OUR SUMMIT SPEAKERS
President, Breast Cancer Care & Research Fund (BCCRF)
Michele Atlan is a seven-year breast cancer survivor and a patient and research advocate. After her diagnosis, Michele became certified as an emergency medical technician. In 2015, she graduated from Project LEAD®, the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s (NBCC's) scientific training program, and subsequently took part in the Advanced Project LEAD pilot program. Michele now participates as a frequent Project LEAD mentor to help her fellow patient advocates understand the science of breast cancer.
Currently serving as president of the Breast Cancer Care & Research Fund (BCCRF) in Los Angeles, Michele has participated as a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program(DOD BCRP), and is a member of the California Breast Cancer Research Program’s (CBCRP) Advisory Council. Recently, Michele was a finalist and the Audience Award winner for the CBCRP’s “Global Challenge to Prevent Breast Cancer” competition. She coauthored an article expanding on this contest submission that was subsequently published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2019. Since 2018, she has been an alternate board member of the NBCC and participated in its 2020 Artemis Project® research think tank.
Jennifer Berzok, J.D.
Jennifer Berzok is an attorney who has spent most of her career working on health care policy. For more than two decades, Jennifer has been involved with the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) in some capacity, both internally as the senior manager of government relations and as an outside government relations consultant. One of her proudest achievements in working for the Coalition was helping to enact the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 2000. In addition to working with NBCC, Jennifer worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant to Congressman (now Senator) Sherrod Brown (D-OH). She also served as the director of government relations for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).
Jennifer is active in local politics as well as in the disability community. She serves as a precinct chair for the Montgomery County Maryland Democratic Party and as chair of the Parent Advisory Group to the Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities. Jennifer also chairs the governance committee for the board of the Ivymount Corporation, which for 55 years has created nationally recognized programs and partnerships for people with autism and special needs. Jennifer is a member of the founding board of the Diener School, created for students with learning differences. She is also an active member of the Task Force for Main Street, an inclusive, community-centered residential development—the first of its kind in the Washington Metropolitan area—where 25 percent of the apartments are designated for adults with disabilities. Additionally, Jennifer is the founder of “Arucola Moms,” a network and support group of more than a hundred mothers who have children with special needs.
Jennifer graduated in 1995 with a J.D. from the Washington College of Law, American University, and in 1992 with a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan. She lives in Bethesda with her husband and two children.
Otis W. Brawley, M.D., M.A.C.P., F.A.S.C.O., F.A.C.E.
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Oncology and Epidemiology, Department of Oncology, School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health
Johns Hopkins University
Otis W. Brawley is the Michael Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Oncology and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University. He is an authority on cancer screening and prevention and leads a broad research effort in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, focusing on how to close racial, economic and social disparities in the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. He is a member of the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors and the National Academy of Medicine.
From 2007 to 2018, Otis was chief medical and scientific officer of the American Cancer Society. From 2001 to 2018, he also served as a professor in the Emory University School of Medicine and the Emory Rollins School of Public Health. Otis graduated from the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, and trained in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute.
Christine Carpenter, Ed.S.
NBCC Board of Directors; Cedar Valley Cancer Committee: Beyond Pink Team
Christine Carpenter is a 26-year breast cancer survivor. She is advocacy chair for the Beyond Pink TEAM and represents the TEAM on the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s (NBCC’s) 501c4 board. She is NBCC’s Iowa field co-coordinator and administers the all-Iowa Breast Cancer Advocacy Network. Currently, she and her Iowa colleagues are planning a virtual NBCC-style Ignite the Cancer Conversation event to develop concrete steps that address gaps and disparities in addressing issues related to cancer in Iowans. A retired school psychologist, Christine has served as a consumer reviewer for the California Breast Cancer Research Program, the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (DOD BCRP) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.
Carolyn Clancy, M.D., MACP
Deputy Under Secretary for Health, Discovery, Education & Affiliate Networks
Veterans Health Administration
Dr. Clancy serves as the Deputy Under Secretary for Health (DUSH) for Discovery, Education & Affiliate Networks (DEAN), Veterans Health Administration (VHA), effective July 22, 2018. The Office of the DEAN fosters collaboration and knowledge transfer with facility-based educators, researchers and clinicians within VA, and between VA and its affiliates.
Prior to her current position, she served as the VHA Executive in Charge, with the authority to perform the functions and duties of the Under Secretary for Health. As the Executive in Charge, Dr. Clancy directed a health care system with an annual budget of approximately $68 billion, overseeing the delivery of care to more than 9 million enrolled Veterans. Previously, she served as the Interim Under Secretary for Health from 2014-2015. Dr. Clancy also served as the VHA DUSH for Organizational Excellence, overseeing VHA’s performance, quality, safety, risk management, systems engineering, auditing, oversight, ethics and accreditation programs, as well as ten years as the Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
She is a highly experienced and nationally recognized physician executive. Dr. Clancy is a general internist and health services researcher, a graduate of Boston College and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She holds an academic appointment at George Washington University’s School of Medicine and serves as Senior Associate Editor, Health Services Research Journal. She has contributed to eight academic text books and authored, co-authored and provided invited commentary in more than 225 scholarly journal articles. She served as member of the National Quality Forum’s Board of Directors, Chair of the AQA Alliance and served on the Board of Governors for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and was presented with the 2014 Quality Champion Award from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. She was also named as an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and was selected as the 2015 Outstanding Federal Executive of the Year by Disabled American Veterans. In 2018, she was selected as one of the Top 50 Physician Executives by Modern Healthcare, and in 2019, she was identified as one of the 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives by Modern Healthcare.
Jonathan J. Darrow, S.J.D., L.L.M., J.D., M.B.A.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Program on Regulation, Therapeutics and Law (PORTAL)
Jonathan J. Darrow is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, where he focuses on pharmaceutical regulatory policy. He holds a research doctorate in pharmaceutical policy from Harvard, where he also completed an LL.M. program in intellectual property, and holds degrees in genetics, law and business from Cornell, Duke and Boston College, respectively. After admission to the California bar, Jonathan worked on emerging company issues with Cooley LLP (Silicon Valley, U.S.) and, after admission to the patent bar, on pharmaceutical litigation matters with Wiley LLP (Washington, D.C.). He has served as senior law clerk to the Honorable Evan J. Wallach of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; taught summer school for World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)/University of Geneva; supported the work of the innovation divisions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO); and lectured and published widely on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation, pharmaceuticals, innovation, competition and intellectual property.
Donna Duncan, M.B.A.
NBCC Board of Directors; Linda Creed Breast Cancer
Donna Duncan is the executive director of the Linda Creed Breast Cancer Organization, a board member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) and a Project LEAD® graduate. She serves on the Women’s Way Women's Economic Security Initiative and Sisters Surviving Breast Cancer Planning Committee. She has been on the external advocate board of the University of Pennsylvania’s Breast Cancer Center of Excellence and served as an advocate for the Breast Cancer Environmental Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Donna is also a founding member of the Advanced Breast Cancer Community Portal (www.advancedbreastcancercommunity.org). She has spoken at numerous conferences and meetings on breast cancer and advocacy and has more than 40 years of experience in nonprofit management and providing services in the human services area. She is a graduate of LaSalle University’s undergraduate and graduate programs and holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a Master of Business Administration.
Donna Edwards, J.D.
Former U.S. Representative, Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, Contributing columnist for The Washington Post and NBC/MSNBC Political Analyst
Donna F. Edwards served five terms (2008-2017) in the United States House of Representatives, becoming the first African American woman to represent Maryland. Congresswoman Edwards was born in Yanceyville, North Carolina, grew up in a military family, and lived in every region of the country and internationally. She earned her J.D. from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and her B.A. from Wake Forest University. Edwards completed her final year of study at the University of Salamanca, Spain. She is the mother of one adult son.
As a nonprofit executive, Congresswoman Edwards co-founded and led the National Network to End Domestic Violence, spearheading the effort to pass the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. Prior to her election to Congress, she was the executive director of the Arca Foundation Congresswoman Edwards serves on numerous nonprofit boards in various capacities from treasurer to chair. She currently serves on the Profiles in Courage Awards Committee of the John F. Kennedy Library and as a trustee of Wake Forest University. An honorary member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, she serves on the board of their National Education Foundation. Edwards is a trustee of the Park Foundation and serves on the board of the League of Conservation Voters.
In Congress, Edwards served on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Committee on Standards and Official Conduct, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, serving as the lead Democrat on the Subcommittee on Space. Congresswoman Edwards was a member of the Democratic leadership team as co-chair of the House Democrat’s Steering and Policy Committee. She led the bi-partisan Women’s Caucus and was char of the Democratic women in the House.
Following her service in Congress, Edwards set out on a cross country motorhome adventure, logging 12,000 miles camping, hiking and fishing throughout the United States. Congresswoman Edwards provides political commentary in print, electronic and cable media and serves as the Senior Advisor to the Bauman Foundation. Edwards is a contributing columnist for The Washington Post and NBC/MSNBC political analyst.
Beth Emery, J.D.
NBCC Board of Directors Alternate; Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation
Beth Emery is a 12-year survivor of Stage 3 HER2+ breast cancer and a living example of the miracle of Herceptin, one of the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program’s (DOD BCRP’s) greatest accomplishments. She is past president of the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF) and its alternative to the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s 501(c)(6) board. She is a graduate of the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s (NBCC’s) Project LEAD® Institute and has served as a consumer reviewer on several DOD BCRP panels. Beth focuses on advocacy for ABCF and NBCC and has served as a Texas team leader for NBCC’s lobbying efforts since 2010.
In 2013, she received NBCC’s Wo(men) Who Make a Difference award for grassroots advocacy. In her day job, Beth is an attorney and has been active in electric utility finance and regulatory issues since 1977. She joined the GridLiance corporate team in October 2014. Previously, she was a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of a national law firm, where she concentrated on energy finance and regulatory matters. In addition to her role with GridLiance, a startup transmission development firm that is a Blackstone Portfolio Company, Beth has served as the initial in-house general counsel for two other utilities. From startup in 1997 through 1999, she was vice president, general counsel and secretary of the California Independent System Operator Corporation, where she was responsible for the legal and regulatory, public affairs, board relations and market monitoring groups. From 2003 through May 2006, she was senior vice president, general counsel and secretary to CPS Energy of San Antonio, the nation’s largest municipally owned electric and gas utility. At CPS Energy, she was responsible for legal and claims matters as well as board activities. Beth has her B.A. with highest honors in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. Beth is admitted to practice in Texas and D.C. She lives in Dallas where GridLiance relocated its headquarters in 2018.
NBCC Board of Directors; SHARE
Ivis Febus-Sampayo is the senior director of programs at SHARE Cancer Support, a more than 40-year not for profit that helps women and their friends and families deal with breast or ovarian cancer through support, education and advocacy opportunities. She is a two-time breast cancer survivor who was misdiagnosed for 18 months as a young woman with two young boys more than 25 years ago. Through SHARE, Ivis develops educational and wellness programs as well as special events and projects. She represents SHARE on the board of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). Ivis is a member of the patient advocacy, breast and health disparities committees in the Alliance for Clinical trials in Oncology; is the chair of the Bronx Community Cancer Advisory Board; was the cochair of the 2018 AACR Health Disparities Conference, the NYS Cancer Detection and the Education Program Advisory Council as well as other local advisory committees.
Cyrus Ghajar, Ph.D.
Director, Laboratory for the Study of Metastatic Microenvironments (LSM2)
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Cyrus Ghajar directs the Laboratory for the Study of Metastatic Microenvironments (LSM2) (http://research.fhcrc.org/ghajar/en.html) in Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Translational Research Program. Broadly, he is interested in how distant tissue microenvironments influence the behavior of disseminated tumor cells (DTCs). Specifically, his laboratory is working to understand how tissues like lung, liver, bone marrow, brain and lymph node regulate survival, growth and therapeutic resistance of DTCs and how local and systemic changes awaken DTCs. His ultimate interests lie in targeting dormant DTCs to prevent and treat metastasis.
Gregg Gonsalves, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Associate (Adjunct) Professor of Law and Research Scholar in Law
Yale Law School
Gregg Gonsalves is an assistant professor in the Department of the Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) and an associate professor (adjunct) at Yale Law School (YLS). At Yale, he also codirects the Global Health Justice Partnership, an initiative of YSPH and YLS, working at the intersections of health and human rights and social justice. For close to 30 years, he has been an AIDS activist, working first with the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in Boston and New York, then cofounding the Treatment Action Group (TAG) and the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC). Gregg has also worked with Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York and the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa in Cape Town. He studied Russian and English and American literature at Tufts in the 1980s before dropping out of college, only finishing his B.S. (ecology and evolutionary biology) in 2011 at Yale, where he also received a Ph.D. (public health). He has been a fellow with the Program in Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and with the Open Society Foundations. He is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow.
Jennifer Guerriero, Ph.D.
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Director Breast Immunology Laboratory, Women’s Cancer Program, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Jennifer Guerriero received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Northeastern University and has a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology and immunology and pathology from Stony Brook University, where she trained under Dr. Wei-Xing Zong and completed her thesis entitled, “A study of cell death pathways and innate immunity in cancer chemotherapy.”
Jennifer completed her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Anthony Letai at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she investigated the role of tumor macrophages in breast cancer and identified novel mechanisms to target pro-tumor macrophages to an anti-tumor phenotype to induce tumor regression. She is now an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and is the director of the Breast Tumor Immunology Laboratory in the Susan F. Smith Women’s Cancer Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Jennifer’s current research interests are harnessing the anti-tumor potential of tumor-associated macrophages for cancer immunotherapy in triple-negative breast cancers. Her group studies tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), both their role in promoting tumorogenesis as well as how to harness macrophages for cancer therapy. Further mechanistic understanding of how TAMs regulate their phenotype and how they may contribute to resistance to T cell-mediated immunotherapy will have great therapeutic benefit. The major goals of Jennifer’s work are to elucidate the molecular and functional regulation of tumor macrophage phenotype and subsets, identify how tumor macrophages inhibit T cell function and limit the effectiveness of immunotherapy and identify novel strategies to target macrophages therapeutically.
Gowri Betrabet Gulwadi
Project LEAD® Graduate
Gowri Betrabet Gulwadi is an architect who teaches interior design at the University of Northern Iowa. She was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in 2012 and is an alum of NBCC’s Project LEAD and Advanced Project LEAD. She is working with other advocates in Iowa’s Beyond Pink Team to plan and implement Ignite the Cancer Conversation events. Her vision for future generations is a world without cancer.
Patricia Haugen, B.A.
NBCC MN Team Leader; NBCC Breast Cancer Advocate
Patricia Haugen is a 23-year survivor of inflammatory breast cancer. She has experience as a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (DOD BCRP) consumer peer reviewer, Integration Panel member and chair as well as a consumer reviewer for the California BCRP and for the American Cancer Society. She serves on a community institutional review board (IRB) and on the Prime IRB, and she has served as a member of the National Cancer Institute Adult Central IRB–Early Phase and Late Phase boards and on National Quality Forum steering committees. Patricia participated in the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) Quality Care—Measuring What Matters Project and also served as the consumer representative to the advisory board of the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) Program, part of the Affordable Care Act. She represented NBCC at the Accelerating Anticancer Agent Development and Validation Workshop, serving on the program committee for four years, and has served on a Data Safety Monitoring committee.
Judi Hirshfield-Bartek, R.N., M.S., O.C.N.
NBCC Board of Directors; Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation
Judi Hirshfield-Bartek began her career in oncology in 1977 and has worked as a clinical nurse specialist in all areas of breast oncology until her retirement in 2018. Judi’s personal connection with breast cancer includes her mother, grandmother and cousin, who were all diagnosed with the disease. She has served on the board of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) since 1992 and presently represents the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. She has been on several NBCC task forces, including Clinical Trials, Quality Care and Genetic Testing.
Judi is a graduate of Quality Care Project LEAD® and is a past president of the Boston Chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society. Over the years, she has received numerous professional awards, including: ONS Research Award, Schwarz Center Excellence in Nursing Education Award; Sigma Theta Tau Innovations in Nursing Award; the NBCC’s Community Fundraising Award; and Silent Spring Institute’s Rachel Carson Award for breast cancer activism. Judi has seen many positive changes in how we support individuals with cancer but is frustrated with how little has changed in breast cancer mortality, the lack of transparency and collaboration among researchers and the barriers within the oncology stakeholders to moving the field forward. She is committed to the NBCC Artemis Project® and believes that advocates must be part of any initiative to end this disease.
Melissa Horn, M.P.A.
State and Local Policy Representative
National Association of Realtors®
Melissa Horn is the state and local policy representative at the National Association of Realtors® in Washington, D.C. For more than a decade, she has been on the cutting edge of the integration of online, mobile and social media strategies into grassroots and state advocacy initiatives for organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association. Melissa is also a two-time cancer survivor, having gone through treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2003 during her senior year of high school, and a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction in December 2018. Having literally lost her voice before being diagnosed the first time as a teenager, she became an advocate and volunteer for numerous cancer-related nonprofit organizations to ensure no one else is silenced by a disease that already takes so much.
NBCC Political Consultant
Joanne Howes is a frequent advisor to both corporate and nonprofit clients in the areas of lobbying strategies, coalition building, and strategic planning. She has done ground-breaking work in the area of women’s health including breast cancer, domestic violence, and women’s health research. Ms. Howes has overseen projects as a strategic advisor for the National Breast Cancer Coalition, Family Violence Prevention Fund and the National Partnership for Women and Families. Prior to forming BASS and HOWES, Joanne served as legislative director for Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and was a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Jonathan Kimmelman, Ph.D.
Professor of Biomedical Ethics
Jonathan Kimmelman is a James McGill professor in the Biomedical Ethics Unit/Social Studies of Medicine. He has cross appointments in experimental medicine, epidemiology, biostatistics and occupational health, and human genetics. Jonathan holds a Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University and joined McGill in 2005. His research revolves around the ethical, social and policy dimensions of translational research. He received the Institute of Genetics Maud Menten New Investigator Prize, a CIHR New Investigator Award (2008) and a Friedrich Bessel-Humboldt Award (2014). Jonathan chaired the ethics committee of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, 2008-2010, and the International Society of Stem Cell Research. He also served on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Stem Cell Oversight Committee, is a current member of two data and safety monitoring boards (DSMBs) of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and has been a member of four U.S. National Academy of Medicine committee reports. His book, Gene Transfer and the Ethics of First-in-Human Trials: Lost in Translation, was published by Cambridge University Press. In 2018, Jonathan was named as a Hastings Center Fellow.
Kenneth Kinzler, Ph.D.
Professor of Oncology & Director, Ludwig Center
Johns Hopkins University
Kenneth Kinzler is a professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, co-director of the Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins University and associate director for basic research for the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (SKCCC). He has studied the genetics of human cancer and its clinical utility for more than 35 years. His team has helped define more than a dozen major cancer genes, delineate the APC/CTNNB1 and TP53 pathways, developed novel genetic tools and pioneered the use of released tumor DNA (e.g., liquid biopsies) as a clinical biomarker for cancer. Kenneth has coauthored more than 400 peer-reviewed articles on the molecular analyses of cancer. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Inventors and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he is a fellow of the American Association of Cancer Research Academy.
Amy Klimas, M.S.
Consumer Reviewer Administrator, Peer Review and Science Management
General Dynamics Information Technology
Amy Klimas is a senior consumer reviewer administrator with General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), a contractor for the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). In this position, she supports the Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) by recruiting, selecting and preparing consumer reviewers to serve on the BCRP Peer Review panels. During Amy’s 10+ years in this role, she has worked with hundreds of consumer reviewers who bring the important perspectives of those affected, as patients, survivors and advocates, to the peer-review process. Amy witnesses the importance of education, support and service in empowering individuals to give back. She considers herself privileged to have met so many advocates and to work collaboratively with incredible advocacy and support organizations on the local, state and national levels.
Prior to her role with GDIT, Amy served for more than 14 years as director of patient relations in a hospital system, networking with health care teams to provide for the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of patients and families.
Amy earned her master’s degree from Penn State University and holds an undergraduate degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She also received her certificate in change management from The Johns Hopkins University.
Keith Knutson, Ph.D.
Co-Director, Mayo Clinic Immune Monitoring Core & Director, Mayo Clinic Ovarian Cancer Immunotherapy Program
Keith L. Knutson is a consultant in the Department of Immunology at the Mayo Clinic in Florida, where he also serves as director of the Discovery and Translation Lab’s Cancer Research Program. Keith joined the staff of the Mayo Clinic in 2005 and holds the academic rank of professor of immunology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. He is also director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center’s Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program. Keith received his B.S. in microbiology at the University of Washington, earned his Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology from the University of Georgia and completed two postdoctoral fellowships in immunology, one at the University of British Columbia and the other at the University of Washington. He is internationally recognized in the field of cancer immunology. Keith’s research focuses on the immunology and immunotherapy of breast and ovarian cancers, both the basic immunobiology and clinical translation, including clinical trials.
Wanda Lucas, M.B.A.
NBCC Board of Directors
Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Chapter of NBCC
Wanda Lucas serves as vice president on the board of directors for the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) and is a board member for the Annie Appleseed Project. She is a graduate of the Project LEAD® Institute (2010) and has served as a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (DOD BCRP). She is a founding member of the Georgetown (University) Breast Cancer Advocates, was recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2011 and honored for her grassroots advocacy by NBCC in 2014. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006.
Director of Communications & Policy Advisor, Representative Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL)
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Katrina Martell is currently director of communications for Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) and a policy adviser on a portfolio that includes health, education and women’s rights, among several other issue areas. A 2016 graduate of Columbia University with a B.A. in economics and political science, Katrina is also a senior fellow with Humanity in Action, having studied human rights and democracy in Bosnia in 2017 and organized and moderated a panel of diverse professionals to speak at Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) DC’s first-ever Girls Embracing Their Magic & Strength (G.E.M.S.) Summit for middle school girls. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, tennis and reading. Katrina plans to continue pursuing a meaningful career that protects the rights of marginalized communities and women at the intersections of public service, advocacy and policy.
Carol Matyka, M.A.
NBCC Board of Directors; CARE Advocates Network
Carol Matyka has been a passionate National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) advocate for more than 20 years. A graduate of NBCC’s three Project LEAD® programs–Science, Clinical Trials and Quality Care–she has been a part of many NBCC initiatives, mentored LEAD grads, reviewed research proposals for a number of funding programs and served on the National Advisory Committee for the Agency for Health Care Quality and Research. Carol is active in the Breast Cancer Research Advocates at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) and is a patient collaborator on several funded research studies. She is also a founding member of CARE Advocates Network, which she represents on the NBCC board of directors, and serves as NBCC’s Massachusetts field coordinator.
NBCC Board of Directors and DOD/BCRP Consumer Reviewer
Marylinn Minor was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. That health challenge inspired her to become involved as a breast cancer advocate and educator for Virginians with the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation following her treatment. In 2018, she joined the board of directors and became a member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), where she represented Virginia as a field coordinator and Team Leader, lobbying Congress to gain support for the legislative and policy priorities of NBCC to end breast cancer.
In 2018, Marylinn was a recipient of the Grass Roots Advocacy Award at the NBCC's 23rd Annual New York fund-raising gala. In 2019, as an NBCC Project LEAD® grad, she put her science training to good use as member of a consumer review panel for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (DOD BCRP). In that same year, Marylinn served as a mentor for the Project LEAD Institute, housed within the Center for NBCC Advocacy Training. For a full year, she supported the growth and development of breast cancer activists. In 2020, representing the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation, Marylinn joined the NBCC board of directors and is once again participating as a consumer reviewer with the DOD BCRP.
Marylinn is an accomplished project manager in both information technology (IT) and training and development. She is passionate about breast cancer advocacy—specifically working to eliminate the disparities for people of color. She is committed to working for the collective needs of people affected by breast cancer, with the desire to educate and inspire them.
Lisa Newman, M.D., M.P.H.
Chief of Breast Surgery
Weill Cornell Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian
Lisa Newman is a surgical oncologist with a practice dedicated to breast cancer management. In August 2018, she was appointed to oversee the breast program for the Weill Cornell Medicine New York-Presbyterian Hospital Network, serving its Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn sites. Previously, she worked at the Henry Ford Health System, where she served as breast program director, covering multiple hospitals throughout Michigan since 2015. She is also the founding medical director for the International Center for the Study of Breast Cancer Subtypes, currently headquartered at Weill Cornell Medicine.
Lisa was professor of surgery and director of the Breast Care Center for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she also served as program director for the Breast Fellowship from 2002 to 2015. Dr. Newman holds a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University, and she also obtained her undergraduate education at Harvard. She attended medical school and completed her general surgery residency training at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. Lisa was recruited to remain at Downstate following completion of her postgraduate training and served as an assistant professor of surgery with this program for several years. She pursued fellowship training in surgical oncology at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center from 1997-1999, followed by joining the faculty as an assistant professor; she continues to hold an adjunct professorship with M.D. Anderson.
Lisa’s primary research has focused on race/ethnicity-related variation in breast cancer risk and outcome, the evaluation and management of high-risk patients, broadened applications for neoadjuvant chemotherapy and special surgical techniques such as the skin-sparing mastectomy and lymphatic mapping/sentinel lymph node biopsy. Her extensive research related to disparities in breast cancer risk and outcome has been published in numerous peer-reviewed medical journals and was featured in CNN’s documentary, “Black in America 2.” She has also been the featured breast cancer medical expert for NBC’s Today Show (2014, 2017, 2019) as well on CBS Nightly News (2015). She maintains a very active community service record and currently serves as chief national medical adviser for the Sisters Network, Inc., a national African American breast cancer survivors support organization.
In addition, Lisa oversees an international breast cancer research and training program involving a network of physicians and facilities in Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Mexico and the Caribbean. This program has focused in the study of triple-negative breast cancer in women with African ancestry.
Steffi Oesterreich, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, Co-Leader Cancer Biology Program, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Co-Director and Director of Education Women's Cancer Research Center, Magee-Women’s Research Institute
Steffi Oesterreich joined University of Pittsburgh in August 2010 as professor with tenure in the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology and as director of education in the Women’s Cancer Research Center (WCRC), a collaboration between the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Magee-Womens Research Institute. She currently serves as co-director of the WCRC, and co-leader of the Cancer Biology Program of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. Her laboratory focuses on resistance to hormonal therapies in patients with estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer and breast cancer metastases, with a focus on invasive lobular breast cancer. She enjoys working in multidisciplinary teams and is committed to mentoring the next generation of breast cancer researchers.
Steffi has authored more than 150 scientific articles in the area of breast cancer, serves on editorial boards for cancer research and hormones and cancer, and functions as deputy editor for breast cancer research. Her research has continuously been funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), Susan G. Komen, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and other breast cancer foundations for many years. She is a Susan G. Komen scholar, thereby belonging to a selective group of leading national and international breast cancer experts. She has chaired the Tumor Cell Biology Study Section at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the 2019 Gordon Research Conference on Hormones and Cancer. Together with the Lobular Breast Cancer Alliance (LBCA) and other invasive lobular breast cancer (ILC) experts, she is currently organizing the 2nd International ILC Symposium. Steffi and her husband Dr. Adrian Lee have two daughters (Paula and Nicola) and enjoy living in Pittsburgh.
Lobular Breast Cancer Alliance
Leigh Pate is the founder and first director of the Lobular Breast Cancer Alliance (LBCA), a patient-driven organization collaborating with a scientific advisory board of breast cancer researchers and clinicians. Leigh graduated from Project LEAD® in 2016 and is a member of Komen Advocates in Science (AIS); is an advocate with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; and has authored abstracts and presented posters on lobular breast cancer, worked with researchers on lobular research grant development and presents and moderates lobular breast cancer educational programming. Leigh is a former public affairs consultant and communications specialist and lives in Seattle.
National Women’s Health Network
Cindy has been Executive Director of the National Women’s Health Network for over 20 years. She provides strategic direction for the NWHN’s advocacy projects, and speaks widely about the NWHN’s model of science-informed feminist heath advocacy. Under Cindy’s leadership, the NWHN has received national recognition for its role in catalyzing governmental response to women’s health needs, including the creation of federal offices of women’s health, research addressing health questions important to women, strengthened protections for volunteers in clinical trials, withdrawal of dangerous drugs and the approval of breakthrough reproductive health technologies. Cindy is a co-founder of Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need.
Judy Perkins was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2013. A retired engineer, she became involved with patient advocacy at first to learn more about her own diagnosis and attended conferences offered by the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network and the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). She remains involved with the metastatic community through the Inspire Advanced Breast Cancer Discussion Group. Since 2014, she has continued to attend NBCC Summits and lobby for increased federal funding for breast cancer research. She also advocates for the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation.
Ms. Perkins attended Project LEAD in 2015, and she has served multiple times as a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. In 2018, Ms. Perkins was invited to participate with the Center for Immunotherapeutic Transport Oncophysics (CITO) - Physical Sciences Oncology Center (PSOC) as a consultant advocate at Houston Methodist. In January 2019, she joined the National Cancer Institute Central Institutional Review Board, which provides oversight for clinical trials, as a patient advocate.
As a patient with metastatic cancer, Ms. Perkins participated in two clinical trials. The first trial was at the University of Miami for an FGFR1 inhibitor. After the first trial failed, Ms. Perkins learned about the second trial at the National Institutes of Health while attending Project LEAD. In December, 2015, Ms. Perkins became the first breast cancer patient to be treated with immunotherapy using tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. Since May of 2016, she has been cancer free.
After news of the clinical trial was published in Nature in June, 2018, Ms. Perkins has been featured in a variety of news reports worldwide. As a cancer veteran, she continues to use this platform to educate people about clinical trials and patient advocacy.
NBCC Board of Directors Alternate, CARE Advocates Network
Karen Poliseno is a 20 year breast cancer survivor and an enthusiastic member of NBCC since attending her first Advocacy Training Conference in 2002. She is a Project LEAD graduate and NBCC Team Leader for Massachusetts since 2005. Karen is a key member of CARE Advocates Network and serves as the organizations secretary. Karen also serves as the alternate on the NBCC Board of Directors for CARE Advocates Network.
Tatiana M. Prowell, M.D.
Associate Professor of Oncology, Johns Hopkins University
Medical Officer and Breast Cancer Scientific Liaison to the Oncology Center of Excellence, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Tatiana M. Prowell is associate professor of oncology in the Breast Cancer Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center and breast cancer scientific liaison at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She was the principal architect of FDA’s policy on accelerated approval using pathological complete response as a novel regulatory endpoint in the neoadjuvant high-risk breast cancer setting and a member of the Biden Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel Cancer Immunology Working Group. She is a frequent public speaker and a three-time recipient of FDA’s Excellence in Communication Award, the 2018 recipient of the Merrill Egorin Mentorship Award, the 2019 recipient of the John and Samuel Bard Medal in Science or Medicine and a Giants of Cancer Care Award finalist.
A passionate medical educator and mentor, Tatiana is chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting Education Committee and has served for many years on the faculty of esteemed educational workshops, including the ASCO/American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Vail Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop, the Society for Translational Oncology Fellows’ Forum, the FDA-ASCO Fellows’ Day Workshop and the Dana-Farber Clinical Investigator Seminar Series. She practices at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she also teaches in the medical school and the medical oncology fellowship training program. Tatiana received her B.A. degree from Bard College in languages and literature and her M.D. degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with election to the Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha honor societies. She completed her residency and fellowship training at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She tweets about oncology, public health, medical education and health equity as @tmprowell.
NBCC Board of Directors; Breast Cancer Care & Research Fund
Michele Rakoff, a patient and research advocate, activist and breast cancer survivor for more than 32 years, is executive director of the Breast Cancer Care & Research Fund in Los Angeles, California. She 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 sits on the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) board of directors and is a member of the NBCC Artemis Project®. Michele 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 (CBCRP’s) Advisory Council, has participated as a peer reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (DOD BCRP) and collaborates with scientists on their research grants. Currently, Michele holds an advocate seat on the California Teacher’s Study Scientific Task Force Steering Committee, is a member of the Love/Avon Army of Women Scientific Advisory Committee and sits on the external advisory board of the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center and on the data safety monitoring board at UCLA. She is an advocate on several DOD BCRP and CBCRP research grants as well as the community partner on a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) grant. Because public policy issues and legislation have an impact on patients and health care, Michele travels to Sacramento, California, and Washington, D.C., as an NBCC field coordinator to represent the patient’s voice. She continues to lobby for federal funding for research and access to quality and affordable care for all and to ensure that advocates have a seat at the table everywhere health care decisions are being made. Representing NBCC, Michele traveled to China to meet with the Cancer Foundation of China, Beijing Tumor Hospital and other community hospitals. She collaborated with the Rabin Medical Center in Israel as it developed its comprehensive breast center. She also 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.
Dana Richter, J.D.
Legislative Assistant Health, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Dana Richter is a senior policy adviser for Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) with responsibility for issues within the jurisdiction of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Finance Committee. Prior to her current position, Dana was director of government relations for the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). She previously served as senior legislative assistant for former Representative Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02) with responsibility for several issues, including health care and education. Dana has a Bachelor of Arts degree and a law degree from the University of Alabama.
NBCC Board of Directors; Florida Breast Cancer Foundation
Since the day of her diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer at the age of 33, Valencia Robinson has been committed to serving the community in an effort to raise awareness of breast disease. She has attended Project LEAD®, the San Antonio Breast Symposium and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). She is a board member for the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation, Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Clinical Study Patient Advisory Board, reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (DOD BCRP), an advocate with the patient-led group Project Lighthouse, a member of the Physical Sciences Oncology Education and Outreach Group and the Oncology Nursing Society. She is also an editor for the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University. Her passion to help patients and survivors of cancer (especially breast cancer) in all areas—legislation, research and therapeutics—and overall well-being as a patient advocate shine through all the work that she continues to do.
NBCC NH Team Leader; NBCC Breast Cancer Advocate
Nancy Ryan is president of the New Hampshire Breast Cancer Coalition and the New Hampshire field coordinator for the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989 and with ovarian cancer in 1998. Nancy completed NBCC’s science training course, Project LEAD®, in 2004 and served as a mentor for the Project LEAD Institute in 2011, 2015 and 2016. Nancy has served as a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (DOD BCRP) and was a consumer participant and Scientific Session cochair at five Era of Hope Meetings. She also serves as NBCC team leader for NBCC’s Washington Lobby Day on Capitol Hill.
Ayesha Shajahan-Haq, Ph.D.
Co-Director: Master's Program in Tumor Biology, Georgetown University
Scientific Adviser: Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates (GBCA)
Ayesha Shajahan-Haq received her Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Illinois in 2004. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship from Georgetown University, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC), and joined the faculty at the Department of Oncology in 2008. Currently, she is an assistant professor and full member of the Breast Cancer Program at LCCC. She is also the co-director of the Master’s Program in Tumor Biology at Georgetown University and the scientific adviser for Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates (GBCA), a research advocacy committee. Her research focus is on understanding how breast cancer cells develop resistance to standard therapies and applying novel therapies to treat resistant tumors. Through multidisciplinary collaborations, Ayesha’s research also contributes to building mathematical models to predict cellular responses to antiestrogens and CDK4/6 inhibitors. Collectively, her research goal is to effectively treat breast cancer by maximizing cancer death, minimizing side effects and preventing drug resistance.
Congressman Adam Schiff
U. SH. House of Representatives, CA- 28th Congressional District
Congressman Adam Schiff represents California's 28th Congressional District, and throughout his tenure in Congress, he has focused on growing the economy, bolstering national security, strengthening our communities, helping small businesses, and improving education, safety and health care for our children. In his 10th term in the House of Representatives, Schiff currently serves as the Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence oversees the nation’s intelligence agencies including components of the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, State and Energy. Schiff is currently on a leave of absence from the House Appropriations Committee.
Adam is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School. He and his wife Eve (yes, it's true – Adam and Eve) have two children, a daughter, Alexa, and a son, Elijah.
Alexandria Shields, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Alexandra Shields is director of the Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations and Health Disparities; associate professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School; associate in health policy at Massachusetts General Hospital; associate faculty in molecular and population genetics at the Broad Institute at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and presidential scholar at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
An elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, Alexandra’s work addresses the impact of health system change on minority and other underserved populations. Her recent work addresses the underlying mechanisms through which psychosocial stress contributes to disease as well as challenges associated with translating emerging genomics research into clinical practice, with a particular focus on interests of poor and minority patients and the providers who serve them. She has conducted several national studies addressing the preparedness of primary care physicians to incorporate genomic medicine into practice, patients’ attitudes and beliefs about genetics and access to recommended genetic tests for low-income and minority patients. She also studies important ethical aspects of genomics research design, including the use of race constructs in genomics research and the inclusion of socio-environmental measures that capture the lived experience of poor communities in gene-environment studies.
In addition, Alexandra is the director of the National Consortium on Psychosocial Stress, Spirituality and Health, a unique international resource for empirically investigating the intersection of psychosocial stress, racial/ethnic disparities and positive mediating resources for resiliency such as spirituality and religious coping. She also leads the Harvard-wide Gene-Environment and Disparities Research Initiative, which engages faculty from diverse disciplines in developing research designs that reflect the complex array of social, environmental and behavioral factors affecting the etiology of health disparities in gene-environment studies.
Alexandra has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, codirected the Health Disparities Research Program of the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center, is an executive committee member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center’s Reduction of Cancer Risk and Disparities Program and serves on advisory boards of several National Institutes of Health (NIH) and university-based research initiatives addressing genomics and health disparities.
NBCC Board of Directors; Young Survival Coalition
Joy Simha was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994 at the age of 26 and is one of the three cofounders of the Young Survival Coalition (YSC). She was the first president of YSC and served on YSC’s board of directors for 15 years. She represented the YSC on the board of directors of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) from 2001-2013 and now serves as its alternate. Trained through NBCC's Project LEAD®, Joy has put her science training to good use as a member of the Integration Panel of the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (DOD BCRP) and was chair of the Integration Panel in 2015. She served on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women and as a panel member on the Institute of Medicine's Evidence Communication Innovation Collaborative. Joy comes from a career in video production and media marketing. She strives toward effective, meaningful change in the status quo for all women affected by breast cancer in honor of her children and future generations affected by the disease.
Rose Marie Sitko
NBCC Board Member; Vice President of Michigan Breast Cancer Coalition
Rose Marie Sitko is a 23-year survivor of breast cancer. She is a National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) board member, vice president of the Michigan Breast Cancer Coalition and a member of the University of Michigan Breast Cancer Advocacy Advisory Committee. In 2017, she received an Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation scholarship for the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Rose Marie holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in health care administration. She attributes much of her passion for breast cancer advocacy and finding an end to the disease to education received at Project LEAD®.
Tracy Edler Solak, J.D.
NBCC Breast Cancer Advocate and DOD BRCP Consumer Reviewer
Tracy Edler Solak (formerly Tracy Leduc) was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2006, and she began her advocacy work in 2009 when she attended her first National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) Advocacy Conference. She is a 2010 graduate of NBCC's Project LEAD® Institute and a 2017 graduate of NBCC's Advanced Project LEAD. Tracy has been a Project LEAD mentor since 2015, served as an alternate on the NBCC board of directors from 2013 until 2017, has been a team leader for NBCC's annual Washington Lobby Day since 2010 and has served as an advocate member of NBCC's Artemis Project®. In addition to her work with NBCC, Tracy is involved with the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation and the Young Survival Coalition. She has also served as a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (DOD BCRP) since 2010, both as a peer reviewer and at the programmatic review level.
In her "spare" time, Tracy works full time as a staff attorney on Florida's Second District Court of Appeal. She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Stetson University College of Law and her B.A. in English from the College of William and Mary, and she recently completed the coursework for a Master of Jurisprudence in Healthcare Compliance.
NBCC CA Team Leader; NBCC Breast Cancer Advocate
Kim Tankersley was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 at the age of 37. She has served on the board of the Breast Cancer Care & Research Fund (BCCRF) since 2008 and is a National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) Project LEAD® graduate and former mentor. Kim’s ongoing advocacy activities include working as an advocate adviser to researchers on grant proposals through the California Breast Cancer Research Program and as a Community Leadership Committee member for the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program at City of Hope. She has participated in the NBCC Leadership Summit since 2009 and is a Washington Lobby Day team leader. Kim is a public school educator in Los Angeles at a small high school serving at-risk youth.
Kristin Teig Torres, M.A.
NBCC Breast Cancer Advocate; The Beyond Pink TEAM Iowa
Kristin Teig Torres, is Director of Community Engagement and teaches in the Institute for Leadership Education at Wartburg College. She holds a BA in Theatre and an MA in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development from the University of Northern Iowa. She is a member of The Beyond Pink TEAM located in Iowa. A graduate of the 2013 Project LEAD®, Kristin has returned twice to attend Advanced Project LEAD and has also served as a LEAD mentor.
Michelle Tregear, Ph.D.
Chief Programs Officer
National Breast Cancer Coalition
Michelle Tregear is a 12-year breast cancer survivor and currently serves as chief programs officer for the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). Joining NBCC in July 2018, she brings more than 19 years of experience in education and training development, training program evaluation, research/analysis and project management. Prior to joining NBCC, she served as a project director and senior researcher at AFYA, Inc. in Laurel, Maryland, and ECRI Institute in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. In addition to managing program evaluations and research/analysis-based projects, she has served as the project director for the development and implementation of multiple health-care-related education and training programs. Michelle holds both a Master of Arts degree and a Doctor of Philosophy in psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Harvard Medical School; and the University of Pennsylvania.
Doug Usher, Ph.D.
Forbes Tate Partners
Doug Usher is partner at Forbes Tate Partners (FTP). Doug has spent the last two decades building insights that have helped change the strategic trajectory of major corporations, industry associations, and political campaigns. Combining deep expertise in opinion research, data analysis, and analytics with years of experience navigating the intersection between business goals and the political, policy, and regulatory spheres, Doug has helped build winning strategies and campaigns for clients across a broad range of industries, with a particular focus on the pharmaceutical and energy sectors.
Doug lectures widely on the changing nature of measuring public opinion and sentiment, conducts seminars for the U.S. State Department’s International Visitors Program, and has served as an expert witness for the U.S. Department of Justice. Doug has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, CNN, National Public Radio, and CBC TV in Canada for his analysis of trends in public opinion and politics. His writing has been published extensively, including in The Wall Street Journal, National Journal, The Hill, and Campaigns and Elections.
Prior to joining the FTP team, Doug worked at Purple Strategies, Widmeyer Communications, and the Mellman Group. He holds a Ph.D. in Government and Research Methodology from Cornell University.
Fran Visco, J.D.
National Breast Cancer Coalition
Fran Visco, a more than 30-year breast cancer survivor, is the president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) and a member of its board of directors. She is an honors graduate of Villanova Law School, where she was an editor of The Villanova Law Review and a chair of the Women’s Law Caucus. President Clinton appointed Fran to three terms as one of three members of the President’s Cancer Panel, and she was the first consumer to chair the Integration Panel of the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (DOD BCRP). In addition, Fran cochaired the National Action Plan on Breast Cancer and served on the National Cancer Policy Board. She is a member of the board of directors of Translational Research in Oncology, an international nonprofit clinical trials consortium. Fran has been appointed to several Institute of Medicine (IOM) panels and served as a member of the IOM Roundtable on Evidence-Based Medicine. She is a previous member of the board of directors of Women’s Way in Philadelphia, the nation’s oldest and largest women’s funding federation.
H. Gilbert Welch, M.D., M.P.H.
Senior Investigator, Center for Surgery and Public Health
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
H. Gilbert Welch is a general internist who has worked for the U.S. Indian Health Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs and Dartmouth. Currently, he is a senior researcher at the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. For more than three decades, he has been asking hard questions about his profession. His arguments are frequently counterintuitive, even heretical, yet have regularly appeared in the country's most prestigious medical journals—Annals of Internal Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, The New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute—as well as in op-eds in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. His most recent book is titled, Less Medicine, More Health: 7 Assumptions That Drive Too Much Medical Care.
H. Gilbert questions the assumption that more medical care is always better. His research has focused on the assumption as it relates to diagnosis: that the best strategy to keep people healthy is early diagnosis—and the earlier the better. He has delineated the side effects of this strategy: Physicians test too often, treat too aggressively and tell too many people that they are sick. Much of his work has focused on overdiagnosis in cancer screening—in particular, screening for melanoma, thyroid, lung, breast and prostate cancer.
Alana Welm, Ph.D.
Associate Professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Utah
Investigator, Huntsman Cancer Institute (H.C.I)
Coleader of the Cell Response and Regulation Program, H.C.I.
Alana Welm completed her Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, under the supervision of Gretchen Darlington, Ph.D. She then went on to conduct postdoctoral training in Dr. J. Michael Bishop’s laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco, where her work focused on developing new models of breast cancer metastasis. Alana started her laboratory at the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute in 2007 and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2013.
The research in Alana’s laboratory focuses on solving the problem of breast cancer metastasis using in vivo modeling of mouse and human breast cancers. Her group discovered that the RON kinase pathway is an important facilitator of breast cancer metastasis through its unique dual function in tumor cells and in resident macrophages. Current areas of research include: (1) preclinical studies of various RON inhibitors for treatment and prevention of metastatic breast cancer; (2) preclinical and early clinical studies of the RON/MET inhibitor BMS777607/ASLAN002 in bone metastatic cancers; (3) discovering molecular mechanisms by which RON kinases promote metastasis through cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous pathways; and (4) refining “precision medicine” for metastatic breast cancer using functional assays in patient-derived breast tumor grafts.
Melanie Wyne, J.D.
Chief Policy Officer
National Breast Cancer Coalition
Melanie Wyne joined the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) as chief policy officer in September 2019. She heads up NBCC’s Government Affairs and Field operations. She is a breast cancer survivor and a 2019 graduate of NBCC's Project LEAD®. Melanie is a government affairs and policy veteran with more than two decades of experience working in corporate, startup and trade association settings at the international, federal and state levels. Prior to joining NBCC, Melanie was the director of technology policy at the National Association of Realtors, the largest trade association in the U.S. Additionally, she served as the director of public policy for a global technology trade association, where she lobbied in Washington and in foreign capitals for the technology industry. She also was a policy advocate for the Bank of America, handling its technology portfolio. Melanie's professional background also includes stints as a software startup executive and a commercial litigation attorney. She is a graduate of the University of California San Diego and the University of San Francisco School of Law.
NBCC ME Team Leader; NBCC Breast Cancer Advocate
Bethany Zell is program director of Pink Aroostook, a breast health program, and Healthy You, a community wellness program—both of Cary Medical Center in Caribou, Maine. She also currently serves as the president of the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition, Aroostook County’s coordinator of the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program, an advocate with the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network and Maine’s field coordinator/team leader for the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). In July 2015, she completed the NBCC’s prestigious Project LEAD® course for breast cancer advocates, and in December 2016, she participated in the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation’s Patient Advocate Program at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. In 2019, Bethany became a certified Health & Wellness Coach.