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Advisory Committee 2020-2021

Michelle Ahrens
Associate Director, Service Line Management
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Seattle, WA
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Joanne Buzaglo, PhD
Executive Director of Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO) Solutions
Concerto HealthAI
Philadelphia, PA

Joanne Buzaglo, PhD, is a health researcher and clinical psychologist. She previously was senior vice president of Research & Training at the Cancer Support Community (CSC) Research and Training Institute. In this role, she led the Cancer Experience Registry, a cutting-edge online research initiative tracking patient-reported outcomes to inform and develop innovative programmatic, educational, and policy initiatives.

As a two-time cancer survivor, Dr. Buzaglo has counseled individuals coping with cancer. Prior to joining CSC, she was the Deputy Director of Fox Chase Cancer Center’s NCI-designated Behavioral Research Core Facility.

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Teresa L. Deshields, PhD, ABPP, FAPOS
Director of Supportive Oncology
Rush University Cancer Center
Chicago, IL

Teresa L. Deshields, PhD, ABPP, FAPOS, is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Director of Supportive Oncology at the Rush University Cancer Center in Chicago, IL. She is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical Center. She is a past president of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society.

Dr. Deshields’ clinical practice is devoted to treating cancer patients/ survivors and their family members, throughout the cancer continuum – diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, end of life, bereavement. Her research is focused on issues related to psychological adjustment and quality of life in cancer patients and survivors.

William J. Gradishar, MD, FASCO, FACP
Betsy Bramsen Professor of Breast Oncology & Professor of Medicine Director
Maggie Daley Center for Women’s Cancer Care, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Dr. William J. Gradishar is the Betsy Bramsen Professor of Breast Oncology and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, at the Feinberg School Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. He serves as director of the Maggie Daley Center for Women’s Cancer Care. Additionally, he is deputy chief of the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology and system head for Medical Oncology across Northwestern Medicine. He has been chair of the Annual Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Symposium since its inception 17 years ago. He served as program director of the Hematology Oncology Fellowship Training Program at Northwestern for 20 years. His research focuses on the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of breast cancer.

A Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Dr. Gradishar is also a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Federation for Clinical Research, and the Association of Subspecialty Professors. He is past chair of the Oncology Training Program Committee, chair of the Communications Committee, chair of the Professional Development Committee, and chair of the Nominating Committee of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) as well as a member of ASCO’s Scientific Program Committee. He is a member of the Breast Cancer Core Committee of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, past member of the Committee on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons and current chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Breast Cancer Guidelines Panel, and the NCCN Breast Cancer Prevention Panel. In addition, he serves as a consultant to the Oncology Drug Advisory Committee of the FDA.

Dr. Gradishar is a member of the editorial board for numerous journals, including Journal of Clinical OncologyOncologyClinical Breast CancerEuropean Journal of Clinical and Medical Oncology and Clinical Cancer Research. He is the founding Editor-in Chief of NEJM Journal Watch Hematology/Oncology. He is co-Editor of The Breast, the definitive two-volume textbook on benign and malignant breast disorders. He has published in the area of breast cancer therapeutics, with a focus on new endocrine therapy, chemotherapy and biologic agents.

Dr. Gradishar received his medical degree form the University of Illinois Abraham School of Medicine in Chicago. He completed a residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago and a clinical research fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Chicago.

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Jeffrey Kendall, PsyD
Director, Oncology Support Services
University of Minnesota Cancer Care
Minneapolis, MN

Dr. Kendall earned his undergraduate degree from Indiana State University and completed his post-doctoral fellowship in psychosocial oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. For the past 23 years, Dr. Kendall has directed oncology supportive care departments within NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers, academic medical centers, and community cancer centers. In 2016, he joined the University of Minnesota Cancer Care program, where he is dedicated to addressing the impact of cancer on individuals and families. Currently, Dr. Kendall’s professional time is divided among direct patient care, program administration, program development, and research collaboration. To raise awareness of the needs of cancer patients, Dr. Kendall speaks nationally and internationally, and he has published 40 journal articles and abstracts on topics related to psychosocial oncology and cancer survivorship. As a nationally recognized thought leader in his field, Dr. Kendall serves on committees for the American Psychosocial Oncology Society and the Association of Community Cancer Centers. 

Shirley A. Mertz, MA, JD
President, Metastatic Breast Cancer Network Executive Group
Member and Research Taskforce Co-Chair, Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance

Shirley A. Mertz, MA, JD, has served as president of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network since 2006. She also serves as a member of the Patient Advocate Working Group of the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium, representing the University of Chicago, and chairs the Patient Working Group Subcommittee on Metastatic Breast Cancer and is also a member of the HER2+ Resistance Working Group. Ms. Mertz is a founding member of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance, and currently serves on the Steering Committee, the Executive Committee, and as Research Taskforce Co-Chair.

In addition, she serves as a member of the Planning Committee for Breast Cancer Research Grants, University of Chicago Advocacy, and has served as a consumer reviewer for the Congressionally Directed Breast Cancer Medical Research Program.

She has presented nationally and internationally on the issues related to metastatic breast cancer, and made numerous presentations before patient groups and healthcare organizations.

Ms. Mertz is the recipient of the national “Champion of Change in Breast Cancer” award and was honored at the White House in Washington, D.C. (2011), with the “Distinguished Service in Advocacy Award” from the American Cancer Society (2008) in Northwest suburban Illinois.

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Ruth M. O’Regan, MD
Chair and Charles A. Dewey Professor, Department of Medicine
Associate Director for Education and Mentoring
Wilmot Cancer Institute, University of Rochester
Rochester, NY

Ruth M. O’Regan, MD, focuses on identifying mechanisms of resistance to breast-cancer therapies and the development of new therapies with a specific focus on triple negative breast cancer. She has led several trials focused on new therapeutic approaches for breast cancers resistant to standard therapies.

Dr. O'Regan earned her medical degree from University College Dublin. She completed her internal medicine residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin and her hematology/oncology fellowship at Northwestern University.

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Claire Saxton, MBA
Vice President, Education
Cancer Support Community
Washington, DC

Claire is responsible for CSC’s national patient education and outreach programs. She has 25 years of experience in nonprofit management and a wealth of experience in patient education and advocacy. Claire came to CSC from the Urology Care Foundation, where she managed national patient education programs and public awareness campaigns with partners that included coalitions of patient advocacy organizations for National Bladder Health Month as well as the National Football League for prostate cancer awareness.

As Executive Director of the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, Claire expanded their educational programming and developed the first National Bladder Cancer Awareness Day. While the Executive Director of the Breast Cancer Resource Center in Austin, Texas, she doubled their patient advocacy and outreach programs. Claire began her work in health advocacy while part of the team that opened the National Domestic Violence Hotline in 1996.

Claire holds an MBA from the University of Oregon and an undergraduate degree from Rice University. She is inspired by the everyday courage of patients, survivors, and their loved ones she has met throughout her career. Outside of work, Claire loves spending time with her husband Andrew, son Luke and their dog Blossom.

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Lillian D. Shockney, RN, MAS, ONN-CG
Co-Founder and Program Director, AONN+;
University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer; Professor of Surgery
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

Lillie D. Shockney is the Johns Hopkins University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer; Administrative Director, Johns Hopkins Breast Center (since 1997); Director, Johns Hopkins Cancer Survivorship Programs; Professor of Surgery and Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and co-creator of the Johns Hopkins Managing Cancer at Work Program. A two-time breast cancer survivor, Lillie has worked tirelessly to improve the care of breast cancer patients around the world. She has worked at Johns Hopkins since 1983.

She has written 15 books and more than 250 articles on cancer care, and is a nationally recognized public speaker on the subject of cancer with a focus on cancer survivorship. Lillie is also editor-in-chief of Journal of Oncology Navigation and Survivorship. She is the founder and director of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+). She is the consultant for breast cancer for national ABC News and Good Morning America, and is also consulted regularly by the Today Show and CNN. Currently, she serves on 34 medical advisory boards.

In 2008, the President of The Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Board of Trustees appointed her to a chair as a University Distinguished Service Assistant Professor of Breast Cancer. This is the first time in the history of the institution that a hospital nurse has been appointed to a distinguished service designation. She was promoted to a Distinguished Service Associate Professor of Breast Cancer in 2009. In 2016, she was promoted to full professor and is the only nurse at Johns Hopkins to have a primary appointment in the School of Medicine and the only nurse to have reached the highest academic faculty ranking and appointed chair as a University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer.

She has received numerous awards and has been inducted into the Maryland Women Hall of Fame, and received the Women in Business Healthcare Trailblazer Award, and Johnson & Johnson’s most amazing nurse in America award.

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Scott M. Weissman, MS, CGC
Certified Genetic Counselor
Chicago Genetic Consultants, LLC
Northbrook, IL

Scott graduated from Northwestern University with his MS in genetic counseling in 2002. He practiced clinically at NorthShore University HealthSystem for 12 years and was the program manager at the Center for Medical Genetics. Scott also worked as a customer service genetic counselor for GeneDx for three years. In 2016, he opened a private genetic counseling practice called Chicago Genetic Consultants, LLC. Scott is currently the director of Cancer Genetics Services at Genome Medical and a clinical faculty member at the Northwestern University Program.

Scott is an active member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), where he has worked on a variety of committees and held positions as the secretary/treasurer, co-chair of the Familial Cancer Risk Special Interest Group, and liaison to both the Commission on Cancer and the National Accreditation Program of Breast Centers, housed in the American College of Surgeons. In 2012, Scott was honored with the Strategic Leader Award from the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

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Justin Yopp, PhD
Program Director for Psycho-oncology Psychologist | Associate Professor, Dept of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Director of Membership, American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS)
Chapel Hill, NC

Justin Yopp, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a member of UNC’s Comprehensive Cancer Support Program, Dr. Yopp serves as Program Director for Psycho-oncology and offers psychotherapy, assessment, and consult-liaison services for both pediatric oncology and adult oncology populations at the N.C. Cancer Hospital. Dr. Yopp also co-leads the Widowed Parent Program, which supports parents who have lost a spouse or partner and are raising children on their own.

Dr. Yopp co-authored the book, The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. After earning his undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University and his doctoral degree from Central Michigan University, Dr. Yopp completed his internship and fellowship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Prior to joining the faculty at UNC, Dr. Yopp served as a psychologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

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