Learn more about Cancer Support Community’s Staff
Kim Thiboldeaux, Chief Executive Officer
Chief Executive Officer
A native of Philadelphia who grew up in a close-knit family of five children, Thiboldeaux graduated from American University with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in Spanish. While at American, Thiboldeaux studied abroad in London and Buenos Aires, experiences that spurred her lifelong zest for travel.
She has visited all seven continents, all 50 states, and 50-plus countries around the world, and has no intention of slowing down her exploration of new countries and cultures.
Among her many adventures, Thiboldeaux counts a recent road trip as one of her most memorable. She was gifted last-minute tickets to Super Bowl LII. With all airlines booked, she drove her father, a retired Philadelphia city bus driver and lifelong Eagles fan, to Minneapolis where, together, they watched their beloved home team win their first Super Bowl title.
Kim Thiboldeaux is an innovative, internationally recognized leader who has dedicated her career to improving the lives of cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. As the CEO of the Cancer Support Community (CSC), Thiboldeaux oversees a global non-profit network of 175 locations, including 47 CSC and Gilda's Club centers, eight health-care partnerships, and satellite locations that deliver more than $50 million in free support services to patients and families. In addition, CSC administers a toll-free helpline and produces award-winning educational resources that reach more than one million people each year.
The Cancer Support Community, formed in 2009 by the merger of The Wellness Community and Gilda’s Club, also conducts cutting-edge research on the emotional, psychological, and financial journey of cancer patients. In addition, CSC advocates in Washington, D.C. and at all levels of government for policies to help individuals whose lives have been disrupted by cancer.
As a testament to her drive to serve even more patients and families, Thiboldeaux recently welcomed to the CSC network MyLifeLine, an innovative digital community that includes thousands of patients, caregivers, and their supporters. This exciting advancement will enable CSC to scale its digital services in an innovative, groundbreaking way.
Thiboldeaux coauthored two full-length books, Reclaiming Your Life After Diagnosis and The Total Cancer Wellness Guide, and hosts the award-winning Frankly Speaking About Cancer radio show. She also serves on multiple advisory boards, speaks at leading conferences, and frequently appears in national media outlets.
In June 2017, Vice President Joe Biden appointed Thiboldeaux to serve on the Biden Cancer Initiative’s Board of Directors.
Linda House, RN, BSN, MSM, President
Linda House has a long-standing history with the Cancer Support Community. First she served as a local, affiliate volunteer and now, serves as President of the global, headquarters office. In her current role, Linda oversees all areas of CSC that directly touch the patient, including the Research and Training Institute, the Cancer Policy Institute, and the Institute for Excellence in Psychosocial Care. Linda also works closely across all aspects of CSC including strategic growth and development and marketing and communications. Linda joined CSC after many years working in the cancer care environment, including over a decade of direct patient care in the acute oncology and hospice care setting.
Immediately prior to joining CSC, Linda served as Executive Director of St. Vincent Cancer Care in Indianapolis where she led a team of individuals to provide care across the full cancer continuum. Prior to that, Linda was Senior Director of Advocacy and Professional Relations for Lilly Oncology working with patient and professional organizations on programs and broad issues related to cancer care.
Linda serves in a variety of advisory roles in the national cancer community and has also been an active volunteer with a number of organizations in her local community.
Michael Abdeljabbar, Senior Accountant
Michael Abdeljabbar joined the Cancer Support Community in September 2014 as Senior Accountant. A graduate of Virginia Tech, Michael spent the previous eight years serving as the Accountant for another DC non-profit organization. He is also Associate Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Northern Virginia Community College.
Jemeille Ackourey, MPH, Research Fellow
Jemeille Ackourey, MPH
Jemeille joined the Cancer Support Community in July 2019 as a Research Fellow. Prior to joining the team, she earned her MPH at Boston University with a focus in community health and chronic disease. While in Boston, she interned with the Brookline Department of Public Health focusing on the promotion of community health events and initiatives. Jemeille graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in biology and a minor in social work. Between degrees, she served with City Year as a tutor/mentor for middle school students in Little Rock, Arkansas. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, running, and crocheting.
Susan Ash-Lee, MSW, LCSW, Senior Director, Clinical Services
Susan Ash-Lee, MSW, LCSW
Senior Director, Clinical Services
As Senior Director, Clinical Services Susan is responsible for all clinical program services, including in-person, telephonic, and digital support, all critical components of the $50 million in free services CSC provides patients and their loved ones each year.
Prior to joining CSC, Susan was the Director of Clinical Social Work for Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, Colorado’s largest provider of cancer care. She has spent her career in oncology and palliative care working in for-profit community cancer centers as well as in academic hospitals and hospice settings. Her articles have appeared in publications such as the JOP and the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology.
She has focused her career on building robust supportive care oncology programs which include, psychosocial research, integrated psychosocial support, advanced illness coordination and post-treatment survivorship. She is particularly interested in how resiliency models and positive psychology interventions can increase well-being, enhance life satisfaction, and personal growth and change. She was the 2010 recipient of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society’s “Outstanding Clinical Care Award.”
Susan currently serves as faculty for the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care’s Leadership Institute, psychosocial staff for Casting for Recovery, and is a member of the client services advisory council for Project Angel Heart.
A native Coloradoan, Susan earned a Masters Degree in Social Work from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Bachelors Degree in English from Westmont College. She holds a Clinical Social Work license in both Colorado and California.
Susan lives in Colorado with her husband, daughter and their standard poodle.
Heather Badt, MBA, Executive Director, Research & Training Institute
Heather Badt, MBA
Executive Director, Research & Training Institute
Heather Badt is the Executive Director of the Cancer Support Community’s Research and Training Institute (RTI). Heather received her Bachelors degree in Marketing and Human Resources from Syracuse University and her Masters of Business Administrations (EMBA) from the Fox Business School at Temple University. While working at Walgreens over the last nine years she also received her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification. She has expertise in areas such as process improvement, change management and commercial operations.
Heather is a breast cancer survivor and simultaneously a caregiver of her husband who was diagnosed with esophageal cancer one week before her diagnosis. Through this experience, Heather discovered the unique support and depth of CSC services. Heather joined the Radiation Oncology Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) at Penn Medicine in 2017 and joined the Board at RTI in 2018.
Heather lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband and two teenage boys.
Lauren Ballantoni, Director, Operations, Development & External Affairs
Director, Operations, Development & External Affairs
Originally from Florida, Lauren joined the CSC staff in February 2017 as Development Coordinator and was promoted to Manager in July 2018. In July 2019, Lauren was promoted to Director of Operations for the Development & External Affairs team. She is responsible for providing support to CSC’s fundraising and development efforts, including maintaining the donor database as well as donor relation efforts. Lauren graduated from Florida State University in 2016 with a Master’s in both Social Work and Public Administration, where she focused on nonprofit management. She enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with her rabbit Winston.
Nathalie Casthely, Senior Director, Development & External Affairs
Senior Director, Development & External Affairs
Nathalie Casthely is thrilled to be joining CSC as Senior Director, Development and External Affairs after serving as a communication, strategic networking and media production consultant to CSC for fifteen years. Among her many contributions, she helped launch and produce the award winning Frankly Speaking about Cancer radio show as well as the Huffington Post and Medium columns.
Over the course of her career, Nathalie has worked tirelessly to advance media projects and client’s goals. Once a strategy and plan have been determined, her mission has been to oversee its successful execution as well as developing key relationships across a broad spectrum of industries and disciplines. She has also identified and developed specific projects which have fulfilled client objectives. Her work often requires her to coordinate the activities of government representatives, specialists and experts.
Over the course of her 20+ years at Koerner Kronenfeld Partners, a boutique consulting and media production firm, Nathalie has worked with ambassadors, generals, boxers, authors, concert pianists, playwrights, Broadway performers and high-level executives at Fortune 500 companies. Personal favorites include working on the books: You: The Owner’s Manual by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen, If Not Now When by Medal of Honor recipient Col. Jack Jacobs (US Army, ret.), What Makes Business Rock by former Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks International Bill Roedy, Anna Sui by fashion designer Anna Sui and Dog Training Diaries by Tom Shelby. She was also part of the team that produced a staged reading of a new musical in Havana, Cuba and a special cinema event starring bestselling author Dr. Wayne Dyer that was presented at over 300 theaters nationwide.
Nathalie holds a BFA from New York University and an MBA in Media Management from the Metropolitan College of New York. She also speaks French and Spanish.
She is an avid fan of tennis and global sporting events like the World Cup and Olympics. She is married and the mother of a teenage daughter.
Kelly Clark, Manager, Research
Kelly joined the Cancer Support Community in June 2018 as a Research Manager at the Research and Training Institute. In this role, she is responsible for providing project support, overseeing outreach activities, and facilitating relationships with other departments, affiliates, and CSC partners.
Kelly graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wake Forest University in 2010 and a Master’s degree in Psychology from American University in 2013. She comes to CSC with a background in both clinical and research settings. Previous work experience includes completing an internship at the National Institutes of Health studying genetic aspects of mood disorders, conducting research on traumatic brain injuries in children, and providing psychological services to individuals with intellectual disability and mental health disorders.
Kim Czubaruk, JD, Senior Director, Policy & Advocacy
Kim Czubaruk, JD
Senior Director, Policy & Advocacy
Kim Czubaruk is the Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy with the Cancer Support Community’s Cancer Policy Institute. Kim is an attorney with a background in civil litigation and disability law who focuses on health policy and advocacy to improve the lives of patients and their families. Prior to joining the Cancer Support Community, Kim served as policy manager with the American Academy of Nursing and legal consultant with the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. While with the Academy, Kim developed and led multiple national initiatives, built cross-sector collaborative partnerships, and worked with Academy fellows to advance health policy. Through her advocacy on behalf of children and adults with food-induced anaphylaxis, Kim improved the education, prevention, emergency response, and legal protections for severely food allergic individuals. Her achievements earned her the Muriel C. Furlong Award for Making a Difference.
Kim earned her Juris Doctor degree, with honors, from George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC and is licensed to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in political science from Union College in Schenectady, NY where she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society and the Pi Sigma Alpha national political science honor society.
Kim and her three children are avid travelers who also enjoy hiking and skiing.
Branlyn DeRosa, PhD, Director, Research
Branlyn DeRosa, PhD
Branlyn (Brandy) DeRosa, PhD, manages and supports research focusing on individuals with cancer and other serious illnesses. She is trained as a behavioral health researcher and a clinical psychologist. She received her undergraduate degree from University of North Carolina and completed her doctorate in Clinical and Health Psychology from University of Florida. After completing clinical internship and two years of postdoctoral training at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, she stayed on as a Psychologist and researcher in the Division of Oncology and later in the Department of Behavioral Health. Dr. DeRosa’s professional interests center on the health and wellbeing of children and families with cancer and other serious health conditions, as well as the development and evaluation of evidence-based practices.
Aicha Diallo, MPH, CHES, Director, Cancer Support Helpline
Aicha Diallo, MPH, CHES
Director, Cancer Support Helpline
Aicha Diallo, MPH, CHES joined the Cancer Support Community in November 2017 as the Director, Cancer Support Helpline. In her current role, she oversees the day to day operations of the helpline.
Prior to joining CSC, she worked at the Arthritis Foundation-Northeast Region, first as a Program Manager of the New York Chapter and then as the Community Engagement Director for Greater New York. As part of her role at the Arthritis Foundation, she was responsible for the NY Chapter Arthritis Helpline along with all the health education programs, advocacy and policy efforts tailored to children and adults with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.
In addition, she is an Adjunct Professor for the Master’s in Public Health Program at Long Island University and also manages their alumni activities.
She sits on several advisory boards and committees of various organizations and has given presentations at professional conferences such as APHA and was selected in 2016 and 2017 to be an abstract reviewer. Aicha has been published in medical and public health journals and one of her most recent works was selected as a finalist for the 2015 Aging in Public Health, Erickson Foundation Research Award in Positive at APHA. This combination of all has allowed her to tackle several angles in the public health arena.
Hildy Dillon, MPH, Senior Vice President, Education & Support Programs
Hildy Dillon, MPH
Senior Vice President, Education & Support Programs
Hildy Dillon is Cancer Support Community’s (CSC) Senior Vice President, Education and Support Programs. In this role she oversees CSC programs and services for people living with cancer, their caregivers and loved ones, including education and outreach, the Cancer Support Helpline, online virtual support services, programmatic professional training and program development and dissemination across CSC’s affiliate network and beyond.
Prior to joining CSC, Hildy was Vice President for MK&A (Mark Krueger & Associates, Inc.), a global healthcare stakeholder relations firm. Before MK&A, Hildy spent nearly 15 years at the national headquarters of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), most recently as the senior vice president of patient & professional programs. Prior to LLS, Hildy was manager of smoking or health programs at the national office of the American Lung Association (ALA) and began her career at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in the Clinical Chemistry Research Department and in the MSKCC Office of Cancer Communications.
Hildy serves as the patient advocate on the Lymphoma Committee of the National Clinical Trial Network’s Southwest Oncology Group and for the National Cancer Institute’s Lymphoma Steering Committee and has served as an advisor for industry and many non-profit organizations, including CSC’s CML and Myeloma Cancer Experience Registries.
Hildy holds a BS in Biology from the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry and an MPH from CUNY Hunter College Graduate School of Health Sciences.
Marcia Donziger, Vice President, Digital Strategy & Business Development
Vice President Digital Strategy & Business Development
Marcia is passionate about helping cancer patients through the treatment process. Diagnosed with stage IIIC ovarian cancer at the age of 27, Marcia discovered how difficult it was to keep friends and family updated on her health progress while in the hospital recovering from surgery and then for 6 months of chemotherapy. MyLifeLine.org was founded in memory of Lori Arquilla Anderson, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 33 and died two years later. During her treatments, Lori and her family benefited from a website that kept them connected to a support network that grew beyond their imaginations. Marcia saw an opportunity to make a difference for all cancer patients by creating MyLifeLine.org.
Marcia lives in Denver with her 12-year old twin boys, Jake and Ryan. Her favorite hobbies are traveling, music, yoga, biking, and enjoying the Colorado sunshine.
Katie Dimond, Manager, Program Development & Delivery
Manager, Program Development & Delivery
Katie Dimond joined the Cancer Support Community in January 2017 as the Program and Services Coordinator and was promoted to Manager in January 2018. In her current role, Katie provides administrative and technology support to the Cancer Support Helpline and other online delivery services in addition to statistical tracking and monthly reporting. Katie graduated with a BA in Anthropology from Trinity College in 2016 where she completed a senior thesis about where and how women give birth and had the opportunity to study abroad in Prague.
Maya Douglas, Manager, Communications
Dawn Ely, Manager, Affiliate Relations
Manager, Affiliate Relations
Dawn Ely serves as an Affiliate Relations Manager at Cancer Support Community. In her role, Dawn supports Cancer Support Community’s network of affiliates and healthcare partners through organizing meetings, training sessions and an annual conference as well as providing updates and educational resources on the organization’s intranet site. Additionally, she assists the Affiliate Relations team in managing the Continuous Quality Improvement program to help ensure the success and longevity of Cancer Support Community’s services.
Born and raised in New Hampshire, Dawn moved to the Washington, DC, area in 2014 to pursue a career in nonprofits. She is an avid volunteer and enjoys supporting a variety of social causes, including serving as a volunteer coordinator for her church’s hunger ministry. When she’s not giving back to her community, you’ll find her getting fit at the gym, spending time with friends and preparing new recipes in the kitchen. Dawn graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelor’s degree in Writing and a minor in Integrated Marketing Communications.
Kirstin Fearnley, Director, Education
Kirstin Fearnley joined the Cancer Support Community in September 2019 as Director of Education. She works on the Frankly Speaking About Cancer educational materials, serving as a plain language expert and managing projects and initiatives to support and expand CSC’s national education programs.
Prior to joining CSC, Kirstin worked on award-winning projects in health literacy and K-12 science education at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also spent several years as a media spokesperson in Wesleyan University’s Office of University Communications.
Kirstin grew up in Connecticut, where she earned degrees from Connecticut College and Wesleyan. When not at work, she explores the many branches of the D.C. Public Library, cultivates pollinator-friendly weeds amongst the tomato plants in her community garden plot, plays volleyball, and knits.
Elizabeth Franklin, MSW, Executive Director, Cancer Policy Institute
Elizabeth Franklin, MSW, is Executive Director of the Cancer Policy Institute (CPI) at the Cancer Support Community (CSC). CSC is the largest provider of social and emotional support services for cancer patients and their loved ones in the United States. The CPI brings together patient advocates and policy experts to ensure that the voices of cancer patients and their loved ones play a central role in federal and state legislative, regulatory, and executive policy making. The CPI works in partnership with patient advocates, the CSC affiliate network, and numerous allied health care and oncology organizations to work towards a future where 15.5 million cancer survivors have access to comprehensive, high-quality, timely, and affordable medical, social, and emotional care. Elizabeth is responsible for all aspects of the CPI including legislative, regulatory, policy, and research priorities as well as operations, fundraising, and management. Elizabeth was previously Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy at CSC.
Elizabeth was formerly Director of Policy and Engagement at the George Washington University Cancer Institute where she worked at both the macro level, developing and implementing the Institute’s policy agenda, and at the micro level, working with the patient-centered care team to ensure that all patients had access to high-quality, timely cancer care. Previously, Elizabeth was Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy with the Prevent Cancer Foundation as well as Special Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer at the headquarters of the National Association of Social Workers.
Elizabeth is a recognized author and speaker. Her articles have appeared in publications such as Value in Health, Journal of Clinical Pathways, Journal of Cancer Education, Health and Social Work, and Conquer Cancer Magazine. She has co-authored two books on non-profit leadership and co-edited two social work texts. In addition, she is a member of various organizations and coalitions, including the National Association of Social Workers (where she served as President of the DC Chapter), Association of Oncology Social Work (where she serves on the advocacy committee), Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators (where she serves on the leadership council and as Chair of the Policy and Advocacy Committee),and Alliance for Quality Psychosocial Cancer Care (where she serves as co-chair).
Currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, Elizabeth is focusing her dissertation on the ways in which patients define value in the cancer care system and how those definitions can be incorporated into public policy and clinical practice. Elizabeth obtained her Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Bachelors Degree in Social Work from the University of Kentucky.
Tanisha Haltiwanger, Manager, Administrative Support
Manager, Administrative Support
Tanisha Haltiwanger, Manager, Administrative Support, joined the Cancer Support Community in 2015. Tanisha is a skilled Administrative Professional and has 15 years of experience in both the corporate and nonprofit sector. Tanisha began her career at the Department of State and has extensive experience in the fields of finance, and HR.
Tanisha is a long time native of Washington, DC. She enjoys gardening, cooking and sightseeing.
Jeanne Horne, Director, Digital Operations
Director, Digital Operations
Before joining CSC in July 2018, Jeanne worked at the Morris Animal Foundation, where she led the digital strategy and marketing for the Foundation’s online presence. She previously worked for Share Our Strength, managing online fundraising and the digital communications team. She also has a background in publishing and management. At CSC, she leads the digital operations team to develop and maintain an innovative and sustainable online platform.
Jeanne earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri/Columbia in English, French and Art History, and spent a year at the University of Paris/Sorbonne.
Jeanne and her husband live in Denver with their cat(s). They spend much of their free time in the mountains, hiking and enjoying the outdoors. When not exploring locally, Jeanne travels to the farthest reaches of the globe. After having visited all 7 continents, her zest to experience more continues to increase.
Alyssa Jaisle, PhD, Director, Market Research
Alyssa Jaisle, PhD
Director, Market Research
Alyssa Jaisle recently completed her doctorate in Health Communication at the University of Florida. Her research interests include how visual and risk communication strategies can improve health outcomes. Alyssa received her master's in Advertising from the University of Florida and her bachelor’s degree in English from Texas A&M University. She enjoys reading, traveling, and walking her dog.
Levi James, Operations Manager, Research & Training Institute
Operations Manager, Research & Training Institute
Levi is very excited to join the CSC and RTI staff full time as the Operations Manager at the RTI! He started working for CSC as a development intern in March of 2017. Prior to his work at CSC, Levi worked in CRM, technology, and analytics for the Philadelphia 76ers and is still a diehard Sixers fan. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in History.
Miranda Johnson, Coordinator, Affiliate Data
Coordinator, Affiliate Data
Originally from Irvine, California, Miranda Johnson joined the Affiliate Relations team in May 2018 after interning for Cancer Support Community’s Cancer Policy Institute (CPI). In her role as Affiliate Data Coordinator, Miranda develops “Key Performance Indicator” reports, which demonstrate the reach and impact that the Cancer Support Community has on people who have been impacted by cancer. Miranda also supports the needs of the affiliate and health care partner network through annual conferences and quarterly and annual reporting. Miranda graduated from Gettysburg College in May 2015, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Art History, and ran on the women’s cross-country team.
Kathy Lindner, Coordinator, Digital
Kathy’s background includes a variety of work experiences, ranging from health sciences, event coordination, and customer service. As the Operations Coordinator, Kathy is committed to continually improving the user experience for MyLifeLine members, communicating new features, supporting the technology team, and providing compassionate customer care. Previously, she worked at GiveForward in Chicago, an online fundraising site serving those with medical financial needs. At GiveForward, Kathy’s role as a “User Happiness Rep” allowed her to personally help cancer patients and their caregivers. Her passion for supporting cancer patients and their loved ones led her to MyLifeLine here in Denver.
Kathy completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Notre Dame. A Chicago native, Kathy has recently moved to Denver with her husband and two children. They love to entertain and have enjoyed making new friends. She takes advantage of all the outdoor adventures Colorado provides, including hiking, biking, snowboarding, fishing, and camping. When she’s not cheering on the sidelines of her children’s activities, you can find her enjoying some peace and mindfulness on her yoga mat.
Ted Miller, Senior Vice President, Development & External Affairs
Senior Vice President, Development and External Affairs
Ted Miller is the Senior Vice President, Development and External Affairs.
He oversees the Cancer Support Community’s individual fundraising efforts, special events, and communications. He is also charged with elevating CSC's patient-focused mission through partnerships and cause marketing efforts.
Before joining CSC, Ted served in the Obama administration as the Chief of External Affairs at the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that administers AmeriCorps and provides $600 million in funding to more than 3,000 nonprofits.
In 2014, Ted directed the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, which culminated in a White House event with Presidents Obama and Clinton, simultaneous ceremonies in all 50 states, and digital engagement that reached 52 million social media users in 24 hours. Ted also served as a strategic advisor for partnerships with corporations and foundations whose financial contributions enabled thousands of additional individuals to participate in AmeriCorps.
The University of Kansas graduate’s previous experience includes senior-level roles with Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle and then-Rep. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Ted also worked with multiple campaigns and at NARAL Pro-Choice America, where he secured funding for groundbreaking programs focused on Latino and millennial voters.
Nicole Nicksic, PhD, MPH, Research Director, Biostatistics
Nicole Nicksic, PhD, MPH
Research Director, Biostatistics
Nicole Nicksic PhD, MPH is the Research Director of Biostatistics at the Cancer Support Community. Dr. Nicksic earned her BS in Clinical Laboratory Science and Sociology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 2008. She worked as a medical technologist in a hospital laboratory in Milwaukee, WI before beginning her graduate studies in Epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at the Austin campus to earn a MPH in 2013 and PhD in 2016. Dr. Nicksic completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University, which included a year in the NCI-Funded T32 Cancer Prevention and Control Research Training Program in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy, where her research focused on tobacco prevention and control focusing on e-cigarette use behaviors among youth. At CSC, Dr. Nicksic will bring her expertise and interests in data analysis, methodology, and health behaviors to support ongoing projects, including the Cancer Experience Registry.
Nick Power, Manager, Program
Nick Power joined the Cancer Support Community in March 2017 as the Project Coordinator for Program and was promoted to Manager in January 2018. In his current role, Nick works with hospitals, patients, and other stakeholders to help develop individual CSC initiatives. Previous to this position, Nick worked at CSC as both a Communications Intern and a Program & Development Intern. Prior to joining CSC, he served as a Policy Intern at Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Nick graduated from American University in 2016 with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies: Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government and a minor in Psychology.
Christina Raia, Senior Director, Corporate Relations
Senior Director, Corporate Relations
Christina Raia joined Cancer Support Community in July 2009 and currently serves as the Senior Director, Corporate Relations. In this position Christina is responsible for CSC's corporate fundraising, and also serves as the liaison for CSC's Young Leadership Council in New York City. Prior to joining Cancer Support Community, Christina served as Development Manager for Gilda’s Club Worldwide.
Christina holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from St. Joseph’s College, where she also obtained certificates in Advertising & Public Relations, Human Resources and Management. Christina is currently an MBA candidate at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College.
Michael Rusho, Web Developer, Mid-Level
Web Developer, Mid-Level
Michael Rusho joins the Denver team as a Mid-Level Web Developer. Michael has been working in IT for the past 10 years, primarily in the education, healthcare and government sectors. He is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in History. When not watching soccer, he and his wife enjoy backpacking and hiking in the mountains.
Richa Ruwala, Coordinator, Education
Richa joined Cancer Support Community as an Education Coordinator in September 2019, and she is responsible for providing support to the Education department. Her background involves a variety of experience in curriculum development, research, and healthcare. Prior to joining CSC, she worked with a non-governmental organization in rural India to plan, fund, and develop a reproductive health education program for adolescent girls. She also worked with a research center at the University of South Carolina to assist with the evaluation of government-funded reproductive health programs.
Richa completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from the University of South Carolina. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, playing the flute, and exploring the city.
Claire Saxton, Senior Director, Education
Senior Director, Education
Claire is responsible for CSC’s national patient education and outreach programs. She has 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, and a wealth of experience in patient education and advocacy. Claire came to CSC from the Urology Care Foundation, where she managed national patient education programs and public awareness campaigns with partners that included coalitions of patient advocacy organizations for National Bladder Health Month as well as the National Football League for prostate cancer awareness.
As Executive Director of the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, Claire expanded their educational programming and developed the first National Bladder Cancer Awareness Day. While the Executive Director of the Breast Cancer Resource Center in Austin, Texas, she doubled their patient advocacy and outreach programs. Claire began her work in health advocacy while part of the team that opened the National Domestic Violence Hotline in 1996.
Claire holds an MBA from the University of Oregon and an undergraduate degree from Rice University. She is inspired by the everyday courage of patients, survivors and their loved ones she has met throughout her career. Outside of work, Claire loves spending time with her husband Andrew, son Luke and their dog Blossom.
Rachel Solomon, Manager, Policy
Rachel Solomon joined the Cancer Support Community in September 2019 as the Policy and Advocacy Manager. Prior to coming to CSC, Rachel worked with engagement and patient advocate programs at the American Society of Clinical Oncology and Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance. Rachel graduated with her BA in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, and obtained a Certificate in Patient Navigation from Georgetown University.
Rachel lives in DC with her husband, Ross, and cat, Smittens.
Jenny Song, Director, Digital & Web
Director, Digital & Web
Jenny Song is the Director of Digital and Web at the Cancer Support Community. She is responsible for expanding the organization’s online presence and strategically extending its reach to people impacted by cancer. She oversees the growth, management and ongoing sustainability of CSC’s digital and web assets and content across multiple platforms, including developing and implementing the organization’s digital and mobile strategy.
Jenny has been in health care communications for more than 14 years, specifically in the field of oncology and patient advocacy, developing patient education materials and communicating to the public about pre-clinical cancer research and pediatric cancer research. In her various roles, she created content strategies and managed multi-media projects, including producing podcasts, webinars, videos and overseeing the relaunch of several websites. Jenny began her career as a health care journalist, and her writing has been featured in Cancer Today, a consumer magazine produced by the American Association for Cancer Research.
Sarah Suettinger, Director, Administration
Sarah Suettinger joined the Cancer Support Community in April 2015 as the Development Manager and moved into the Administration Manager role in January 2017. She was promoted to Director, Administration in January 2018. In this role, Sarah manages a variety of human resources-related functions including recruitment, benefits management and payroll. She works with staff across all departments to help ensure the smooth operation of CSC's offices in Washington, DC, Philadelphia and New York City and Denver, CO and also helps to support the organization's technology infrastructure. In 2013, Sarah graduated with a Masters in Nutrition and Integrative Health from Maryland University of Integrative Health.
Alex Swales, MSW, Manager, Education
Alex Swales, MSW
Alex Swales joined the Cancer Support Community in June 2019 as the Education Manager. Alex works with the Education team to develop Frankly Speaking About Cancer educational materials as well as support the development and evaluation of CSC’s educational programs.
Prior to coming to CSC, Alex graduated with her BA in psychology and education from the University of Miami. After graduation, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 2015 to 2017 in South Africa, where she worked as a teacher and assisted with multiple community development projects. Inspired by her time in South Africa, Alex went on to earn her MSW, specializing in Macro Health from the University of Maryland Baltimore.
Anna-Jane Tabler, Coordinator, Development
Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Anna-Jane joined the development team in June 2019 after graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Communication from Appalachian State University. As part of the development team, she is responsible for providing support to CSC's development initiatives.
Her previous experience comes from time interning with different nonprofits addressing food insecurity in Boone, North Carolina and at International House, Metrolina chapter, where she was an event coordinator for their annual fundraising event. While finishing her degree at AppState, Anna-Jane had an opportunity to study abroad in Seville, Spain, where she completed her Spanish minor and research for her Honors College thesis.
Jeff Travers, Chief Operating Officer
Chief Operating Officer
Jeff Travers joined the Cancer Support Community in 2015, leading a team that manages the organization's finances, HR, technology, and operations, while supporting CSC's Finance Committee and Board of Directors. Jeff joined CSC after many years working with local and national nonprofit organizations.
Most recently, Jeff was a director and a member of the senior leadership team at Fight For Children, which supports education reform efforts in local schools. During his eight years at Fight For Children, Jeff worked on various projects and initiatives, including managing the organization’s multi-million dollar annual fundraiser, twice redesigning its website, leading its strategic planning process, and supporting the launch of several major programmatic initiatives. Earlier in his career, Jeff was the associate executive director at Whitman-Walker Clinic (now Whitman-Walker Health) in Washington, DC. Over nine years at the Clinic, Jeff played a variety of roles, including managing the organization’s fundraising team, running the organization’s operations, and developing its real estate portfolio, including two of its medical facilities. Jeff also founded and ran a small business providing management support to more than a dozen local and national nonprofit organizations.
Jeff is an active volunteer in community-based and civic organizations. He is currently serving as the Chair of the DC Healthy Youth and Schools Commission, a position to which he was appointed by the Mayor of DC. He has also served as a board member and chair of two local nonprofit organizations, Adoptions Together and the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative. He served for several years as the Treasurer of the Logan Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission, an elected position which advises DC government agencies on matters of concern to citizens.
Jeff has a BA in History, with a minor in Fine Arts, from Georgetown University and an MBA, with a concentration on leadership, from the George Washington University. He lives in Washington, DC with his two school-aged children, Neil and Emma.
Sally Werner, RN, BSN, MSHA, Senior Vice President, Affiliate Relations
Sally Werner, RN, BSN, MSHA
Senior Vice President, Affiliate Relations
Sally is formerly the CEO of Gilda’s Club Quad Cities, where she directed a Cancer Support Community program that serves a 15-county area in Iowa and Illinois.
A recognized leader and patient advocate, Sally brings 20 years of experience to this critical position. Her diverse portfolio includes clinical and management responsibilities with nonprofit and for-profit hospitals as well as community-based organizations. Sally has overseen many cancer service lines, including cancer research, cancer registry, supportive and outreach services, radiation oncology, infusion centers, inpatient oncology units and centers for breast health.
Sally’s innovative spirit and leadership style has resulted in many professional accolades, including placement on the Quad Cities 40 Under 40 list and selection as an Iowa Top 100 nurse. She is also an Academy Fellowship Graduate of the Advisory Board Company and earned a Lean Healthcare Certification from the University of Michigan.
A native of Minnesota, Sally earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Winona State University and a master’s of science in health administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Ben White, Coordinator, Development
Ben joined the Cancer Support Community as a Development Coordinator in July 2019. As part of the development team, he is responsible for providing support to CSC's development initiatives.
A native of Chico, California Ben went to UCLA where he double majored in Political Science and Communication Studies. After graduating from UCLA in 2013, Ben commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy where he flew helicopters as a Naval Aviator. In 2017 Ben was diagnosed with early onset Colorectal Cancer. His diagnosis and subsequent treatment left Ben ineligible for continued service, but his experience as a cancer survivor ignited a passion for cancer support and advocacy. In his free time Ben enjoys cooking, baking, all things outdoor, and spending time with his dog, Izzy.
Alexandra Zaleta, PhD, Senior Director, Research
Alexandra Zaleta, PhD
Senior Director, Research
Alexandra Zaleta, PhD, is the Senior Director of Research at the Cancer Support Community. In this role, she manages and supports numerous Research and Training Institute initiatives focusing on individuals with cancer and caregivers. Dr. Zaleta is trained as a behavioral health researcher and a clinical psychologist. She received her undergraduate degree from Vassar College and a master’s degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University. She completed her doctorate in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and clinical internship training at the VA Boston Healthcare System. She subsequently completed three years of postdoctoral training in Psychosocial Oncology and Women’s Behavioral Health at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital. Dr. Zaleta’s professional interests involve the intersection of health psychology and geriatric psychology. Her research focuses on the psychological consequences of illness, fear of illness recurrence, patient values and priorities, health communication, and cancer survivorship.