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Advisory Committee

Convened to re-imagine systems and transform how we prevent, detect, diagnose, treat and survive cancer, this Advisory Committee will identify and drive implementation of specific solutions to complex issues including: standardizing how cancer is diagnosed and treated, making sharing data the rule instead of the exception, helping patients find and enter clinical trials, and ensuring patients are able to effectively navigate their care.

Amy Abernethy, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Amy Abernethy serves as chief medical officer, chief scientific officer and senior vice president, oncology, at Flatiron Health, where she leads the research oncology, clinical operations and data science teams, and contributes to the company’s strategic vision.

Before joining Flatiron, Amy was professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, and ran the Center for Learning Health Care in the Duke Clinical Research Institute and Duke Cancer Care Research Program in the Duke Cancer Institute. For more than a decade, she has pioneered the development of technology platforms to spur novel advancements in cancer care, including the development of systems by which aggregated clinical data can support personalized medicine, outcomes research, cancer care quality monitoring, and scientific discovery. Amy received her M.D. at Duke University, where she also did her internal medicine residency, served as chief resident and completed her hematology/oncology fellowship. She has her Ph.D. from Flinders University in Australia, focused on evidence-based medicine and clinical informatics, and her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Peter Adamson, M.D.

Dr. Peter Adamson is Chair of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), a National Cancer Institute (NCI) supported international consortium of more than 220 childhood centers that conducts clinical-translational research, including large-scale clinical trials, in children with cancer. He is Professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania and holds the Alan R. Cohen Endowed Chair in Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). He currently serves on the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) and is an internationally recognized leader in pediatric cancer drug development. He also served as a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel for Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Bjoern Albrecht, Ph.D.

Dr. Bjoern Albrecht is a partner in McKinsey & Company’s London office. He works with pharmaceutical and biotech companies, health systems, payers, and providers on cancer-related topics. He leads the McKinsey Cancer Center globally and is also a leader in the Pharmaceuticals & Medical Products Practice in Europe. With a Ph.D. and post-doctoral training in molecular oncology, he is a respected peer of both senior executives and research scientists. Albrecht’s work covers the entire value chain from early discovery strategies through clinical development to commercialization and reimbursement for cancer medicines. In addition, he supports health systems leaders and manufacturers in defining “adequate outcome” approaches to cancer treatment and developing innovative collaborations to serve patients’ needs.

David Arons

David Arons is the CEO of National Brain Tumor Society, where he also serves as the Chief Public Policy and Advocacy Officer. He previously served as the Director of Government Relations for the American Cancer Society in Minnesota and was the co-founder and Co-Director of the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest. He is the author of several books, including Power in Policy: A Funder’s Guide to Advocacy and Civic Participation, Strengthening Nonprofit Advocacy, and A Voice for Nonprofits. He serves on the National Cancer Institute’s Council of Research Advocates and Clinical Trials Advisory Committee. In 2016, Mr. Arons was named to the Blue Ribbon Panel of experts selected to help advise Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot.

Nilofer Azad, M.D.

Nilofer Azad, M.D., is Associate Professor of Oncology and a member of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Azad is the principal investigator for numerous early phase clinical trials in solid tumors and gastrointestinal cancers, focusing on colorectal cancer and bile duct cancers and is a clinically active medical oncologist.  Dr. Azad serves as Co-Director of the Developmental Therapeutics research program at the Kimmel Cancer Center. She is a member of national NCI Colon Cancer Task Force.  Active studies include combination molecularly targeted therapies, immunotherapy and epigenetic therapy in GI cancers and she is Principal Investigator at Johns Hopkins for the new $12 million dollar colon cancer Stand Up 2 Cancer Dream Team focusing on colon cancer.

Dr. Azad received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas in Austin, before completing her medical degree and residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.  She completed her fellowship in Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute before becoming a member of the Johns Hopkins University faculty in July 2008.

Anna D. Barker, Ph.D.

Dr. Anna Barker is Co-Director of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS), the Director of the National Biomarker Development Alliance (NBDA), the Director of the Transformative Healthcare Knowledge Networks, and a Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University. As Co-Director of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS), Dr. Barker designs and implements new research models specifically directed toward addressing major problems in biomedical research and biomedicine. Prior to joining ASU, Dr. Barker served several years as the Deputy Director and Deputy Director for Strategic Scientific Initiatives for the NCI, National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Dr. Barker has a long history in research and the leadership and management of advanced research and development in the academic, non-profit, and private sector.

Therese B. Bevers, M.D.

Dr. Therese Bevers is professor of Clinical Cancer Prevention and the medical director of the Cancer Prevention Center and prevention outreach programs at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. In her role as medical director, Dr. Bevers has overseen the growth and program development of the Cancer Prevention Center—the first comprehensive clinical cancer prevention service program in the country—since its opening in 1996.

Her clinical and research interests are in the area of breast cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis and survivorship. She was one of the lead investigators in the groundbreaking Breast Cancer Prevention Trial which demonstrated that tamoxifen reduced the risk of developing breast cancer by one half and the STAR trial which showed that raloxifene had similar benefits but fewer risks. Dr. Bevers chairs the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s guideline panels on Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis and Breast Cancer Risk Reduction.

Aneesh Chopra

Aneesh Chopra is the President of CareJourney, a Hunch Analytics company that provides actionable, clinically-relevant analytics services to population health organizations. He served as the first U.S. Chief Technology Officer under President Obama (’09-’12) and in 2014, authored, “Innovative State: How New Technologies can Transform Government.” In 2017, he joined the Board of the Health Care Cost Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit organization focused on complete, accurate, unbiased health care utilization and cost information. He earned his MPP from Harvard Kennedy School and BA from The Johns Hopkins University.

Jennie Crews, M.D.

Dr. Jennie Crews has over 20 years of experience in oncology in academic, private practice and hospital-based settings. She is the Medical Director for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Network, Community Sites and Research Integration and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington. Previously, she was the Medical Director for Cancer Services at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Cancer Center and for the PeaceHealth Northwest Network and the Medical Director of the Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center in Washington, N.C. Dr. Crews received her B.S. in Biology with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned her M.D. from Duke University and completed training in internal medicine and oncology at Duke, where she served as Assistant Chief Resident. In 2016, Dr. Crews completed a Master in Medical Management from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. She is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians and is board certified in medical oncology.

Lou DeGennaro, Ph.D.

Dr. Lou DeGennaro is president and CEO of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to fighting blood cancers. DeGennaro has been a member of the LLS executive leadership team since he joined LLS as chief scientific officer in 2005. He was named LLS chief mission officer in 2009, with responsibility for leadership of all of LLS’s mission functions, including research, patient education and support, public policy, and advocacy. He was named president and CEO in September 2014. As the key architect of LLS’s cures and access agenda, DeGennaro conceived and pioneered LLS’s Therapy Acceleration Program® – a venture philanthropy approach to accelerating new treatments to patients through drug discovery and development partnerships with the biotechnology industry.

Brian Druker, M.D.

Dr. Brian Druker is the director of the Knight Cancer Institute, associate dean for oncology of the OHSU School of Medicine, JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. His research is focused on translating the knowledge of the molecular pathogenesis of cancer into specific therapies and investigating the optimal use of these molecularly targeted agents. He performed preclinical studies that led to the development of imatinib (Gleevec) for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and then spearheaded the highly successful clinical trials of imatinib, which led to FDA approval of the drug in record time. This work changed the life expectancy of patients with CML from an average of 3 to 5 years to a 95% five-year survival, and has resulted in a paradigm-shift in cancer treatment from non-specific chemotherapy to highly targeted therapeutic agents. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and, among numerous awards, is the recipient of the 2009 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.

Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Levi Garraway joined Eli Lilly in January 2017 and is currently Senior Vice President, Global Development and Medical Affairs. Prior to joining Lilly, Garraway served as an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School and an Institute Member of the Broad Institute. He was the inaugural Director of the Joint Center for Cancer Precision Medicine, which spans the Dana-Farber, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Garraway led a research group that studied cancer genomics, drug resistance, and cancer precision medicine. Garraway serves on the scientific advisory boards of major cancer centers, including Sloan Kettering and M.D. Anderson and he is a member of several major National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) advisory committees.

Kathy Giusti, M.B.A.

Kathy Giusti, a multiple myeloma patient, is the Founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and currently serves on its Board of Directors. Ms. Giusti is also the Faculty Co-Chair of the Kraft Precision Medicine Accelerator at Harvard Business School, whose mission is to speed breakthroughs in precision medicine for all cancers. She is recognized as a pioneer of precision medicine, a champion of open-access data sharing, and a strong advocate for patient engagement in their treatment and care and as part of the research process.

Since founding the MMRF in 1998, Ms. Giusti has led the Foundation in establishing collaborative research models in the areas of tissue banking, genomics, and clinical trials that are dramatically accelerating the pace at which lifesaving treatments are brought to patients.

Laurie Glimcher, M.D.

Dr. Laurie Glimcher, president and chief executive officer of Dana-Farber, is also chief executive officer of Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare, director of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, and a trustee of Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Care. Dr. Glimcher has served as the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean and Professor of Medicine of Weill Cornell Medical College, and as Cornell’s Provost for Medical Affairs. She has served as the Irene Heinz Given Professor of Immunology at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she directed the Division of Biological Sciences. She was also Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, where she headed one of the world’s premier immunology programs. Dr. Glimcher helped develop Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, and witnessed the 21st Century Cures Bill being signed into law.

Margaret Hamburg, M.D.

Dr. Margaret Hamburg is an internationally recognized leader in public health and medicine. As Foreign Secretary of the National Academy of Medicine, she is senior advisor on international matters and liaison with Academies of Medicine around the world. She is also President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Hamburg is a former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where she was known for advancing regulatory science, modernizing regulatory pathways, and globalization of the agency. Before this, she was founding vice president and senior scientist at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a foundation dedicated to reducing nuclear, chemical and biological threats. Other positions have included Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (HHS), Health Commissioner for New York City, and Assistant Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

Daniel Hilferty

Daniel J. Hilferty is president and chief executive officer of Independence Blue Cross, one of the nation’s leading health insurers. Since Mr. Hilferty became CEO in 2010, the number of people the company and its affiliates serve has tripled to more than 8.3 million in 23 states and Washington, D.C. Mr. Hilferty is the immediate past chairman of the board of directors of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and he serves on the executive committee of America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Mr. Hilferty’s vision is to lead the transformation of health care in America, seeking innovative technologies and new models of care that will increase the quality and lower the cost of care. He has built business collaborations with world-renowned institutions and partnered with Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans and other leaders in health care to purchase dynamic health care companies, including AmeriHealth Caritas, one of the country’s largest Medicaid managed care companies.

Tyler Jacks, M.D.

Dr. Tyler Jacks is a world leader in the field of cancer genetics and is known for his ground-breaking work on the development of genetically-engineered mouse models of cancer (GEMMs). Over the course of his academic career, he has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers along with numerous review articles and book chapters. In 1992, Dr. Jacks became an assistant professor in the MIT Department of Biology and a member of the MIT Center for Cancer Research, which became the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT in 2011. Currently, he is the David H. Koch Professor of Biology, Director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT and an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Jacks served both as Chair and Member of the National Cancer Advisory Board at the National Cancer Institute as well as a member on the Board of Directors of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), where he was elected President of the organization in 2009.

Danelle Johnston, MSN, RN, ONN-CG, OCN

Danelle Johnston is the Chief Nursing Officer, Senior Director of Planning and Initiatives for The Lynx Group. In this role, she oversees the strategic and operational responsibilities of staff, programs, and expansion of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) as well as the execution of its mission. She is instrumental in supporting the many committee activities within AONN+, exploring and nurturing partnerships with other organizations in clinical and oncology arenas, and providing key clinical and professional insight that will help AONN+ enhance its sponsorships and services.

With more than 24 years of experience holding a variety of positions and a diverse and progressive oncology nursing background, Danelle is recognized as a national leader in oncology nurse navigation and in innovative community outreach and education focused on improving clinical care coordination and supporting the growth of others in the profession.

Samir N. Khleif, M.D.

Dr. Samir Khleif is currently the CEO of a Global Oncology project that intends to develop accessible, affordable and high-quality cancer care ecosystems for international underserved communities. The project is part of the AGHF, a global healthcare impact fund for low and low-middle income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. He also serves as the Director of the Global Oncology Research and Impact institute. Dr. Khleif is a Biomedical Scholar and Professor of Oncology at Georgetown University. Previous positions include: Director of the Georgia Cancer Center of the University System of Georgia; Chief of Cancer Vaccine Section at the National Cancer Institute; Special Assistant to the FDA Commissioner, leading the Critical Path for Oncology; and CEO/Director of the King Hussein Cancer Center. Dr. Khleif is the recipient of the National Cancer Institute’s Director Golden Star Award, the National Institutes of Health Award for Merit, and the Commendation Medal of the US Public Health Service. Dr. Khleif received his medical degree from the University of Jordan, completed his fellowship in Medical Oncology at the NCI.

Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN

Brenda Marion Nevidjon is the Chief Executive Officer of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), a professional association of more than 39,000 members committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Throughout her career in Canada, Switzerland and the United States, she has focused on bridging practice settings and academic environments to advance patient care, creating innovative work environments, promoting scholarship in practitioners, and developing leaders. After two decades in oncology clinical and administrative settings, she transitioned to health care executive practice, culminating with her being the first nurse and the first women to be chief operating officer of Duke University Hospital in 1996. Her bachelors’ degree is from Duke University; her master’s is from the University of North Carolina. Among other recognitions, she is a fellow in in the American Academy of Nursing.

Kevin O’Connor, D.O.

After 22 years in the Army and a decade at the White House, COL Kevin O’Connor has joined The GW Medical Faculty Associates as Director of Executive Medicine. Additionally, he serves as the Medical Director of International & Diplomatic Affairs at The George Washington University Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine and Senior Medical Advisor for Health Sciences Programs at the School of Medicine & Health Sciences. As an Army family physician, teacher, flight surgeon, and hyperbaric medical officer for the last 22 years, Dr. O’Connor has served in clinical, academic, leadership, and operational assignments at Fort Bragg and Fort Carson, to include tours of duty with the 82nd Airborne Division, 75th Ranger Regiment, and United States Army Special Operations Command.

Franklyn G. Prendergast, M.D., Ph.D.

In 2015, Dr. Franklyn Prendergast retired from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, the first and largest integrated nonprofit medical group practice in the world, where he most recently served as Professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics. Franklyn held numerous leadership positions during his time at Mayo, including Director of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center.

In recent years, he turned his attention to healthcare in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), providing strategic guidance to the Saudi Ministry of Health and serving as a keynote speaker for the Ministry’s National Healthcare Strategy and Health System Design conferences held in 2014. Currently, Dr. Prendergast is a member of the Board of Directors for Eli Lilly, Cancer Genetics, Inc., and the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), in addition to other organizations.

Richard Wender, M.D.

Dr. Richard Wender is the chief cancer control officer of the American Cancer Society. In this role, he is charged with providing oversight and guidance to the organization’s domestic and global cancer control programs, with a focus on access, navigation, and health equity in an effort to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to live a healthy life and receive high quality treatment and support. Dr. Wender leads one of the largest cancer control organizations in the country, with more than 1,000 regionally-deployed staff working in the areas of prevention and early detection, patient and caregiver support, programs and services, global cancer control, and health systems. Prior to joining the Society, Dr. Wender worked for 34 years as a family physician in the department of family and community medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, most recently as alumni professor and chair.

John Wilbanks

John Wilbanks is the Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks and a Senior Fellow at Faster Cures. Previously, Wilbanks worked as a legislative aide to Congressman Fortney “Pete” Stark, served as the first assistant director at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, founded and led to acquisition the bioinformatics company Incellico, Inc., and was executive director of the Science Commons project at Creative Commons. In February 2013, in response to a We the People petition that was spearheaded by Wilbanks and signed by 65,000 people, the U.S. government announced a plan to open up taxpayer-funded research data and make it available for free. Wilbanks holds a B.A. in philosophy from Tulane University and also studied modern letters at the Sorbonne.

Cheryl Willman, M.D.

Dr. Willman is Director and CEO of the University of New Mexico Cancer Center. In her research, Dr. Willman has focused on finding the causes and the cures for patients affected by leukemia. She is the Director of the Leukemia Research Programs for the NCI’s Children’s Oncology Group and Southwest Oncology Group. She is leading a consortium of investigators from UNM, Sandia National Laboratories, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center who are applying advances from the human genome project to improve leukemia diagnosis and discover new and more effective drugs and therapies.

Karen Winkfield, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Karen Winkfield is a Radiation Oncologist at Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center (WFBCCC) whose research aims to identify and overcome sociocultural barriers to cancer care in underserved populations. Through community-engaged research, she partners with communities to develop programming focused on disseminating accurate and timely cancer health care information in a culturally sensitive manner. As the Associate Director for Cancer Health Equity and Director of the Office of Cancer Health Equity at the WFBCCC, Dr. Winkfield has the unique charge to help structure programming and build research collaborations that will help ensure equitable access to care along the entire cancer continuum for all patients regardless of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geography, or sexual/gender identity. Dr. Winkfield is a graduate of Duke University’s Medical Scientist Training program and was the 2nd black woman to graduate from this dual degree program. Over the past decade, her research has focused on population health science with the goal of reducing cancer health disparities.