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SDOH Advisory Committee & MBC Steering Committee

Chiara Acquati, PhD, LMSW, FAOSW
Associate Professor
Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston
Houston, TX

Chiara Acquati, PhD, LMSW, FAOSW, is an associate professor at the Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston.. She is also a Household-Centered Care program social work seminar instructor. She creates courses that integrate research and knowledge building in social work practice, evaluation of practice, and social work in health care settings to highlight the importance of close relationships for those who experience cancer from a disadvantage.

Dr. Acquati’s research focuses on identifying psychosocial issues experienced by cancer survivors and caregivers to show how interpersonal processes can contribute to mental health, coping, and wellbeing-related outcomes. She has been a part of many peer-reviewed journal articles, research proposals, funded research grants, books, book chapters, and presentations. In 2021, she won the award for “Best of the Best” for her poster on the Congruence of stress communication and relationship satisfaction among young women with their partners: A dyadic analysis from the American Psychosocial Oncology Society.

Dr. Acquati earned her doctorate in social work at the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work. In addition, Acquati holds a Master of Social Work from Boston College, a Master of Arts in clinical psychology from Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Catholic University of the Sacred Heart. She is a licensed master social worker and has completed her certification in the Sexual Health Certificate Program from the University of Michigan.

Yuriko de la Cruz
Yuriko de la Cruz, MPH, CPHQ
Program Manager, Social Drivers of Health
National Association of Community Health Centers
Bethesda, MD

Yuriko de la Cruz, MPH, CPHQ serves as the Deputy Director. Grassroots Organizing Public Policy and Advocacy, National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), Alexandria, VA. She currently partners with health centers to identify patient-level social needs and to use SDOH data (specifically PRAPARE®) to inform upstream community efforts that advances health equity.

Ms. de la Cruz began her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. After her service, she worked as a Community Health Worker in Newark, NJ, first at a nonprofit and afterwards at a hospital. Yuriko later worked in training, technical assistance, and grant writing for HIV/AIDS prevention, substance use, and cultural competency programs on a national and statewide level. She then pivoted into healthcare and focused on population health, practice transformation, and continuous quality improvement within primary care settings and federally qualified health centers.

Ms. de la Cruz proudly serves as a board member of two nonprofit organizations in Allentown, PA: Resurrected Community Development Corporation and Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley and two national organizations: Academy of Communication in Healthcare and Health Outreach Partners.

Ms. de la Cruz completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from West Chester University and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.

Debbie Dey
Debbie Dey, LCSW-C, OSW-C
Oncology Social Worker
Maryland Oncology Hematology
Annapolis, MD

Debbie Dey, LCSW-C, OSW-C serves as an Oncology Social Worker at Maryland Oncology Hematology, Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, MD. Ms. Dey has over 20 years of experience, having practiced in research, special education, and in-patient and outpatient health care settings. Her role as OSW includes assessing and assisting with practical needs and barriers to care, while also providing clinical support. Debbie believes mental health, including emotional, psychological, and social well-being is essential to one’s overall wellness. 

Ms. Dey is active in the community partnering with local agencies to establish and co-facilitate National Cancer Survivors Day, participating in local fundraising events and is a board member for the Oncology Foundation Maryland and District of Columbia. She began working in the field of Oncology in 2017 and received her OSW-C certification in 2020.

Ms. Dey earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Towson State University in 1992. She went on to earn a Master of Social Work, Clinical, with a certification in School Social Work from Norfolk State University in 1998.

Heather Honore Goltz headshot
Heather Honoré Goltz, PhD, LCSW, Med, MPH
Professor of Social Work
Department of Criminal Justice and Social Work
College of Public Service, University of Houston-Downtown
Houston, TX

Dr. Heather Honoré Goltz is a licensed master social worker and doctoral-level health educator with over a decade of experience developing and implementing clinical interventions to improve quality of life and health outcomes of patients and caregivers impacted by complex medical and behavioral health conditions.

Dr. Goltz has co-authored almost 30 peer-reviewed articles, primarily focusing on aspects of genitourinary cancer survivorship and sexual health. She has also co-authored or collaborated on several research studies funded by the American Cancer Society, NIH, DOD, and VA.

Dr. Goltz earned a Ph.D. in health education from Texas A&M University prior to completing post-doctoral fellowships at the Michael E. DeBakey VAMC and Baylor College of Medicine. She earned a B.S. in Biology (Scientific Inquiry concentration) from the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern State University and a M.S.W. (Mental Health concentration) and M.Ed. (Curriculum & Instruction-Teaching) from the University of Houston

Tracy Jenkins
Tracy Jenkins, MSW, LMSW
Financial Navigator and Oncology Social Worker
Spencer Cancer Center of East Alabama Health
Auburn, AL

Tracy Jenkins, MSW, LMSW, works in an interdisciplinary team for medical oncology, gynecology oncology, and radiation oncology to assist patients with reducing financial toxicity related to their care needs.

Ms. Jenkins has 30 years of social work experience, 20 of which are in health care.  Tracy has worked in discharge planning, hospice, long term care, and for the last six years, as the Financial Navigator and an Oncology Social Worker for the Spencer Cancer Center of East Alabama Health in Opelika, AL.  She has been an avid Relay for Life volunteer for the past 16 years and has been a co-chair for survivorship with the Lee County Relay for Life planning committee for the past three years.  She works in partnership with Auburn University, Florida State University, and Troy University for internships for both bachelors’ level and masters level social work students.

Ms. Jenkins received her bachelor’s in social work from Auburn University and her Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina.

Sunil Kripalani
Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSc, SFHiM, FACP
Director, Center for Health Services Research
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Nashville, TN

Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSc, SFHM, FACP, is a Professor of Medicine, Director of the Center for Clinical Quality and Implementation Research, and Director of the Center for Health Services Research. He has developed, implemented, and evaluated numerous interventions to improve the quality, safety, value, and patient-centeredness of health care delivery, with a focus on health communication, social determinants of health, medication management, and transitions of care. He has experience in the development of evidence-based toolkits, mentored implementation programs, mixed-methods evaluation of interventions in clinical practice, and de-implementation of wasteful practices.

Dr. Kripalani’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute. He is Principal Investigator of the Vanderbilt Scholars in T4 Translational Research (V-STTaR) K12 career development program, serves as a Co-Investigator for the Vanderbilt CTSA Learning Health System platform, and leads the Implementation Core of the Precision Medicine and Health Disparities Collaborative. He is Chair of the AHRQ Healthcare Effectiveness and Outcomes Research (HEOR) study section and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Hospital Medicine. He previously founded and served as Chief of the Section of Hospital Medicine at Vanderbilt.

Dr. Kripalani graduated from Rice University, received his MD from Baylor College of Medicine, and trained in Internal Medicine at Emory University, where he also completed a Hospital Medicine Fellowship and a Master of Science in Clinical Research.

Editha Krueger, MD
Radiation Oncologist
Dignity Health Cancer Institute at St.Joseph's Hospital & Medical Center
Phoenix, AZ

Editha Krueger, MD, is a radiation oncologist at Dignity Health Cancer Institute specializing in the treatment of breast and gynecologic cancer patients. Dr. Krueger is board-certified in radiation oncology and has clinical expertise in intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image guidance, and stereotactic body radiation therapy, and has published work on the use of IMRT. Dr. Krueger’s expertise also includes deep inspiration breath hold and partial breast irradiation. She continues to discover innovative ways to treat breast cancer and advocates for the delivery of compassionate care integrating advanced technology.

Lailea Noel
Lailea Noel, PhD, MSW
Assistant Professor of Oncology & Health Social Work
Steve Hick's School of Social Work, The University of Texas Dell Medical School
Austin, TX

Dr. Noel is an Assistant Professor and Meadows Foundation Fellow in Quality of Life in the Rural Environment at the Steve Hick’s School of Social Work. Her research investigates the influence of inequities in social drivers of health and access to mental health services on the utilization of timely medical treatment, particularly within residentially isolated rural communities. She has a passion for conducting community-based system science research and has a wealth of experience engaging communities, social scientists, mental health professionals, and medical practitioners in such research partnerships.

Dr. Noel’s work in rural health equity has also been recognized nationally. She is on the Board of Directors for the Association of Community Cancer Centers and the Board of Directors of the Association of Oncology Social Workers.

Dr. Noel earned a Ph.D. in social work from Washington University in St. Louis. She also earned a master’s degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine from the University of Michigan.

Terry Portis
Terry Portis, RN, BSN, MBA
Oncology Quality Improvement Coordinator
Northside Hospital Cancer Institute
Atlanta, GA

Terry Portis, RN, BSN, MBA, is an Oncology Quality Improvement Coordinator for the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute. Her current role involves co-leading oncology quality activities for nursing, standardization of process across multi-system service line and Co-lead CoC Survivorship Coordinator for the facilities Cancer Program.

Ms. Portis is a registered nurse with 36 years of experience in oncology nursing and leadership. Highlights of her career include working as the primary research nurse at a designated NIH funded Sickle Cell Research site provide research data leading to mandatory testing of infants for sickle cell anemia and participating with various adult and pediatric research initiatives. 

Eleonora Teplinsky, MD
Medical Oncologist
Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care
Paramus, NJ

Eleonora Teplinsky, MD, is a board-certified medical oncologist specializing in breast and gynecologic oncology. She is the head of breast and gynecological medical oncology at Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care in Paramus, New Jersey, and a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

Dr. Teplinsky’s clinical and research interests focus on young women with breast cancer, survivorship, exercise oncology, and the use of social media in oncology. She is passionate about oncology education and advocacy on social media and is the host of the INTERLUDE Podcast, where she shares the stories and experiences of those who have been affected by cancer. The podcast provides support, inspiration, encouragement, hope, and strength to others who are going through similar experiences.

You can also follow Dr. Teplinsky's work and advocacy on Instagram and YouTube.

Teresa van Oort
Teresa van Oort, MHA, MSSW, LCSW-S
Senior Project Manager, Quality Performance Improvement
UChicago Medicine
Chicago, IL

Teresa van Oort, MHA, MSSW, LCSW-S, Sr. Project Manager at University of Chicago Medicine in Chicago, IL. Ms. van Oort’s work primarily focuses on partnering with surgical teams to improve their patient care through enhanced clinical pathways and institutional ACP. She is also currently a Part-time Lecturer at The University of Chicago, Crown School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice teaching classes focused on social work’s role in healthcare settings and ethics.

Teresa worked in consulting with Advisory Board Company after completing an Executive Fellowship and becoming Assistant Market Administrator with Kindred. After which she obtained her MSSW completing her clinical internship in the critical care step down unit with Seton. She then transitioned to MD Anderson Cancer Center where Teresa first worked on the Lymphoma/Myeloma unit as a Social Work Counselor providing coordination of patient’s bio-psycho-social needs, comprehensive assessment, and counseling services. During her time at MD Anderson, Teresa developed a comprehensive oncology social work productivity model, currently being validated at 4 NCI facilities. She’s spoken at local and national conference on ACP, suicide assessment, and productivity metrics.

Ms. van Oort received a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) at Texas Tech University, a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) at Texas State University and a Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) degree from the University of Texas at Austin.