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Featured Profiles

Bringing together members, scientists, and research advocates.
Click below to meet a few people, like you, who help drive progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

My name is Doug Yee and I work as a breast cancer researcherpracticing oncologist, professor of medicine and pharmacology, cancer center director, and Scientific Advisory Committee member.

My research is focused on developing and testing new treatments for cancer. I want to understand how hormonal factors that regulate normal cells also influence cancer cells. My work has focused on insulin-like growth factors (IGF) and how insulin stimulates cancer cells to multiply and spread. My research is aimed at finding methods to inhibit growth factor receptors with targeted therapies.

My medical career started during my undergraduate career when I had a summer internship at the National Cancer Institute working with physician scientists. Upon graduating with my MD from the University of Chicago, I began my medical residency at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. This experience further solidified my interest in oncology and I completed an oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) where I worked in the laboratory with Drs. Marc Lippman and Neal Rosen on IGF stimulation of breast cancer cells. From this experience, I learned that application of laboratory science to the clinic, building on advances we had already made in cancer treatment, would be a path forward.

After positions at Georgetown University and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, I now serve as director of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. I also have a practice in breast cancer medical oncology.

Research and advocacy changed the face of breast cancer.
If you follow the history of breast cancer, you find that improvements in mortality really began when breast cancer advocates became involved. Advocates helped in two ways. First, they increased the funding for breast cancer. Second, they increased awareness allowing women and men to be their own advocates. To me, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation is the next logical extension of breast cancer research and advocacy and I am honored to be part of it.

Participation in clinical research is the only way we can improve breast cancer outcomes. “Moving the ball” requires partnership between women and men in clinical research.

Bench to bedside: all research matters.
All forms of research can have an impact on breast cancer. Bacterial research resulted in the identification of enzymes that precisely cut DNA and founded the basis for molecular biology. Advances in computer science allowed for the ability to sequence the genome. Immunologists developed methods to clone antibodies leading to drugs like Herceptin. We must be advocates for all research as we cannot predict where the next advances will originate.

Fun fact: I am an inline skating marathoner.
While in San Antonio, I began inline skating as a way to exercise. When I moved to Minnesota, I began participating in the Northshore Inline Marathon. This course is 26.2 miles and follows the north shore of Lake Superior to Duluth. This year I completed my 17th race.

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My name is Alma and I am an avid photographer, neuroscientist, breast cancer patient, and long-term Army of Women member.

My experience with breast cancer began in June 2007, just six months after my husband and l got married in Mexico City. While we were waiting to do the immigration paperwork to come to America, he found a tiny lump in my left breast. In December we found out that l had cancer. 

We can be soldiers in this war against cancer.
I was interested in the Army of Women program because I have a background in neuroscience research, so l understand the importance of recruiting diverse and committed volunteers for studies. The first time someone shared a link from the Army of Woman, the study was recruiting for Latin women. I was so happy, because l knew how much value that was going to bring to women like me! l didn’t think twice about participating. Since then, every time l fit the criteria for a research study, l participate. I have been participating in the Army of Women for nine years now. We need clinical research to bolster the well-being of patients and families, and researchers need us to help. We can be soldiers in this war against cancer.

Moving forward for both myself and others.
I hope that one day other people will benefit from research I have participated in. I hope that researchers learn more about chemotherapy and cognitive impairments in particular so that we, as cancer patients, can understand what is happening in our bodies.

If we share our experiences, many patients and families will understand that they are not alone. We have common experiences and we can share them with researchers.

Fun fact: I am an avid nature lover.
l love flowers, gardening, listening to music, beading, knitting, and photography! I like to photograph flowers and animals in particular. I love the sound of waves, so my husband takes me to the beach every weekend, just to hear the voice of the water saying: “you are still around”.

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My name is Vernal Branch and I work as an advocate with NBCC, am a cooking enthusiast, breast cancer patient, Project LEAD graduate, and SAC advocate reviewer.

When I was invited to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee, I immediately said yes, because of Dr. Susan Love’s vision for the foundation. She has been a mentor and friend for many years, and her vision of ending breast cancer has to come, before that we need to find the causes. Also, the inclusiveness of many women and men in this effort is important, along with diversity.

I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 1995 at the age of 45. Eight months before my diagnosis I had just moved from Texas to California, and I had some swelling in my breast, which was unusual because I was no longer was having monthly menses, because of a hysterectomy 5 years before. My mammogram and ultrasound came back negative, so my doctor took me off of the hormones which I was taking for hot flashes. After about two months, while taking a shower, I discovered a small lump in my breast, which continued to get larger after two weeks. I went in to see my doctor, and she sent to get another ultrasound that same day, and when I went back to see her within the hour, she was already setting up another appointment for me to see a surgeon. At that time, I thought I had no family members who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, but after my own diagnosis, I found several other family members who had been diagnosed on my mother’s side of the family. After surgery and treatment, I wanted to get involved with an organization to help me navigate this next phase of my life. I got involved with Y-ME national breast cancer and the National Breast Cancer Coalition. I knew that I wanted to be able to help others, but also wanted to be a part of the national worldwide conversation for advocacy. The following year, I took the NBCC Project LEAD course, and this was empowering me with knowledge and educating me on the disease, and what my advocacy could be a part of. After taking this course, I immediately became a reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. I have also reviewed grants for Komen national, and participated as an Institutional Review Board member of the Virginia Commonwealth Hospital.

Reseach advocacy, coast-to-coast. 
Research is so important for finding the unanswered questions in cancer, so in order to get those questions answered we need the funding for cancer to continue to be at the highest priority for government and non-profits. Collaborations among researchers is also paramount for research to continue.

One of the things that really excites me about research is being able to offer insightful advice to researchers when they are first developing a new research protocol. I have been able to do this with University of Virginia, California Breast Cancer Research Programs, Duke Cancer Institute, Johns Hopkins Hospital and various others for many years now. I will continue this work whether reviewing grants or working with researchers.

Fun fact: I’m an amazing cook.
However, when I was first diagnosed, my three sons were not married, but were in college and one in high school. My husband said he wanted be to be there to rock grandbabies with him one day, and now we have 7 grandchildren whom I adore and love spending time with. My time away from breast cancer activities includes me reading a good mystery or biography. I like to take walks along the lake where I live, and cooking is one of my passions, because I used to be a caterer, but now I enjoy just creating new recipes for family and friends.

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My name is Amy Compeau. I am a designer living and working in San Francisco. I joined the Army of Women in August 2018 after hosting Dr. Love at a women's conference put on by my employer.

I am also a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer 7 years ago at the age of 30. At the time of my diagnosis, I was told by doctors at very prominent and well-respected cancer hospitals that I was not a candidate for aggressive, life-saving treatments due to the fact that my cancer had spread outside of my breast to another part of my body. As an otherwise very healthy young person, I was in disbelief. Luckily, I have medical professionals in my immediate family who knew how to help me seek additional opinions and ask the right questions. Eventually I was able to find doctors and hospitals who had different ways of thinking about advanced breast cancer, and who gave me the option to try new treatments. This process was not easy! I often felt like I had to negotiate and play the opinions of different doctors off of one another. I even had to travel out of state every couple of months for appointments and treatment. Cancer treatment was a long and arduous process, but I'm happy to say that I have had no evidence of disease for 4 years now.

Research drives new treatments and prevention strategies.
Breast cancer research is important to me because I believe it is absolutely crucial that women facing breast cancer have options when it comes to treatment and prevention. Breast cancer is a variegated disease, and there is not a one-size-fits-all treatment or prevention plan. We have a desperate need for more targeted and effective treatments, and it is imperative that those treatments are accessible to women who need them.

Fun fact: I designed the AOW 10th anniversary logo.
After meeting Dr. Love's team and joining the Army of Women, I wanted to do more to support the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. So, I offered to help with any graphic design needs that come up. Sure enough, they had a great project waiting in the wings—a refresh to the Army of Women logo to honor their 10 year anniversary. As I mentioned before, breast cancer is a variegated disease that affects women of all ages and backgrounds, and indeed the Army of Women is committed to making sure that women of all ages and backgrounds are included in research efforts. My goal with this design was to highlight and celebrate that effort.

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My name is Kimlin Ashing and I am a breast cancer researcher, book author, clinical psychologist, and scientific advisory committee member. I am Professor, Beckman Research Institute – City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center and Founding Director –Center of Community Alliance for Research and Education.

As an advocate-scientist, my work is focused on advancing population health. My research looks into how daily living context  culture, ethnicity, socio-ecological like poverty, immigration status, structural like discrimination and health systemic like access, cover and medical home contexts influence health and patient-centered outcomes, including risk, survival and survivorship, distress, symptoms, and quality of life. I apply this knowledge to design and implement interventions to improve well-being and reduce health inequities. I am also partnering with a team of scientists to understand how these daily living contexts interact with biology to influence risk and outcomes.

My academic career started at the University of Colorado, where I received my doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Over the years, I immersed myself in health research seeking to understand and address the social determinants of health with a focus on ethnic and linguistic minorities and low-income populations and cancer. My cancer research training began at UCLA with support from the National Cancer Institute. I have served on scientific and advisory councils to several organizations — including the American Association for Cancer Researchers, American Cancer Society, Latinas Contra Cancer, African-Caribbean Cancer Consortium, and the American Psychosocial Oncology Society.

Your participation reflects a selfless commitment.
Personally, as a cancer researcher, I am honoring my parents. Too early in their lives and my life, I lost both my mom and dad to cancer. I am very grateful to each person affected by cancer who has generously and sincerely shared her cancer and health journey in my studies to increase our understanding and attention to the impact of women’s cancers, especially the impact of cancer on women of color. Research participation is a very personal call. Today research participation is safe and protected with the research participant always in control – you the participant can stop at any time and ask more information so that you feel comfortable. Your participation in research reflects a selfless commitment to the health of your family, community, and society. 

Diversity is important — especially in research.
Science is the foundation of knowledge to understand health and disease. Diversity inclusion in science infuses new hypotheses and ways of tackling complex human diseases like cancer. I am committed to bringing diverse voices to the scientific table – so here I am, ready to serve!

Clinical research brings forth medical advancements and know-how to: 1) promote and protect health; and 2) prevent, detect, diagnose, treat and cure human ailments. Inclusion of diverse populations as scientists, advocates and participants is required for the applicability and utility of the medical know-how to all persons.

Fun Fact: I love being a mom.  
My happiest moments are sharing meals, travel and dancing with my children and extended family. I grew-up in rural Trinidad – so I am at heart an island girl and try to grow tropic fruits in my garden.

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My name is Jackie and I am a retired social worker and have worked for nonprofits my whole career. I started college at the age of 35 as a single mom with two young children. The beauty of that was that I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up! I did my undergrad at the University of Montana then moved to Seattle to attend graduate school at the University of Washington in 1989 and have lived here ever since.

I am grateful to have survived what one of my oncologists described as an ‘ugly’ form of breast cancer, medullary carcinoma.

Paying it forward.
I was inspired to join the Army of Women because I know that clinical trials and the development of effective drugs and interventions are the result of the many research volunteers who have gone before me.

Fun fact: I am a Master Gardener and visual artist.
I am involved with the WSU Master Gardener program in Kitsap County, WA. I volunteer in a garden where we raise food for the local food bank and run a summer activities program for children based on gardening and critters. I am the mother and stepmother of four amazing adult children, now aged 35-40. I am a grammy of four beautiful grandchildren, between 9 months and 9 years old. My happy place is my craft room where I knit and sew and nurture my inner visual artist with painting, calligraphy, drawing and experimenting with whatever medium catches my eye.

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My name is AnneMarie Ciccarella and I am a SAC advocate, ocean lover, and breast cancer survivor.  When I began to move into advocacy, my first volunteer role in a national organization was with Army of Women. I was thrilled and delighted to be invited to join the DSLRF SAC. I believe in the research that is done by the foundation and by the research of others that DSLRF supports. It’s a big plus that Dr. Love is so engaged with patients and has assembled a great team to move the goals of the foundation forward. I think my personal goals closely mirror the goals of the foundation so it’s a great fit for me to be involved.

Moving from patient to advocate. 

I am excited about everything that is being done in breast cancer research. I was taught to try to detach and “hover from above” so looking at the landscape from that vantage point, I appreciate that different researchers specialize in many different areas. Primary prevention is a big deal and close to my heart – I don’t want to be in my mom’s shoes with my own daughter. Quality of life in those living with no evidence of disease but still experiencing the collateral damage of the treatments that got us here is another important area. Stopping the deaths from metastatic disease is something that speaks to me. My mom is living with metastatic disease and being by my friend Lori’s side as the disease just took over and ultimately stole her from us puts that quite high on my list of priorities. If we can find a way to stop the deaths, I think those of us who live with that nagging thought of distant recurrence would have our fears set aside if we knew there were ways to stop metastasis from causing death.

Research is a partnership. You have a say. 

Participating in research does not make us “guinea pigs,” a sentiment I so frequently hear when talking to people. If there is an effective treatment for disease, there are many layers of protection in place to protect the safety of the research participants and for proper management of their disease using, at a minimum, the current standard of care. Patient reported outcomes and real-world evidence is gaining lots of momentum and that’s very exciting, too. This model values patients as partners rather than “subjects” and I think this is a shift that is long overdue! Why settle for a clunky used car when research and participating in clinical trials is offering a brand new, top of the line vehicle? 

Clinical research is the only way we are going to push the needle forward and attacking the issues by addressing the needs of the entire population is key. Different patient groups may have different expectations based upon their needs but I’ve come to learn that cancer is complex and is not one disease but many different diseases. Research, even when it doesn’t work, is providing answers that I know will one day lead us to effective management of breast cancer as a chronic condition and hopefully find ways to prevent it from ever happening. I look forward to the day that cancer will go from being the most feared word on the entire planet, to a word not even known by future generations!

Fun Fact: She'll be by the shells. 

I moved to a beach community about two years ago. The ocean has saved my sanity. I never knew there were so many shells on the beaches in New York. It’s like therapy! I walk beside the ocean year-round and I collect shells. The therapy continues when I bring them into my condo and wash them and then arrange them in glass cylinders. Suffice to say my home has many very large cylinders and bowls containing hundreds of shells, flat rocks and even some driftwood.

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My name is Susan Love and I am a researcher, author of Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, leukemia survivor, speaker, surgeon, and Chief Visionary Officer of Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. My mission is to bring hope, find the causes of breast cancer, and end the disease.

Overcoming obstacles to push research forward.

Currently, I am the Chief Visionary Officer of Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation (DSLRF), where I oversee an active research program centered on the cause, prevention, and impact of breast cancer. The Foundation’s projects include studies to better map the anatomy of the breast, understand the breast microbiome, and triage breast lumps. We also run the Army of Women® program, a creative internet solution partnering the public with scientists with the goal of accelerating breast cancer research.

In June of 2012, I was diagnosed with leukemia and underwent chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. I returned to work in January of 2013 more determined than ever to find the cause of cancer and end it once and for all.

Paving the way for women in medicine.

I went to medical school in the 1970s when women made up about 10 percent of the class. I graduated State University of New York’s Downstate Medical School in 1974 with honors.

As a surgeon in the 1970s and 1980s, I realized that women were not involved in the decision-making process of their own surgery. I offered information and choices to women facing surgery and worked to change the norm from radical mastectomies to more conservative lumpectomies. I also wrote Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book to further educate women about the disease and their treatment options.

I was a “founding mother” of the breast cancer advocacy movement in the early 1990’s. During this time, I helped establish the National Breast Cancer Coalition, an organization that sparked the breast cancer advocacy movement as we know it. From 1998 to 2004, I served on the National Cancer Advisory Board – thanks to my appointment by President Bill Clinton.

After founding the first all-women breast center in Boston, I went on to develop a model for multidisciplinary breast care at the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center. Through research at UCLA, I developed a ductal lavage catheter, a new approach to detecting breast cancer.

Fun Fact: I almost became a nun.

After six months, I realized that it was not my calling, and chose to pursue a career in the medical field instead.

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My name is Lissa Levin, and I am a twenty-five-year veteran of television as a comedy writer-producer. I am also a playwright and award-winning librettist/lyricist of musical theatre. As a two-time breast cancer survivor, I am a committed activist and Army of Women member. My mother died of breast cancer in 1985, the day I found out that I was pregnant with my first child. I was diagnosed six years later at 39, then 22 years later at 61.

While breast reconstruction and treatment have improved, there are still many unknowns. What causes the disease and why does early stage breast cancer return two decades after treatment? We need to learn more about the disease, promote research, and end the disease before it affects the next generation.

I’ve been a Los Angeles member of the Army of Women since its inception.

My experience with breast cancer has led me to become a staunch supporter of Dr. Susan Love and her research. I have produced two fundraising events for the Foundation. I am on the planning committee and a participant in the Foundation’s annual fundraiser, Walk with Love. Additionally, I am deeply committed to research. I am a member of the Army of Women and have participated in the Foundation’s Health of Women (HOW) Study®, as well as a ductal lavage research study.

We are impatient for eradication. Every contribution makes a difference.

I participate because of Dr. Susan Love. Her approach to research is as bold and as urgent as her mission: to eradicate breast cancer completely. The Army of Women is one example of how her work facilitates and accelerates research by saving time and money through recruiting a standing pool of women and men available for studies. Whether or not you’ve had breast cancer, you can play a vital role in ending breast cancer. From answering an online survey to donating a blood or tissue sample, every contribution makes a difference!

Fun Fact: I love music and dancing

I love show tunes, Latin music, cycling, jet skiing, and kickboxing. I’m also addicted to dance classes beyond my level of ability.

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My name is Michael Singer and I am a seven-year male breast cancer thriver and SAC advocate reviewer.

I was diagnosed in 2010 with ductal carcinoma in situ and had a mastectomy of my left breast. At the time, I was embarrassed about my diagnosis because I had never heard of men getting breast cancer. Two years prior, I had lost my sister to breast cancer. Even while caring for her, I did not realize that I could be at risk. I am now an advocate – a voice for the men who are too embarrassed to talk about their disease or are no longer with us. I don’t want men to feel alone or embarrassed when diagnosed with breast cancer.

The disease does not discriminate.

I had met Dr. Susan Love on several occasions and read one of her books. She was kind and down-to-earth. I could tell she wanted to make a difference in the breast cancer community. I joined the Scientific Advisory Committee because I had done several Department of Defense peer reviews and enjoyed them. This SAC is similar in that I can have a voice in what studies will provide a safe and meaningful experience to study participants and have the greatest impact.

I am most excited about research that will help the metastatic breast cancer community. Targeted therapy and immunotherapy will advance through clinical research, and I would love to see more studies done to improve quality of life for metastatic patients. Men with breast cancer are often not included in drug and or clinical trials and this is an excellent way for me to be involved in making a difference.

Paying it forward by participating in clinical research.

Clinical research is so important in saving lives and improving the quality of life for men and women battling this disease. The drugs I take to keep me from possibly having a recurrence were found through research. The treatments we have now were all due to research. Recruiting committed volunteers for clinical research conducted by talented doctors and scientists will in fact help us find a cure.

Fun Fact: I’m a world traveler and motorcycle enthusiast.

I have been retired for seven years and have many personal hobbies such as traveling the world, cooking, fishing, and riding my motorcycle with my wife aboard. I have been married to my childhood sweetheart for 34 years.

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My name is Jessica Clague Dehart and I am a molecular cancer epidemiologist, assistant professor, and Scientific Advisory Committee member.

I enjoy exploring the intersection of health promotion, disease prevention, and cancer epidemiology. I hold an MPH in chronic disease epidemiology from Yale University and a PhD in molecular cancer epidemiology from UT Houston and MD Anderson Cancer Center. After completing my PhD, I worked at City of Hope – first as a postdoctoral fellow, then as an assistant professor. During this time, my research ranged from investigating hereditary breast and ovarian cancers in Hispanic populations to developing a research program that uses data from large observational studies to design wellness intervention trials for cancer survivors.

I am currently working on several community-based intervention trials that investigate the impact of nutrition, physical activity and sleep on molecular markers of cancer prevention, progression, and symptom management. The major focus of my research is identifying and preventing collateral damage of treatment in cancer patients and survivors.

Challenging the research status quo.

I joined the SAC because I fully believe in the mission and vision of Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. I am a transdisciplinary cancer researcher who is also the daughter of a survivor of breast and ovarian cancers. I want to promote and accelerate research that challenges the status quo, while keeping in mind the real target of our work: human beings. The Foundation does exactly that.

Cells, mice, and numbers are important, but we are human! Clinical research allows scientists to study people and better understand which effects different drugs, interventions, and environmental factors are having on the human body.

Diseases we face, especially cancer, are getting more complex. We need to consider how advances to cancer treatments, rising obesity rates, and changes to population age distributions influence these problems. We are able to evaluate these complex issues through transdisciplinary research, which keeps the problem at the core of discussion and invites all necessary disciplines to collaboratively find solutions. To do this right, we need a team!

Fun fact: Growing up, I wanted to be a ballerina scientist.

I was a ballerina and folklorico dancer. As a kid, I dreamed of working in a laboratory in pointe shoes.

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