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Advisory Committee

ACCC would like to acknowledge our committee members for this project.

Michael Grunwald
Michael Grunwald, MD
Director, Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program Chief, Leukemia Division
Atrium Health, Levine Cancer Institute
Charlotte, NC

Michael Grunwald, MD, is the director of Transplantation and Cellular Therapy and chief of the Leukemia Division at Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, N.C. He was a founding member of the team that began the leukemia and transplant programs, and is an active clinical investigator, leading trials for leukemia and transplant patients.  He cares for patients with acute and chronic leukemias, including myeloproliferative neoplasms, as well as for patients receiving cellular therapies, such as blood and marrow transplants. 

Dr. Grunwald participates in studies with the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network and the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research. He is an editorial board member of Transplantation and Cellular Therapy and a board member of the North Carolina chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Dr. Grunwald earned his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University. He went on to complete his medical degree, internship, and residency in internal medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he also completed a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology.

Evelyn Hunter
Evelyn Hunter, MSW, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Baptist Health Floyd
New Albany, IN

Evelyn Hunter, MSW, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker at Baptist Health Floyd in New Albany, Ind. and holds a certification in oncology social work. She has experience with high-risk families, individuals with disabilities, private practice counseling, and medical social work. She has been a team leader for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, facilitated different types of cancer support groups, and is a board member of the Indiana Oncology Society. She is a regional speaker and has presented on various topics such as therapeutic communication, grief in caregivers and patients with cancer, geriatric cancer patients, situational awareness, and self-care. She understands the importance of working with legislation and has found that her experience in the medical field and in working with individuals within different environments has made her keenly aware of health and safety issues, situational awareness, effects of poverty, and challenges faced for those who are elderly or who have comorbidities.

In addition to serving on several committees that aid in cancer care and control, Ms. Hunter is also a member of the Floyd County Tobacco Prevention Coalition, serves on a paramedic advisory committee for an accredited paramedic program, and serves on the South-Central Indiana Area Health Education Center Advisory Board. Prior to her transition to social work, she worked as a paramedic for 16 years.

Ms. Hunter earned her master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern Indiana.

Julie Huynh-Lu
Julie Huynh-Lu, PA-C
Supervisor, Advanced Practice Provider, Department of Leukemia
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX

Julie Huynh-Lu, PA-C, is a supervisor and advanced practice provider in the Department of Leukemia at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Since 2015, she has been working with patients diagnosed with myeloproliferative neoplasms, first as a certified physician’s assistant and most recently in a supervisory capacity. She participated on a regional polycythemia vera NP/PA advisory board and has presented to registered nurses and advanced practice providers on topics related to polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, and myelofibrosis. She is passionate about collaborating with multidisciplinary colleagues to educate and care for patients.

Ms. Huynh-Lu earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and her physician’s assistant master’s degree from The University of North Texas Health Science Center.

Kennedy Kristal
Kristal Kennedy, RN
Senior Registered Nurse, Department of Hematology
Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center
San Antonio, TX

Kristal Kennedy, RN, OCN, is a senior registered nurse and oncology certified nurse in the Department of Hematology at Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center in San Antonio, Texas. As a primary care nurse in the outpatient clinical setting, she has been with Mays Cancer Center for 15 years rotating through numerous disease-specific clinics throughout her nursing career. Her current clinical focus is myeloproliferative neoplasms. She is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society.

Andrew Kuykendall
Andrew Kuykendall, MD
Assistant Member, Department of Malignant Hematology
Moffitt Cancer Center
Tampa, FL

Andrew Kuykendall, MD, is an assistant member of the Department of Malignant Hematology and clinical researcher at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla. He focuses on developing novel, disease-modifying therapies for patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms. He is an active collaborator nationally and internationally and serves on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines Panel for myeloproliferative neoplasms, systemic mastocytosis, and myeloid/lymphoid neoplasms with eosinophilia and tyrosine kinase fusion genes. He is the primary investigator on numerous clinical trials for patients with myelofibrosis and is an active member of the Myeloproliferative Neoplasms – Research Consortium.

He earned his medical degree at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla. and completed his internal medicine residency and hematology/oncology fellowships at the University of South Florida and Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.

Thomas LeBlanc
Thomas W. LeBlanc, MD
Hematologic Oncologist
Associate Professor of Medicine
Associate Professor in Population Health Sciences
Duke Cancer Institute

Thomas LeBlanc, MD, is a medical oncologist, palliative care physician, and patient experience researcher, and serves as Chief Patient Experience and Safety Officer for the Duke Cancer Institute. His clinical practice focuses on the care of patients with hematologic malignancies, with a particular emphasis on myeloid conditions and acute leukemias including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs / MPDs, CML). 

Dr. LeBlanc’s research investigates common issues faced by people with cancer, including issues of symptom burden, quality of life, psychological distress, prognostic understanding, and treatment decision-making. This work aims to improve patients' experiences living with serious illnesses like blood cancers, including the integration of specialist palliative care services to provide an extra layer of support along with their comprehensive cancer care.

Dr. LeBlanc received his medical degree from Duke University in 2006. He also completed his residency and fellowship from the Duke University School of Medicine.

Katherine Mast
Katherine Mast, BSN, RN
Registered Nurse
Moffitt Cancer Center
Tampa, FL

Katherine graduated with her BSN from Madonna University in 2019, and completed Moffitt Cancer Center’s Ambulatory Nurse Residency in 2020. Since then, she has worked in Moffitt’s Malignant Hematology Clinic, most specifically with the MPN patient population. Her current role focuses primarily on patient education tailored to disease and treatment, and she has previous experience in medical-surgical nursing and outpatient chemotherapy administration. Prior to earning her nursing degree, Katherine worked in research as an assistant at the University of Michigan Medical School’s Department of Pharmacology, and is involved with nursing research at Moffitt currently. She is passionate about education, patient advocacy, and drug access, and thoroughly enjoys working with the MPN patient population. Her current role entails seeing 500+ MPN patients per year, working directly with Dr. Andrew Kuykendall.

Ruben Mesa_TxSCO
Ruben Mesa, MD, FACP
Executive Director
Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center
San Antonio, TX

Ruben Mesa, MD, FACP is the executive director of the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center in San Antonio, Texas. He is an international expert on myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and has been involved in MPN research for more than 20 years. He led the development of National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s MPN panel guidelines, the first U.S. guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of myelofibrosis, polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia. He has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator of more than 100 clinical trials including numerous global phase 3 trials. He was a co-leader contributing to the FDA’s approval of ruxolitinib for polycythemia vera and myelofibrosis, and fedratinib for myelofibrosis. He currently co-leads the NCI P01 funded MPN Research Consortium.   

Dr. Mesa is deeply committed to advancing cancer health equity and is involved with numerous national initiatives regarding expanding diversity in both cancer training and clinical trial participation. He has been an active member with AACI, AACR, ASH and ASCO through a variety of leadership roles and is currently an elected board member of the Association of American Cancer Institutes as well as serves on the board of the MPN Education Foundation. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in 2018 and subsequently served as an officer of the board in 2020. He was the chair of Hematology and Medical Oncology for the Mayo Clinic in Arizona from 2009-2017 and deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center.  

After earning degrees in nuclear engineering and physiology, with minors in radiation biophysics and bioengineering, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Mesa received his medical degree from the Mayo Graduate School at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn. He completed his residency in internal medicine and his fellowship in hematology/medical oncology at Mayo. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine and medical oncology.

Sara Moran Smith
Sara Moran Smith, PharmD
Oncology Pharmacy Program Manager
Allina Health
Minneapolis, MN

Sara Moran Smith, PharmD, is a board-certified oncology clinical pharmacist and oncology pharmacy program manager at Allina Health in Minneapolis, Minn. She has led and served on several committees that provide education to patients and/or healthcare staff and continues to seek opportunities to teach and present to others.

Ms. Smith obtained her PharmD from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. Thereafter, she completed her PGY-1 residency and a PGY-2 residency specializing in oncology at M Health Fairview.

Patient Advocacy Partner: Cancer Support Community

Sarah Conrad Everette
Sarah Conrad Everette, BSW, MSSW
Oncology Social Worker
Baptist Health Louisville
Louisville, KY

Sarah Conrad Everette, BSW, MSSW, is an oncology social worker at Baptist Health Louisville in Kentucky. She has been supporting patients through Baptist Health for over 17 years, providing medical social work and psychosocial support for patients and families touched by cancer. She has worked across multiple settings, including domestic violence shelters, residential treatment, homeless shelters, and transitional housing. Her experience has also included an adjunct professor role for the Kent School of Social Work in Kentucky.

Ms. Everette earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Brescia College and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

Rachel Saks, MPH
Senior Director, Education
Cancer Support Community
Philadelphia, PA

Rachel Saks, MPH, serves as the Senior Director of Education at Cancer Support Community. In this role, she collaborates with and supervises the education team to create and implement relevant education and outreach programs to patients, families, and caregivers affected by cancer. She has spent her entire professional career in healthcare providing support, advocacy, and education to patients while always maintaining a focus on improving access to care.

Ms. Saks earned her master’s degree in social services from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She holds her license in social work from the state of Pennsylvania.

Our Supporter

This program is supported by Incyte.