About The Tarlov Cyst Disease Foundation

Our Mission

The Tarlov Cyst Disease Foundation is a volunteer-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation dedicated to the research, improved diagnosis and development of successful treatments and outcomes for symptomatic Tarlov cysts.

The Foundation is incorporated exclusively for scientific, educational, and charitable purposes that will seek to improve the level of understanding, diagnosis and treatment of Tarlov cysts.

Contact Information


Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm Eastern Time

Our Objectives

The objectives of the Foundation are to:

  • promote research for Tarlov Cyst Disease
  • collaborate with and educate those in the medical field and the general public about Tarlov Cyst Disease, both nationally and internationally
  • provide resources to Tarlov cyst patients, their families and friends, physicians, and the public
  • conduct surveys with both Tarlov cyst physicians and patients to identify prevalence, determine etiology, and clarify symptomatology as well as share and analyze outcomes of surgery and other treatments of Tarlov cysts
  • publish research results including trends in diagnosis, prognosis, treatments, outcomes and other relevant medical information
  • provide advocacy to Tarlov cyst patients around the world
  • encourage support and raise funds to promote and accomplish these specific objectives and purposes of the Foundation.
Our History

Our founder was diagnosed with Tarlov cysts. It became apparent to her that very few advances had been made in the understanding of the Tarlov cysts in the medical community worldwide, since they had first been described by Isadore M. Tarlov, M.D., in 1938. This realization led her to make more inquiries and contacts internationally to seek information and determine treatment options.

While seeking research institutions and organizations that might be conducting Tarlov cyst research, it became evident that no one was advancing the cause to determine the etiology of these cysts. The vast majority of the international medical community seemed misinformed or uninformed regarding the life-altering symptoms caused by Tarlov cysts. Research and continuing medical education (CME) within the medical community seemed non-existent on the diagnosis of Tarlov cysts and physicians were ill prepared to treat them.

Various medical colleagues, medical professional organizations and the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) were contacted to determine what they might offer in assistance to begin a foundation. A small group of patients with Tarlov cysts felt that the only solution was a Foundation dedicated to Tarlov cyst patient advocacy, research and education. The father of a young Tarlov cyst patient and a nurse/medical educator, who is a Tarlov cyst patient, drafted the initial bylaws for such an organization. In 2006, the Foundation was incorporated as a non-profit organization. A team of 3 patients and 2 attorneys wrote new revised bylaws before filing for a 501(c)(3) status as a tax-exempt non-profit organization. In 2007, the 501(c)(3) application was approved by the IRS.

Years of efforts and fulfilling the goal to legally establish the Foundation, specifically dedicated to finding a cause and cure through medical research and education, became a reality almost 70 years after Dr. Tarlov first described Tarlov cysts to the medical community.

The Tarlov Cyst Disease Foundation is the only foundation in the world that exists solely to support those diagnosed with Tarlov cysts, their families and the medical community, while also working to promote and provide Tarlov cyst research funding and education. We believe our joint efforts will further the Foundation’s vision of a future in which Tarlov cyst disease is well understood, accurately diagnosed and easily treated, so that those afflicted by Tarlov cysts will not suffer needlessly.

We look forward to the future. We hope you will join us in meeting our objectives.

Our Board of Directors

Reta Honey Hiers, R.N., C., MED. ED. – President/Executive Director
Nurse/Medical Educator

Dona DutcherVice President/Director
Patient Survey Advisor, Tarlov cyst patient

Sandy RoofSecretary/Director
Special Events Professional, Tarlov cyst patient

Tammy Zinser-Minocha – Treasurer
Licensed Psychotherapist/ Certified Career and Life Coach

Cathy G. CarlomagnoDirector/Previous Treasurer
Communications/Marketing Professional

Gail Nelson – APRN, BC

Gerald E. Dilts – Retired Broadcaster

Iris Kachuck – PhD, Education

Joanna Yurjevich – Retired Pharmacy Tech

Michelle Lear – Licensed Social Worker

Harris A. (Del) Dutcher, Jr.Board Member Emeritus
Rancher, Former Banker