American Cancer Society
Kassandra I. Alcaraz, PhD, MPH is an expert in health disparities science with specialized training in health communication and cancer prevention and control. Her applied, interdisciplinary research employs novel methods to help elucidate and eliminate disparities in cancer. Much of her research aims to efficiently connect medically vulnerable populations to evidence-based health information, programs, and services. As the American Cancer Society’s principal health equity scientist, Dr. Alcaraz is the Principal Investigator of multiple studies examining socio-contextual and biobehavioral health determinants across the cancer control continuum, with the goal of optimizing targeted intervention strategies for populations suffering disparities. Currently, she is pioneering research identifying how social and life contexts influence health behavior and outcomes in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. Dr. Alcaraz’s research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the American Cancer Society, among other sources. Her work has been recognized for research excellence and innovation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the American Association for Cancer Research.
Kimlin Tam Ashing, PhD
City of Hope
Dr. Kimlin Tam Ashing is professor, and Founding Director of the Center of Community Alliance for Research and Education (CCARE) at City of Hope Medical Center. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. As an advocate-scientist, her work is advancing population health. She is a Population, Behavioral Scientist working to develop and implement evidenced based, culturally, clinically and community responsive health improvement interventions. Her mission is to engage advocates and civil society in science to speed-up and ensure the public benefit of biomedical research and advancements.
Dr Ashing holds several national leadership roles within the African-Caribbean Cancer Consortium; National Advisory Council for the Asian Pacific Islander Native Hawaiian Cancer Survivors Network and the Young Survival Coalition; and on the Executive Council of American Cancer Society, Los Angeles. She is a Life member of the Association of Black Psychologists and a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She served as Board Member and continues on the Scientific Committee of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society. She serves as Scientific Advisor to Latinas Contra Cancer, Caribbean Medical Providers Practicing Abroad and Army of Women. She is scientific partner with the Association of Black Women Physicians, Los Angeles Chapter, and The Take Action of Health Initiative--a community benefits partnership among National Urban League, Anthem and Pfizer. She was awarded the prestigious Fox Award for advancing the field of Psychooncology by the International Psychooncology Society, and is a member of the Human Rights Taskforce. She sits on the Minority in Cancer Research Council of the American Association of Cancer Researchers – the largest body of cancer researchers in the world.
Dr. Ashing is the notable leader in examining health disparities, and cancer inequities, survivorship and quality of life. She has published over 80 articles and book chapters. Her scholarship is to understand how culture, ethnicity, socio-ecological, structural and systemic contexts influence health and patient centered outcomes including mortality, morbidity, distress, symptoms and quality of life. She applies this knowledge to implement interventions to improve well-being and reduce health inequities
She partners with community advocates and multi-sectoral stakeholders to develop and implement community participatory programs and interventions to reduce the risk and burden of chronic illnesses, including cancer, obesity and diabetes. She is a community-minded researcher who is guided by the intersectionality of society, biology, culture and person. Her studies are multicultural with diverse ethnic groups, including African Americans, Afro-Caribbean Americans, Latino Americans, Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, Filipino Americans, Korean Americans and European Americans.
As a woman of color raised in a multicultural (Chinese and Afro-Caribbean) and multilingual home, and the youngest of eight siblings, she recognized the salience of culture and context very early in her life. As the daughter of two former cancer survivors, and as a psychologist, she is compassionate and passionate about her work to reduce cancer disparities and inequities, and enhance health outcomes for underserved communities. Dr. Ashing is the mother of three children: Joshua – enjoying a career in Market Research; Kemi - a poised, math, science and technology enthusiast High School Senior; and Ajorin – a sport enthusiast 6th grader. She lives in beautiful Altadena, California. She thrives on faith, family, work and organic gardening.
Karen Basen-Engquist, PhD, MPH
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a Professor of Behavioral Science and the Director of the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Basen-Engquist’s research focuses on cancer survivors and the role of health behavior interventions in decreasing the severity of late effects, improving physical functioning, optimizing quality of life and reducing risk of chronic diseases. In addition, she studies intervention methods for behavior change and innovative real-time methods for assessing symptoms and behavior in cancer patients and survivors.
Dr. Basen-Engquist recently completed an R01 study funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to investigate the mechanisms of exercise adoption and maintenance in endometrial cancer survivors, using a social cognitive theory model that tests the social, physiological and behavioral predictors of exercise adherence. Additionally, 2 NCI-funded pilot studies evaluated the benefits of exercise for advanced colon cancer patients and cancer survivors with chemotherapy induced heart failure. She currently directs a prevention program funded by the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to increase physical activity among medically underserved breast cancer survivors.
Through activities at the Center, Dr. Basen-Engquist endeavors to expand energy balance research by facilitating collaboration among investigators and expanding research in 4 broad areas – the effect of exercise, nutrition, and weight control on outcomes in cancer survivors and people at increased risk of cancer; biological mechanisms underlying relationships between energy balance and cancer; dissemination and implementation research related to energy balance interventions; and basic biobehavioral mechanisms underlying exercise, eating behavior and weight loss.
Donald Berry, PhD
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Don Berry is a professor in the Department of Biostatistics of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He was founding Chair of this department in 1999. Dr. Berry received his Ph.D. in statistics from Yale University, and previously served on the faculty at the University of Minnesota and at Duke University. He has held endowed faculty positions at Duke University and M.D. Anderson. Since 1990 he has served as a faculty statistician on the Breast Cancer Committee of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), a national oncology group. In this role he has designed and supervised the conduct of many large U.S. intergroup trials in breast cancer. Through Berry Consultants, LLC he has designed many innovative designs of clinical trials for pharmaceutical and medical device companies and for federally funded collaborations in many different diseases. He is well known as a developer of Bayesian adaptive designs that efficiently use information that accrues over the course of the trial. These trials minimize sample size while increasing the likelihood of detecting drug activity.
Under his direction the Department of Biostatistics at M.D. Anderson designed over 300 clinical trials that take a Bayesian approach. He is co-developer (with Giovanni Parmigiani) of BRCAPRO, a widely used program that provides individuals’ probabilities of carrying mutations of breast/ovarian cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2.
Dr. Berry is the author of several books on biostatistics and over 300 published articles, including first-authored articles in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and Nature. Dr. Berry has been the principal investigator for numerous research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.
Julia Brody, PhD
Silent Springs Institute
Dr. Julia Brody, executive director of Silent Spring Institute, is a leader in research on breast cancer and the environment and in community-based research and public engagement in science. Brody’s current research focuses on methods for reporting to people on their own exposures to hormone disruptors and other emerging contaminants when the health effects are uncertain. She also recently led a project connecting breast cancer advocacy and environmental justice in a study of household exposures to endocrine disruptors and air pollutants through a collaboration of Silent Spring Institute, Communities for a Better Environment (a California-based environmental justice organization), and researchers at Brown University and the University of California, Berkeley. Since 1996, Brody has been the principal investigator of the Cape Cod Breast Cancer and Environment Study, a case-control study of 2,100 women that includes testing for 89 endocrine disruptors in homes and historical exposure mapping. The study was the first to measure estrogenic activity in groundwater and drinking water. Results have been published in Environmental Health Perspectives and elsewhere. Dr. Brody led a two-year review of scientific review of evidence on animal mammary gland carcinogens and epidemiologic studies of breast cancer and environmental pollutants, diet, body size, and physical activity, which was published in a special supplement to the American Cancer Society peer-reviewed journal, Cancer.
Brody’s research is supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the New York Community Trust, and the Avon Foundation, among others. Her research collaborators include investigators at Harvard and Brown universities, the University of California, Berkeley, and elsewhere. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized her research with an Environmental Merit Award in 2000, and she has been honored by the Heroes Tribute of the Breast Cancer Fund. She presented one of the Distinguished Lectures at the National Cancer Institute in 2002 and the Keystone Science Lecture at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in 2009. She serves on the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council, appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and she is as an advisor to the California Breast Cancer Research Program and breast cancer activist organizations.
Dr. Brody is an adjunct assistant professor at the Brown University School of Medicine. She earned her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin and her AB at Harvard University.
Jessica Clague DeHart, PhD, MPH
Clarmont Graduate University
Dr. Jessica Clague DeHart is a molecular epidemiologist, an Assistant Professor at Claremont Graduate University, School of Community and Global Health and a Visiting Professor at City of Hope. Dr. Clague DeHart graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelors in health promotion and disease prevention. She completed a masters of public health in chronic disease epidemiology from Yale University and a PhD in molecular cancer epidemiology from UT Houston and MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Clague DeHart completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the City of Hope in the Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics where she investigated hereditary breast and ovarian in Hispanic populations. As an assistant professor at the City of Hope she developed a research program that uses data from large observational studies to design wellness intervention trials for cancer survivors. Dr. Clague DeHart is currently the principal investigator on several community-based intervention trials that investigate the impact of nutrition and physical activity on molecular markers of cancer prevention, progression, and symptom management. A major focus of her research is the identifying and preventing collateral damage of treatment in cancer patients and survivors.
Susan Clare, MD, PHD
Susan Clare received both her PhD in Chemistry and MD from Northwestern University. Following completion of training in general surgery at Northwestern, Dr. Clare was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute, NIH. She returned to Northwestern as a member of the Surgery Faculty in 1998. In 2003 Dr. Clare was recruited to Indiana University and after nearly a decade at IU, Dr. Clare returned to Northwestern in 2013.
Dr. Clare's current laboratory research interests include a) The utilization cells of the immune system to deliver therapeutics to primary and metastatic breast cancer, b) The normal breast, and c) The mechanisms by which DNA becomes mutated. Over the years her research activities have been supported by the NIH, The US Department of Defense, Susan G. Komen, Oracle Giving, and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and The Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation.
She is the recipient of The Compassionate Care Award of the Robert Lurie Cancer Center, the Society of Surgical Oncology’s James Ewing Oncology Fellowship for Basic Research, The Executive Women in Health Care’s Excellence in Leadership Award, the Excellence in Teaching Award given by the IU Department of Surgery and the Exceptional Mentor Award presented by the American Medical Women’s Association.
Kay Dickersin, PHD
Johns Hopkins University
Kay Dickersin, M.A., Ph. D. is Professor of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she serves as the Director for the Center for Clinical Trials and Evidence Synthesis. She is also Director of the U.S. Cochrane Center (USCC), one of 43 Centers and Associate Centers worldwide participating in The Cochrane Collaboration.
Kay’s main research contributions have been in in the area of scientific integrity, reporting biases, trials registration, clinical trials, systematic reviews and meta-analysis, and the development and utilization of methods for comparative effectiveness research. She has led and participated in research on reporting biases since the 1980s, most recently comparing internal documents to the published record for scientific research. Kay has also been active in efforts to register trials, including coordinating the Cochrane Collaboration’s CENTRAL register of reports of controlled trials from 1993 to 2005, and serving as Co-Chair of the WHO’s Scientific Advisory Board for the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (2005-2008). Kay’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and others.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1986, Kay was co-founder of Arm-in-Arm, a Baltimore-based breast cancer support group, and a founding mother of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) where she served on the Board of Directors from 1991-1994. With Dr. Susan Love, she served as Co-Chair of the NBCC’s Research Task Force from 1991-99. In 1993 and 1994, Kay initiated a series of “teach-ins” for the NBCC Board designed to expose them to the underlying concepts in biology and epidemiology that they would need to be active contributors to the research agenda. This project expanded in1995, when she developed the original Project LEAD a flagship science education program offered by NBCC to consumer advocates. Over the past 20 years, Project LEAD has been refined and expanded by many scientists, consumers, and NBCC’s dedicated staff and is still an important component of NBCC’s contributions.
Kay has been involved in establishing and supporting Consumers United for Evidence (CUE), a partnership between scientists and health and consumer advocacy organizations begun in 2003. CUE joins consumer groups in a coalition for education, networking, and action. For example, CUE provides educational opportunities related to research and research implementation, and also helps health professional groups to identify consumers for meaningful engagement in their work (e.g., research and on advisory and guideline panels).
Over the years, Kay has developed and taught many courses on evidence-based healthcare, epidemiology, clinical trials and systematic reviews for scientists, consumers, and others. For example, for consumers, Kay worked with Musa Mayer, to co-develop the open access CUE-USCC online course for consumer advocates “Understanding Evidence-based Healthcare: A Foundation for Action”, launched in 2007, with a module on the FDA launched in 2011. CUE has sponsored many other online resources, including educational videos for consumers on what it is like to serve on an Advisory panel. Also relevant is the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis she teaches with Dr. Tianjing Li, offered online free of charge through Coursera. In only 2 years, this course has enrolled nearly 30,000 students worldwide.
Kay has also received numerous awards for her work, both for her scientific contributions and work on behalf of consumers. She was elected as President of the Society for Clinical Trials (2008-9) where she is also a fellow, and has elected membership in the American Epidemiological Society, the Society for Research Synthesis Methods, and the National Academy of Medicine. Of note, she received the Ingram Olkin Award from the Society for Research Synthesis Methods for Lifetime Achievement in Research Synthesis Methods in 2014; and she was named a Pioneer of Transparency - People Who Pushed for Change (one of 10 people) by the BMJ (British Medical Journal) in 2015. Notable consumer-related awards include the Ellen Barnett Memorial Award, Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for the Cure in 1995; NBCC’s “Exceptional Advocate” award in 2000; and “Contributions and Enduring Commitment to the Eradication of Cancer,” from the American Association for Cancer Research in 2007.
Kay’s education spans the basic sciences and public health; she received an MA in zoology/cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1975, and a PhD in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health, in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1989.
Suzanne Fuqua, PhD
Baylor College of Medicine
Dr. Fuqua has a Bachelor's degree and a Master's Degree from the University of Houston. Her PhD is in Cancer Biology from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Science. She is a Professor of Medicine, and Molecular and Cellular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine. The main goal of her research is to determine the role of specific somatic mutations in estrogen receptor alpha, called K303R and Y537N, in the clinical problem of hormone resistance. Dr. Fuqua was the first to discover alternatively spliced transcriptional isoforms and somatic mutations in breast tumors. She has determined that the K303R mutation alters many aspects of hormone action, including binding to co-regulatory proteins, enhanced stability, estrogen hypersensitivity, response to tamoxifen, and resistance to the aromatase inhibitor anastrazole. Her team discovered the Y537N mutation, a constitutionally active receptor in metastatic tumors. A major goal of her laboratory is to develop novel therapeutics to target these alterations in ER alpha to restore hormone sensitivity, as well as to identify other novel mechanisms of resistance.
Judy Garber, MD, MPH
Judy E. Garber, MD, MPH is the Director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Attending physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Her interests focus on breast cancer genetics, risk reduction and the development of therapeutics for the treatment and prevention of breast and related cancers in individuals carrying predisposing mutations. Her research includes the study of basal-like breast cancer, common in women with BRCA1 mutations. Her first neo-adjuvant trial of cisplatin in patients based on the role of BRCA1 in DNA repair demonstrated a significant complete response rate that has led to a series of trials, including a randomized phase II international, multicenter trial. Her research also includes the evaluation of novel agents targeting DNA repair defects in the treatment and prevention of triple negative or basal-like breast cancer, particularly platinums, PARP inhibitors and RANK ligand inhibitors.
Dr. Garber was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2013. She is a past president of the American Association for Cancer Research and a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board. She also served on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute. She has been a member of the BCRF Scientific Advisory Board since 2008.
Mia Gaudet, PhD
American Cancer Society
Mia M. Gaudet, PhD is a Scientific Director of Epidemiology Research at the American Cancer Society. Her research focuses primarily on the clarification and identification of genetic and non-genetic risk factors for subtypes of breast cancer with an emphasis on more fatal subtypes in the Cancer Prevention Study cohorts and other collaborative efforts. In the Cancer Prevention Studies, she initiated and oversees the collection and characterization of breast and ovarian tissue from women diagnosed with these cancers. She also participates in research projects related to associations of risk factors with risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers. Prior to moving to ACS in 2010, she held academic appointments at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She obtained her doctoral degree in Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her post-doctoral fellowship training at the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute.
Ernest Hawk, MD, MPH
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Ernest Hawk, MD, MPH, is vice president and division head for Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and holds the T. Boone Pickens Distinguished Chair for Early Prevention of Cancer. Additional responsibilities include leadership of the Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment, and co-leadership of MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention and Control Platform which advances community health promotion and cancer control through evidence-based public policy, public and professional education, and community-based service implementation and dissemination. A native of Detroit, MI, Dr. Hawk earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees at Wayne State University and his master of public health degree at Johns Hopkins University. He completed an internal medicine internship and residency at Emory University, a medical oncology clinical fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco and a cancer prevention fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Prior to his appointment at MD Anderson in December 2007, Dr. Hawk held several positions at the NCI including service as the director of the Office of Centers, Training and Resources, responsible for the NCI’s cancer centers program, a major translational science program (i.e., the SPORE program), the NCI’s extramural training enterprise, and its extramural disparities portfolio. Additionally, he served as Chief of the Gastrointestinal and Other Cancers Research Group, medical officer in the Chemoprevention Branch, and chair of the Translational Research Working Group.
Dr. Hawk has been involved in a wide range of preclinical and clinical chemoprevention research, including developmental studies of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, COX-2 inhibitors, and preventive agent combinations in high-risk cohorts. He earned numerous awards for his work, including the NCI Research Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Prevention, the NCI Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology-American Cancer Society Award and Lecture for Contributions to Cancer Prevention and Management in 2015. Most recently, his interests have broadened to include improvement of minority and underserved populations’ participation in clinical research, and the integration of risk assessment, behavioral science, and preventive strategies in clinical and public health settings. He has published more than 175 scientific articles and book chapters, edited three books, and serves as the current deputy editor for Cancer Prevention Research, and on the editorial board of Cancer Medicine.
Lisa Kay Jacobs, MD
Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Jacobs specializes in melanoma and breast cancer. Her initial practice was at the University of Missouri at the Ellis Fischel State Cancer Center, which is the designated cancer center for the state. Since joining Johns Hopkins in 2004, she has taken a leadership role regarding clinical research trials for the surgical division of the Johns Hopkins Breast Center. In 2012, Dr. Jacobs established a new breast center at Howard County General Hospital. As director of that program, she treats patients with all types of breast disease and melanoma.
Dr. Jacobs has a clinical interest in treatment of early stage melanoma. She has worked closely with dermatologists and medical oncologist at Johns Hopkins University and Howard County General Hospital to improve awareness and care of melanoma patients by participating in educational programs and clinical research trials.
Breast cancer care has been a focus of Dr. Jacobs clinical practice since finishing her surgical oncology fellowship. Her primary clinical interest is in improving overall quality of life for breast cancer patients. To achieve that goal, she has initiated research programs in lymphedema and oncoplastic surgery, which attempts to increase the number of women eligible for breast preservation by combining lumpectomy with plastic surgery techniques to reshape the breast. In addition, she has a research funding to investigate a new device that may reduce the number of surgeries required to achieve breast preservation
Corrine Leach, PhD, MPH, MS
American Cancer Society
Dr. Leach is a Senior Principal Scientist in the American Cancer Society’s Behavioral and Epidemiology Research Group. She conducts original behavioral research in the areas of cancer survivorship, aging, and chronic-disease self-management. She has a passion for understanding the factors that contribute to healthy aging and learning ways to help people live healthier lives, including after a cancer diagnosis. In addition, she is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.
Corinne currently serves as the ACS-lead of the ACS-NCI online self-management platform, Springboard Beyond Cancer, for cancer survivors which launched October 2016. This eHealth tool empowers cancer survivors to better manage their symptoms (both in treatment and post-treatment), live healthier after cancer, improve their communication skills about their cancer/other conditions with their healthcare professionals, family and friends, and will leverage the Cancer Survivors' Network to provide peer-to-peer support. She recently led the user testing, qualitative evaluation, and the pilot randomized evaluation trial of the online platform.
She also serves as the PI of the ACS Cancer Survivor Transition Study, a longitudinal, mixed-method (qualitative and quantitative) national project to identify and prioritize gaps in information and resources for cancer survivors as they transition from active treatment back to the community care setting.
Marilyn Kwan, PhD
Marilyn L. Kwan, PhD is a Research Scientist II (equivalent to Associate Professor academic rank) at the Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California. She graduated from University of California, Berkeley with her Ph.D. in Epidemiology in May 2004 and completed a one-year postdoctoral fellowship in September 2005, also at UC Berkeley. Dr. Kwan joined the Division of Research in July 2005, where her current research focus is breast and bladder cancer prognosis and survival. Specifically, her interests include lifestyle and molecular factors and their associations with cancer recurrence, survival, and quality of life. She also studies the long-term health effects of cancer treatment, specifically lymphedema and bone health, in breast cancer survivors. Dr. Kwan’s research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, and California Breast Cancer Research Program.
Susan McCann, PhD, RD
Roswell Park Cancer Center
Dr. McCann is a registered dietitian and has completed training in nutrition, epidemiology, and methods of analyzing complex dietary and epidemiologic data. Her research interests include the relationships between diet and cancer, especially cancers of the breast, endometrium, and ovary. More specifically, she is interested in phytochemicals as dietary compounds affecting cancer risk and prognosis, and is further interested in the effect of genetic variation on these relationships. She has conducted several dietary intervention studies to investigate the role of dietary components in cancer or cancer related risk factors. She has also been involved in research that utilizes data reduction analytic methods such as principal components analysis. Finally, she is interested in the application of metabolomics and genomics to problems of diet in the etiology and prognosis of cancer and the role of the gut microbiome in cancer etiology.
She has conducted several clinical trials funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and National Cancer Institute (NIH) studying the effects of flaxseed on breast cancer etiology and survival. Dr. McCann has recently investigated the role of modification of dietary glycemic load in expression of miRNAs related to cancer and energy metabolism and reported that a low glycemic diet may affect expression of several miRNAs related to energy metabolism and cancer processes. She is currently conducting a flaxseed intervention study in healthy African American and Caucasian postmenopausal women to investigate the interaction between the gut microbiome and genetic variation on changes in steroid hormone metabolism in response to the flaxseed intervention.
McCann has authored or co-authored more than 80 journal articles, abstracts, and book chapters, is a First Editor of Nutrition Research Reviews, and serves as an ad hoc reviewer for the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, American Journal of Epidemiology, Cancer Causes and Control, and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
Dr. McCann is actively involved in the education of scientists at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. She has mentored numerous graduate students in the Interdisciplinary Sciences Masters degree program, and several masters and doctoral candidates in Epidemiology. She designed, and teaches annually, PTR 502 Analysis of Health Related Data.
Sofia Merajver, PHD
University of Michigan
Dr. Merajver is Scientific Director of the Breast Cancer Program and Director of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk Evaluation Program at the UM Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is also Professor of Internal Medicine and Epidemiology.
Dr. Merajver's research laboratory is devoted to understanding the molecular and metabolic regulators of very aggressive breast cancer types. The primary areas of focus are systems biology, mathematical oncology, biophysics, cell biology, genetics, and drug development. She works in concert both in the lab and in the clinic, making the lab advances immediately available, through novel interventions and clinical trials, to her patients.
Lisa Newman, MPH, FACS
Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Newman is Professor of Surgery and Director of the Breast Care Center for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she also serves as Program Director for the Breast Fellowship. Dr. Newman obtained her undergraduate education and Masters Degree in Public Health from Harvard University. She attended medical school and completed her general surgery residency training at the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn. She completed her fellowship in surgical oncology at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
Her extensive research related to disparities in breast cancer risk and outcome has been published in numerous peer-reviewed medical journals and was recently featured on CNN’s documentary “Black in America 2”. She holds leadership positions with the Society of Surgical Oncology (Executive Council; Disparities Committee Chair), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (former Chair, Health Services Committee; current Chair, Disparities Advisory Board) and serves as editorial section editor for the journals Cancer (Disparities Section Editor) and Annals of Surgical Oncology (Breast Section Editor). She also serves on the editorial boards for CA- A Cancer Journal for Clinicians; Journal of Clinical Oncology; and Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. She also serves on the Breast Prevention Section of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. She maintains a very active community service record, and currently serves as Chief National Medical Advisor for the Sisters Network, Inc., a national African American breast cancer survivors support organization. Her current disparities-related research program involves a partnership between the University of Michigan and the Komfo Anoyke Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana.
Julie Palmer, SC.D
Dr. Julie Palmer is Professor of Epidemiology at BUSPH, Associate Director of the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, and Associate Director for Population Sciences for the Boston University Cancer Center. She received her BA from Brown University, MPH from Boston University, and doctorate from Harvard University. Dr. Palmer’s major research interest is the etiology of breast cancer, with a particular focus on African American women. She was instrumental in designing and implementing the Black Women’s Health Study, a cohort study of 59,000 women, and has served as co-investigator of the study since its inception in 1995.
A major goal of Dr. Palmer’s research program is reduction of breast cancer mortality in young African American women by identification of modifiable factors that influence development of hormone receptor negative breast cancer. To that end, Dr. Palmer is one of three multiple PIs who organized a collaborative NCI Program Project (AMBER), which combines data, germline DNA, and tumor tissue samples from four epidemiologic studies of breast cancer in African American women for identification of factors related to specific breast cancer subtypes. Dr. Palmer’s research has provided convincing evidence that breastfeeding reduces risk of hormone receptor negative breast cancer and that, in the absence of breastfeeding, higher parity is associated with an increased risk of receptor negative disease. She is now assessing the possible interaction of those factors with genetic variants in pathways related to hormone metabolism and inflammation. Dr. Palmer has also led work to develop an effective risk prediction tool for breast cancer in African American women that can be used by primary care providers to refer high-risk women for additional screening (e.g., testing for high-penetrance genetic variants, breast MRI, etc.). She is currently working on methods for subtype-specific risk models, while leading analyses to identify appropriate candidate factors for possible inclusion in the models.
Dr. Palmer is Chair of the NIH Cancer, Cardiovascular, and Sleep Epidemiology Study Section (CHSA panel). She serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the NIEHS Sister Study and the University of Pittsburgh Shanghai and Singapore Cohort Studies and the Editorial Board of Breast Cancer Research.
Patricia Parker, PhD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Patricia A. Parker, Ph.D. is an associate member and associate attending psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She is also the Director of the Communication Skills Training and Research Program. In this role, she leads a behavioral science team to provide training to clinicians to enhance their interaction with their patients and research that evaluates novel communication skills interventions and outcomes. Her research primarily focuses on healthcare provider-patient communication and decision making and quality of life among different cancer patient populations. She has conducted several studies examining aspects of physician-patient communication including how patients are told news of their diagnosis and the impact of the physician-patient encounter on patients’ psychosocial adjustment. She has received peer reviewed funding from NIH and other sources including a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) project to examine clinical and psychosocial outcomes of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, a NIH-funded R21 to examine decision making about contralateral prophylactic mastectomy in women with unilateral sporadic breast cancer and an NCI-funded career development award (K07) and R03 that examined physician-patient communication and psychosocial adjustment of individuals with metastatic cancer of unknown primary site (CUP). She has 59 peer-reviewed publications that focus on aspects of communication and quality of life in cancer patients and survivors. Dr. Parker received her Ph.D. from the San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Alpa Patel, PhD
American Cancer Society
Dr. Patel earned her B.A. in Zoology from the University of Florida in 1996, followed by a master’s degree in Epidemiology from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in 1997, and a doctoral degree in Epidemiology from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in 2002. Dr. Patel first joined the Epidemiology Research Program at the American Cancer Society as a research analyst in 1997, and then rejoined the group following her doctoral work. She is currently the Strategic Director of the Cancer Prevention Study-3, a large nationwide prospective study aimed at better understanding the lifestyle, genetic, and environmental causes of cancer.
Dr. Patel is a cancer epidemiologist whose research has focused on the role of the physical activity in cancer prevention and obesity as a risk factor for cancer. She is particularly interested in the public health benefits of being physically active and limiting time spent sitting.
Peggy Reynolds, PHD, MPH
Stanford University and Cancer Prevention Institutes
Peggy Reynolds, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Scientist at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC), Consulting Professor at Stanford University, Department of Health Research and Policy and a member of the Stanford Cancer Institute. She received her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of California at Berkeley, and spent several years in the California Department of Health Services, directing the statistical research unit for the California Cancer Registry and San Francisco Bay Area SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results) program, and as the Chief of the Environmental Epidemiology and Geographic Information Section. She currently directs CPIC’s Environmental Research Group. Dr. Reynolds has conducted a number of cancer epidemiology studies, with a particular focus on environmental risk factors, including several geographic information system based studies of patterns of cancer incidence in areas of high agricultural pesticide use and high levels of air pollution in California, as well as a number of studies of cancer in occupational cohorts. She is a founding member and co-investigator for a large ongoing prospective cohort study of women initiated in 1995: the California Teachers Study. Much of her research has focused on risk factors for breast cancer.
Gedge David Rosson, MD
Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Gedge Rosson is an associate professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He specializes in complex peripheral nerve surgery and microvascular perforator flap breast reconstructions, such as the DIEP (deep inferior epigastric artery perforator flap), the SIEA (superficial inferior epigastric artery flap), the SGAP (superior gluteal artery perforator flap), the TUG (transverse upper gracilis flap) and the PAP (Profunda Artery Perforator flap).
He was the first surgeon in the United States to widely implement pre-operative mapping of the abdominal perforators using 64-slice multidetector 3-D CT scan angiograms, and he is one of the first to now regularly connect nerves to improve breast reconstruction.
Dr. Rosson serves as the director of breast reconstruction and Microsurgery Fellowship program director. He is also chair of the Compliance Committee of the Office of Johns Hopkins Physicians, chair of the Risk Management Committee of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and chair of the Special Credentialing Review Committee of Johns Hopkins Health Care.
He graduated from New York Medical College in 1998 after receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He did his internship and general surgery and plastic surgery residency training at The Johns Hopkins Hospital/University of Maryland combined program. Dr. Rosson then completed a peripheral nerve surgery fellowship at the Dellon Institute for Peripheral Nerve Surgery in Baltimore, Maryland.
His research interests include patient safety and outcomes studies in microsurgery, breast reconstruction and peripheral nerve surgery as well as tissue engineering. His research has been published in major peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented at both national and international meetings.
Dr. Rosson is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and currently has hospital privileges at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, the R. Adams Cowley Shock-Trauma Center and Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) in Baltimore, Maryland.
Regina Santella, PHD, MS
Regina M. Santella, PhD, is a Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, and Director of the NIEHS Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan. She is a laboratory-based biochemist with extensive experience in the area of chemical carcinogenesis and molecular epidemiology. Her research is mainly focused on the use of biomarkers of exposure and genetic susceptibility to understand risk for cancer development. Her laboratory has developed antibodies and immunoassays to a number of carcinogen-DNA and protein adducts and uses these methods to determine exposure to environmental carcinogens. Other assays have been used to understand genetic susceptibility related to DNA repair capacity. More recently, her laboratory is investigating the use of epigenetic markers including global and gene specific methylation and microRNA expression in breast tumors and white blood cells to identify those at increased risk or as early biomarkers of disease. Breast cancer studies take advantage of two large sample banks, the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project, a population-based case-control study and the Breast Cancer Family Registry of members of high risk families.
Annette Stanton, PhD
Annette L. Stanton, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry/Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, senior research scientist at the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, and a member of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research in the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research centers on specifying factors that promote psychological and physical health in individuals who confront health-related adversity. In the area of psychosocial oncology, she conducts longitudinal research to understand the influences of personality and contextual resources, cognitive appraisals, and coping processes on the quality of life and health in individuals diagnosed with or at risk for a range of cancers, including cancer of the breast, eye, lung, and prostate. She then works to translate her findings into effective interventions for individuals living with cancer through conducting randomized, controlled intervention trials of psychosocial and behavioral interventions. Dr. Stanton has received the Senior Investigator Award from Division 38 (Health Psychology) of the American Psychological Association in recognition of her research contributions to health psychology. Current funding for her research is provided by the National Cancer Institute, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. She has received a number of awards for undergraduate teaching and graduate mentoring. In 2006, Professor Stanton was honored with both the J. Arthur Woodward Graduate Mentoring Award and the Distinguished Teaching Award in the UCLA Department of Psychology.
Patricia Steeg, PhD
National Cancer Institute
Dr. Patricia S. Steeg is Deputy Chief of the Women’s Malignancies Branch in the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute. She has studied the molecular mechanisms of breast cancer metastasis for twenty-five years. She discovered the first metastasis suppressor gene, Nm23. Dr. Steeg has also investigated the molecular mechanisms of breast cancer metastasis to the brain. Her translational initiatives include investigations of LPAR1 inhibitors as inducers of metastatic dormancy in triple-negative breast cancer, and investigations of low dose temozolomide for secondary prevention of HER2+ brain metastases of breast cancer. Dr. Steeg was awarded a DOD Center of Excellence grant for brain metastasis of breast cancer and an NCI FLEX grant for investigations of the effect of young age on metastasis. At the NCI, she chairs the Drug Development Collaborative. Dr. Steeg is a Deputy Editor of Clinical Cancer Research. She has served as Chairperson of the DOD Breast Cancer Research Program Integration Panel and President of the Metastasis Research Society. In 2008, she received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction from the Komen for the Cure Foundation.
Saraswati Sukumar, PhD
Johns Hopkins University
Saraswati Sukumar, PhD, is the Barbara B. Rubenstein Professor of Oncology and Professor of Pathology, and a preceptor in the Human Genetics and Pathobiology graduate programs. She is the Assistant Director of Faculty Affairs. She has served as the Principal Investigator of the DOD’s Center of Excellence, NCI’s Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) and of the AVON Breast Cancer Foundation. Dr. Sukumar has worked in the breast cancer field since her postdoctoral training at National Cancer Institute at Bethesda MD. There she established that ras oncogenes were present in carcinogen induced mammary tumor models in rats and mice, and showed that the nature of the mutations in the oncogene reflected the chemical specificity of the carcinogen action on DNA. She joined her first faculty position at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA in 1988, and then moved to Johns Hopkins Oncology Center in 1994 as Associate Professor to assume the position of Director of Basic Research at the newly formed breast cancer research program. She was promoted to Professor in 2001. She has authored more than 150 publications. Her laboratory’s work spans the entire spectrum of basic research to preclinical studies, and all the way to translation to the clinic.
Dr. Sukumar is very active both in the Johns Hopkins and outside community. She has participated and chaired many grant review committees in the NIH, DOD, and Susan G Komen Foundation. She is currently a scientific advisory board member of the SGKF for the Cure. She is a senior editor for Cancer Research and several other journals. Beating this drum and demanding equal representation for women faculty in the center as well as in the school of medicine as a whole has resulted in closer attention to this question. She has mentored over 40 postdoctoral fellows and researchers in her career, many of whom are in academic research positions. She is committed to their success not only as fellows but also as independent researchers, helping them get established in their careers.
Thea Tlsty, PhD
Dr. Tlsty is a molecular pathologist and founding Director of the Program in Cell Cycling and Signaling in the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, San Francisco, CA. She received her Ph.D. from Washington University and trained at Stanford University before she was recruited to the University of North Carolina and ultimately the University of California, San Francisco where she is currently Director of the Center for Translational Research in the Molecular Genetics of Cancer. She also serves as an Avon Scholar and Komen Scholar, studying breast cancer research. She regularly provides counsel to the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Tlsty studies genetic, epigenetic and functional changes involved in the earliest steps of cancer that provide novel insights into how early molecular events fuel cancer, tumor heterogeneity and evolution. Her group seeks to explore the role of tissue microenvironment in creating a pro-tumorigenic niche and how multiple factors integrate to control tumor initiation and progression. Her goal is to use these insights for early detection, disease stratification and novel approaches for prevention and treatment of cancer.
Kala Visvanthan, MD, FRACP, MHA
Johns Hopkins University
Dr Visvanathan is a cancer epidemiologist and a medical oncologist who conducts epidemiological research focused on reducing breast and ovarian cancer incidence and mortality. Specifically she is interested in understanding the underlying etiology of these diseases, genetic and environmental risk factors and implementing early detection and preventive strategies to women in the general and high-risk population.
Her research areas of interest include: the evaluation of non-toxic inexpensive agents for breast and ovarian cancer prevention, evaluating the short and long term effects of oophorectomy, an established preventive strategy, identifying novel breast cancer risk factors to improve breast cancer risk stratification, molecular characterization of precursor lesions of breast and ovarian cancer as a target for prevention, and the conduct of early detection and prevention clinical studies.
Doug Yee, MD
University of Minnesota
Dr. Yee holds the John H. Kersey Chair in Cancer Research. He was previously co-leader of the Women's Cancer Program. He was named Director of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota in 2007. Dr. Yee received his MD in 1981 from the University of Chicago. He received his internal medicine training and was Chief Medical Resident at the University of North Carolina. His medical oncology training was done at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Prior to coming to Minnesota, he held faculty positions at Georgetown University Medical Center and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Breast Cancer Alliance of Greater Cincinnati
Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation
Vernal Branch is a breast cancer advocate who has worked with national organizations like the Department of Defense’s Breast Cancer Research Program as well as the National Cancer Institute and the Komen Foundation. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation and today she is able to directly pursue her desire to help women access resources for breast cancer through serving on the board of Reach Out for Life and contributing to its effort to provide free breast imaging to low income women. Her travels have taken her to the White House to speak about health care with Michelle Obama and Jill Biden. She also spoken before a congressional committee about how the Affordable Care Act affects cancer patients.
Women of Color Breast Cancer Survivor's Support Project
Shirley H. Brown, MS, JD, is a 22-year Stage III breast cancer survivor. She is a retired educator of the Los Angeles Unified School District, with experiences as an elementary teacher, school psychologist, central office administrator, and adjunct professor at California Lutheran Univeersity. Ms. Brown has worked with numberous public agencies including the California Departmmment Of Education, Los Angeles County Regional Centers, Departments of Mental Health, Children and Family Services, California Children Services and is an active member of community and professional organizations. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of National Breast Cancer Colition Foundation representing Women of Color Breast Cancer Survivor’s Support Project, and is a 2001 graduate of NBCC’s Project LEAD, Quality Care LEAD, and Clinical Trials.
Ms. Brown is a Scientific Advisor Committee Member to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and has been a consumer peer reviewer since 2006 for the Department of Defense [DOD BCRP], and Susan G. Komen for the Cure for breast cancer research grants, reviewing hundreds of research proposals providing and submitting written critiques and summaries for pertinent areas of the proposals. Ms. Brown has participated as a consumer advocate/navigator on City of Hope Center of Community Alliance for Research & Education Division of Population Science/ breast cancer research grant projects. Ms. Brown is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Women of Color Breast Cancer Survivor’s Project, and the City of Hope Community Advusory Member for Breast Cancer Research Projects.
Ms. Brown has attended the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, California Breast Cancer Research Programs and Johns Hopkins University/Cochrane & Campbell Collaborations Summit – Keystone, Colorado as a participant. She has also attended annual NBCC conferences and summits, as a participant, speaker, presenter, panel member, Team Leader and has participated as a NBCC Task Force member – Quality Care, Health Care Reform, Breast Cancer Deadline 2020; Era of Hope as a presenter.
Ms. Brown was recognized by Lifetime Television – Breast Cancer Hero Award – 2005, Sisters Helping Sisters – 2009 and a recipient of the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s – Revlon Run/Walk Rise & Honor Volunteers Award – 2013; and by the National Breast Cancer Coalition - Grassroots Advocate of the Year Award – 2016.
Ms. Brown is the mother of two daughters and two sons, and grandmother to four lovely grandchildren.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
AnneMarie Ciccarella, a SAC member since 2014, has been a volunteer with the DSLRF Army of Women for over five years. She serves as a consumer reviewer on the Department of Defense CDMRP and was appointed Scientific Review Office for METAvivor Research and Support commencing with their 2015 grant cycle. AnneMarie reviews manuscripts for The BMJ. A three-time participant in the AACR Scientist – Survivor program, she now serves as an advocate mentor. She has presented posters at annual AACR annual meetings focusing on the role social media plays in facilitating the work of patient advocates and highlighting the importance of patient partners throughout the entire research continuum. She was an invited speaker at a several high profile meetings including AACR and SWOG and is currently serving as a patient advocate on a number of ongoing grants. Sandwiched between her mom, who was diagnosed with metastatic disease decades after her initial primary diagnosis, and her daughter who already had her first scare and is now being followed very closely, AnneMarie is uniquely poised to appreciate the need for research across the entire spectrum: primary prevention, prevention of distant recurrence in early stage patients and prevention of mortality associated with metastatic disease.
South Dakota Breast Cancer Coalition
Patricia (Pat) Haugen, is a 14-year inflammatory breast cancer survivor, and is the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) Field Coordinator for South Dakota and a graduate of all of the NBCC Project LEAD science training courses. She participated in the NBCC Measuring What Matters Project. She has consumer experience in cancer research peer and programmatic review and currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program Integration Panel. She has also served as a consumer reviewer for the California Breast Cancer Research Program, and as a member of the National Quality Forum Clinician-Level Cancer Care Steering Committee and the Patient Outcomes Steering Committee. Pat serves as a community representative board member on the Sanford Health Institutional Review Board (IRB) for community cooperative group cancer clinical trials, and is a board member of the National Cancer Institute Adult Central IRB. She recently completed service as the consumer representative to the Advisory Board of the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) Program. Pat has served on the South Dakota State Advisory Council for the American Cancer Society is a member of the South Dakota Women’s Cancer Network. She also has experience as a public policy advocate and as a SPORE advocate. Pat spent over 30 years in the information technology industry and serves as a board member in higher education and long-term care. She has an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a certificate in public health.
Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance
Andrea Hutton is a critically acclaimed writer, speaker, and patient advocate. She is the author of Bald is Better with Earrings – A Survivor’s Guide to Getting Through Breast Cancer which was published by HarperCollins in 2015. Her work on breast cancer and women’s wellness has been featured in such varied outlets as: The Washington Post, Women’s Health and Psychology Today. As a breast cancer survivor diagnosed in 2009 with metastatic disease, who has “been there, had that” Andrea Hutton is on a mission to empower and educate women on how to take charge of their own health. She is also a State Leader for the Young Survival Coalition, a graduate of the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Project Lead advocacy training program, an Alamo Scholar with the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, and a Komen Advocate in Science. Andrea has served as a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program and a peer reviewer for Komen Research grants. She is a member of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance and serves as a co-chair of the Alliance’s Information Task Force.
National Breast Cancer Coalition
Debra Madden is a two-time cancer survivor who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a young adult and with breast cancer nearly 20 years later, which was thought to be secondary to the radiation she had received for her original cancer treatment. She is an active cancer research advocate who is a member of numerous cancer support and research organizations, including the ECOG/ACRIN (E/A) Cancer Research Group’s Cancer Research Advocate Committee, Breast Core, Cancer Care Delivery Research Committee, and the E/A Cardiotoxicity Working Group. In addition, she serves on several national grant review committees and advisory panels as a Patient Representative, including for the FDA, the Department of Defense’s Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP), the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation’s Army of Women Scientific Advisory Committee, and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)’s inaugural Advisory Panel on the Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options. Ms. Madden blogs at “Musings of a Cancer Research Advocate,” located at https://draemadden.wordpress.com/, and is also a regular contributor for the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC)’s Contributors’ Page as well as AJMC’s Evidence-Based Oncology journal. She is also on Twitter at @AdvocateDebM.
Minnesota Breast Cancer Coalition
Christine Norton was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990 at age 44. In October 1991, Chris and Cher Johnson co-founded the Minnesota Breast Cancer Coalition, a totally volunteer organization dedicated to education and advocacy.
Norton’s health advocacy work was spurred by her breast cancer diagnosis but for years she has advocated more widely for quality healthcare that works to eliminate over-treatment.
In addition to serving as president of the MN Breast Cancer Coalition, Norton is on the Board of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, the Scientific Advisory Board of the Avon Foundation, the Board of MN Community Measurement and was appointed by Governor Dayton in 2015 to a second four-year term as a Public Member of the MN Board of Nursing. Chris has served as a peer-reviewer on scientific grants for the Department of Defense, the National Cancer Institute, the Avon Foundation, the University of Minnesota and the Komen Foundation. She is also a consumer reviewer for HealthNewsReview.org
Chris retired in 2005 after nearly 40 years as a high school English teacher. She and her husband have three children and three grandchildren.
Breast Cancer Care and Research Fund
Michele Rakoff, a patient and research advocate, activist and breast cancer survivor for more than 27 years, is Executive Director of the Breast Cancer Care & Research Fund in Los Angeles, California. Ms. Rakoff worked in the clinic for 20 years developing mentoring programs for patients with primary breast cancer and support programs for women living with metastatic disease. She is Vice President of the California Breast Cancer Organizations (CABCO) and Board member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC).
Ms Rakoff has taken advocacy into action. In an effort to impact breast cancer research, she held an advocate seat on the California Breast Cancer Research Program’s Advisory Council. She has participated as a peer-reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program and collaborates with scientists on their research grants. Currently, Ms Rakoff holds an advocate seat on the California Teacher’s Study Scientific Task Force Steering Committee; is a member of the Love Army of Women Scientific Advisory Committee and the External Advisory Board of the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center and the community partner on a NIEHS grant. She is a member of the NBCC Artemis Project.
Because public policy issues and legislation have an impact on patients and health care, Ms Rakoff is a NBCC Field Coordinator. She continues to lobby for federal funding for research, access to quality care for all, and ensuring that advocates have a seat at the table everywhere health care decisions are being made.
Representing NBCC Ms. Rakoff traveled to China to meet with the Cancer Foundation of China, Beijing Tumor Hospital and other community hospitals. Ms Rakoff believes that the advocate voice is vitally important and that well educated, trained advocates must be included in every aspect of research, clinical decision-making and public policy issues. Her focus is on NBCC’s Breast Cancer Deadline 2020!
Chicago Health Equities Collaborative
Rosemarie Rogers is a 22-year breast cancer survivor. She has been involved over the years with numerous breast cancer support and advocacy organizations. Current, Rosemarie is a member of the Chicago Health Equity Collaborative, a partnership of the Robert Lurie Cancer Center of N.W. University, Northeastern Illinois University and University of Illinois at Chicago. The mission is to advance cancer health equity through meaningful scientific discovery, education, training and community engagement.
Department of Defense
Debra Stafford has dedicated her life to advocating for those affected by cancer since her early stage hormone positive breast cancer diagnosis in 2014. She founded, and is the Chief Visionary Officer of the nonprofit, ROAR: Reclaiming Ourselves After Recovery, to support those affected by cancer with four main missions: helping those affected by cancer build a life they love as they navigate their new normal; providing resources and opportunities for metavivors to build the legacy they want to leave behind in this world; providing education and affordable access to complementary therapies; and, a mentorship program for those interested in advocacy, matching their talents and interests with opportunities to serve. Having been a Certified Pilates Instructor for 23 years and working in a physiotherapy setting for 10, Debra has developed a Pilates program for cancer survivors, which addresses both short and long term effects of cancer treatment and prevention of recurrence. Debra has educated herself in the science of cancer through Project LEAD (National Breast Cancer Coalition), Alamo Scholar (Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation at San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium), and the American Association for Cancer Research Scientist<=>Survivor Program. She has served, since 2017 on the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program grant review, and is moving into both breast and pediatric cancer advocacy at the National Cancer Institute and the US Food and Drug Administration. Debra volunteers as a patient navigator at Hoag Cancer Center and Breastlink, and as half of a pet therapy team with pediatric oncology and neurology patients and their families. Debra is a practitioner of Reiki, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Medical Qigong, and Aroma Acupoint Therapy (AAT), and is a practitioner trainer for both Reiki and AAT. She is employed by Hoag Cancer Center as a Reiki Practitioner and Support Services Provider/Workshop Leader. She has served on panels for the Komen Education Series. Debra sees herself as a warrior against cancer: representing patients’ voices to the scientific to community to help find a cure, research grant writing and advocating for funding of breast cancer research, all in an effort to end breast cancer. And, until breast cancer is a disease of the past, she is dedicated to reminding patients that although they may not have control over how and when they die, they do have control over how they live. Through her work, Debra is committed to giving patients the tools, support, and confidence they need to live life on their own terms and build a life they love.
Male Breast Cancer Coalition
Michael Singer, a Bronx native currently living in Throggs Neck, is a six-year male breast cancer survivor. He’s a product of the Bronx school system and had a 31-year career with the federal government as a Facility Maintenance Manager. Michael underwent a mastectomy after discovering a cyst under his left nipple in 2010. He’s a member of the Male Breast Cancer Coalition, a not-for-profit patient advocacy organization, bringing everyone together to educate the world about male breast cancer. The coalition provides men and their families with resources to navigate through what is usually a woman's only club. As a member of the MBCC, Michael and his wife Patty travel around the country, with special pins and bracelets in hand, sharing his personal story to raise awareness of male breast cancer. He’s a graduate of the Project Lead program sponsored by the National Breast Cancer Coalition and has participated in the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. Michael was also selected as a 2016-2017 Ford Warrior in Pink Model of Courage for Ford Motor Company. Michael will be featured in the upcoming series “Men Have Breasts Too.” From short documentaries with men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, to the latest news and information from medical experts and stories from family members of men lost to the disease, the impactful series will be launching soon. Thanks to Michael, New York State recognizes the 3rd week of October as Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week. Michael meets with scientists, does countless interviews (CBS News, People, Headline News, NY Daily News just to name drop a few), attends conferences and has dedicated his life to helping others. He wants all men to know they should routinely check themselves and be aware that early detection is a key to surviving this deadly disease.
California Breast Cancer Organizations
Sandy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1984. In 2000 she was a founder of the Y-ME Affiliate in Northern California and currently arranges a monthly educational program for the Breast Cancer Care and Research Fund / Northern California. She is president of California Breast Cancer Organizations (CABCO) and represent them on the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Board of Directors. She is the consumer editor for the Breast Cancer Group of the Cochrane Collaboration. She has reviewed grants for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program; she serves on the External Advisory Task Force for the California Teachers Study; is on the Scientific Advisory Task Force for the Love/Avon Army of Women; has served on the Council for the California Breast Cancer Research Program. Since she has a background in research, she is frequently consulted as a consumer on research proposals. In her previous employment she worked using a mouse model to study the muscles affected by Duchene Muscular Dystrophy.