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This year's conference will connect you with some of the top experts in the lung cancer field.

Jennifer Aversano, MSN, RN, OCN, BMTCN

Jennifer Aversano

Advocate Aurora Lutheran General Hospital
Oncology Nurse Navigator

Jennifer is a double-certified oncology nurse navigator with a specialty in lung cancer. She sees all newly diagnosed lung cancer patients and helps them from diagnosis through the continuum of care. As an oncology navigator, Jennifer believes her job is to help her patients in any way she can with education, care coordination, and providing emotional support when needed.

Jennifer also is the point of contact for the lung cancer screening program, providing education to her patients and the community on the importance of lung screening for people at high risk for lung cancer.

Joshua Bauml, MD

Dr. Joshua Bauml

University of Pennsylvania
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/ Oncology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Bauml's clinical and research efforts are focused on improving outcomes for patients with lung and head/neck cancers through clinical and translational research. These efforts have included running innovative clinical trials, performing translational analyses surrounding biomarkers, and doing advanced registry work. He is the co-deputy director of clinical research for the airways program at the Abramson Cancer Center.

Isabelle Benarous

Isabelle Benarous

BioReprogramming® Institute
NLP and Biological Decoding Trainer; Founder of the BioReprogramming® Institute; Author of the book Break the Code of Your Illness

Isabelle Benarous is the founder of the BioReprogramming® Institute. Her background as a trainer in the science of Biological Decoding and Neuro-linguistic-programming led her to develop the practical technology of BioReprogramming®. Isabelle’s synthesis offers a comprehensive approach based on the science of human evolution and the processes of the mind. The purpose of her method is to offer lasting solutions for emotional conflicts, optimize the prevention of illness, and allow transformation from within.

Jennifer Bires

Jennifer Bires

Inova Schar Cancer Institute 
Executive Director, Life with Cancer and Patient Experience

Jennifer Bires is the executive director of Life with Cancer and Patient Experience for the Inova Schar Cancer Institute. She previously served as the executive director at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC, after almost a decade of experience as an oncology social worker in the DC area.

Jennifer has a passion for improving access to psychosocial services for those impacted by cancer.  She specializes in working with young adults who have been diagnosed with cancer, communication around end-of-life concerns, and sexual health.

She currently serves as the chair of the Board of Oncology Social Workers, and she received the 2017 Oncology Social Worker of the Year award from the Association of Oncology Social Workers. 

Julie R. Brahmer, MD

Dr. Julie Brahmer

The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
Professor of Oncology; Co-Director, Upper Aerodigestive (UAD) Program; Director, Thoracic Oncology Program; Director, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center at Bayview

A global thought leader in the emerging field of immunotherapy, Dr. Brahmer is professor of oncology at The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Brahmer's research and clinical practice focus on the development of new therapies, including immunotherapies, for the treatment and prevention of lung cancer and mesothelioma. She was involved in the phase 1 trial of the PD-1 blocking antibody nivolumab. Dr. Brahmer is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Thoracic Committee and Cancer Prevention Steering Committee.

Lauren Averett Byers, MD

Dr. Lauren Byers

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Associate Professor, Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine

Dr. Byers has a bachelor's degree in molecular biology from Princeton University and a masters in cancer biology, with a specialization in patient-based research, from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Byers joined the faculty at MD Anderson in 2010. Using proteomic, gene expression, and genomic profiling assays, she has identified several promising molecular targets for treating lung cancer. A world-class clinical and translational investigator, she currently leads several clinical trials testing PARP inhibitors and novel immunotherapy approaches for patients with recurrent SCLC.

Dr. Byers is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades and was a member of the inaugural group of LUNGevity Career Development awardees. Most recently, she was the recipient of an Andrew Sabin Family Fellowship to support her work in using novel CAR-T therapy for SCLC and the recipient of the President's Recognition for Research Excellence from MD Anderson. She is also an active member of the NCI's Thoracic Malignancy Steering Committee and the NCI's Progress in Small Cell Lung Cancer Working Group.

D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD

Dr. Ross Camidge

University of Colorado
Director, Thoracic Oncology Clinical and Clinical Research Programs; Professor of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology

Dr. Camidge is also the National Medical Director of the Academic Thoracic Oncology Medical Investigators Consortium (ATOMIC) and a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Lung Cancer Committee.

In addition to training Fellows through the CU ACGME Medical Oncology Fellowship, Dr. Camidge is the director of the CU Senior Thoracic Oncology Clinical and Translational Research Fellowship, a unique "finishing school" in advanced cancer clinical research for US and international graduates who have already completed their basic medical oncology training. Through these two programs, Dr. Camidge has mentored a consistent series of outstanding early-career medical oncologists. In 2014, he was nationally recognized by The Quality of Life Center at Claremont University in California as an "Exemplary mentor in the positive development of junior colleagues in the profession."

David P. Carbone, MD, PhD

Dr. David Carbone

The Ohio State University
Wexner Medical Center
Comprehensive Cancer Center
Professor, Division of Medical Oncology; Barbara J. Bonner Chair in Lung Cancer Research; Director of the James Thoracic Oncology Center; Past President, International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC)

Dr. David Carbone is director of the James Thoracic Center at James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at Ohio State University. He received his MD and PhD from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Carbone completed his internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins University and a medical oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute.

His clinical specialty is lung cancer, and he served on the Board of Directors of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC). He also sits on the Scientific Advisory Board at LUNGevity. Dr. Carbone’s research interests have focused on proteomic and expression array signature development in lung cancer, lung cancer genetics, cancer immunotherapy, tumor-associated immunosuppression mechanisms, and gene therapy. His most recent research has focused on molecular biomarkers and molecular profiling of lung cancers.

Devika Das, MD

Dr. Devika Das

Birmingham, Alabama VA Health Care System
Section Chief of Hematology/ Oncology, BVAMC; Clinical Assistant Professor, UAB Department of Medicine – Hematology and Oncology

Dr. Das' areas of interest are lung cancer, healthcare quality and safety, and medical education

Chris Draft

Chris Draft

Patient Advocate

Chris Draft is a former American football linebacker in the NFL. He played for the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, and St. Louis Rams. Chris' wife, Lakeasha, a fitness fanatic and lifetime non-smoker, died at the age of 38 from lung cancer. She had a year-long battle with stage IV disease and died exactly one month after the couple exchanged wedding vows.

Chris and Lakeasha founded Team Draft as part of the Chris Draft Family Foundation. The goal of Team Draft is to give hope, comfort, and inspiration to the patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers who are battling lung cancer every day.

Andrew E. Esch, MD, MBA

Dr. Andrew Esch

Medical Education Consultant, Center to Advance Palliative Care

Dr. Esch is a palliative specialist and consultant focusing on improving the quality of life for patients and their families—through pain and symptom management, coordination of care, and education—as they face serious or life-threatening illness. Dr. Esch earned his medical degree from the University of Buffalo, where he also earned a combined Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degree.

Currently he is a consultant and faculty member for the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC). Prior to joining CAPC, Dr. Esch worked at the Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, Florida, as medical director of palliative care. During his time there he was recognized with the prestigious Phoenix Award for his work with people with cancer. Dr. Esch speaks nationally on palliative care education and growth and sustainability of palliative care programs.

Patrick Forde, MD (MB, BCH)

Dr. Patrick Forde

The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
Associate Professor of Oncology;
Director of the Thoracic Cancer Clinical Research Program

Dr. Forde has led the development of a clinical-translational research program focused on the immuno-oncology of upper aerodigestive malignancies.

Dr. Forde’s research examines the role of immunotherapy for earlier-stage lung cancer, and his work has led to the development of several ongoing phase III trials.

Nicole J. Franklin, MPH

Nicole Franklin

Cancer and Careers

Nicole Franklin is Senior Manager of Programs at Cancer and Careers. In this role, she oversees Cancer and Careers’ annual research projects, online career coaching services, the expansion of awareness and outreach efforts through CAC’s social media platforms and public relations channels, and the production of the bi-monthly newsletter. She also manages CAC’s annual regional conferences in Chicago and Los Angeles.

Prior to joining the CAC team, Nicole was program support officer at Concern Worldwide Uganda, where she helped to develop and implement programmatic health and development activities. Before that, she worked at CMMB, an international NGO, as a key member of its programs team in Zambia and as manager of its Global Volunteer Program in its New York City office. Additionally, she has held various administrative, operational, and programmatic roles in the non-profit sector.

Nicole received her Bachelor of Arts degree in African American studies from Oberlin College and her Master of Public Health degree, with a concentration in international health and development, from Tulane University.

Patricia Frye, MD

Dr. Patricia Frye

Takoma-SE Integrative Care  
Medical Director; Author of the book The Medical Marijuana Guide: Cannabis and Your Health

Dr. Frye is founder and medical director of Takoma-SE Integrative Care, located in Washington, DC. Her integrative practice focuses on the use of cannabis, cannabinoids, nutrition, and lifestyle choices in the medical management of chronic conditions such as pain, autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, neurodegenerative disorders, autism, seizure disorders, and psychiatric illnesses. 

She is professionally certified by the University of Vermont School of Medicine in Cannabis Science and Medicine and serves on the board of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians as Chair of the Committee on Education. Dr. Frye is affiliate associate professor in medical cannabis science and therapeutics at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. 

Dr. Frye earned her medical degree at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. After completing her pediatric residency, she trained in anesthesiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where she gained experience in sedation, medical pain management, and pain management procedures.

Joseph Greer, PhD

Dr. Joseph Greer

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Program Director, Center for Psychiatric Oncology & Behavioral Sciences; Co-Director, Cancer Outcomes Research & Education Program; Associate Professor of Psychology

Dr. Greer's clinical work focuses on the delivery of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help patients and their families cope with cancer. In addition, he collaborates with a multidisciplinary research team of oncologists, nurses, palliative care physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists to develop and test supportive care interventions aimed at improving quality of life, mood, and quality of care for patients with cancer.

As the principal investigator and collaborator on numerous grant-funded projects, he is studying the application of CBT to treat anxiety in patients with advanced cancer; nurse-delivered behavioral interventions to improve breathlessness in patients with lung cancer; the use of mobile technology to promote symptom management and adherence to oral chemotherapy medications; and the benefits of early palliative care integrated with standard oncology care. Dr. Greer has received funding for this work from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and philanthropic donations. 

John V. Heymach, MD, PhD

Dr. John Heymach

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Professor and Chairman, Department of Thoracic/ Head and Neck Medical Oncology,
Division of Cancer Medicine

Dr. Heymach's research focuses on investigating mechanisms of therapeutic resistance, understanding the regulation of angiogenesis in lung cancer, and developing biomarkers for selecting patients most likely to benefit from targeted agents. Dr. Heymach has led a number of phase I/II clinical trials in NSCLC and currently serves as the principal investigator on the BATTLE-frontline trial using novel combinations of targeted agents as frontline therapy for NSCLC patients. His work has been extensively published in prominent peer-reviewed journals. 

Dr. Heymach currently serves as a project co-leader on the Lung Cancer and Head and Neck SPOREs, and is the PI on an NCI R01 award, a LUNGevity Foundation grant, and an AACR Stand Up To Cancer grant. He is the recent recipient of a V Foundation Translational Research Award, on which he serves as PI. He also serves as a co-leader of the MD Anderson Lung Cancer Moon Shot Project. He is a past recipient of the Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award, an ASCO Career Development Award, the Wilson Stone Award for Basic Science Research, the Emil J. Frei Award for Translational Research, and the MD Anderson Physician Scientist award. He was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2013. 

Kristin Higgins, MD

Dr. Kristin Higgins

Emory University School of Medicine
Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology
The Emory Clinic
Medical Director of Radiation Oncology

A board certified radiation oncologist, Dr. Higgins specializes in the treatment of lung, head and neck cancers. She treats patients at Winship Cancer Institute and Emory Proton Therapy Center.

Dr. Higgins is a member of multiple professional organizations including American Society for Radiation Oncology, American Board of Radiology, International Association for the study of Lung Cancer, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and Radiation Therapy Oncology Group.

Christopher S. Lathan, MD, MS, MPH 

Christopher S. Lathan, MD, MS, MPH 

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Faculty Director for Cancer Care Equity; Medical Director, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center; Associate Medical Director, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Network
Harvard Medical School 
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Dr. Lathan is the founding faculty director of the Cancer Care Equity Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Director of Dana-Farber Community Cancer Care at Whittier Street Health Center in Roxbury, MA, a clinical outreach program.

Dr. Lathan’s primary research interests are the effects of race, class, and access to care on cancer outcomes. Dr. Lathan aims to bridge the gap between disparities found by research efforts and the realities of patient care by finding ways to increase access to high-level quality care, partly through community engagement.

Dr. Lathan attended medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine and completed his postdoctoral training in internal medicine, medical oncology, and cancer outcomes research at Boston Medical Center and the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. Dr. Lathan also holds a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a master of science degree in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Massachusetts.

Benjamin P. Levy, MD

Dr. Benjamin Levy

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Associate Professor
Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center
Clinical Director

Dr. Levy is a physician-scientist who is currently leading immunotherapy trials evaluating checkpoint inhibitors with novel combination strategies, as well as targeted therapy trials. Dr. Levy has played an integral role on several American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) committees and currently serves as associate editor for the ASCO University Committee as well as editor-in-chief for the ASCO Self-Evaluation Program (ASCO-SEP®).

He recently completed two terms on the editorial board for the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) and currently serves as senior associate editor for Clinical Lung Cancer. He is an ad hoc reviewer for The Oncologist, Oncotarget, and Clinical Cancer Research (CCR).

Dr. Levy was recently selected as one of only 15 oncologists in the country to join the prestigious ASCO Leadership Development Program, whose mission is to identify and develop future leaders of ASCO. In addition to his ASCO commitments, Dr. Levy serves on the ALLIANCE Respiratory Committee, the IASLC Staging Committee, and the IASLC Career Development & Fellowship Committee.

Christine Lovly, MD, PhD

Dr. Christine Lovly

Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology; Ingram Associate Professor of Cancer Research; Co-Leader, Translational Research and Interventional Oncology Program

Dr. Lovly, is a physician-scientist who splits her time between clinical care and laboratory research.

Her clinical practice focuses primarily on the care of patients with lung cancer. Her laboratory research focuses on understanding and developing improved therapeutic strategies for specific clinically relevant molecular subsets of lung cancer. She is also co-editor-in-chief for the website, a Vanderbilt-initiated freely available website that aims to provide healthcare practitioners, patients, and advocates with up-to-date information on genetically informed cancer medicine.

Drew Moghanaki, MD, MPH

Dr. Drew Moghanaki

Atlanta VA Medical Center
Chief, Radiation Oncology
Emory Winship Cancer Institute
Acting Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology

Dr. Moghanaki is a widely recognized leader in lung cancer research and directs several highly visible national projects in the VA. This includes the VA Partnership to Increase Access to Lung Screening (VA-PALS) and the phase III randomized VA Lung Cancer Surgery or Stereotactic Radiotherapy. He is a member, advisor, and chair of multiple committees for national organizations that include the American Cancer Society, American Society of Radiation Oncology, the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer, and LUNGevity Foundation.

Tim Mullett, MD

Dr. Tim Mullet

University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Professor of Surgery; Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Dr. Mullett is a cardiothoracic surgery specialist in Lexington, KY, and has over 33 years of experience in the medical field. He graduated from University of Florida Medical School in 1987. He is affiliated with University of Kentucky Hospital.

Raymond Uyiosa Osarogiagbon, MD, FACP

Dr. Raymond Osarogiagbon

Baptist Cancer Center, Memphis
Director, Thoracic Oncology Research Group; Director, Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program
University of Memphis School of Public Health, Memphis
Research Professor

Dr. Osarogiagbon is an active practicing hematologist/medical oncologist at the Baptist Cancer Center in Memphis, TN, an American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC)-accredited Comprehensive Community Cancer Center. Additionally, he is a member of the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville.

Dr. Osarogiagbon's research focuses on improving healthcare systems, including examination of oncology care delivery models, quantifying the relative survival impact of determinants of quality care in thoracic oncology, and improving the quality of surgical resection and pathologic staging of lung cancer. Current research support includes R01 funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). He is also the Principal Investigator of the Baptist Cancer Center/Mid-South Minority-Underserved National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP).

Paul K. Paik, MD

Dr. Pail Paik

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Associate Attending Physician; Clinical Director, Thoracic Oncology Service

Dr. Paik is a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center who specializes in the treatment of lung cancers.

Dr. Paik's research focuses on squamous cell lung cancer therapy, targeted therapeutics, and translational therapies aimed at the metastatic process.

Jim Pantelas

Jim Pantelas

Patient and Research Advocate

Jim is a 14-year lung cancer survivor, a former human resources and IT executive, a Navy veteran, and, most importantly, a dad. His advocacy in the lung cancer community includes roles as a board member on multiple institutional review boards (IRBs) and central IRBs, sitting on committees overseeing joint research efforts at the National Cancer Institute and the VA, and acting as a peer reviewer for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), and the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR). He has been actively involved with LUNGevity since 2013..

AJ Patel

AJ Patel

Patient and Research Advocate

AJ was diagnosed with advanced stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with the ROS 1 biomarker in August 2013.

Jyoti Patel, MD

Dr. Jyoti Patel

Northwestern University
Associate Vice-Chair for Clinical Research, Department of Medicine; Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Oncology)
Lurie Cancer Center
Assistant Director for Clinical Research

Dr. Patel is a leader in thoracic oncology, focusing her efforts in the development and evaluation of novel molecular markers and therapeutics in patients battling non-small cell lung cancer. She has numerous publications and has led multiple lung cancer trials, from phase I to III. Dr. Patel is recognized for her expertise in new drug development as well as being an outstanding clinician, educator, and mentor.

Rasheda Persinger-Adams, AGNP-C

Rasheda Persinger Adams

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Sibley Memorial Hospital
Oncology nurse practitioner

Rasheda Persinger-Adams is an oncology nurse practitioner (NP) with over 15 years of experience in both academia and community-based practices. She currently is the lead medical oncology nurse practitioner at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center of Johns Hopkins at Sibley Memorial Hospital, where she primarily works within the thoracic oncology space. She is well abreast in symptom management and also values the holistic approach in adequately caring for the oncology patient.

Laura A. Petrillo, MD

Dr. Laura Petrillo

Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Palliative Care and Geriatrics
Harvard Medical School
Instructor in Medicine

Dr. Petrillo is a physician-scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, MA who divides her time between doing research and seeing patients in the MGH Cancer Center Palliative Care Clinic. Her research is focused on developing supportive care interventions for patients with cancer who receive novel therapies such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy.

Zofia Piotrowska, MD

Dr. Zofia Piotrowska

Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital
Harvard Medical School


Dr. Piotrowska is a thoracic medical oncologist and clinical and translational researcher. Her research focuses on improving therapies for patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancer and on developing innovative diagnostic tools, specifically circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) analyses, into clinical care.  She is currently studying resistance mechanisms to third-generation EGFR inhibitors and the role of tumor heterogeneity in resistance to EGFR-targeted agents.

Dr. Piotrowska received her MD from Yale University School of Medicine.

Erin Price, MSW, LICSW

Erin Price

Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, Washington, DC
Director of Young Adult and Psychosocial Support Programs

Erin Price was driven to help others facing cancer shortly after her own breast cancer diagnosis when she was 27. Since then, she has become a leader in the DC cancer community, with a special interest in advocating for and providing support to young adults diagnosed with cancer.

Erin’s work at Smith Center began in 2012 and includes running the DC Young Adult Cancer Community programming and providing group and individual support to cancer survivors, serving as an Integrative patient navigator and managing Smith Center’s Integrative Patient Navigation Training. She also provides support and resources to young women diagnosed with breast cancer in the DC area as a volunteer.

Erin is a graduate of the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Project LEAD scientific research advocacy training, an experienced grant reviewer for the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, and a member of the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates.

Charles M. Rudin, MD, PhD

Dr. Charles Rudin

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Chief, Thoracic Oncology Service; Co-Director, Druckenmiller Center for Lung Cancer Research; Sylvia Hassenfeld Chair in Lung Cancer Research

As a physician-scientist, Dr. Rudin leads research that focuses on the development and testing of novel therapeutic approaches to lung cancer in preclinical models including patient-derived xenografts. These studies are integrated with early-phase clinical trials.

Dr. Rudin also is the Chair of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board.

Nichelle Stigger

Nichelle Stigger

Lung Cancer Survivor-Advocate

Nichelle Stigger’s cancer journey began in 2016 when she was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer, mucinous adenocarcinoma, found in only 1% of cancer patients.

After two surgeries, including the removal of her left lobe and lymph nodes, she has been cancer-free since 2017.  Nichelle has made it her fight to educate, facilitate, engage, and organize those in powerful positions to bring about change in the pursuit of equity for all.

Nichelle is an educator in Oak Park, IL, and, in addition to her passion for equality in cancer care, is an advocate for equality in education. She believes that knowledge can be a place of enlightenment, and she teaches her kids to practice leading with love in all interactions. Nichelle lives in Oak Park, IL, with her young son Parker and husband Aaron.

Karen Tripp, MS, LMFT

Karen Tripp

Cancer Companions
Executive Director

Karen Tripp is an author and counselor. Her roles have included authorship of Christian books including God is Bigger Than Your Cancer; daughter of a colon cancer survivor; and licensed marriage and family therapist.

Anil Vachani, MD

Dr. Anil Vachani

University of Pennsylvania
Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division

Dr. Vachani, a pulmonologist and physician-scientist at Penn Medicine and the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, co-directs the Lung Cancer Screening (LCS) programs at both institutions and leads efforts to implement lung cancer screening protocols, including the provision of tobacco dependence services to active smokers undergoing low-dose CT screening and management of patients with positive findings.

His research interests broadly focus on the studies that address important process and outcome questions relevant to the study of quality and comparative effectiveness of current approaches for prevention, screening, diagnosis, and management of lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies. His current work, funded by the NCI and PCORI, uses multicenter observational approaches and interventional studies to assess key outcomes relevant to LCS implementation and the assessment of behavioral economic approaches to tobacco dependence treatment within the context of screening.

Karriem S. Watson, DHS, MS, MPH

Dr. Karriem Watson

University of Illinois, Chicago
Associate Executive Director, UI Health Mile Square Health Center; Associate Director, Community Outreach and Engagement, UI Cancer Center; Research Assistant Professor, UIC School of Public Health Community Health Sciences

Dr. Watson is a community health scientist whose research is focused on cancer prevention and control and mitigating the impact of social determinants of health on chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. His research and publications are deeply rooted in community engagement and health equity and expanding diversity in clinical trials. He has NIH funding to address breast cancer disparities among African American women and cancer screening among racial/ethnic minorities. He also has funding from the Chicago Department of Public Health to support tobacco cessation and lung cancer screening and funding from Bristol Meyers Squibb Foundation to support colorectal and cervical cancer screening among underserved populations.

He serves as board chair of Community Campus Partnerships for Health and serves on the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force for the UI Health Department of Medicine. In addition to his passion for health equity, Dr. Watson has a passion for mentoring and engaging youth underrepresented in science and biomedical research. His contributions earned him recognition by the Chicago Urban League as an “Innovator in STEM.”

Tamara Wellons

Tamara Wellons

Inova Schar Cancer Institute
Program Manager, Artist in Residence Program
Smith Center for Healing and the Arts

Tamara Wellons is a professional vocal music artist with a background in education and a commitment to the Arts in Health community. With over a decade of experience in the recording industry and a profoundly diverse career as a performer and a recording artist, her career has led to performances on prestigious national and international stages, from London’s Jazz Café to Washington DC’s Blues Alley.

Tamara shares her authentic style and voice not only on stage but in healthcare settings. For eight years Tamara worked as an Artist-in-Residence for the Arts and Humanities Program (AHP) at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at MedStar’s Georgetown University Hospital.

Tamara is currently the Vocalist in Residence and Program Manager for the Artist in Residence (AIR) Programs at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. Since May 2019, Tamara has led the AIR Program at Inova Schar Cancer Institute, supervising 14 resident artists in a state-of-the-art cancer center designed to bring healing and hope to every patient. Tamara is also a member of National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH) and is vice president of the Washington, DC, Chapter of the Recording Academy.

Julie Whalen, NP


Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center-Richmond

Julie Whalen works in Richmond, VA, and specializes in medical oncology. Ms. Whalen is affiliated with Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center.

Karen M. Winkfield, MD, PhD

Dr. Karen Winkfield


Wake Forest School of Medicine
Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology
Wake Forest Baptist Health
Director, Office of Cancer Health Equity

Dr. Winkfield is a practicing radiation oncologist in Winston-Salem, NC. A radiation oncologist is a doctor who uses x-rays to treat cancer.

A national expert in community engagement, Dr. Winkfield’s research is focused on the design and implementation of programming to reduce sociocultural and economic barriers that contribute to disparate health outcomes for racial/ethnic minorities and underserved populations.

Robert Winn, MD

Dr. Robert Winn

Virginia Commonwealth University
Director, VCU Massey Cancer Center; Professor, Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine; Senior Associate Dean for Cancer Innovation in SOM

Dr. Winn, in his position as director of VCU Massey Cancer Center, oversees a cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute that provides outstanding cancer care, conducts groundbreaking research to discover new treatments for cancer, and offers high-quality education, training, and community outreach programs.

In addition to directing the activities of Massey’s 205 research members—researchers and physicians from 38 departments in three colleges and four schools at VCU—he also manages a research laboratory at VCU. His current basic science research, which has been supported by multiple National Institutes of Health and Veterans Affairs Merit awards, focuses on the translational aspects of the role that proliferation pathways and cellular senescence play in lung cancer. He has authored or co-authored more than 60 published manuscripts in peer-reviewed academic journals.

Dr. Winn is committed to community-engaged research centered on eliminating health disparities. He is a principal investigator on several community-based projects funded by the NIH and National Cancer Institute, including the All of Us Research Program, an NIH precision medicine initiative. He has received national and international acclaim for his efforts to empower underserved patient populations, improve health care delivery, and ensure equal access to cancer care.

Also a pulmonologist, Dr. Winn actively treats veterans each week at the nearby Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center.


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