The Hypersomnia Foundation names Darrel Drobnich its first full-time chief executive officer.

“Darrel brings to the Hypersomnia Foundation outstanding leadership skills, extensive nonprofit management experience, and a proven and long-standing passion for promoting sleep health and patient advocacy. He is uniquely qualified to take the foundation forward and improve the lives of people with idiopathic hypersomnia (IH) and related sleep disorders,” says David Burley, chairman of the board, in a release.

Drobnich has over 25 years of experience in translating scientific findings into public health messages, award-winning educational programs, and advocacy initiatives as chief program officer at the National Sleep Foundation, executive director of the American Sleep Apnea Association, and his own consulting business.

Most recently, Drobnich helped lead a multi-disciplinary team to overturn 20 years of attempts to change unhealthy school start times for 57,000 high students in Fairfax County Public Schools, VA—the 10th largest school system in the country. He also led research efforts related to sleep apnea and patient engagement through the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Additionally, he designed and served as co-principal investigator of the SleepHealth Mobile App Study, a patient-designed and patient-funded Apple ResearchKit study conducted in partnership with Apple and IBM Watson Health Cloud.

“I’m very excited to see how the Hypersomnia Foundation has grown over the last few years and how many treatments are currently being investigated for both narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia. I’m looking forward to expanding our education, advocacy, and research efforts to get more people diagnosed and treated, especially in underserved populations,” Drobnich says in a release.  

Drobnich has served on  expert panels for the Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Institutes of Health. He is currently a preferred peer reviewer for PCORI. He received his bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Michigan.