Stage IV CRC survivor, Executive Director of Humanitarian Disaster Institute, Associate Professor of Humanitarian Disaster Leadership, Wheaton College

Jamie Aten, PhD, is a disaster psychologist who doesn't just study disasters-he's lived mass and personal disasters-as a Hurricane Katrina survivor and early-age onset stage IV colorectal cancer survivor (almost 5 years NED). He is Founder and Executive Director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute and Blanchard Chair of Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership at Wheaton College. He currently serves as a Fight Colorectal Cancer Ambassador. His most recent book is A Walking Disaster: What Katrina and Cancer Taught Me About Faith and Resilience(Templeton Press). He is also a contributor to CURE Magazine's Voices and blogs at Fight Colorectal Cancer's Emotional First Aid and Psychology Today's Hope + ResilienceIn 2016 he received the FEMA Community Preparedness Champion Award at the White House. 

Twitter: @drjamieaten 


Clinical Associate Professor, New York University (NYU) School of Medicine, Associate Director of Faculty Development and Mentorship Program, NYU Division of Gastroenterology

Sophie M. Balzora MD, FACG is a Clinical Associate Professor at the NYU School of Medicine and serves as the Associate Director of the Faculty Development and Mentorship Program of NYU's Division of Gastroenterology.  Dr. Balzora has focused her academic efforts on improving physician engagement and enhancing the patient experience through objective structured clinical exams, or OSCEs. As Chair of the Public Relations Committee of the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), Dr. Balzora's primary goal is to disseminate the College's message of the importance of colorectal cancer awareness to the general public, and arm its members with tools to do the same. She is also a member of ACG's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and co-founder of ACG's #DiversityinGI Campaign. Dr. Balzora also serves on the Patient Education Sub-Committee of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation (CCF)'s National Scientific Advisory Committee, and the social media team of the CCF's IBD Journal.

Twitter: @SophieBalzoraMD


Founder & CEO, Ocean Strategic Communication

Carol Blymire, MS, is the founder and CEO of Ocean Strategic Communications where she works with individuals and organizations on telling their stories in an authentic, compelling, influential way. Carol's work centers around helping organizations who want to effect change on Capitol Hill, and better the lives of people and families across the country.  She has worked with AARP, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, ACT for NIH, the Food and Drug Law Institute, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and the American Society for Cell Biology, among others.  Carol also teaches in Georgetown's graduate school of public relations, communications, and journalism. 

Prior to founding Ocean Strategic Communications, Carol was a presidential aide to President George H.W. Bush, served as corporate spokesperson for MCI and Fannie Mae, and ran international PR for Discovery Channel.

Twitter: @CarolBlymire


President & CEO, TTari, Inc.

Karia Coleman, M.S., C.S.C.S., WKC, is dedicated to the eradication of chronic conditions through physical exercise. Karia has 18 years of experience as a personal trainer, athletic strength coach, weight loss consultant, competitive athlete, and Corporate Department Head of a commercial fitness company. During this time he has helped many clients with weight loss ranging between 50 – 100lbs. Currently, he is the Founding Principal of TTari Health LLC where he tends to focus on the use of physical exercise for the amelioration of pathologies associated with chronic conditions.

The fight against cancer and other chronic conditions is very personal to Karia. He watched several family members and friends suffer from cancer and it's treatments. Once he realized that physical exercise prevents and improves the effects of cancer, he made it his mission to save lives with exercise.

Twitter: @IncTtari


Director, The Cancer Trauma Project

Mr. Schuyler Cunningham, MSW, LICSW, LCSW-C, BCD, OSW-C is an award-winning social worker and researcher. His extensive experience includes practicing social work at the Washington Cancer Institute, the DC Rape Crisis Center, the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, and The Washington, DC Center for Neurocognitive Excellence. Schuyler's clinical experience includes Consultant status in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), providing supervision to EMDR practitioners, providing  Infra-Slow Frequency neurofeedback therapy, and training bachelors and masters students in clinical care and research. He is a sought after speaker and has published on various aspects of mental health counseling including an upcoming paper on distress and traumatic stress in people with cancerfirst person narratives of cancer related traumatic stress,screening for psychosocial distress in non-oncology patientscancer rehabilitationinnovative treatments for smoldering multiple myeloma, and palliative care for people with mesothelioma. Mr. Cunningham obtained his Masters in Social Work from the National Catholic School of Social Service at the Catholic University of America and holds advanced social work licenses in both DC and Maryland.

Twitter: @cancertrauma


Manager of Oncology Navigation and Counseling, Life with Cancer, Inova Health System

Darah Curran, LCSW, joined Inova Life with Cancer as a clinical therapist in September 2009.  She earned her Masters in Social Work with a clinical healthcare specialization from Catholic University.  She has provided therapeutic support to both pediatric and adult oncology populations in inpatient and outpatient settings.   She is presently the Manager of Oncology Navigation and Counseling for several Inova locations.  She has previously presented at national conferences on the topics of insomnia, as well as social work leadership.  Darah has over 20 years of social work experience, having worked in home-based family counseling for 10 years prior to transitioning to medical oncology social work. She maintains a private practice specializing in children and families in Northern Virginia.

Twitter: @LifewithCancer


Program Director, Division of Cancer Biology, National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Phillip J. Daschner, M.Sc, Program Director, Division of Cancer Biology, currently manages a portfolio of basic research grants focused on mechanisms of biologic carcinogens for the Cancer Immunology, Hematology, and Etiology Branch at NCI.  He received his graduate training from Arizona State University, and has a background in microbial genetics and drug discovery from natural products, which includes the initial purification and testing of  bryostatin, and the identification of  curcumin and resveratrol as natural ligands of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor.  

He is currently in leadership roles on both the trans NIH Microbiome working group (TMWG) and the trans NCI Microbiome working group, which coordinate ongoing microbiome-related initiatives and activities at the NIH and Institute levels.  His research interests include;  The role of the Microbiome in carcinogenesis and therapy efficacy; Infection derived cancers; Cellular defense mechanisms; Chemoprevention and Dietary phytochemicals and metabolites; Inflammation and cell stress response pathways; and Cancer health disparities. 

Twitter: @NCICancerBio


Stage III Survivor, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center

Dustin Deming, MD is an associate professor with tenure attheUniversityofWisconsin, Department of Medicine and Oncology, and Carbone Cancer Center(UWCCC). He is a gastrointestinal medical oncologist with a subspecialty focus in colorectal cancer and is a rectal cancer survivor himself. His NIH-funded research aims to develop innovative treatment strategies for cancers depending on the molecular profile and tumor microenvironment characteristics. In order to advance these treatment strategies, his laboratory has developed novel preclinical models, including patient-derived cancer organoid models and transgenic and syngeneic transplantable murine models. His laboratory research has been successfully translated into clinical trials, including NCI/CTEP and industry-sponsored trials. He is the co-director of the UWCCC Precision Medicine Molecular Tumor Board and an active member of the UWCCCCancer TherapyDiscoveryand Development Group. He is the ECOG-ACRIN chair of the Colorectal and Anal Cancer Working group and the co-chair of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium GI committee. He also serves on the NCI's rectal and anal cancer taskforce and the NCCN colorectal and anal cancer guideline committee. Additionally, he is a subprotocol chair of the NCI MATCH trial and a member of the Agents and Genes committee for NCI's upcoming ComboMATCH trial.



Acting Deputy Director, Division of Oncology 3, Office of Oncologic Diseases, Food and Drug Administration

Lola A. Fashoyin-Aje, MD, MPH, is a medical oncologist and acting Deputy Director in the Division of Oncology 3 (DO3) in the Office of Oncologic Diseases (OOD) at the Food and Drug Administration.

Prior to joining the FDA, Dr. Fashoyin-Aje completed her residency in internal medicine and fellowship in medical oncology at Johns Hopkins. She completed her undergraduate and graduate training at Columbia University and Yale University, respectively, and earned her medical degree from the University of Rochester.

At the FDA, Dr. Fashoyin-Aje served as clinical reviewer in the Gastrointestinal Malignancies team, and as acting clinical team leader for the Breast Malignancies, Melanoma and Sarcoma, and Gastrointestinal Malignancies teams. In her current role, she provides scientific and policy guidance and oversight to multidisciplinary teams reviewing drugs and biologics under development for the treatment of solid tumor malignancies. She has also served as the Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE) Scientific Liaison for Cancer Disparities and in this role, she has led the OCE's efforts to improve inclusion of diverse demographic subgroups in clinical trials and participates in several internal and external scientific and policy working groups. Dr. Fashoyin-Aje also serves on the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Health Equity and Cancer Research committees, the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Science of Cancer Health Disparities Scientific Program and Scientific Review committees.

Twitter: @AjeFashoyin


Cancer Support Program Director, Smith Center for the Healing Arts

Kiersten Gallagher has served as the Cancer Support Program Director for Smith Center since 2014. Before coming to Smith Center, she had the privilege to serve individuals and families living with cancer at Wellness House of Annapolis. Kiersten aims to offer programs to reduce stress and help participants to see the world we live in from different perspectives. She thoroughly enjoys teaching yoga and creativity classes at Smith Center and encourages gentle movement and creativity in the healing process. Kiersten is a certified yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance and also has her YCAT (Yoga Therapy in Cancer and Chronic Illness) Professional Certification through the Integral Yoga Academy. She has completed Patient Navigation training through Smith Center's Institute for Integrative Oncology Navigation and has also completed the Commonweal Healing Circles: Advanced Cancer Support Training. Kiersten is also certified in CLIMB®(Children's Lives Include Moments of Bravery) a program that aims to build upon the strengths of children and increase his/her ability to cope with stress associated with a parent's illness. She believes in a holistic approach to healing, human relationships and is grateful for each and every day. In her spare time, you may find Kiersten laughing with friends, cycling, taking art classes, practicing yoga and spending time with her husband Shane, son Liam, and dogs Hooper and Pablo.

Twitter: @SmithCenterDC


Program Manager, Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (DoD PRCRP)

Dr. Donna Kimbark received her Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology and Cancer Therapeutics from the State University of New York at Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Division in 1996. Following postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Kimbark worked in the biotechnology sector before joining the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) in 2002 as Science Officer for the Breast Cancer Research Program. While working in grants management, she received her certificate in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Drexel University. In 2008, Dr. Kimbark became a Program Manager for the CDMRP.  Throughout her years at CDMRP, Dr. Kimbark has managed research funding programs for autism, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and bone marrow failure syndromes. Currently, she leads the program teams for the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program and the Melanoma Research Program.  In addition to her programmatic duties, Dr. Kimbark also leads the Funding Opportunities Announcement team, where she coordinates the creation, revision, and approvals of the solicitations for grants.  Her areas of expertise include cancer therapeutics, pharmacology, proteomics, and scientific research administration. 

Twitter: @CDMRP


Chief of Community and Government Relations, National Brain Tumor Society 

Danielle Leach, MPA, Chief of Community and Government Relations at the National Brain Tumor Society, is responsible for ensuring brain tumor patients and caregivers are empowered with quality information, support and resources,  and advancing research and quality life through advocacy.

She has held leadership positions at the St. Baldrick's Foundation, American Cancer Society, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and Strang Cancer Prevention Center, led several public policy initiatives related to childhood cancer research and funding, driving cancer control program development and implementation. 

Danielle is a dedicated volunteer and grassroots advocate for cancer and children's issues. She is the founder of the Mason Leach Superstar Fund at the American Childhood Cancer Organization, in memory of her son, Mason, who died of pediatric brain cancer in 2007. 

Danielle serves on several boards and committees related to children's issues and health. She is the emeritus Co-Chair of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, a national coalition tackling childhood cancer policy issues, where she spearheaded strategy and implementation of STAR Act passage, the most comprehensive childhood cancer bill ever passed in Congress increasing childhood cancer funding by $150 million in over five years. 

She is also a member of the National Cancer Institute's National Council of Research Advocates, and the Pediatric and Adolescent Solid Tumor Steering Committee. She worked on Vice President Biden's Cancer Moonshot initiative, as part of the Pediatric Cancer Working Group. 

Danielle was recognized in 2018 with the ASCO Partners in Progress award and the Rare Disease Legislative Advocates "RareVoice" Award.

Twitter: @NBTStweets


Founder, Barbara Majeski Enterprises

Barbara Majeski is a New York City-based on-air television personality, podcast host, cancer survivor, mom and philanthropy advocate. As a lifestyle expert, she's known for bringing families and friends together for unforgettable moments. She was honored as a global humanitarian by Operation Smile after mobilizing fundraisers in 2015. Six months later, she accepted a new mission: cancer survivor. Her diagnosis of stage III colorectal cancer at age 42 came as a complete shock. In treatment, she vowed to give back to others would she be given a second chance at life. Today, she's honoring that promise and has become a "Curator of the Good Life." On television, she's a frequent on-air contributor appearing on shows including 

Today, Inside Edition, Fox & Friends and more. Her podcast "Baring it All" connects women of all ages through honest conversations. Through social media, she is a #FinderoftheFabulous so others can find purpose, style and adventure. Barbara is in remission and lives in New Jersey with her three children

Twitter: @BarbaraMajeski


Associate Professor of Medicine, Associate Director of Adult Clinical Nutrition, UChicago Medicine

Edwin K. McDonald IV, MD, is dedicated to improving the health of individuals and communities through nutrition education. He works with patients that have small bowel diseases, obesity and other conditions affecting the digestive system.

Dr. McDonald's interest in the effects of nutrition on health and disease stem from his experience with Project Brotherhood -- an innovative clinic dedicated to providing accessible, affordable care for black men on Chicago's South Side. While training barbers to serve as health educators, he became keenly aware of the impact of social determinants of health, including the role of nutrition. In 2012, Dr. McDonald received a certificate in professional cookery from Kendall College School of Culinary Arts.

Dr. McDonald also is an active researcher. He recently investigated the effects of vitamin deficiency in patients requiring parenteral nutrition (intravenous feeding) and studied the usefulness of fecal calprotectin in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. He also created a web-based mobile program to assess the utility of applications in managing inpatient hepatology patients. Dr. McDonald's work has been funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

Twitter: @docskitchen


Associate Director, Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP), Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Dr. Meg Mooney is the Associate Director of the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP), Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and she is also the Chief of the Clinical Investigations Branch (CIB) in CTEP.

She received her medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in Chicago and her general surgical training at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. She completed her Surgical Oncology fellowship training at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, and also holds a Master of Science degree in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dr. Mooney joined NCI in 2002 as Head of Gastrointestinal and Neuroendocrine Cancer Therapeutics in CIB. She was appointed Chief of the branch in May 2009. She is responsible for the direction of the NCI National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) Program. The NCTN performs large, definitive, practice-changing phase 2 and 3 cancer treatment and advanced imaging trials. In April 2014, she was named the Deputy Associate Director of CTEP. Dr. Mooney became the Acting Associate Director of CTEP in December 2018, with oversight and coordination responsibilities for the programmatic, financial, and administrative functions for the entire CTEP program, which covers a broad, multidisciplinary, clinical research effort to coordinate nationwide phase 1-3 clinical trials programs testing new treatment approaches for cancer.

Twitter: @theNCI


Director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

Dr. Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH is responsible for providing leadership and direction for all scientific, policy, and programmatic issues related to four national programs: The Colorectal Cancer Control Program, the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, the National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, and the National Program of Cancer Registries. She oversees a well-developed research agenda that includes the national Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network. Dr. Richardson has authored and coauthored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles on breast cancer treatment patterns of care, skin cancer, health policy, access to cancer care, systems of care, health disparities, and racial discrimination.

Twitter: @CDC_Cancer


Program Officer, Division of Cancer Biology, National Cancer Institute

Dr. Matthew Young, PhD, is a Program Director for gastrointestinal cancers at the Cancer Biomarkers Research Group (CBRG), Division of Cancer Prevention, the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Young is well recognized for his earlier studies in the Laboratory of Cancer Prevention at the NCI where his research was focused on gene regulation of tumor promotion, mouse models for cancer prevention and dietary intervention to prevent colon cancer.

Twitter: @NCICancerBio

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