Advisory Committee 2020-2021

Michelle Ahrens
Associate Director, Service Line Management
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Seattle, WA
Joanne Buzaglo, PhD
Executive Director of Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO) Solutions
Concerto HealthAI
Philadelphia, PA

Joanne Buzaglo, PhD, is a health researcher and clinical psychologist. She previously was senior vice president of Research & Training at the Cancer Support Community (CSC) Research and Training Institute. In this role, she led the Cancer Experience Registry, a cutting-edge online research initiative tracking patient-reported outcomes to inform and develop innovative programmatic, educational, and policy initiatives.

As a two-time cancer survivor, Dr. Buzaglo has counseled individuals coping with cancer. Prior to joining CSC, she was the Deputy Director of Fox Chase Cancer Center’s NCI-designated Behavioral Research Core Facility.

Teresa L. Deshields, PhD, ABPP, FAPOS
Director of Supportive Oncology
Rush University Cancer Center
Chicago, IL

Teresa L. Deshields, PhD, ABPP, FAPOS, is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Director of Supportive Oncology at the Rush University Cancer Center in Chicago, IL. She is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical Center. She is a past president of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society.

Dr. Deshields’ clinical practice is devoted to treating cancer patients/ survivors and their family members, throughout the cancer continuum – diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, end of life, bereavement. Her research is focused on issues related to psychological adjustment and quality of life in cancer patients and survivors.

William J. Gradishar, MD, FASCO, FACP
Betsy Bramsen Professor of Breast Oncology & Professor of Medicine Director
Maggie Daley Center for Women’s Cancer Care, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Dr. William J. Gradishar is the Betsy Bramsen Professor of Breast Oncology and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, at the Feinberg School Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. He serves as director of the Maggie Daley Center for Women’s Cancer Care. Additionally, he is deputy chief of the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology and system head for Medical Oncology across Northwestern Medicine. He has been chair of the Annual Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Symposium since its inception 17 years ago. He served as program director of the Hematology Oncology Fellowship Training Program at Northwestern for 20 years. His research focuses on the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of breast cancer.

A Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Dr. Gradishar is also a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Federation for Clinical Research, and the Association of Subspecialty Professors. He is past chair of the Oncology Training Program Committee, chair of the Communications Committee, chair of the Professional Development Committee, and chair of the Nominating Committee of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) as well as a member of ASCO’s Scientific Program Committee. He is a member of the Breast Cancer Core Committee of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, past member of the Committee on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons and current chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Breast Cancer Guidelines Panel, and the NCCN Breast Cancer Prevention Panel. In addition, he serves as a consultant to the Oncology Drug Advisory Committee of the FDA.

Dr. Gradishar is a member of the editorial board for numerous journals, including Journal of Clinical OncologyOncologyClinical Breast CancerEuropean Journal of Clinical and Medical Oncology and Clinical Cancer Research. He is the founding Editor-in Chief of NEJM Journal Watch Hematology/Oncology. He is co-Editor of The Breast, the definitive two-volume textbook on benign and malignant breast disorders. He has published in the area of breast cancer therapeutics, with a focus on new endocrine therapy, chemotherapy and biologic agents.

Dr. Gradishar received his medical degree form the University of Illinois Abraham School of Medicine in Chicago. He completed a residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago and a clinical research fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Chicago.

Jeffrey Kendall headshot
Jeffrey Kendall, PsyD, LP
Director, Oncology Supportive Care
M Health Fairview
Minneapolis, MN

Jeffrey Kendall, PsyD, LP, is the Director of Oncology Supportive Care at M Health Fairview in Minneapolis, MN. He joined the University of Minnesota Cancer Care program in 2016 where he is dedicated to addressing the impact of cancer on individuals and families. Currently his professional time is divided among direct patient care, program administration, program development, and research collaboration.

Dr. Kendall speaks nationally and internationally and has published 40 journal articles and abstracts on topics related to psychosocial oncology and cancer survivorship. Dr. Kendall serves on committees for the American Psychosocial Oncology Society and the Association of Community Cancer Centers.

Dr. Kendall received his Doctorate from Indiana State University and completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Psychosocial Oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York.

Shirley A. Mertz, MA, JD
President, Metastatic Breast Cancer Network Executive Group
Member and Research Taskforce Co-Chair, Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance

Shirley A. Mertz, MA, JD, has served as president of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network since 2006. She also serves as a member of the Patient Advocate Working Group of the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium, representing the University of Chicago, and chairs the Patient Working Group Subcommittee on Metastatic Breast Cancer and is also a member of the HER2+ Resistance Working Group. Ms. Mertz is a founding member of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance, and currently serves on the Steering Committee, the Executive Committee, and as Research Taskforce Co-Chair.

In addition, she serves as a member of the Planning Committee for Breast Cancer Research Grants, University of Chicago Advocacy, and has served as a consumer reviewer for the Congressionally Directed Breast Cancer Medical Research Program.

She has presented nationally and internationally on the issues related to metastatic breast cancer, and made numerous presentations before patient groups and healthcare organizations.

Ms. Mertz is the recipient of the national “Champion of Change in Breast Cancer” award and was honored at the White House in Washington, D.C. (2011), with the “Distinguished Service in Advocacy Award” from the American Cancer Society (2008) in Northwest suburban Illinois.

Ruth M. O’Regan, MD
Chair and Charles A. Dewey Professor, Department of Medicine
Associate Director for Education and Mentoring
Wilmot Cancer Institute, University of Rochester
Rochester, NY

Ruth M. O’Regan, MD, focuses on identifying mechanisms of resistance to breast-cancer therapies and the development of new therapies with a specific focus on triple negative breast cancer. She has led several trials focused on new therapeutic approaches for breast cancers resistant to standard therapies.

Dr. O'Regan earned her medical degree from University College Dublin. She completed her internal medicine residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin and her hematology/oncology fellowship at Northwestern University.

Claire Saxton, MBA
Vice President of Patient Experience
Cancer Support Community
Washington, DC

Claire’s current role at the Cancer Support Community (CSC) focuses on sharing CSC’s patient insights externally and ensuring the patient experience remains central to all that CSC does.  Prior to becoming VP of Patient Experience, Claire led CSC’s national patient education and outreach efforts for 5 years. The award-winning Frankly Speaking About Cancer education programs were co-created with cancer patients & caregivers. Programs were culturally-adapted to meet the needs of specific populations and speakers of multiple languages and produced in a variety of print, digital, and in-person formats.

Claire came to CSC from the Urology Care Foundation, where she managed national patient education programs and disease awareness campaigns with partners including the National Football League.  As Executive Director of the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, Claire developed the first National Bladder Cancer Awareness Day.  While the Executive Director of the Breast Cancer Resource Center in Austin, Texas, she doubled their patient advocacy and outreach programs.  Claire began her work in health advocacy while part of the team that opened the National Domestic Violence Hotline in 1996.

Claire holds an MBA from the University of Oregon and an undergraduate degree from Rice University.

Lillian D. Shockney, RN, MAS, ONN-CG
Co-Founder and Program Director, AONN+;
University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer; Professor of Surgery
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

Lillian D. Shockney, RN, MAS, ONN-CG, is the co-founder and program director at the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) and is a university distinguished service professor of breast cancer and professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. A two-time breast cancer survivor, originally diagnosed in her 30s, Lillie has worked tirelessly to improve the care of breast cancer patients around the world.

Shockney serves on 28 medical advisory boards currently. She has authored 30 books and more than 350 articles on breast cancer, oncology navigation, survivorship, patient advocacy, communicating bad news, end of life, and most recently, chronic illness and complex care. She has received 61 awards—55 national awards and 6 state awards including being inducted into the Maryland Women Hall of Fame, Women in Business Healthcare Trailblazer Award, Johnson & Johnson’s Most Amazing Nurse in America award, National Komen for the Cure’s Professor of Survivorship award, and several national lifetime achievement awards. Her research area of focus is preservation of quality of life for patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Shockney received a master's degree in business administration from the Johns Hopkins University, a Bachelor of Science degree in healthcare administration from St. Joseph’s College, and a nursing diploma from MacQueens Gibbs Willis School of Nursing.

Scott M. Weissman, MS, CGC
Certified Genetic Counselor
Chicago Genetic Consultants, LLC
Northbrook, IL

Scott graduated from Northwestern University with his MS in genetic counseling in 2002. He practiced clinically at NorthShore University HealthSystem for 12 years and was the program manager at the Center for Medical Genetics. Scott also worked as a customer service genetic counselor for GeneDx for three years. In 2016, he opened a private genetic counseling practice called Chicago Genetic Consultants, LLC. Scott is currently the director of Cancer Genetics Services at Genome Medical and a clinical faculty member at the Northwestern University Program.

Scott is an active member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), where he has worked on a variety of committees and held positions as the secretary/treasurer, co-chair of the Familial Cancer Risk Special Interest Group, and liaison to both the Commission on Cancer and the National Accreditation Program of Breast Centers, housed in the American College of Surgeons. In 2012, Scott was honored with the Strategic Leader Award from the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

Justin Yopp, PhD
Program Director for Psycho-oncology Psychologist | Associate Professor, Dept of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Director of Membership, American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS)
Chapel Hill, NC

Justin Yopp, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a member of UNC’s Comprehensive Cancer Support Program, Dr. Yopp serves as Program Director for Psycho-oncology and offers psychotherapy, assessment, and consult-liaison services for both pediatric oncology and adult oncology populations at the N.C. Cancer Hospital. Dr. Yopp also co-leads the Widowed Parent Program, which supports parents who have lost a spouse or partner and are raising children on their own.

Dr. Yopp co-authored the book, The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. After earning his undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University and his doctoral degree from Central Michigan University, Dr. Yopp completed his internship and fellowship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Prior to joining the faculty at UNC, Dr. Yopp served as a psychologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

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