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

Patrick Ryan, MD


Martin Casaus, CPA

Executive Secretary

Timothy Cavanagh, MD

Auxiliary President

Bonnie Flaherty


Rev. Ed Benioff

Board of Directors

Eli Ayoub, MD
Marcia Smith-Bourain, MD
Jane Fehrenbacher
Martha Franz, MD
Brother John Kiesler, OFM
Margaret Liautaud
MaryLou Malphus
Ashley Martabano, JD
Lynn Powe, RN, JD
Anne Marie Raffo, MD
John Ruley
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 granddaughters, 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 husband Kevin have two amazing young girls, Celeste and Juniper. When she is not taking the girls to the library or park, she is gardening and working on your next email newsletter and marketing plans to move Mission Doctors forward.

Laurie McElroy, Development Coordinator / Office Manager

For over five 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, Noah and Devin, 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.


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.