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Task Force

Al Benson
Al B. Benson III, MD, FACP, FASCO
Professor of Medicine;
Associate Director for Cooperative Groups
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
Chicago, IL

Al B. Benson III, MD, FACP, FASCO, is a professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. He is also the associate director for cooperative groups at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Benson is a recipient of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Statesman Award (fellow of ASCO) and has served on a number of committees, including as member of the Quality of Cancer Care Task Force, co-chair of ASCO’s Colorectal Cancer Guidelines Subcommittee, the Stage II Colon Cancer Guidelines Panel, and the Guidelines Panel for use of Radiofrequency Ablation for Colorectal Cancer. In addition, he served as ACCC President (2010-2011), and most recently as as chair of the ACCC Clinical Affairs Committee. He is also a  past president of the Illinois Medical Oncology Society. Dr. Benson He is on the editorial board of the ASCO Connection (term completed), Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, American Health and Drug Benefits, Personalized Medicine in Oncology, Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research, and Gastrointestinal Cancer Research, among others. 

Dr. Benson’s research is primarily in the areas of gastrointestinal cancer clinical trials, biologic therapies, phase I cancer clinical trials, health services research, and cancer guideline development. He has authored or coauthored numerous reports, reviews, and book chapters focusing on these topics. His research in biologics, cancer therapy, and cancer prevention has been awarded funding from a variety of sources including the National Institutes of Health. His most recent national awards include the NCCN Rodger J. Winn Award and the ACCC Clinical Research Award.

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Nadine J. Barrett, PhD, MA, MS
Director, Office of Health Equity and Disparities, Duke Cancer Institute
Director, Duke Community Connections Core, Duke CTSA
Durham, NC

Dr. Nadine J. Barrett is a medical sociologist and an assistant professor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine, within Duke University’s School of Medicine. She is the inaugural director of the Office of Health Equity and Disparities at the Duke Cancer Institute and serves as the director of the Duke Community Engagement Core, within the Center for Community and Population Health Improvement. A health equity and stakeholder engagement strategist, Dr. Barrett applies her expertise across three interrelated areas: 1) linking vulnerable communities to health services and research, 2) leveraging community and health system assets and services to align priorities and improve community and population health, and 3) convening diverse stakeholders to develop community and patient-centered programs, services, and research.

In 2017, she accepted an ACCC Innovator Award on behalf of Duke Cancer Institute for its initiative, Come Together: A Health Disparities & Equity Cancer Program Built on Community Collaboration. She is the recipient of several awards, including the American Sociology Association’s Minority Fellowship Award, an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Services Research, and the MLK Southern Christian Leadership Conference Drum Major for Justice Award. Her national appointments include the PCORI Health Disparities Advisory Panel Board and the ACCC Board of Trustees. Dr. Barrett is both passionate about and committed to achieving health equity.

Dr. Barrett has several funded projects including Project PLACE (Population Level Approaches to Cancer Elimination), funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is a three-pronged research project designed to implement three robust mechanisms to inform the health equity strategic direction of the Duke Cancer Institute over the next five to eight years. Project PLACE is a highly intensive community engagement model and platform designed to shape robust scholarly productivity, partnered research and community programs to improve population health. She is also the Duke PI (subcontract) of a national Susan G. Komen pipeline training grant on translational research in inflammatory breast cancer and community-engaged research. Dr. Barrett also co-directs the NCI-funded Cancer Research and Education Program Core of the NCCU/DCI Translational Health Disparities Research Program which incorporates specified training in minority accrual in clinical research—a program she developed within the Duke Cancer Institute titled, “Just Ask.”

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Christa Braun-Inglis, MS, APRN, FNP-BC, AOCNP
Nurse Practitioner/Assistant Researcher
University Of Hawai'i Cancer Center
Honolulu, HI

Christa Braun-Inglis, MS, APRN, FNP-BC, AOCNP, is assistant researcher at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center and clinical faculty at the University of Hawaii School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene. She is a board-certified oncology nurse practitioner. Ms. Braun-Inglis has more than 20 years of oncology nursing experience, with more than 15 years as an oncology nurse practitioner. She has a wealth of clinical expertise and has been a huge proponent of cancer clinical trials in the community. Her interests include increasing advanced practice provider involvement in clinical trials, cancer care delivery, and breast and GI cancers, as well as providing cancer care to the residents of Hawaiʻi.

Patricia Chalela
Patricia Chalela, MS, APRN, FNP-BC, AOCN
Associate Professor; Associate Director for Education and Training Programs
Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio
San Antonio, TX

Dr. Patricia Chalela is an Associate Professor at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio and the Associate Director for Education and Training Programs. Her main research interests are in chronic disease prevention and control, particularly the role of epidemiological, environmental, and individual psychosocial factors on health and disease and on racial and/or ethnic disparities with an emphasis on Latino populations. Among others, she is co-leading several studies including, empowering cancer patients to make informed decisions about participating in cancer clinical trials, improving adherence to hormone therapy among breast cancer patients through a phone application and patient navigation, and promoting smoking cessation via text messaging and Facebook Messenger Chat among young adults, and among primary care and cancer patients.

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Jennie R. Crews, MD, MMM, FACP
Vice President and Medical Director, SCCA Community and Network Programs
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Associate Clinical Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine
Seattle, WA

Jennie R. Crews, MD, MMM, FACP, is medical director, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Network; Medical Director, Research Integration at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA); and associate professor of Medicine, University of Washington. Dr. Crews has more than 18 years of experience in oncology in academic, private practice, and hospital-based settings. Previously she served as the medical director for Cancer Services in the PeaceHealth Northwest Network, which includes St. Joseph Cancer Center in Bellingham, Washington; PeaceIsland Hospital on San Juan Island, Washington; and PeaceHealth Ketchikan, Alaska. She also served as the medical director of the Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center in Washington, N.C., and held appointments as a consulting associate in the Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology and Transplantation at Duke, and as an affiliate associate professor in the Department of Medicine at East Carolina University.

Dr. Crews served as ACCC Treasurer (2013-2015), ACCC President-Elect (2015-2016), and ACCC President (2016-2017). She has served as the president of the North Carolina Oncology Association (NCOA) and as NCOA’s legislative liaison to the North Carolina General Assembly. She is on the Editorial Committee for the ACCC Oncology Drug Database, a reviewer for the Journal of Oncology Practice, and a member of the ASCO Practice Guidelines Implementation Network. She has been named to the Best Doctors in America since 2007.

Dr. Crews received her BS degree in Biology with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned her MD from Duke University and completed training in internal medicine and oncology at Duke, where she served as assistant chief resident. She is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians and is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology.

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Una Hopkins, RN, FNP-BC, DNP
Director for Research and Evidence Based Practice
Montefiore Medical Center
Bronx, NY

Una Hopkins, RN, FNP-BC, DNP, is a registered nurse with more than 30 years of experience in oncology, 25 as a nurse practitioner. Dr. Hopkins is currently the director for research and evidence-based practice at the Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, where she is responsible for the oversight and management of nurse engagement in programs of research and evidence-based practice, academic and affiliations, nursing internet and intranet development, and presentations and publications for the department of nursing. This includes the management of selected staff and operations, academic affiliations and funded educational projects, survey preparation, specialized training initiatives, education related to promotion of nursing research and evidence-based practice, oversight of project management, and funding attainment. 

Dr. Hopkins has received numerous awards for her accomplishments in clinical and research work and since 1927, has published over 20 articles in various medical journals. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Nursing Science from the College of New Rochelle where she also studied to become a family nurse practitioner. She received her doctorate from Pace University in New York City. Dr. Hopkins serves on the Advisory Committee for the ACCC Institute for Clinical Immuno-Oncology.

Marc Matrana
Marc Matrana, MD, MSc, FACP
Director, Ochsner Precision Cancer Therapies Program
Associate Director of Clinical Cancer Research
Ochsner Cancer Institute
Baton Rouge, LA

Dr. Marc Matrana is Director of the Ochsner Precision Cancer Therapies Program, the only dedicated Phase I cancer research program between Houston and Birmingham. He serves as a senior medical oncologist at Ochsner’s Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center in New Orleans and holds an Endowed Professorship at Ochsner Health System.  He also serves as Associate Director of Clinical Cancer Research at the Ochsner Cancer Institute, and as Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Queensland School of Medicine in Brisbane, Australia.  Dr. Matrana is a ninth-generation native of New Orleans, where he earned a Master of Science degree in Human Genetics from Tulane University and received his medical degree from LSU School of Medicine. He served as Chief Resident at Ochsner, and Chief Fellow at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.  He has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed books, articles, chapters, and abstracts.  He has presented his research findings and educational programs at numerous national and international meetings.

Randall A. Oyer, MD
Medical Director, Oncology Program
Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health
Lancaster, PA

Randall A. Oyer, MD, is a practicing medical oncologist at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute at Penn Medicine Lancaster General in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He serves as the Medical Director of the Cancer Institute, Medical Director of Oncology, Chairman of Cancer Committee, Chair of the Oncology Physicians Advisory Council, and Medical Director of the Cancer Risk Evaluation (Cancer Genetics) Program at Penn Medicine Lancaster General. Dr. Oyer is a member of the Cancer Service Line Executive Committee and the Cancer Service Line Quality Committee at the Abramson Cancer Center─University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Dr. Oyer divides his time among patient care, program administration, program development, and community outreach. He works closely with a multidisciplinary team that comprises nursing, social work, pharmacy, chaplaincy, and medical specialties focused on strategy, implementation, and patient care. A long-standing active member of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), Dr. Oyer is currently serving on the Board of Trustees. He is also an ex-officio Commissioner of the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, representing the ACCC.

Dr. Oyer is serving co-chair of the Advisory Committee for the ACCC Optimal Care Coordination Model for Lung Cancer Patients on Medicaid education project. He is an active member of the ACCC Governmental Affairs Committee, participating in Capitol Hill visits and advocating on behalf of community cancer care. Previously, Dr. Oyer served as an Advisory Committee member for the ACCC Molecular Testing education project, and he has presented a several ACCC meetings.

In addition to his participation in ACCC, he has served as a member of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Ambulatory Payment Classification Panel and of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Clinical Practice Committee.

Dr. Oyer is a graduate of Georgetown University and Georgetown University School of Medicine.

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Lindsey Petras, MSN
Cancer Programs Manager
American Indian Cancer Foundation
Minneapolis, MN

An experienced nurse, Lindsey Petras is the Cancer Programs Manager at the American Indian Cancer Foundation. She received her Master in Nursing Education from Western Governors University in Utah. She takes pride in promoting the importance of health equity on a national level and her goal is to reduce the cancer burden in Indigenous communities. She hopes to accomplish this goal through education and patient advocacy. Ms. Petras feels honored to work on these important issues and is committed to improving Indigenous health outcomes.

Cary A. Presant, MD, FACP, FASCO
Medical Oncologist
City of Hope Medical Group
West Covina, CA

Cary A. Presant, MD, FACP, FASCO, is a hematologist and medical oncologist with the City of Hope Medical Group. He has been involved in laboratory and clinical investigations, and has served as director of cancer programs at Washington University School of Medicine, the Jewish Hospital of St. Louis and the City of Hope National Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He is currently Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. Dr. Presant's current research is focused on predictive assays to increase survival, pharmacologic improvement of chemotherapy effectiveness by magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and the development of new therapeutic programs for cancer.

He is the author of more than 400 scientific articles and is a recognized expert in cancer treatment, cancer detection, chemotherapy, experimental tumor biology and pharmacology, liposomes for cancer diagnosis and therapy, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, measurement of quality of life in cancer patients, and quality care in oncology. Dr. Presant has authored Surviving American Medicine, and is a physician columnist and authors blogs for the national website "Medscape."

Dr. Presant is a past Director of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and received the ASCO Statesman Award in 2007. He is a Past President of the Association of Community Cancer Centers. Additionally, Dr. Presant was honored as one of the "Best Doctors in America."

Because of his commitment to early diagnosis of cancer, Dr. Presant was appointed by Fran Drescher to the Board of Directors of her charitable organization Cancer Schmancer. From 2004 until 2007 Dr. Presant co-chaired the national Oncology Congress. Since 2008 Dr. Presant has also served as the Director of Medical Oncology for DiaTech Oncology to develop an effective chemotherapy sensitivity test for cancer patients.

Dr. Presant received his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and completed postdoctoral training at Columbia University in New York City, the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

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Joanne Riemer, RN, BSN
Research Oncology Nurse
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital
Baltimore, MD

Joanne Riemer, RN, BSN, began her nursing career at Johns Hopkins Hospital as an inpatient nurse on the solid tumor oncology unit. From there she moved into critical care in coronary care, intensive care, emergency, and recovery rooms. In 2002, she returned to oncology at Johns Hopkins in the outpatient infusion area, then radiation oncology, staff education, and in 2010 to her current position as senior research nurse on the Upper Aero-digestive Team. In January 2011, she was asked to work with the immunology group on a multidisease study using MDX-1106, which became BMS-936558 and then Nivolumab. She was assigned to the non-small cell lung cancer patients and since then has been almost exclusively working with immunotherapy trials.

In addition to her involvement with the immunotherapy trials, she and fellow colleagues created a booklet for oncology nurses treating patients with immuno-oncology agents. The booklet is an overview of these agents' indications and mechanisms of action and suspected related side effects.

Michael Thompson
Michael A. Thompson, MD, PhD, FASCO
Medical Co-Director, Oncology Precision Medicine Program; Co-PI Aurora NCORP
Advocate Aurora Health
Milwaukee, WI

Dr. Thompson is a hematologist/oncologist and cancer researcher at Advocate Aurora Health and the Advocate Aurora Research Institute (AARI). Current roles include co-principal investigator (PI) of the Aurora NCORP, medical director of early phase cancer research, and co-director of the Advocate Aurora Health oncology precision medicine program. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Medical Degree from Mayo Medical School, Rochester, MN, and PhD in Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics from the Mayo Graduate School. Additional training included an Internal Medicine Residency at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and a Hematology/Oncology Fellowship at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX.  Dr. Thompson is board certified in Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology, and Hematology.

In 2007 he became the medical director for research at ProHealth Care and wrote the clinical trials section of its awarded NCCCP (NCI Community Cancer Centers Program) grant. After Dr. Thompson joined Aurora Health Care (now Advocate Aurora Health) he wrote the clinical trials section of the awarded Aurora NCORP.

Dr. Thompson has been active in clinical trials research through ASCO and ECOG-ACRIN, as well as the NC’s NCCCP and NCORP mechanisms. Dr. Thompson has been involved with a variety of NCI/NCTN committees including the co-chair of the NCORP advisory committee for ECOG-ACRIN and service on the Lymphoma and Myeloma NCI Steering Committees.

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Lawrence D. Wagman, MD
Surgical Oncologist, Medical Director
City of Hope National Medical Center
Duarte, CA

Lawrence D. Wagman, MD, is currently the regional medical director and surgical oncologist for the City of Hope Inland Empire Program. This follows a 10-year hiatus from City of Hope when he served as executive medical director for the Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California (2008-2018). During that time, Dr. Wagman opened an independent surgical oncology practice that focused primarily on hepatopancreaticobiliary (70 percent), gastric, sarcoma, melanoma, and breast cancers.

Previously, during his initial 20-year experience at City of Hope, Dr. Wagman served as the chair of surgery, director of the surgical oncology training program, institutional and national cooperative group principal investigator for many clinical trials, and led a basic science laboratory investigating targetable receptors and liver regeneration.

Dr. Wagman has authored numerous peer-reviewed surgical oncology publications, guest edited Surgical Oncology Clinics of North America twice, and edited Cancer Management: A Multidisciplinary Approach.

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Grant R. Williams, MD, MSPH
Assistant Professor, Division of Hematology & Oncology
Director, Cancer & Aging Program
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL

As both a Geriatrician and Oncologist, Dr. Williams’ research is focused on refining treatment selection and improving the outcomes of older adults with cancer. His research involves the use of geriatric assessment and novel biomarkers, such molecular markers of aging and body composition, to better evaluate functional age and developing interventional clinical trials to improve the tolerance and outcomes of older adults undergoing cancer treatment.

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Karen Winkfield, MD, PhD
Executive Director
Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance
Nashville, TN

Karen Winkfield, MD, PhD is the Executive Director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, a strategic partnership between Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her primary responsibilities include working closely with Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Meharry Medical College to ensure their investigators have access to expert faculty collaborators, core resources and services to catalyze innovative research.

Previously, she was an associate professor of Radiation Oncology at Wake Forest University, associate director for Community Outreach and Engagement and director of the Office of Cancer Health Equity at Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Prior to joining Wake Forest in August 2016, Winkfield was a radiation oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. She specializes in the use of radiation therapy in the treatment of hematologic malignancies (lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma, bone marrow transplantation) and breast cancer.

She developed the first comprehensive clinical program focused on hematologic malignancies in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

With support of collaborating oncologists, she also established the first multidisciplinary clinic for patients with hematologic disorders.

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Laura J. Zitella, MS, RN, ACNP-BC, AOCN
Nurse Practitioner
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Laura J. Zitella, MS, RN, ACNP-BC, AOCN®, is a hematology/oncology nurse practitioner and associate clinical professor in the School of Nursing at the University of California San Francisco. Previously, she served as the lead advanced practice provider for inpatient hematology/oncology at Stanford Health Care, where she was responsible for the operations and management of an inpatient hematology/oncology medical service of advanced practice providers as well as program development, evidence-based practice, and quality improvement initiatives at the Stanford Cancer Institute and the Stanford Center for Advanced Practice. 

Ms. Zitella has practiced in the field for over 25 years, caring for patients with hematologic and oncologic malignancies receiving chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, investigational agents, hematopoietic cell transplantation, and supportive care. She has delivered hundreds of educational presentations to national and international audiences and authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, web courses, videos, and book chapters. Ms. Zitella co-edited the “Hematologic Malignancies in Adults” textbook, which was awarded an American Medical Writers Association Medical Book Award Honorable Mention. She also participated in the Immuno-Oncology Essentials Initiative which produced Care Step Pathways, patient education, and videos for the management of immunotherapy side effects.

Ms. Zitella is actively involved with the ACCC, the Advanced Practitioner Society of Hematology and Oncology, the Oncology Nursing Society, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the California Association of Nurse Practitioners. As a result of her dedication to patients, oncology care, and nurse practitioner professional practice, Ms. Zitella has received several honors, including the ONS Excellence in Medical Oncology Award, the DAISY Award, and the inaugural Stanford Health Care APP of the Year Award.

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