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Advisory Committee

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Melissa Alsina, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine - Blood and Marrow Transplant Program
Moffit Cancer Center
Tampa, FL
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Kimberly Catania, MSN, APRN-CNS, AOCN
Hematology Clinical Nurse Specialist
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center
Arthur G. James and Richard J. Solove Research Institute
Columbus, OH

Kimberly Catania is an adult clinical nurse specialist at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James and Richard J. Solove Research Institute in Columbus, Ohio. She has served in this role for the past 15 years, and her current practice is focused on myeloma and lymphoma patients across the cancer care continuum which includes translating evidence into clinical practice. Her areas of research include extravasation and implementation of low-level laser therapy for oral mucositis. She has been published in peer-reviewed journals and authored textbook chapters related to oncology, and has presented locally, nationally and internationally. She also serves as adjunct faculty at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio, and has been active in the Oncology Nursing Society, National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists and Sigma Theta Tau.

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Mary Derome, MSc
Patient Advocate
Director of Medical Communications and Education
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)
Norwalk, CT

Mary E. DeRome, MSc, serves as Director of Medical Communications and Education at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). In this role, Ms. DeRome is responsible for both patient and professional myeloma education programming, including program development and content generation as well as overseeing granting activities. She also generates and oversees website and social media education content, including blogs, disease awareness and education, and corporate marketing and communications related to MMRF research and clinical initiatives.  

As a former cancer researcher, Ms. DeRome approaches patient advocacy and education from a scientific perspective. Her goal is to translate and communicate medical and scientific advances in the myeloma community to patients to inform and empower them, enabling them to communicate more effectively with their care team and advocate for better outcomes for their disease. Her mother’s diagnosis with myeloma at age 80 gave her first-hand experience in the role of cancer caregiver and continues to guide and inform her advocacy work today.

Ms. DeRome has a BS in Chemistry, a MSc in Cellular and Molecular Biology, and has done graduate work in Pharmacology through the University of Connecticut/UCONN Health Center. Prior to joining the MMRF in 2014, she worked in oncology small molecule drug discovery at Bayer HealthCare and in nanoparticle malaria vaccine development at Artificial Cell Technologies.

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Rafael Fonseca, MD
Getz Family Professor of Cancer and Professor of Medicine
Mayo Clinic
Scottsdale, AZ

Rafael Fonseca, MD, is the Getz Family Professor of Cancer and a Professor of Medicine. He is a consultant in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Mayo Clinic, Arizona, and Chair of the Department of Medicine.  

Dr. Fonseca’s practice has focused on the diagnosis and treatment of plasma cell disorders and leading the multiple myeloma team in its effort to develop a better understanding of the disease and its impact on patients. In his laboratory, Dr Fonseca has led his team of researchers in concentrating on the genetic nature of the clonal cells of plasma cell disorders.  He is also interested in myeloma bone disease, prognostic markers, and development of new therapies for the disease.

Throughout his training and career, Dr Fonseca has received numerous awards and honors, including the Young Investigator Award in Hematology (Celgene – Achievement Awards for Clinical Research in Hematology), Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Clinical Investigator Award, and the International Waldenström Macroglobulinemia Research Award. Most notably he is a Mayo Clinic Distinguished Investigator, the highest academic distinction given to investigators at his institution. Dr. Fonseca holds memberships and serves in positions for organizations such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, American Association for Cancer Research, and the International Myeloma Society. He has an adjunct academic appointment at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). His research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute (R01, P01, SPORE), the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Multiple Myeloma Research Fund, and the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fund.

Dr. Fonseca serves as reviewer and in editorial capacities for medical publications including Blood, Lancet, Nature Medicine, Cancer Cell, Leukemia, and the New England Journal of Medicine, among others. He is a frequent reviewer of grants and sits on the SPORE grant review panel. He has given many national and international presentations as a visiting professor, and has authored numerous articles (over 200), book chapters, editorials, abstracts, and letters.

Dr. Fonseca earned his MD at Universidad Anahuac in Mexico. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Miami in Florida, and a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota. He is a clinical investigator for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fund.

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Elizabeth Kitlas, LMSW
Senior Director, Patient Education
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
White Plains, NY

Elizabeth Kitlas, LMSW, is senior director, Patient Education Content at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Elizabeth manages and updates LLS education publications, which provide information about blood cancers, support and treatment to patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals. She also oversees the patient disease and treatment content on the LLS website. The LLS team works with key opinion leaders who volunteer their time to review this disease and treatment material. With so many amazing advances in myeloma in the recent years, it has been an honor to keep patients and caregivers informed about the newest testing, treatment options and clinical trials available.

Previously, Ms. Kitlas was an Information Specialist at LLS, answering phone calls and emails from patients and caregivers who needed support and information about blood cancers. Prior to LLS, Ms. Kitlas worked as a social worker at a community hospital in the Bronx, NY. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). She has an MSW degree from New York University and her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Education from Skidmore College.

 

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Agne Paner, MD
Rush University Medical Center
Chicago, IL

Dr. Paner is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Rush University Medical Center, Division of Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant. Dr. Paner is a Director of Multiple Myeloma, amyloidosis and plasma cell disorders program as well as a Director of Coleman Foundation Comprehensive Multiple Myeloma Clinic at Rush Cancer Center. She is committed to improve the outcomes of patients with multiple myeloma through innovation and research. She is a principal investigator of multiple myeloma clinical trials at Rush.  Dr. Paner is the founding chair and CME course director for National Multiple Myeloma Rounds Program. She is active member of several professional organizations, including the Alliance for clinical trials in oncology Cooperative Group, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology and the International Myeloma Society.

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Adrianna Rossi, MD
Weill Cornell Medicine
New York, NY

Dr. Adriana Rossi is the Associate Director of the Myeloma Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, where she participates in a number of clinical trials, from first in human drug development to multicenter phase III studies. Her research interests include renal disease in plasma cell dyscrasias, and she is a member of the International Kidney and Monoclonal Gammopathy Research Group. Dr. Rossi also heads the Autologous Stem Cell Transplant service, and works to develop more effective and less toxic alternatives for patients with multiple myeloma. She is a reviewer for Leukemia and Lymphoma, Hematology/Oncology and Stem cell Therapy, and Annals of Hematology. Dr. Rossi has given a number of invited talks, including ASCO and international conferences in Brazil and France. 

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Timothy Tyler, PharmD, FCSHP
Director of Pharmacy Services
Desert Regional Medical Center
Comprehensive Cancer Center
Palm Springs, CA

Dr. Timothy Tyler is the director of Pharmacy, Lab and Oncology Supportive Care Services at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California. He is responsible for ambulatory oncology care in the main center as well as a satellite on the other end of the Coachella Valley, as well as pain management and medication use in all clinics. He has served in this capacity since 1994. Dr. Tyler is also co-chair of the Complementary Medicine Program and leader of the pain service. He has served as adjunct clinical faculty at the University of Southern California for more than 20 years.

Dr. Tyler received an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the California State University, San Bernardino, and received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He was instrumental in the creation of the pharmacy residency program at Desert Hospital (now Desert Regional Medical Center) in Palm Springs as its first resident in 1993. Dr. Tyler was made a Fellow in the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists (CSHP) in 2002 and in 2017 was made a Fellow in the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA). He has been invited to keynote several healthcare meetings in the past in the US and abroad and continues to be an invited lecturer at meetings for physicians, pharmacists, and nurses around the country and the globe.

Working in a destination for many retirees and "snowbirds" affords Dr. Tyler the ability to see and manage the care of a large number of multiple myeloma patients, and he has been fortunate to share patients with some of the major thought leaders in the myeloma for the past quarter of a century.

Virginia Vaitones, MSW, OSW-C Emeritus
Oncology Social Worker
Pen Bay Medical Center
Rockport, ME

Virginia Vaitones, MSW, OSW-C Emeritus, recently retired after more than 39 years as an oncology social worker, and continues to work (per diem) in the Cancer Care Program at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, Maine. She is a past president of the Association of Community Cancer Centers.

Throughout her career, she has had a special interest in multiple myeloma and the impact the disease has on patients and their loved ones. She has worked on previous multiple myeloma education projects with ACCC.

She is a past president of the Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) and represented this association at the Commission on Cancer (CoC) for 11 years. She was involved in the writing and updating the CoC Cancer Program Standards 2012: Ensuring Patient Centered Care. Her areas of interest and expertise include patient navigation, financial advocacy, and psychosocial distress screening.

Ms. Vaitones earned her MSW degree from Simmons College School of Social Work.

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David Vesole, MD, PhD, FACP
MedStar Health
Washington, DC

David H. Vesole, MD, PhD, FACP, is co-chief, Myeloma Division, director, Myeloma Research at the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center; professor of Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine and Seton Hall University School of Medicine; director, Myeloma Program, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. He is a member of the Stem Cell Transplant & Cellular Immunotherapy Program at both Hackensack UMC and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

Dr. Vesole’s research interests involve all aspects of the management of plasma cell dyscrasias (multiple myeloma, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, amyloidosis, Waldenstrom’s macroglolinemia). Dr. Vesole has had more than 25 years of clinical research experience in plasma cell dyscrasias and stem cell transplant and has over 200 peer reviewed publications in these areas. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Myeloma Foundation and a member of the International Myeloma Working Group.

Dr. Vesole earned his bachelor of sciences degree at the University of Iowa; his PhD in Immunology and Microbiology at the Medical University of South Carolina; his medical degree at Northwestern University and completed his hematology/oncology fellowship at the University of Iowa.

 

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William Wood, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
The University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC

William Wood, MD, MPH, is an associate professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Wood is a member of the Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program, and the Multiple Myeloma and Amyloidosis Program at UNC. Dr. Wood is an outcomes and health services researcher within the UNC Lineberger Cancer Outcomes Research Program. His primary research interests involve understanding and improving the patient experience during cancer treatment and survivorship, particularly through a focus on fitness and physical health. Dr. Wood has also studied relationships between academic medical centers and community practices in providing care for patients with leukemia and myeloma.

Dr. Wood earned his undergraduate degree in Government at Harvard University and his medical degree at Duke University. He completed an internal medicine and pediatrics residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, and his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the University of North Carolina where he has remained on faculty since 2010.

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Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

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Amgen Oncology
Funding & support provided by Amgen Oncology