2019-2020 Advisory Committee

Richard Dickens
Richard Dickens, MS, LCSW-R
Director, Client Advocacy
New York, NY

Richard Dickens, MS, LCSW-R, is the director of client advocacy at CancerCare. Over the last 20 years he has served in various positions including clinical supervisor, blood cancers program coordinator, and program director of Men’s Cancers. Mr. Dickens was also responsible for the development of the Mind-Body-Spirit Project.

While at CancerCare, Mr. Dickens provided telephonic supervision for the Smith College End-of-Life Care Post-Graduate Certificate Program; taught in the Administration Certificate Program at Hunter College School of Social Work; and mentored in the post-graduate Zelda Foster Leadership Program at New York University. He has conducted presentations and workshops throughout North America and Australia, as well as Hong Kong, China, Ireland, and Cape Town, South Africa. In 2017, Mr. Dickens received the American Cancer Society Leadership in Oncology Social Work Award.

Mr. Dickens is a graduate of the Columbia University School of Social Work. He was also trained in Vipassana Meditation in Igatpuri, India; certified in clinical hypnosis at the Milton Erickson Foundation in Phoenix, Arizona; and in dream tending at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California.

Mary K. Hughes, MS, RN, CNS, CT
Advanced Practice Nurse – Department of Psychiatry
Psychiatric Oncology Center, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX

Mary K. Hughes, MS, RN, CNS, CT, has been a clinical nurse specialist in the department of psychiatry at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston since 1990, where she sees patients with different types of cancers and focuses on quality-of-life issues including grieving. For several years prior to that she worked as an oncology nurse in a general hospital. Mary has lectured nationally and internationally on quality-of-life issues including the effects of cancer treatment on sexuality.

Mary earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Woman’s University, and is certified in thanatology through the Association for Death Education and Counseling. She is a recipient of several awards from the Oncology Nursing Society, as well as the Sword of Hope from the American Cancer Society and the Brown Foundation Award from UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is a reviewer of abstracts from the Oncology Nursing Society and the American Psychosocial Oncology Society, and has published several articles and book chapters on sexuality and cancer.

Nikhil Kushalani
Nikhil I. Khushalani, MD
Medical Oncologist – Cutaneous Oncology
Vice Chair, Department of Cutaneous Oncology
Moffitt Cancer Center
Tampa, FL

Nikhil I. Khushalani, MD, is the vice chair for the Department of Cutaneous Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center. His clinical interests include the development of novel therapeutics for people diagnosed with melanoma and other skin cancers, the treatment of uveal melanoma, and melanoma that has metastasized to the brain. Dr. Khushalani’s research interests focus on angiogenesis in melanoma and the translation of findings into clinical therapeutics. He is studying the economic impact of new melanoma drugs on healthcare (pharmacoeconomics) with an aim to devise strategies for cost reduction. Prior to joining the Moffitt team, he served as associate professor of medicine at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, where he was the section chief of soft tissue and melanoma medicine, and director of the IL-2 program.

Dr. Khushalani earned his medical degree from Topiwala National Medical College, University of Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in Maharashtra, India, and his internal medicine residency at SUNY Buffalo, where he also served as chief resident. He completed a medical oncology fellowship at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2002, where he served as assistant professor of oncology.

Zujun Li
Zujun Li, MD
Clinical Associate Professor; Medical Director, Head and Neck Medical Oncology
NYU Langone Health, School of Medicine, New York University
New York, NY

Zujun Li, MD, is currently a clinical associate professor and the medical director of head and neck medical oncology at NYU Langone Health, School of Medicine, New York University in New York, NY.

Desiree Ratner
Desiree Ratner, MD
Clinical Professor of Dermatology
NYU Langone Health
New York, NY

Desiree Ratner, MD, is clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Health, where she specializes in Mohs micrographic surgery, cutaneous oncology, and facial reconstruction. She was director of dermatologic surgery at Columbia University Medical Center for over 15 years, and director of the Comprehensive Skin Cancer Center at Mount Sinai Beth Israel for over five years. Dr. Ratner has served on the board of directors for the American College of Mohs Surgery, the International Transplant Skin Cancer Collaborative, and the Association of Academic Dermatologic Surgeons. She has served as chair of the Sulzberger Institute of the American Academy of Dermatology and is past chair of the Procedural Dermatology section of the Association of Professors of Dermatology. Dr. Ratner is co-editor of the Dermatologic Surgery journal and associate editor for the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. She has authored or coauthored more than 100 publications, and has given over 100 presentations at national and international meetings. She has been listed as one Castle Connolly’s “Top Doctors” since 2005, and as one of New York Times “Best Doctors” since 2009.

Dr. Ratner completed her medical training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; her internship in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston; and her dermatology residency at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor. She did two years of fellowship training in Mohs micrographic surgery, reconstruction, and general dermatologic surgery with Dr. Donald Grande, first at New England Medical Center in Boston, and then at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts.

Emily Smith
Emily Smith, MD
Assistant Professor, Clinical Dermatology and Dermatopathology
University of Missouri, Ellis Fischel Cancer Center
Columbia, MO

Emily Hoffman Smith, MD, is an assistant professor of dermatology and dermatopathology at the University of Missouri Health System where she oversees the multidisciplinary cutaneous oncology clinic at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. Her research interests involve characterizing the molecular signatures of high risk cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas as well as melanoma. She is also engaged in initiatives utilizing technology to educate primary care providers, particularly in rural areas, on the early diagnosis and management of cutaneous malignancies with the goal of improving outcomes. Her clinical work largely focuses on the management of patients with high-risk skin cancers, and she spends the remainder of her time working as a dermatopathologist.

Dr. Smith obtained her medical degree at the University of Missouri. She then completed dermatology residency and subsequent dermatopathology fellowship at the University of Michigan Health System.

Ryan Sobel
Ryan H. Sobel, MD
Surgical Oncologist
Head and Neck Surgery, Otolaryngology
Johns Hopkins Head & Neck Surgery, GBMC and the Milton J. Dance Jr. Head and Neck Center
Baltimore, MD

Patient Advocacy Partners

Samantha Guild
Samantha R. Guild, JD
Skin Cancer Education and Research Foundation

Samantha R. Guild, JD, is the director of education, public policy, and patient services for AIM at Melanoma—the largest international melanoma foundation globally engaged and locally invested in advancing the battle against melanoma through innovative research, legislative reform, education, and patient and caregiver support.

Ms. Guild is responsible for the development and implementation of AIM’s U.S. focused educational programs which include the AIM website, patient symposia at major cancer centers throughout the country, social media channels, survivorship programs, the Melanoma Nursing Initiative (MNI), and general awareness campaigns. She also oversees AIM’s legislative efforts, which include protecting teens and the general public from the dangers of indoor tanning devices as well as state and federal level legislation to support oral parity and biosimilar efforts.

Ms. Guild has been published in the American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Cancer Education, and Pediatric Dermatology. She has served as an advocate reviewer on the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas panel and as a consumer reviewer on the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs panel.

Valerie Guild
Valerie Guild, MBA, MS
Cofounder & President
AIM at Melanoma Foundation

Valerie Guild spent 25 years in the private sector, and in 2003, she began working in the area of melanoma advocacy following her daughter's death from melanoma.

Ms. Guild holds an MBA and MS in education.