africa and Latin America. She is often quoted saying that “The best part of my job is working with all the amazing doctors, the dedicated Board of Directors, and all of MDA’s friends and supporters.” In addition to being married to always helpful, husband Tom for 40 years, she is the mother of four adult children. If you are around her very long (more than 5 minutes), know she will find a way to get you involved in the work of Mission Doctors too! In her free time, you can find Elise playing with her grandkids, watercolor painting, and cooking.

Jessica Franks, Communications Director

Jessica was born a “mission baby” when her parents were serving with Lay Mission-Helpers (Mission Doctors’ sister organization) in Thailand. Continuing the family tradition, Jessica fell in love with nonprofit work at a young age and started adopting animals, attending demonstrations and sending advocacy letters to elected officials. Jessica did a volunteer year at the White Violet Center at St. Mary of the Woods in Indiana after finishing college. In 2008, Jessica began her work with Mission Doctors. She oversees the website development, and the design of all print material and ensures that MDA is well represented on Social Networking! She and her husband Kevin have two amazing kids. When she is not taking them to the library or park, she is gardening and working on your next email newsletter and marketing plans to move Mission Doctors forward.

Laurie Wilson, Development Coordinator / Office Manager

For over ten years, the professional and friendly voice who answers your call to MDA is our experienced Administrative and Development professional, Laurie. In her work, Laurie wears many hats. She organizes and manages special events and provides support for all aspects of the day-to-day running of the organization. She has two wonderful boys who are attending Catholic schools. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and following the LA Dodgers and Lakers! You can find her throughout the week at her sons’ many activities.

Amie Garcia, Program Coordinator

Amie Garcia began her career working at a student-run youth shelter throughout college. She knew that upon graduating she wanted to pursue a career in international service and development, so in 2019 Amie left to serve as a Youth Development Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic. After ending her service a year early due to COVID-19, and travelling back to get her dog to the United States, Amie began working for the Catholic Charities of Los Angeles at the Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children as a Case Manager for their Recovery Rehousing Program. Amie has now happily joined Mission Doctors Association as Program Coordinator. In her free time, Amie is usually outdoors hiking with her dog, playing beach volleyball, or currently, learning how to rollerblade.

Loreto S. Melo, Bookkeeper

Loreto Melo assists Mission Doctors with bookkeeping and financial record keeping. She recently retired from a UCLA affiliated non-profit community health center after 32 years. Loreto is an active parishioner of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Atwater Village, Los Angeles.

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