Kennedy Krieger Institute Appoints Joshua C. Becker, Van Brooks, Dr. Michelle Melicosta to its Board of Directors

tags: International Center for Spinal Cord Injury PACT: Helping Children with Special Needs Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit General News Releases Latest News

BALTIMORE, August 1, 2022 – Kennedy Krieger Institute, an internationally renowned organization with the mission of improving the lives of children, adolescents and adults with disorders and injuries of the nervous system, recently appointed Joshua C. Becker, Van Brooks and Dr. Michelle Melicosta, to its board of directors.

“We are so pleased to welcome these three new board members,” said Dr. Brad Schlaggar, president and CEO of Kennedy Krieger. “They bring a variety of experiences and insights through their dedicated work, and we know their guidance will be invaluable as we serve families in the mid-Atlantic and beyond.”

Joshua C. Becker is the vice president and senior relationship manager at Fulton Bank. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Lynchburg College and has spent more than two decades in the banking industry. Becker also is chairman of the board for PACT, a day care and preschool at Kennedy Krieger which serves children with complex medical needs, toddlers experiencing homelessness and typically developing infants through preschool-aged children. It is the only specialized child care center of its kind in central Maryland.

In addition to his work with PACT, Becker has served as president of the Loyola Blakefield Alumni Board, as a member of the finance committee for Maryvale Preparatory and as treasurer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Maryland.

“PACT is a very special program and a great example of the work that Kennedy Krieger does,” Becker said. “Now I am looking forward to working on behalf of the entire Institute, and I am so pleased that my experience with PACT has led to this.”

Van Brooks is the founder of Safe Alternative Foundation for Education (SAFE), which provides educational resources and opportunities to students in Baltimore and operates the SAFE Center in West Baltimore, the neighborhood where Brooks grew up and continues to live.

For his work in education, Brooks received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from former President Barack Obama. In 2017, Gov. Larry Hogan appointed Brooks to serve as director of the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism. Brooks serves on multiple boards, including for his alma maters, Loyola Blakefield and Towson University, and the University of Maryland Medical System Community Advisory Council.

As a high school student at Loyola Blakefield, Brooks was a three-sport athlete who aspired to play college football. However, in his junior year, he suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed. It also inspired his work in education, and he frequently shares his story as a motivational speaker.

“My journey with Kennedy Krieger started as a teenage patient at the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury (ICSCI) after I was injured. I know firsthand the Institute’s mission and accomplishments, because I lived it,” Brooks said. “To come back to Kennedy Krieger as a board member closes the circle for me, and I hope to use my experiences to help others.”

Dr. Michelle Melicosta is the president of Kennedy Krieger’s medical staff and has been the medical director of the Institute’s Pediatric Neurorehabiliation Unit since 2019. She also is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Melicosta earned her medical degree at Brown University School of Medicine and completed residency at University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinics. She holds a master’s degree in public health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

She joined Kennedy Krieger’s staff and faculty in 2014, and immediately prior to this, worked as a pediatrician at Wiesbaden Army Health Clinic in Germany. Her areas of research interest include acute flaccid myelitis and the care of children with medical complexity, especially in low-resource settings. She is known among her colleagues for her dedication, sense of humor and work ethic.

“Each president of the Institute’s medical staff serves on Kennedy Krieger’s board,” Dr. Melicosta said. “And I’m excited for the opportunity to work with such talented, committed people, and advance our shared goals together.”

About Kennedy Krieger Institute: 

Kennedy Krieger Institute, an internationally known nonprofit organization located in the greater Baltimore-Washington, D.C., region, transforms the lives of more than 25,000 individuals a year through inpatient and outpatient medical, behavioral health and wellness therapies; home and community services; school-based programs; training and education for professionals; and advocacy. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children, adolescents and adults with diseases, disorders and injuries that impact the nervous system, ranging from mild to severe. The Institute is home to a team of investigators who contribute to the understanding of how disorders develop, while at the same time pioneering new interventions and methods of early diagnosis, prevention and treatment. Visit for more information about Kennedy Krieger.      



Carson Rehfield
443-641-3371 (cell)