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BREAST CANCER RESEARCH COUNCIL

The Breast Cancer Research Council is made up of advocates, scientists, clinicians and representatives from industry and nonprofit health organizations who have extensive interest in breast cancer issues.

Council members are chosen to represent the people who are affected by breast cancer and the institutions that can contribute to the solution. Their passion to prevent, treat and cure breast cancer is driven by practical priorities: to identify the most urgent and unanswered question about breast cancer, and to find the greatest opportunities for making an impact on the burdens caused by the disease.

The council is responsible for tracking the trends and opportunities for progress that arise in the breast cancer community, making funding recommendations, and planning future directions of the CBCRP.

2019-2020 BREAST CANCER RESEARCH COUNCIL MEMBERS

ANA NAVARRO, PH.D.

Scientist/Clinician, UCSD CFamily Medicine and Public Health 

Ana Navarro is a Professor in the department of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).  Since joining UCSD her research agenda and publications have focused on the use of community-based participatory interventions to improve health status and access to health care in underserved communities with a special emphasis on health equity. Her work builds on innovative community-based health interventions addressing health disparities, and her community health advisor projects have pioneered the field to enhance health and to improve access to health care.  The projects developed under her leadership represent innovative research models that are at the vanguard of the community-based participatory health research current trends. She also committed to community service and to training and mentoring. Further, her leadership has been critical to the development of a broad community partner network that has been progressively built and integrated into the work of the academic partner institutions. Dr. Navarro has also served as director in the development of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) Advanced Practicum, a component of the UC San Diego BSPH that integrates the academic public health curriculum with applied research endeavors, community linkages and student-centered experiential learning.

Term: 9/1/2016-8/31/2021 

MELANIE SMITT, MD

Private Industry, Genentech.

Melanie Smitt is currently a Group Medical Director and Global Development Leader at Genentech. A graduate of Yale University and Stanford Medical School, she underwent residency training in Radiation Oncology at Stanford. Subsequently she was on the faculty at Stanford as an Associate Professor with clinical practice in both academic and community hospital settings for over 15 years. Her primary academic clinical research focused on optimizing breast conservation outcomes. In an industry setting for the last 10 years, she has been involved in multiple Phase 2 and 3 trials, most recently of a HER2-targeted antibody-drug conjugate, trastuzumab emtansine, in both the metastatic and early breast cancer settings.

Term: 9/1/2019-8/31/2022

Ujwala Rajgopal, MD, FACS, FICS

Medical Specialist, MD Professional Corporation

Term: 9/1/2019-8/31/2022

Michele Atlan

Advocate, Breast Cancer Care and Research Fund

Michele Atlan has been a breast cancer survivor since 2013. After her diagnosis, Michele became certified as an Emergency Medical Technician. She graduated from the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s (NBCC) Project LEAD in 2015 and participated in the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium as a scholarship recipient from the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation. In addition, Michele regularly participates in the Advanced Project LEAD pilot program and was asked to be a Project LEAD mentor in 2017 and 2019.

Currently serving as the vice-president of the Breast Cancer Care & Research Fund (BCCRF) in Los Angeles, Michele has participated as a consumer reviewer for the DoD's Breast Cancer Research Program, and was the advocate observer on the Community Impact 2019 Review Panel for the California Breast Cancer Research Program (CBCRP). Recently, Michele was a finalist and the Audience Award winner for the CBCRP’s “Global Challenge to Prevent Breast Cancer” competition. Since 2018, she has been an alternate board member of the NBCC as well as being a member of the planning committee for their annual Summit.

Term: 9/1/2019-8/31/2022

Colleen Carvalho, LMFT, MA

Advocate, Bay Area Cancer Connections 

Colleen Carvalho is the Director of Programs and Services at Bay Area Cancer Connections (BACC), a community-based organization dedicated to supporting anyone affected by breast or ovarian cancer. She provides the leadership and management for all of BACC’s programs and services, including providing strategic direction, developing programs, and managing all of the program staff. In this role Colleen oversees the over 50 groups and classes that take place each month, BACC’s Screening Navigation Program that supports those who are uninsured or underinsured in receiving breast cancer screening services, the Volunteer Program, and the Medical Information Services Program. Colleen has been a member of the BACC team for over ten years. Prior to being in a senior leadership position, Colleen provided direct service to clients as a facilitator of support groups for those diagnosed with breast cancer and as a therapist in the larger community. Colleen is also a member of the Silicon Valley Cancer Survivorship Coalition.

Colleen was also a volunteer for Zero Breast Cancer in Marin County and was awarded their Shining Star Award in 2004. Colleen lost a family member to breast cancer at a young age and is deeply passionate about providing support to those affected by cancer. Colleen earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University. Colleen is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT#99472).

Term: 9/1/19-8/31/22

Sharon Lum, MD, FACS

Scientist, Loma Linda University

Sharon Lum is Associate Professor of Surgery and Medical Director of the Breast Health Center at Loma Linda University and Director of Breast Surgery at Riverside University Health System. She has been a dedicated breast surgeon for nearly 20 years and specializes in caring for patients with benign and malignant conditions of the breast, as well as those who are at increased risk for the development of breast cancer. A graduate of Harvard College and Washington University School of Medicine, she trained in general surgery at Oregon Health and Sciences University, where she completed an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Fellowship. She holds several positions with the American College of Surgeons including Recorder for the Southern California Chapter, California State Chair for the Commission on Cancer, and member of the Commission on Cancer. She is also actively involved with the American Cancer Society, where she is a member of the Desert Coastal Area Board of Directors, covering seven counties in California and Nevada, and sits on the legislative committee of the American Society of Breast Surgeons. Her research interests include disparities and quality measures in breast cancer care, and she enjoys mentoring trainees in clinical research.

Term: 9/1/2018 - 8/31/2021

Dolores Moorehead

Advocate, Women's Cancer Research Center

Dolores Moorehead is the Multicultural Client Services Manager at the Women’s Cancer Resource Center (WCRC), and she began a professional career in cancer support services over 28 years ago with the American Cancer Society.  After hearing Dr. Harold Freeman discuss the topic of Cancer & the Poor in 1989, Dolores made it her mission to reduce the barriers to quality care for marginalized populations and to educate the clients that she serves to be informed consumers within the health care system. As a result, she has assisted individuals with cancer from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds with emotional and practical support. While at WCRC, Dolores created the annual retreat for African American women with cancer. The event offers attendees the opportunity to reflect, heal, and build sisterhood in a culturally-centered and safe environment.  As a trained facilitator in mindfulness-based stress reduction, Dolores organizes workshops on journal writing, therapeutic coloring, and facilitates a cancer support group.  She also manages two emergency financial assistance programs – one which has been in collaboration with Friends of Faith, a nonprofit started by Faith Fancher, a journalist with Channel 2.

In 2006, Dolores organized the conference Each One Reach One: Working Together to Make a Change sponsored by the Cancer Prevention Institute of California to educate African American women and the community about breast cancer.   Dolores received the Spirit of Activism Award from Breast Cancer Action in 2005, and the American Cancer Society’s national Lane Adams Quality of Life Award in 2008 for her exemplary cancer care and ongoing support to individuals diagnosed with cancer.  Dolores holds a B.S. degree in Psychology and is completing a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Term: 9/1/2017-8/31/20

Rati Fotedar, PH.D.

Scientist/Clinician, Sanford-Burnham Prebys. Medical Discovery Institute

Rati Fotedar has directed research in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of cancer biology, with a focus on the biochemical and molecular framework of DNA damage signaling. Comprehensive understanding of these pathways allows for the development of compounds that target the DNA damage response, suppressing the therapeutic resistance of cancer cells and improving outcomes in radiation and chemotherapy. She has published extensively in top research journals and has presented her work at national and international conferences.

Rati Fotedar has a Ph.D. in Immunology.  She did her post-doctoral work on mechanisms of cell cycle control at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. She has directed research on cell cycle control and DNA damage response as a Professor with the CNRS in Grenoble, France, and in San Diego at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, and later at the NCI designated Cancer Center at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. She has served as a grant and fellowship reviewer for many institutes and foundations, including the Wellcome Trust and Human Frontiers of Science Foundation. She is currently a consultant, and also an Adjunct Professor in the San Diego Community College District. She is using her background as a scientist and educator to ensure that high school and college students have access to a quality STEM education. She is engaged in technical education programs for community college students and professional development programs for science teachers, many of whom serve diverse student populations.

Term: 9/1/2019-8/31/2022

THU QUACH, PH.D.

Non-Profit, Asian Health Services

Thu Quach is the Director of Community Health and Research at Asian Health Services (AHS), a federally qualified health center in Oakland, California, providing culturally competent health care to over 28,000 patients in English and 12 Asian languages. In this role, she oversees community outreach, patient engagement, and health policy advocacy efforts. In addition, she leads research projects such clinic-based interventions, quality improvement, and payment reform analyses. As an epidemiologist, she has focused much of her work on examining the influence of environmental and socio-cultural factors on the health of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders population. In addition to AHS, she had previously worked at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California as a Research Scientist, where she leads research studies on environmental health issues affecting disadvantaged populations, including occupational chemical exposures for Vietnamese nails salon workers.  Dr. Quach is involved in local, statewide, and national research and policy efforts to promote health equity, including data warehouses, community-based participatory research, civic engagement, and health policy. She received a Masters in Public Health at U.C.L.A. and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology at U.C. Berkeley.

Term: 9/1/17-8/31/2020

Christine Meda, MS

Private Industry, IncellDx

Chris Meda, currently Chief Business Officer (CBO) at IncellDx. Over the last seven years, she has overseen Operations, Business to Business Partnerships, CDx Programs and Commercial Revenue activities. Through her 30 years of leadership in the global diagnostic and pharmaceutical industries, her management responsibilities have ranged from VP to President to CEO where she created worldwide strategic business direction and plans, operations and commercialization of more than 30 products for various disease areas at Hoffman-LaRoche, Schering AG pharmaceuticals, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Diagnostics Products Corporation (now Siemens), Meridian Diagnostics. Currently, as CBO, is also National Vice-Chair, of Women in BIO-Sponsorship, an organization of professionals committed to promoting careers, leadership, and entrepreneurship of women in the life sciences; and, a Board Director for Claremont BioSolutions, a company providing laboratories with diagnostics and devices for molecular diagnostics and bioscience research.

Prior to IncellDx, Ms. Meda was President of Response Genetics (RGI), a precision medicine company that developed genetic tests for lung, colon, gastric and melanoma cancers. Prior to RGI, she was CEO, President at Arcxis Biotechnologies a venture backed start-up with a focus on molecular diagnostic extraction devices and reagents.  Arcxis was sold to Fluidigm in September, 2010. At Hoffman-LaRoche, Chris was VP of the Roche Molecular Diagnostics Division: Global Women’s Health and subsequently became Vice President of Business Development. Her leadership role and portfolio responsibilities included global strategic planning for the portfolio, oversight of research and development and the commercialization of PCR-based diagnostics for HPV, Chlamydia, HSV and Group B Streptococcus. Her business development role was focused on companion diagnostics.

Term: 9/1/2019-8/31/2022

Tasha Stoiber, Ph.D.

Non-Profit, Environmental Working Group

Tasha Stoiber is a Senior Scientist in the San Francisco office of the Environmental Working Group, an environmental health advocacy and research organization known for its work on cosmetic safety, children’s health, and environmental policies focused on protecting the most vulnerable populations. As a researcher and policy advocate, she translates complex scientific studies into practical advice to inform and empower citizens to make healthier choices in their daily lives and promote a social and governmental framework that puts human health ahead of company profits. Her work is focused on investigating environmental causes of cancer, including chemical exposures in the home. Tasha has conducted home-intervention studies focused on reducing harmful endocrine disruptors and carcinogenic flame retardants, prepared consumer guides with tips on avoiding hazardous chemicals in building materials and home products and developed a cumulative cancer risk scoring system for contaminants in California tap water. She is excited to join the Council to assist with the creation of an effective breast cancer prevention and research program.

Tasha holds dual bachelor’s degrees in biological sciences and environmental engineering from Michigan Technological University. She worked as an environmental engineer for three years before returning to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a Ph.D. in environmental chemistry & technology. Following graduation, Tasha moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for a post-doctoral position at the University of California-Davis and the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California studying the environmental impact of nanotechnology.

Term: 9/1/2018-8/31/2021

Abigail Arons, MPH

Advocate, Breast Cancer Action

Abigail Arons, is a senior clinical research coordinator at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Since 2001, she has led program evaluation and policy analysis projects at UCSF, focusing on reproductive and sexual health. Currently, she coordinates a national randomized clinical trial to prevent HPV-related anal cancer among adults living with HIV.

Abigail was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31. While she has a family history of breast cancer, and always knew the possibility that she or one of her sisters might develop breast cancer, her diagnosis was still a shock. Throughout her experience of treatment, she educated herself about treatment options, worked with her doctors to make decisions that felt informed by both science and her own values, and provided and received support from peers in a local breast cancer group (BAYS). She served for 6 years on the Board of Directors for Breast Cancer Action, a national watchdog organization for the breast cancer movement. Abigail is thrilled to join the council and participate in shaping breast cancer research priorities for California, engage with other advocates at the state level, and hopefully prevent more young women from getting a cancer diagnosis.

Term: 9/1/2019 - 8/31/2022

Veronica Vieira, D.sc

Scientist, UC Irvine

Veronica Vieira is a Professor in the Program in Public Health and a member of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Irvine. She received her environmental engineering and public health training at MIT, Stanford, and Boston University. Her research is focused on spatiotemporal modeling of exposures and disease risk in environmental epidemiology. She works extensively with reconstructing historic environmental exposures using GIS and has extensive knowledge of groundwater modeling, air pollution modeling, spatial statistics, and on persistent environmental contaminants including tetrachloroethylene (PCE, a dry-cleaning solvent), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, a perfluorinated compound (PFC) involved in the manufacturing of Teflon), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs, a common class of flame retardants).  As a co-investigator with the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS) Superfund Research Program at Boston University, she studied the association between PCE and breast cancer risk in Cape Cod Massachusetts and identified spatiotemporal patterns of breast cancer associated with wastewater plumes. She has conducted previous geographic analyses of cancer incidence in the mid-Ohio Valley associated with PFOA. Dr. Vieira is currently studying the relationship between geographic distance to receiving care and cancer mortality. Her recent work also includes a project with colleagues at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to examine environmental risk factors for breast cancer among the participants of the Nurse’s Health Study (NHSII) cohort.

Term: 9/1/2017 - 8/31/2020

Sharon Pitteri, Ph.D.

Scientist, Stanford University

Sharon Pitteri is an Associate Professor at the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection in the Department of Radiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine.  She is a member of the Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford Bio-X Program, and Stanford Cancer Biology Program.  She received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Carleton College and her PhD in Chemistry from Purdue University.  Dr. Pitteri did her postdoctoral research in Molecular Diagnostics at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.  Her current research focuses primarily on breast and prostate cancers and the identification of proteins and other molecules that are indicative of early stage and/or aggressive cancer in blood, tissue, and proximal fluids.  Her lab develops and applies mass spectrometry-based methods to study protein glycosylation in order to better understand cancer biology and ultimately improve cancer diagnosis.  Dr. Pitteri has received funding for her research by the National Institutes of Health, Canary Foundation, American Society for Mass Spectrometry, California Breast Cancer Research Program, and Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. 

Term: 9/1/2019 - 8/31/2022

Svetlana Popova, MD, MPH

Ex-Officio, CDHCS - Every Woman Counts Program

Svetlana Popova has worked at the Cancer Detection Section (CDS), California Department of Public Health since February 2009. She serves as a Public Health Medical Officer at the Benefits Division, Department of Health Care Services. As a medical advisor she assists in developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluation clinical interventions and provider education and trainings for “Every Woman Counts, (EWC)” program, which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening, diagnostic, patient navigation services, health education and outreach. 

Dr. Popova was the Principal Investigator (PI) for California Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP) and California National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), federal part of “Every Woman Counts” Program. She is a member of California Dialogue on Cancer (CDOC) Executive Committee and Advisory Committee for California’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan. She also serves as a medical consultant for The Prostate Cancer Treatment Program (PCTP), aka IMProving Access, Counseling & Treatment for Californians with Prostate Cancer (IMPACT). 

Dr. Popova received her medical degree at the Urals State Medical Academy in Russia in 1996. She was a part of the international team working for the Medical Education Partnership Project with Yale School of Medicine, Rochester School of Medicine and SUNY, sponsored by USAID/IREX. She was also involved with many other international projects sponsored/funded by CDC and John Hopkins University in the area of Reproductive, Maternal and Infant Health.  Dr. Popova held the position of Director of Patient Services at the American Medical Center in Kiev, Ukraine.

Dr. Popova completed UC Davis Family and Community Medicine Residency Program in 2006 and 2-year fellowship programs: Women's Health and Primary Care Outcome Research at UC Davis Health System and received MPH degree from UC Davis in 2008. The areas of her interest are Preventative Medicine, International and Women's Health.

 

JOAN VENTICINQUE

Advocate, Cancer Patient Advocacy Alliance

Joan Venticinque is a two-time breast cancer survivor brought her first-hand experience with cancer–augmented by the experiences of others from her community by providing a patient perspective to research proposals and studies. She represents the collective views of survivors, patients, family members, and persons affected by cancer. In her past work with the Stanford Cancer Center, she worked one-on-one with patients to meet their needs as they navigated their diagnosis and treatment. At Bay Area Cancer Connections (BCC) (formally Breast Cancer Connections), Palo Alto, CA she served as the Manager of Volunteer Resources. She also served as a Board member of BCC and is the founding member of Bay Area Cancer Connections’ Research Advocacy Program, serving as an Advocate Reviewer for grant proposals submitted to the California Breast Cancer Research Program, Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, NCI and PCORI. Similarly, she has served as a Consumer Reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, LIVESTRONG and PCORI, and is currently a member of the Breast Science Advocacy Core, (BSAC) Breast Oncology Program, UCSF, San Francisco CA. She has been serving on the Stanford Scientific Review Committee, Stanford Cancer Institute as a community member since 2011. She finds the collaboration and discussions with researchers and clinicians to be an extremely rewarding experience and a benefit for both researchers and patients.

Term: 9/1/15-8/31/20