About Us


The Lupus Initiative® is a program of the American College of Rheumatology’s Collaborative Initiatives. TLI staff members include the following:

Executive Vice President, American College of Rheumatology

Mark Andrejeski serves as Executive Vice President of the American College of Rheumatology, a position he has held since 1987. Under his leadership, the ACR obtained grant funding for The Lupus Initiative® in 2009. His strong support of TLI and Collaborative Initiatives has allowed the ACR to partner with a variety of organizations and experts to increase awareness of lupus and other rheumatic diseases. Mark holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Economics from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University.

Senior Director, Collaborative Initiatives

Sheryl brings two decades of expertise in creating and managing programs that increase diversity and raise awareness of disparities. Sheryl practiced law prior to beginning her work in the nonprofit sector. In her legal career, she represented a primary-care-focused medical school, individual physicians, and a hospital. Most recently she has had significant and measurable success leading results-driven projects related to health disparities in lupus. Sheryl holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Minnesota and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law where she was a Robert Woodruff Fellow.

Director, Collaborative Initiatives

Anna Knippel has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than nine years. The majority of her non-profit career has been dedicated to eliminating disparities in health care for the uninsured and underinsured, with particular emphasis on minority groups. Anna holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Florida State University and a Master’s in Theology from Mercer University, Atlanta.

Senior Manager, Collaborative Initiatives

Starla Tanner has over fifteen years of experience in the nonprofit and government sectors which includes senior staff positions in the North Carolina Department of Insurance, NC Department of Health and Human Services and NC Central University. Her roles have included work on the local, state and federal levels. Prior to joining the TLI team, Starla successfully led ACR legislative advocacy efforts on the state level and increased members of the national ACR Affiliate Society Council. A native of Greenville, NC, Starla holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from North Carolina Central University.

Coordinator, Collaborative Initiatives

Sami serves as coordinator for Collaborative Initiatives. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy from Georgia Institute of Technology.