The 2019-20 Leadership Development Program has 16 participants from various practice settings, subspecialties, and geographic locations.

Wendy Allen-Rhoades, MDWendy Allen-Rhoades, MD
Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital

Dr. Wendy Allen-Rhoades is a pediatric oncologist and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX.  She received her medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine and completed her pediatric oncology fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine.  She is the Medical Director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology and the Soft Tissue Sarcoma Programs at Texas Children’s Hospital.  Her clinical focus is on the treatment of children, adolescents, and young adults with bone and soft tissue sarcomas. Her research interests include improving the access to and delivery of health care to adolescents and young adults with cancer and her translational research focuses on discovering and developing non-invasive biomarkers for pediatric sarcomas. Dr. Allen-Rhoades is a 2013 recipient of an ASCO Young Investigator Award. 


Charu Aggarwal, MD, MPHCharu Aggarwal, MD, MPH
University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Charu Aggarwal is the Leslye Heisler Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Hematology-Oncology Division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. She is an active member of the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) where she serves as Physician Leader for the clinical research program for Airways Malignancies.

Dr. Aggarwal specializes in the management of patients with lung and head and neck cancer, with a specific and clinical research focus on the development of novel immunotherapeutic approaches, and the discovery and application of biomarkers to guide therapy and monitor treatment. She serves as the local and national principle investigator for multiple clinical trials focusing on the development of “targeted” immunotherapeutic approaches including cellular therapy and CAR-T for solid tumors. Dr. Aggarwal has led the development of a DNA plasmid-based HPV specific immunotherapy for HPV associated head and neck cancers. She is actively involved in evaluating the role of plasma-based NGS in management of patients with metastatic lung cancer.

She has extensive experience in the planning, design and execution of clinical trials, is an active member of ECOG, and has served as a national sub-study chair for SWOG-NCI’s LUNG-MAP. She has served on the Annual Meeting Scientific Program Committee of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), ASCO Education Committee, NCI- Head and Neck Metastatic Task Force Steering Committee and ACC’s Data Safety and Monitoring Committee. Dr. Aggarwal’s goal as a clinical and translational investigator is to perform patient-centered, scientifically relevant novel immunotherapy clinical trials that will make an impact and advance our understanding of immunotherapy in patients with Lung and Head and Neck Cancer.        


Julia Beaver, MDJulia Beaver, MD
US Food and Drug Administration

Dr. Julia A. Beaver is the Director of the Division of Oncology Products 1 (DOP1) in the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She is also an Assistant Professor of Oncology, part-time, at Johns Hopkins University where she is a member of the Johns Hopkins Breast Cancer Group. Dr. Beaver serves on the Liquid Biopsy Blood Profiling Atlas in Cancer (Blood-PAC) committee and leads FDA's next generation sequencing laboratory collaboration. Dr. Beaver graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University and then earned her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She completed a residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, followed by a fellowship in medical oncology at The Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.


Sandra P. D'Angelo, MDSandra P. D'Angelo, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Sandra P. D’Angelo is a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) dedicated to developing immunotherapy for the management of sarcoma and Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).  Specifically, she am interested in understanding the efficacy of various immunotherapies and elucidate biomarkers predictive of response in patients with these rare tumors in partnerships with basic scientists, cooperative groups and industry. Dr. D’Angelo leads the sarcoma-specific translational research program in immunotherapy at MSK to systematically explore novel combination strategies with checkpoint blockade and adoptive T-cell therapy. She also oversees the clinical and research program for MCC at MSK and played a pivotal role in the 2018 FDA approval of avelumab for MCC, the first systemic agent to ever obtain approval in this rare orphan disease. This disease specific work ties in, and is informed by, her role in Immunotherapeutic Core where she participates in early phase immunotherapy studies exploring novel agents across solid tumors.


Avram Denburg, MD, MSc, PhD, FRCPCAvram Denburg, MD, MSc, PhD, FRCPC
The Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Avram Denburg is a staff oncologist and clinician-scientist in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Hospital for Sick Children. He has a Master of Science in Health Policy, Planning and Financing from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in Health Policy from McMaster University. Dr. Denburg’s research centres on the analysis and strengthening of childhood cancer care systems, with specific focus on issues related to pharmaceutical policy and drug access. He has ongoing collaborations in the field of global oncology with a range of national and international partners, including the Union for International Cancer Control, the World Health Organization, and the Pan-American Health Organization. Dr. Denburg is Immediate Past Chair of the Essential Medicines Committee for the International Society of Pediatric Oncology and co-founder of Access to Childhood Cancer Essentials, a global initiative to improve access to essential medicines and therapeutics for children with cancer. He serves as an expert member of the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review for the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.


Stephanie L. Graff, MD, FACPStephanie L. Graff, MD, FACP
Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HCA Midwest Health

Dr. Stephanie Graff is Director of the Breast Program at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HCA Midwest, Associate Director of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Sarah Cannon Research Institute, and National Breast Lead for the Sarah Cannon Cancer Network. She is board certified in Medical Oncology, Hematology, and Internal Medicine. Dr. Graff specializes in breast cancer, having completed a breast oncology sub-fellowship at the University of Kansas. In addition to serving as a principle investigator on numerous breast cancer clinical trials, Dr. Graff is engaged in gender equity and health outcomes research and leads the Sarah Cannon High Risk Women’s program. Dr. Graff has received the Frist Humanitarian Award for her work in the community and serves on several American Society of Clinical Oncology committees as well as the American Cancer Society Kansas/Kansas City Area Board.


Petros Grivas, MD, PhDPetros Grivas, MD, PhD
Case University of Washington

Dr. Petros Grivas is a board-certified medical oncologist with expertise and experience in treating genitourinary (GU) cancers. He is the Clinical Director of the Genitourinary Cancers Program at University of Washington and Associate Professor in the Dept. of Medicine, Division of Oncology.

Dr. Grivas completed his training at the University of Patras Medical School and took his M.D. degree in 2005; he then pursued Ph.D. in Medical Oncology under the mentorship of key academic faculty and defended his thesis successfully in late 2008. He completed his Residency in Internal Medicine at Hahnemann University Hospital/Drexel University College of Medicine (Philadelphia, USA) in 2010. He then completed his Fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, USA) in 2013. He stayed there as Clinical Lecturer for another year before he was recruited as Assistant Professor at the Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland, USA), where he was leading the bladder/urothelial cancer program, pursuing clinical and translational research, teaching trainees, and seeing patients with GU cancers.

He has had main role in clinical trials that led to the FDA approval of new drugs for bladder/urothelial cancer, and is considered a key opinion, thought leader and international expert, giving lectures in several countries, educating oncologists, other healthcare providers and trainees, leading large innovative clinical trials, reviewing grant proposals and manuscripts, and publishing novel and important research. He is involved in translational research and biomarker development. He is dedicated to efficient, personalized and outstanding patient care and believes in optimal patient-physician relationship, equal cancer care delivery, as well as community outreach. He is very interested in healthcare administration and leadership.


Jamie Lesnock, MDJamie Lesnock, MD
Magee Women’s Hospital of UPMC

Dr. Jamie Lesnock is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. She received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her MD from Vanderbilt University. She completed an OB/GYN residency and Gynecologic Oncology fellowship at Magee, where she was the recipient of a palliative care education pilot grant, Excellence in Clinical Research training, and served on SGO 2013 Annual Program Committee.

Dr. Lesnock joined Mon General Hospital in Morgantown, WV following fellowship where she advanced the clinical research program of the hospital and served on the local IRB. She helped to develop and actively promote clinical research as the PI by opening and enrolling women with gynecologic malignancies on clinical trials. She also managed tissue collection studies with local, regional and national collaborators. In doing so, she contributed to the Committee on Cancer accreditation of her hospital as well as giving research opportunities to her rural patient population.


David Margel, MD, PhDDavid Margel, MD, PhD
Rabin Medical Center, Israel

Dr. David Margel is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Tel Aviv School of Medicine. As a Surgeon-scientist, he founded and leads the Rabin Medical Center prostate cancer focal treatment program. He is also the founding director of the Urology research unit and the male BRCA comprehensive research center and clinic.

Dr. Margel's research program, which spans from bench to bedside, focuses on the biology and genetics of prostate cancer. He serves as the principal investigator for multiple clinical trials evaluating novel focal therapy technologies, genetics as well as other aspects to provide better care and less toxic treatments for localized prostate cancer.

In parallel, and supported by the ASCO career development award, the Israeli cancer association award and the German Israeli Fund he has founded the Male BRCA comprehensive research center and clinic which offers regular screening for prostate, breast, skin and pancreatic cancer, as well as serves as a hub for multiple clinical and translational research.


Nadine Jackson McCleary, BSN, MD, MPHNadine Jackson McCleary, BSN, MD, MPH
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dr. Nadine Jackson McCleary is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Senior Physician of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) and Medical Director for the DFCI Patient Reported Data Program in the Department of Informatics and Analytics. As an active member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center, she specializes in gastrointestinal oncology with a unique clinical focus on those at the extremes of age (younger than 20 and older than 80). She serves as the liaison for the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center to the DFCI Satellite and Collaborative members.

As a clinical innovator in oncology, Dr. NJ McCleary leverages her background in nursing and medicine to evaluate cancer care delivery for older adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer as member of the Alliance Gastrointestinal Cancer committee and Cancer in Elderly committee. She also focuses on the development and implementation of clinical informatics to cancer care delivery and shared decision-making between providers and patients.  Her specific research objective is to refine implementation strategies for clinical informatics applications at the point of care and demonstrate improvement in cancer care delivery. 

She serves as principal investigator of an implementation study evaluating the impact of electronic patient reported outcomes on oral cancer therapy adherence. She is also part of the multisite implementation SIMPRO study under the NCI Moonshot Initiative IMPACT grant to develop, implement and evaluate a multicomponent electronic patient reported outcomes reporting and management system to improve symptom control for patients recovering from cancer surgery or patients receiving palliative chemotherapy in community cancer centers. Her prior work has been funded by the ASCO YIA, NCCN YIA, DFCI GCC Spore and Donaghue Foundation.


Jennifer Young Pierce, MD, MPHJennifer Young Pierce, MD, MPH
University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute

Dr. Jennifer Young Pierce is a Professor and Senior Staff Physician of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute (MCI). She attended medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She completed her residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital Integrated Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Virginia (UVA).  She completed her Masters’ in Public Health while at UVA.  After fellowship, Dr. Pierce returned to MUSC Hollings Cancer Center. During that time, she co-founded and Co-Chaired Cervical Cancer Free South Carolina, was named a Research All-Star by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and is a GOG Young Investigator Award Winner. She joined MCI in 2017 as the Leader of Cancer Control and Prevention as well as an Abraham A. Mitchell Clinical Cancer Research Scholar. She is a core member of the Immunotherapy Committee and the Cervical Cancer Sub-Committee of NRG Oncology.  She serves as the Society for Gynecologic Oncology representative to the national HPV Roundtable and Alabama HPV vaccine champion. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology.


Kathryn Ruddy, MD, MPHKathryn Ruddy, MD, MPH
Mayo Clinic

Dr. Kathryn J. Ruddy is a breast medical oncologist whose research focuses on the toxicities of cancer therapy. After medical school at University of Pennsylvania, residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, and fellowship at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center in Boston, MA, she was employed at Dana-Farber from 2009-2013. In 2013, she became Director of Cancer Survivorship for the Department of Oncology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Survivorship Guidelines Committee, she co-chairs the Patient-Reported Outcomes Interest Group in the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium, and she is vice chair of the Symptom Intervention Committee in the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. She also serves as an Associate Editor at Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and she is the recent recipient of an R01 focused on cardio-oncology.


Karyn Stitzenberg, MD, MPHKaryn Stitzenberg, MD, MPH
University of North Carolina

Dr. Karyn Stitzenberg is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine and an active member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC) and a member of the UNC Hospitals Medical Staff Executive Committee.  She is also Adjunct Assistant Professor Health Policy and Management at the UNC Gilling’s School of Global Public Health. She is a fellowship-trained surgical oncologist who specializes in lower intestinal and cutaneous malignancies, serves at the director of the UNC rectal cancer program.

As a health services researcher, Dr. Stitzenberg’s research focuses on health care organization and delivery.  The overall goal of her research is to optimize delivery of the highest value cancer care for all patients. She has expertise in geographic information systems, secondary data analysis, and network analysis.  Her current efforts focus on measuring and improving multidisciplinary team care coordination throughout the continuum of cancer care from diagnosis through survivorship. She serves on faculty of several health services and oncology T-32 training programs.

Beyond UNC, Dr. Stitzenberg currently serves on the Society of Surgical Oncology Colorectal Disease Site Workgroup and the American Society of Radiation Oncology Rectal Cancer Guideline Committee, and she was recent Chair of the North Carolina Advisory Committee for Cancer Coordination and Control.


Laura Tenner, MD, MPH Laura Tenner, MD, MPH
UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Laura Tenner is a faculty member in the division of hematology/oncology at Mays Cancer Center University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio MD Anderson. Her clinical focus is treating cancer patients with gastrointestinal cancers, predominantly gastric, colorectal, and neuroendocrine cancers. She is board certified in both internal medicine and medical oncology with an academic focus in health services research. She has specialized training in ethics in oncology and population sciences research, with a specific focus healthcare system and cancer care improvement and a Master of Public Health through George Washington University. Dr. Tenner’s research includes using principles of ethics to help inform health services research, specifically disparities and cancer prevention. Dr. Tenner has served nationally on the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Board of Ethics as well as the ASCO Cancer Prevention Committee.


Vamsidhar Velcheti, MD, FACP, FCCPVamsidhar Velcheti, MD, FACP, FCCP
New York University

Dr. Vamsi Velcheti is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine. He is a Thoracic Medical Oncologist and the Medical Director of the Thoracic Oncology program at the NYU Langone Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Velcheti completed his medical degree from the Armed Forces Medical College, India and his fellowship in Hematology/Medical Oncology at the Yale University. He has expertise in early drug development with a focus on immunotherapy. He has served as the principal investigator for numerous industry sponsored and investigator initiated clinical trials. In addition, Dr. Velcheti has an interest in biomarker development particularly using artificial intelligence and deep learning tools for clinical image analysis. His team is leading several multi-center efforts to integrate novel diagnostics to improve the outcomes of patients with lung cancer.


Jason Westin, MD, MS, FACPJason Westin, MD, MS, FACP
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Jason Westin is a medical oncologist with a clinical and research practice dedicated to the care of patients with lymphoma. After medical school at the University of Florida, he completed his Internal Medicine Residency at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill where he was a founding member of the Department of Hospital Medicine. He then completed his Clinical Fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where he served as the Chief Fellow and received a 2012 Conquer Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award. He obtained a Masters in Science Degree in Clinical and Translational Research at the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in the Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma.

Dr. Westin is the leader of the Aggressive Lymphoma Team, where he has served as the principal investigator on over 30 clinical trials evaluating novel therapies and combinations. His investigator initiated “Smart Start” trial served as the basis for his 2015 Conquer Cancer Foundation Career Development Award. He leads the multidisciplinary Lymphoma Treatment Planning Committee and serves in the MD Anderson Cancer Center Faculty Senate. He has written more than 85 peer-reviewed articles and conducted peer reviews for numerous journals including the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cancer, and Blood. Dr. Westin ran for the US Congress in 2018 (TX-07) to fight for better healthcare access for people like his patients and increased research funding to accelerate our search for more cures for cancer.