Clara Lambert is an Oncology Financial Navigator at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital Bhorade Cancer Center in Downers Grove, Illinois. Prior to this she helped pioneer and found the financial navigation program at the Cowell Family Cancer Center in Traverse City, Michigan. She has been influential in the development of the role over the past four-and-one-half years at her cancer center and nationwide, having previously worked in insurance verification, financial counseling, and the revenue cycle. She obtained her Bachelors of Business Administration: Integrated Professional Studies – Business/Health/Technology from Davenport University.
Ms. Lambert is an active member of the ACCC (Association of Community Cancer Centers) Education Committee and currently serves as Chair of the ACCC Financial Advocacy Network Advisory Committee. She has presented at ACCC Financial Advocacy Meeting and is currently working with the Advisory Committee to revise and enhance education for financial advocates. She has also contributed to ACCCBuzz, the blog of the Association of Community Cancer Centers.
She has completed the Oncology Patient Navigation training through the George Washington Cancer Institute and has received OPN-CG (Oncology Patient Navigator – Certified Generalist) certification from AONN+(Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators). Ms. Lambert is a Certified Application Counselor (CAC) for the ACA healthcare marketplace and MiBridges programs. She believes it is very important to stay on top of healthcare policy and healthcare changes that are continuously taking place.
Financial toxicity is an important topic to Clara, as her family has been touched by cancer. She has been able to use that experience, along with her background in healthcare to connect with the patients and caregivers to streamline the financial navigation process for everyone.
Nikki Barkett, RN, BSN, OCN, is the Malignant Hematology Nurse Navigator at the University of Arizona Cancer Center.
She has presented on managing “Relapsed/Refractory Myeloma in the Era of New Agents for Treatment,” “Multiple Myeloma: An Update on the Disease, Diagnosis, and Treatments,” and managing treatment side effects for patients living with lymphoma. She is also a co-author on a case report and literature review looking at survival rates among patients with refractory IgD multiple myeloma treated with daratumumab, and a contributing author for “Building Blocks of Hope, Strategies for Patients and Caregivers Living with MDS.”
Nikki is currently a member of the Financial Toxicity Committee at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, evaluating the use of screening tools to proactively identify patients at high-risk for financial distress, improving health literacy by educating and evaluating patients at key time points throughout their cancer journey, and evaluating the efficacy of an insurance navigator housed within the clinic.
Eric Dallara, RPh, is head pharmacist at the main dispensing pharmacy of New England Cancer Specialists. He has more than 15 years of experience as a pharmacist in the state Maine. In this role, he works closely with New England Cancer Specialists' five full-time financial advocates on both IV and oral medications. He is also involved in the Oncology Care Model (OCM) project.
Abra Kelson, MSW, LSWA-IC, serves as a Medical Social Work Supervisor, managing Northwest Medical Specialties social work services and programs. Working collaboratively with other members of the cancer care team, Ms. Kelson assists patients with obtaining the lowest possible cost of care. She leads the local Community Oncology Alliance Patient Advocacy Network (CPAN) Chapter, setting up support groups and educational workshops to address financial toxicity in the community.
Ann Kline is a Patient Financial Advocate at St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute in Idaho. She has worked in healthcare for 25 years and has a wealth of experience in billing, appeals, assistance, management, and patient advocacy. Her greatest passion is ensuring that all clinics and facilities have advocates on staff to ensure appropriate assistance is provided to benefit the patient and the clinic.
Angie Santiago, CRCS-I, is Lead Financial Counselor - Oncology, with the Thomas Jefferson University Health System, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. She has presented on financial toxicity and related topics at patient navigators networking meetings. She is a graduate of the ACCC Financial Advocacy Network Boot Camp.
In 2006 Ms. Schneider transferred back to the clinic setting and developed the financial counseling role. She now leads a team that provides a range of services including: insurance verifications, patient benefit discussions, authorizations for all services and medications ordered by the oncology team, as well as enrollment in patient assistance and foundation assistance programs for patients throughout medical, radiation and pediatric oncology.
Ms. Schneider has presented at conferences on the importance of financial counseling in the oncology clinic; what it looks like to have a centralized team that cares for all of the patient’s financial and insurance needs, including all authorizations; and the importance of utilizing pharmaceutical and specialty pharmacy representatives to enhance your program. Lori and her team have assisted cancer programs nationally and locally helping them establish financial counseling programs.
Dr. Zafar is a gastrointestinal medical oncologist and healthcare delivery researcher. He is an associate professor of Medicine and Public Policy at the Duke Cancer Institute and Sanford School of Public Policy. He serves as director of the Center for Applied Cancer Health Policy at the Duke Cancer Institute.
Dr. Zafar’s research explores ways to improve cancer care delivery with a primary focus on improving the affordability of cancer treatment. He approaches this issue from both patient-based and policy perspectives. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society. His work has been covered by Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times, NPR, and the Washington Post.