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Steering Committee and Task Force

Appalachian Community Cancer Alliance Steering Committee

Susan Garwood
Susan Garwood, MD
Pulmonologist, Centennial Thoracic Surgical Associates
Thoracic Oncology Medical Director, HCA Tri-Star Health Division
Nashville, TN

Susan Garwood, MD, is a pulmonologist at Centennial Thoracic Surgical Associates in Nashville, TN. Dr. Garwood also serves as the Thoracic Oncology Medical Director at the HCA Tri-Star Health Division, and National Physician Director of pulmonology at HCA Enterprise. 

Dr. Garwood was an early adopter of robotic navigational bronchoscopy and has led the country in volume with over 800 robotic cases completed to date. Her passion is early detection of lung cancer and health care disparities. To that end, she along with HCA are piloting with Johnson and Johnson a program to specifically increase screening rates in African American through EMR mining, care coordination and a behavioral science toolkit for improved patient connectivity.

Dr. Garwood completed her internal medicine training at Vanderbilt University and her Pulmonary and Critical Care training at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Richard Ingram
Richard Ingram, MD
President, Virginia Association Hematology
Oncology Physician Partner, Shenandoah Oncology
Winchester, VA

Dr. Ingram currently serves as the President of the Virginia Association of Hematology Oncology (VAHO) and on the Board of Directors of the Community Oncology Alliance.

Dr. Richard Ingram grew up in Upstate New York and attended Hartwick College. He attended medical school at State University of New York Health Sciences Center at Syracuse followed by his internal medicine internship and chief medical residency in Charlottesville, Virginia. Dr. Ingram completed oncology and hematology fellowships at the University of Virginia and joined Shenandoah Oncology Associates in 2002. He has been in a community-based independent practice since first serving patients in the Northern Shenandoah Valley and surrounding communities in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.

Jacob Aasems
Aasems Jacob, MD, FACP, FAPCR
Leonard Lawson Cancer Center, Pikeville Medical Center Adjunct Faculty
University of Pikeville
Pikeville, KY

Aasems Jacob, MD, FACP, FAPCR, is a Hematologist/Oncologist at the Leonard Lawson Cancer Center at the Pikeville Medical Center and Adjunct Faculty at University of Pikeville. His clinical and research interests in the specialty include thoracic oncology, immunotherapy, and healthcare disparities.

Dr. Jacob completed medical school from University of Kerala, India and residency in Internal Medicine from Monmouth Medical Center, NJ. His fellowship in Hematology/Oncology was completed at University of Kentucky where he served as the Chief Fellow.

Jeffrey Kendall headshot
Jeffrey Kendall, PsyD, LP
Director, Oncology Supportive Care
M Health Fairview
Minneapolis, MN

Jeffrey Kendall, PsyD, LP, is the Director of Oncology Supportive Care at M Health Fairview in Minneapolis, MN. He joined the University of Minnesota Cancer Care program in 2016 where he is dedicated to addressing the impact of cancer on individuals and families. Currently his professional time is divided among direct patient care, program administration, program development, and research collaboration.

Dr. Kendall speaks nationally and internationally and has published 40 journal articles and abstracts on topics related to psychosocial oncology and cancer survivorship. Dr. Kendall serves on committees for the American Psychosocial Oncology Society and the Association of Community Cancer Centers.

Dr. Kendall received his Doctorate from Indiana State University and completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Psychosocial Oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York.

Richard Martin
Richard L. Martin III, MD, MPH
Tennessee Oncology
Clarksville, TN

Richard Martin III, MD, MPH is a hematologist and oncologist at Tennessee Oncology in Clarksville, TN. Dr. Martin’s research focuses on using multi-disciplinary and inter-professional partnerships to improve laboratory processes as well and patient and provider communication and education.

Dr. Martin completed medical school at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Wisconsin. He also completed a teaching fellowship at Spokane Internal Medicine and a hematology/oncology fellowship at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Sashi Naidu
Sashi Naidu, MD
Carolina Blood and Cancer Care Associates, P.A.
Lancaster, SC

Sashi Naidu, MD, is the Director of Research at Carolina Blood and Cancer Care Associates and coordinates Carolina Blood and Cancer Care’s participation in the Medicare Oncology Care Model. Dr. Naidu is board certified in hematology, oncology, and internal medicine.

Dr. Naidu received his medical degree from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. He completed his residency at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey and his fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in 2005.

Martin Palmeri, MD, MBA
Messino Cancer Centers
Asheville, NC

Martin Palmeri, MD, MBA, is a hematologist and oncologist at the Messino Cancer Centers in Asheville, NC. He is a member of North Carolina Oncology, North Carolina Medical Society, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, among many others.

Dr. Palmeri has a special interest in malignancies of the GI tract (colorectal, stomach, esophagus, liver and pancreas) and the evolving field of immuno-oncology particularly in how it relates to cancers of the skin.

Dr. Palmeri received his medical degree from East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine. He completed a fellowship in hematology and oncology and a residency in internal medicine at Darmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He holds a bachelor's degree from Duke University.

Nicole Stout, DPT, CLT-LANA, FAPTA
Research Assistant Professor, Hematology/Oncology
West Virginia University Cancer Institute

Dr. Nicole L. Stout is a research assistant professor at the West Virginia University Cancer Institute and a research assistant professor at the West Virginia University School of Public Health in Morgantown, WV.

Dr. Stout’s research interests include cancer rehabilitation and survivorship care.  She studies implementation of survivorship supportive care services in cancer care delivery and oversees WVUCI’s survivorship research agenda, quality improvement initiatives, and supportive care infrastructure development. Her research focus is on development and implementation of cancer care delivery models and interventions that prevent functional decline during and after cancer care. Key funded components of her research agenda include (i) studying the implementation of prospective, risk stratified functional assessment and symptom management strategies across cancer care delivery, (ii) studying community outreach and engagement strategies with primary care providers to enable implementation of cancer prevention and control interventions.

Dr. Stout received her Bachelor of Science degree from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in 1994, a Master of Physical Therapy degree from Chatham University in 1998 and a clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions in 2013. She has a post graduate certificate in Health Policy from the George Washington University School of Public Health.

David Switzer
David Switzer, MD, FAAFP
Medical Director
Population Health Valley Health System
Luray, VA

David Switzer MD, FAAFP, is the Medical Director of Population Health at Valley Health System in Luray, VA. He also provides primary care services in Page County, VA. Dr. Switzer also serves as the President of the Board of the Page Free Clinic in Luray, VA.

Dr. Switzer completed his undergraduate studies, medical school, and family medicine residency at the University of Virginia.

Melissa Thomas
Melissa K. Thomas, PhD, MSPH, MSA, MCHES®, C-CHW
Assistant Professor, Department of Primary Care
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
Adjunct Assistant Professor, College of Health Sciences and Professions
Athens, OH

Melissa Thomas, PhD, MSPH, MSA, MCHES®, C.CHW is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Primary Care at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.  Dr. Thomas’ research centers on her efforts to address the burden of disease in rural and Appalachia Ohio.

Current research projects include community-engaged cancer research initiatives in Appalachia Ohio and in Amish Country, identifying health outcomes and coping strategies among food insecure individuals in Appalachia, training and utilizing Community Health Workers in improving population health, improving medical education and health care resources for the LGBTQ+ community, and addressing the social determinants of health in rural communities. 

She earned her PhD and Master of Science in Public Health degree from Walden University. She received a Master of Science in Administration degree from Central Michigan University and a Bachelors of Sciences from The Ohio State University.

Appalachian Community Cancer Alliance Partner

Molly Black
Molly Black
Senior Director, Cancer Support Strategic Partnerships
American Cancer Society
Asheville, NC
Molly Black is the Senior Director of Cancer Support Strategic Partnerships at the American Cancer Society.

Rural Appalachian Lung Cancer Screening Initiative Task Force

Dina Avery, DSHc, MA, MAED
Chairperson, Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition
Assistant Professor (P), Biotechnology Program, Cytotechnology Program
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL

Dina Avery, DSHc, MA, MAED, is an Assistant Professor for the UAB School of Health Professions and Credentialed Course Instructor for the University of Alabama Birmingham Honors Program. She is Chair of the Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Coalition for the Alabama Department of Public Health (2020-2022). Dr. Avery is the first, elected African American to serve a two-year term on the Global Board of Directors for the Association of Graduate Regulatory Educators (2021-2023). Dr. Avery is also Vice President for the UAB African American Faculty Association (2020-2022). Dr. Dina Avery was voted to serve as the Executive Director for Veterans Institute for Scientific and Technical Applications Research Center located at the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

Dr. Avery has professional experience with clinical research, health disparities research, community based participatory research, regulatory/compliance, and program management in the areas of cardiovascular surgery, ophthalmology, neurology, preventive medicine, and oncology.

Dr. Avery received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Montevallo (Sociology/Family & Child Studies). Dr. Avery also holds a Master of Arts (Health Studies) from the University of Alabama and a Master of Education (Adult Education) from the University of Phoenix and a Master of Arts (Applied Sociology) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Avery completed a Doctorate of Health Science with a concentration in Global Health from A. T. Still University, School of Health Science.

Ronny Bell
Ronny Bell, PhD, MS
Fred Eshelman Professor and Chair, Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy
Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Chapel Hill, NC

Ronny Bell, PhD, MS is Professor of Social Sciences and Health Policy in the Division of Public Health Sciences at the Wake Forest School of Medicine.  Dr. Bell is also Associate Director of Community Outreach and Engagement and Director of the Office of Cancer Health Equity at the Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

Dr. Bell is a member of the Lumbee tribe of eastern North Carolina, and currently serves a Chair of the North Carolina American Indian Health Board.  He is a member of the North Carolina Advisory Committee on Cancer Coordination and Control and co-chairs the NC ACCCC Prevention Subcommittee.  In 2019, he was appointed as Scientific Co-Editor for the North Carolina Medical Journal.  He previously served as Chair of the North Carolina Diabetes Advisory Council and Co-Chair of the Healthy North Carolina 2030 Task Force.

Dr. Bell completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Gerontology and completed a Master’s in Epidemiology (1996) from the Wake Forest School of Medicine. Dr. Bell received his Doctorate (1993) and masters (1988) in Foods and Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  He completed his  undergraduate degree in Public Health Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health (1985).

Heather Bittner Fagan
Heather Bittner Fagan, MD, MPH, FAAFP
Family Physician
Christiana Care Health System
Wilmington, DE

Heather Bittner Fagan, M.D., MPH, FAAFP has been a practicing family physician in Claymont, Delaware, a medically underserved area, for over 19 years and has made regional and national contributions to research on cancer screening in primary care and underserved populations.   Dr. Fagan is a faculty member, senior scientist, and medical director of Clinical Prevention in Family & Community Medicine at Christiana Care. Dr. Fagan is a full professor at Thomas Jefferson University.  Dr. Fagan is the chair of the Delaware Health Care Consortium’s Early Detection and Prevention Committee and an invited member of the National Lung Cancer Roundtable, as well as a former recipient of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Control Career Development Award and a co- director for the Community Engagement and Outreach component of the ACCEL program, Delaware’s NIGMS-funded Center for Translational Research.

Dr. Fagan has published on cancer, cancer epidemiology, biomarkers and prevention, and medical care in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, Journal of Obesity, and other journals. Dr. Fagan has had funding for her work from the National Cancer Institute, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute as well as state and foundation grants.

Dr. Fagan earned her medical degree from MCP Hahnemann University and completed her residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in 2002. She completed her primary care research fellowship at Jefferson Medical College in 2003. In 2007, she completed a distance fellowship for the grant-generating project of the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation. Dr. Fagan completed a master’s degree in public health at Jefferson Medical College in 2011.

Andrea Ferris, MBA
President and CEO
LUNGevity Foundation
Bethesda, MD

Andrea Ferris is President and CEO of LUNGevity and a member of the Board of Directors. In this capacity, she is responsible for setting and executing the strategic direction of the organization and its science programs. Ms. Ferris was the Vice President of Strategy and Growth of Decision Lens, Inc. a company she helped launch in January 2005. Prior to joining Decision Lens, Andrea held a variety of management positions at Johnson & Johnson, including Director of Investor Relations, Manager Corporate Mergers & Acquisitions, and Plant Controller. She also spent several years at McNeil Consumer Products, a J&J subsidiary, in marketing and mergers & acquisitions. Prior to her time at J&J, Andrea worked for Lehman Brothers and Coopers & Lybrand in New York City in both Mergers and Acquisitions and as a CPA.

Ms. Ferris served on Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center National Committee of Performing Arts and on the Board of ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) of Metro DC. She has also served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for DC Metro Boys and Girls Club and has worked with the Ronald McDonald House and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Ms. Ferris received her BS in Economics from Wharton with concentrations in Accounting, Decision Sciences, and Finance. She received her MBA from Wharton with concentrations in Finance and Latin American Studies.

Michelle Futrell
Michelle Futrell, MSN, MBA, RN
Director of Lung Cancer Screening Initiatives and Programs
LUNGevity Foundation
Bethesda, MD

Michelle Futrell is the Director of Lung Cancer Screening Programs and Initiatives at the LUNGevity Foundation.  

Prior to joining LUNGevity, Michelle worked as a registered nurse, 10 years of which were in the emergency department. She most recently spent eight years at Virginia Commonwealth University as a Lung Cancer Screening Program Coordinator. 

Michelle has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing as well as a dual-degree — Master of Science in Nursing, and Master of Science in Business Administration.  

Michael Gieske
Michael Gieske, MD
Director, Lung Cancer Screening
St. Elizabeth Healthcare
Edgewood, KY

Michael Gieske, MD, is the Director of Lung Cancer Screening at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. He has worked with his team at St. Elizabeth Healthcare to build one of the most successful lung cancer screening programs in the country. In addition to his daily practice, he is the lead physician at his site in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., and the East Division Physician Director of Primary Care, overseeing 10 sites.

Dr. Gieske sits on the boards of the American College of Radiology, GO2 Foundation, Lung Ambition Alliance, NLCRT, LungCan, and the Rural Appalachian Lung Cancer Screening Initiative. He is a dedicated advocate for lung cancer survivors and caregivers, raising awareness and promoting policy to bring hope to patients with lung cancer and those at risk for lung cancer.

He graduated from University of Louisville Medical College in 1984, then completed his Family Practice Residency at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Edgewood, Kentucky in 1987. 

Janet Gruenberg
Senior Director of Partner Growth
Cancer Support Community
Washington, DC

Originally from Blacksburg, Virginia, Janet joined Cancer Support Community (CSC) in 2021 as Senior Director of Partner Growth working to reach more people impacted by cancer by opening new locations, developing new partnerships, and helping existing partners grow their impact.  Prior to CSC, Janet was Chief Operating Officer at Gilda’s Club Kentuckiana – a CSC partner - with primary responsibilities focused on their growth and expansion through community, corporate, and hospital partnerships. She also led efforts to expand their facility allowing for the growth of programs and services.

Janet earned her Master’s in Education from Spalding University and her Bachelor of Arts from Concordia College in International Relations with minors in Business, Communications and Spanish. After careers in both consumer-packaged goods and education she joined Gilda’s Club Kentuckiana in 2014.

As corporate nomads, Janet, her husband Scott, and their two, now adult, daughters, lived in nine cities throughout the country prior to settling in Louisville, KY. She enjoys traveling, reading, watching college football and basketball, and playing the occasional round of golf.

Rob Headrick
Rob Headrick, MD, MBA
Chief Thoracic Surgery
CHI Memorial Hospital
Assistant Professor of Surgery, University of Tennessee
Chattanooga, TN

Rob Headrick, MD, MBA is an author, speaker, inventor, and thoracic surgeon specializing in lung cancer. Dr. Headrick is board certified in both general and thoracic surgery. He has been recognized for his contributions to modernizing the operating room, developing innovative products to reduce pulmonary air leaks and led the way in developing a mobile CT platform for lung cancer screening. The Southern Thoracic Surgical Association awarded him with the Physician Inspiration Award and the STS has recognized his advocacy efforts in Washington for lung cancer research and support.

Dr. Headrick completed his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University and attended medical school at the University of Tennessee in Memphis. Dr. Headrick completed a general surgery residency at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Chattanooga and a fellowship in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. He was awarded the Health Policy and Leadership scholarship at Brandeis University by the STS/ACS and completed a Master of Business Administration at the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee.

Lauren McCauley-Hixenbough
Lauren McCauley-Hixenbaugh, MBA
Program Manager
West Virginia University Cancer Institute
Morgantown, WV

Lauren McCauley-Hixenbaugh, MBA, is the Program Manager for the WVUCI Mobile Lung Cancer Screening Program. She has been a part of the Cancer Prevention and Control at WVU since 2018, during her time she has managed the WV State Cancer Coalition, Mountains of Hope, and the WV Lung Cancer Project. Lauren is the author of the WVU Cancer Institute’s Providers Guide to Communicating About Lung Cancer and is the host of the Living Beyond Cancer Podcast created for cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors.

Lauren earned her Master of Business Administration and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the Fairmont State University.

Timothy Mullett, MD, MBA, FACS
Professor, General Thoracic Surgery, University of Kentucky
Medical Director, Markey Cancer Center Network
Lexington, KY

Timothy Wm. Mullett, MD, MBA, FACS, is a professor of surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Kentucky (UK). Dr. Mullett is the medical director of the Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network, a program that provides high-quality cancer care closer to home at collaborating centers through specialty services, education and outreach programs. He also serves as medical director of the Markey Cancer Center Research Network, a collaborative network of sites that conducts a portfolio of high priority trials including therapeutic oncology trials and interventional and non-interventional studies appropriate for community centers. 

Dr. Mullett’s clinical practice and research focuses on the overwhelming burden of lung cancer in Kentucky. He is a member of the UK Markey Cancer Center – Kentucky’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center – and is chair of UK’s Cancer Committee. He served as the Commission on Cancer’s state chair for six years and was awarded Outstanding State Chair in 2019. In October of 2020, Dr. Mullett was installed as Chair of the Commission on Cancer.

Dr. Mullett received his medical degree and surgical training at the University of Florida.


Mary Reid
Mary Reid, MSPH, PhD
Distinguished Professor of Oncology
Department of Medicine
Chief, Cancer Screening, Survivorship and Faculty Mentorship, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Buffalo, NY

Mary E. Reid, MSPH, PhD, is the Director of Cancer Screening and Survivorship at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is also currently a Professor of Oncology in the Department of Medicine. As Director of Cancer Screening and Survivorship, Dr. Reid has worked to expand Roswell Park’s pioneering Lung Cancer Screening program and develop other cancer screening initiatives within the Institute, working with clinical departments to increase the colon and breast screening programs. Dr. Reid is also developing a comprehensive survivorship clinical and outreach program.  

Prior to joining Roswell Park, she served as Assistant Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health and Co-Director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program at the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson.  

She has authored or co-authored more than 95 publications, serves as a regular reviewer for several cancer, nutrition, and epidemiology journals and as a regular ad hoc reviewer for several National Cancer Institute grant mechanisms. 

Rochelle Waddell, RN
Lung Cancer Screening Nurse Navigator
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System
Lexington, KY

Rochelle Waddell, RN, serves as a nurse navigator for lung cancer screening at the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. Rochelle has worked as a registered nurse in oncology, care navigator in chronic care management, operating room manager and as a clinic head nurse. In her current role, Rochelle works to educate the community about the benefits of early lung cancer detection through low dose CT and to ensure providers have all they need in offering this screening to patients and lower rates of lung cancer in Appalachia.

She has made it a priority to increase awareness of lung cancer and lung cancer screening within her health system and community.

Rochelle obtained her nursing degree from Hazard Community and Technical College in 2004, and prior to that, worked as an emergency room clerk for ARH. She has truly spent her career bettering the health of Appalachians.

Our Supporters

The Appalachian Community Cancer Alliance is made possible by support from Bristol Myers Squibb.


The Rural Appalachian Lung Cancer Screening Initiative is made possible by support from AstraZeneca.

Our Partners

The Appalachian Community Cancer Alliance is in partnership with:

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The Rural Appalachian Lung Cancer Screening Initiative is in partnership with:

Cancer Support Community Logo Lungevity. Find it. Treat it. Live.