Carolyn Bruzdzinski, PhD

American Cancer Society

Carolyn Bruzdzinski, PhD is the vice president, Cancer Control for the American Cancer Society North Central Region, which serves communities in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.

In this role, Carolyn develops and leads implementation of the regional strategy for cancer control, which includes state-based systems, hospital systems, primary care systems, and mission program delivery. Her team of 109 staff works within systems and communities to increase utilization of cancer prevention strategies and cancer screening tests; to reduce barriers to care for cancer patients; and to engage partners in fighting cancer through the Society’s advocacy, corporate, community, and fundraising initiatives. Carolyn serves on the Region Leadership Team, which comprises the North Central Region’s senior-most staff.

Also known as “Dr. B” by many staff, Carolyn joined the Society in 2002 as the Scientific Program Director of two peer review committees, based in Atlanta. In addition, she served as the national research liaison to the California, Illinois, and South Atlantic Divisions, before serving as the Chief Mission Delivery Officer in the California Division for seven years, beginning in 2006. A scientist at heart and by training, Carolyn was funded by the American Cancer Society and National Institutes of Health early in her career at the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois-Chicago, and was well known for her international scientific presentations. In 2013, Carolyn joined the Lakeshore Division as vice president, Health Systems, where she led a team of more than 80 staff.

Carolyn earned her BS in Biological Sciences at the University of Illinois-Chicago and her PhD in Human Genetics from the University of Michigan. Following a post-doctoral fellowship that was funded, in part, by the American Cancer Society, Carolyn returned to her alma mater in Chicago as a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry and the Center for Molecular Biology of Oral Diseases. Her research focused on key aspects in the growth and spread of cancerous cell.

Currently, Dr. Bruzdzinski resides in her hometown of Chicago, Illinois.


Patti Valverde, PhD, MPH

Colorado School of Public Health

Patricia Valverde PhD, MPH is a senior instructor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health at the Colorado School of Public Health. She directs the Patient Navigator Training Collaborative, a national training program dedicated to improving the knowledge and skills of the patient navigator workforce. Her research concentration is in the use of patient navigators and community health workers in cancer prevention and control, particularly in tobacco cessation. She is currently a Health Services Research Fellow at the Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation (COIN) of the Department of Veteran Affairs, Eastern Colorado Health Care System.

Lillie Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, ONN-CG

Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators

Lillie D. Shockney has been the administrative director of the Johns Hopkins Breast Center since 1997 and serves as the director of the Johns Hopkins Cancer Survivorship programs in November 2011. 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 is a registered nurse who holds a BS in Healthcare Administration from St Joseph’s College and a Masters in Administrative Science from the Johns Hopkins University. Lillie is a published author and nationally recognized public speaker on the subject of cancer with a focus on cancer survivorship as well as metastatic breast cancer. She has written 14 books and more than 250 articles on cancer care. 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. Lillie serves on 34 medical advisory boards currently. In 2008, The President of The Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Board of Trustees appointed her to a faculty 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 (physician) faculty ranking and appointed chair as a University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer.

Elizabeth Rohan, PhD, MSW, LCSW

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Elizabeth Rohan is a health scientist in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She graduated summa cum laude from Boston College in 1989 with a degree of sociology and earned her master of social work in Boston College’s accelerated program a year later. She then began a career in clinical oncology social work, counseling cancer patients and their families, first at the Massachusetts General Hospital (1990 to 1995) and later (1995 to 2002) at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, both designated Centers for Excellence in Oncology by the National Cancer Institute. She found her work with cancer patients extraordinarily rewarding and developed a research interest in the multidisciplinary oncology health care team. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Rohan has experience teaching social work courses at Boston University and sociology courses at Boston College (1999 to 2002) and was ranked third among Boston College faculty by online student evaluations one semester. Dr. Rohan moved to the Atlanta area in 2003 and completed a joint doctorate of sociology and social work from Boston University in 2005. Soonthereafter, she worked at a small private practice in Atlanta, providing supervision for master’s level social workers seeking licensure. In 2009, Dr. Rohan published a book, Laboring at the Edge: Effects of Repeated Exposure to Death and Dying on Oncology Doctors, Nurses, and Social Workers, a result of her dissertation work on the multidisciplinary oncology health care team. Since August 2009, Dr. Rohan has been translating her clinical knowledge into public health practice in DCPC as a health scientist on the Scientific Support and Clinical Translation Team in the Comprehensive Cancer Control Branch. She is the lead of the Division’s Community Health Worker/Patient Navigation Workgroup and is an active member of CDC’s Community Health Worker Workgroup. Dr. Rohan is involved in many cancer-related health services research and evaluation projects, with a particular focus on patient navigation/community health workers and cancer survivorship. As well, Dr. Rohan is an adjunct instructor of Sociology at Oglethorpe University.

Angie Patterson

Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education

Angie Patterson is Vice President of the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education, a public-private partnership designed to bring higher quality, better organized and more cost-effective cancer care to patients and survivors. She is a devoted survivor advocate, a published author on cancer survivorship and an active presenter on survivorship. Ms. Patterson is also co-founder of Cancer Patient Navigators of Georgia, one of the first statewide organizations formed to connect people who guide individuals and their families throughout the cancer care continuum. In directing this program within Georgia CORE and managing several other of its initiatives, Ms. Patterson is focused on improving quality of life and outcomes for Georgia’s cancer survivors through the implementation of statewide patient navigation and survivorship programs. As a 16-year cancer survivor, Ms. Patterson left her corporate career at BellSouth twelve years ago to focus on improving the quality of life and outcomes for Georgia’s cancer survivors. She serves as the chair of Georgia’s Cancer Control Consortium (GC3) and chair of the statewide Survivorship Working Group. Ms. Patterson directed the implementation of Georgia’s Cancer Survivorship Connection (, an interactive web portal designed to meet the needs of Georgia’s 410,740 cancer survivors. On November 3, 2016, Ms. Patterson hosted Cancer Survivorship:Up Close & Personal, a one-day statewide conference exploring the unmet needs and unseen challenges of Georgia’s Cancer Survivors. Ms. Patterson received her bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Georgia and currently serves on the University of Georgia Computer Science Advisory Board.

Steven R. Patierno, Ph.D.

Duke Cancer Institute

Joining Duke in 2012, Dr. Patierno serves as Deputy Director of the Duke Cancer Institute, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer  Biology, and Professor of Community and Family Medicine, and as Director of Cancer Control, Healthcare Delivery and Population Sciences, as well as Cancer Supportive Care and Survivorship Services. Prior to joining Duke, Dr.Patierno served as Executive Director of The George Washington University Cancer Center, the Vivian Gill Distinguished Professor of Oncology and Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology, Genetics and Urology in the GWU School of Medicine and Health Sciences. His prior training includes a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Connecticut, a PhD in molecular pharmacology from the Graduate School of Biomedical Science, University of Texas Health Science Center-MD Anderson Cancer Institute in Houston Texas, and an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Southern California (USC) Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in molecular oncology and carcinogenesis. Dr.Patierno’s basic science and translational research laboratory has been funded continuously by the NIH, the NCI and Department of Defense for nearly 25 years and he has published more than 130 peer-reviewed cancer research papers on molecular carcinogenesis, metastasis, cancer pharmacology and most recently on the genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics and biology of cancer disparities. In addition, he has led a number of large, multi-institutional, patient-centered, community-based and cancer healthcare delivery grants from the NCI, CDC, numerous foundations, industry, and the DC Cancer Consortium addressing cancer disparities, patient navigation, prevention, control, education, outreach, and survivorship. This includes serving as PI to the DC arm of the NCI-funded, multi-institutional Patient Navigation Research Program, and DC City-wide Patient Navigation Network.The Duke Cancer Institute is a top-ranked NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center dedicated to providing leading-edge compassionate care from diagnosis to treatment to survivorship, advancing multi- and trans-disciplinary cancer research across the full cancer research continuum, and engaging in authentic prevention and community health programming. DCI is one of the original eight NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers, with more than 75,000 patient visits and 7500 new cancer diagnoses annually, with nearly 1000 active clinical trials. DCI includes more than 350 investigators with more than $250 million in annual cancer research funding.

Ed Partridge, MD

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Edward E. Partridge, MD, is Director Emeritus and Distinguished Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center. He served as Director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and holder of the Evalina B. Spencer Chair in Oncology from 2007 to 2017. He was Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology from 1996 to 2017 and former Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology. His clinical interests are cancer control and prevention; cervical cancer; community based participatory research; gynecologic oncology; and minority health disparities. He was principal investigator of the Deep South Network for Cancer Control (NCI) which utilizes Community Health Advisors to improve the cancer health status of t he African-American population in the rural South. He was PI of the Morehouse School of Medicine/Tuskegee University/UAB Cancer Center Partnership to enhance the research capability of the minority-serving institutions and the ability of the Cancer Center to conduct cancer disparity research. He also served as PI of the UAB component of the Cervical Cancer SPORE at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Partridge currently serves as Medical Director of the UAB Health System Cancer Community Network that utilizes lay navigators across the continuum of cancer care, a part of Cancer Care Connect, a CMS funded project. He also served as t he co-director of the UAB Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center from 2002 to 2017. In 2010-2011 Dr. Partridge served as President of the National Board of the American Cancer Society. He was previously Chairman of the Commission on Cancer for the American College of Surgeons. He is on the Board of Directors of the Mid-South Division of the American Cancer Society. Dr. Partridge has received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including the UAB Distinguished Alumni Award, UAB President’s Excellence in Teaching Award from the School of Medicine, the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Academic Health Center and UAB’s highest honor–the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award. Outside of UAB, he has been honored with the St. George’s Medal for Contributions to Cancer Control from the American Cancer Society, the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2009 Health Care Heroes physician provider award, and recently was honored with the American Cancer Society’s prestigious 2013 National Humanitarian Award.

Nina Miller, MSSW, OSW‐C

American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer

Nina Miller is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin’s School of Social Work. Nina’s clinical practice as an oncology social worker spanned over 15 years in the acute and outpatient settings. She completed a fellowship in the Office of Cancer Communications at the National Cancer Institute and managed NCI’s Cancer Information Service in their regional field office at the University of Wisconsin’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. During her years at the American Cancer Society, Nina was Director of Patient Services for the Midwest Division and served on several national work groups. Nina is currently the American College of Surgeon’s Commission on Cancer Manager, Cancer Initiatives.

Sharon Gentry, RN, MSN, ONN-CG, AOCN, CBCN, CBEC

Novant Health

Ms. Gentry is part of an ongoing successful breast nurse navigator program at the Novant Health Derrick L. Davis Cancer Center. She is an interdisciplinary team member connecting 2 hospitals, a breast mammography clinic, a regional cancer center, a community surgical office and a variety of community resources in Winston-Salem, NC. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her master’s degree in nursing education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has been a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators Leadership Council since its inception in 2009 and speaks at their annual and regional conferences on nurse navigation issues. In 2012-2017, she co-chaired the annual AONN+ conferences.She serves on the editorial board of The Oncology Nurse-APN/PA and CONQUER and is the breast editor for the Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship (JONS). She has authored articles in JONS, Cancer, The Oncology Nurse-APN/PA, Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, and CONQUER as well as authored chapters in the books Delivering Patient-Centered Care Across the Continuum and Nurse Navigation Case Studies. She has been a member of the Oncology Nursing Society since 1983. She was a founding member of the Piedmont Triad Oncology Nurse Chapter in 1988 and has served in a leadership role since its inception. She was a participant on the inception of the Oncology Nursing Certified Breast Care Nurse examination and chaired the Oncology Nursing Certification Breast Care Committee 2010-2012. She holds certification as Oncology Nurse Navigation Generalist Certification, Certified Breast Care Nurse, Advanced Oncology Practice Nurse, and Clinical Breast Examination Certified. On nursing navigation commitment, she assisted in organizing the state navigation association—North Carolina Oncology Navigator Association as well as participated on the Standardized Navigation Metrics Task Force, under the AONN+ Evidence into Practice Committee, and assisted in the development of the 35-national evidence-based navigation metrics that all navigation programs—no matter the model of navigation chosen—can utilize to measure success and sustainability of their program. Ms. Gentry travels nationally lecturing on the navigation concept. On the local level, she is a Northwest North Carolina Susan G. Komen volunteer, serves on the board of the local hospice and participates in the Derrick L. Davis Forsyth Regional Cancer Center Oncology Breast Advisory Committee.

Karen M. Freund, MD, MPH

Tufts Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine

Dr. Karen Freund is an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship. She is Vice Chair of Medicine at Tufts Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. Trained as a primary care provider who continues to see her own patients, Dr. Freund has broad understanding of the clinical issues in cancer prevention, care and survivorship. Her research focuses on cancer prevention and control and addressing cancer health disparities. She served as one of the leaders of the NCI and ACS -funded national Patient Navigation Research Program, a multi-site trial investigating the ability of patient navigation to reduce cancer health disparities. This research team demonstrated the broad impact of patient navigation to improve timely and quality care to patients. The research specifically demonstrated that patient navigation can reduce health disparities, closing the gap in quality and timely care for minority patients, low income patients and other vulnerable populations.