Three New Board Members Bring Unique Experience to Growing Organization
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 3, 2020 – The Cancer Support Community (CSC), a global nonprofit that provides $50 million in free support and navigation services to cancer patients and their loved ones, welcomed three new members to its Board of Directors: Craig Cole, MD; Robert Defrantz, PharmD; and Dennis Serrette. The Board of Directors provides guidance on carrying out CSC’s mission that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.
The new members join CSC as the organization is experiencing an increase in the demand for its programs as patients and their caregivers navigate the dual challenges of a cancer diagnosis amid the COVID-19 pandemic. CSC’s Helpline, which is staffed by licensed health-care professionals and community navigators, has seen an 80 percent increase in calls, with a 248 percent increase in those related to financial advising compared to last year.
Traffic on CSC’s website is up 40 percent and participation in its online discussion boards 20 percent. Downloads of the Coping with the Cost of Care booklet have increased by 33 percent.
“Craig, Robert, and Dennis all bring unmatched insight on the cancer and health-care experience from different perspectives,” said Kim Thiboldeaux, CEO of the Cancer Support Community. “They are joining our innovative, committed board at a time when equitable access to affordable comprehensive health-care is on the forefront of our minds. Together, they will advance our mission to provide the gold standard in support care for patients and their loved ones.”
Craig Cole, MD
Dr. Craig Cole is a board-certified Hematologist and serves as the Director of Clinical Research in Hematology/Oncology and Multiple Myeloma at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine at Breslin Cancer Center. Dr. Cole has been the onsite primary investigator for over 30 clinical trials and participated in over 50 clinical trials in Multiple Myeloma and Malignant Hematology. He has been published in national journals and presented his research at the American Society of Hematology and the American Society for Apheresis national meetings. Indicative of his commitment to equity of cancer care, patient empowerment, and community education, Dr. Cole has won awards for his work in teaching, Multiple Myeloma research, and patient advocacy.
Dr. Cole received his Bachelor of Science degree in physiology at Michigan State University and the College of Lyman Briggs, East Lansing Michigan and earned a doctoral degree at the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, Ohio.
Robert Defrantz, PharmD
Dr. DeFrantz has been in the pharmaceutical industry for 22 years and has cultivated a successful career focused on ensuring that patients around the world have access to innovative medicines. He currently serves as Senior Director, Global Market Access, and Pricing at AbbVie. AbbVie combines advanced science, expertise, and passion to solve the world’s most serious health issues and have a remarkable impact on people’s lives
Prior to Abbvie, Dr. DeFrantz spent 19 years at Eli Lilly and Company. Lilly unites caring with discovery to create medicines that make life better for people around the world. At Lilly, he was instrumental in driving novel enterprise-wide initiatives with across the board results through bold, inspirational leadership of high performing teams across multiple therapeutic areas. The last position he held at Lilly was Senior Director, Global Pricing, Reimbursement and Access.
Dr. DeFrantz earned his PharmD from Xavier University College of Pharmacy in New Orleans, LA. In addition to serving on the board of Cancer Support Community, he is also on the board of Little Red Door Cancer agency, a non-profit committed to ensuring cancer patients have transportation to treatment, receive emotional support, and have the nutrition they need.
Dennis Serrette serves as Senior Vice President & Chief Partnerships Officer at the National Urban League (NUL). Mr. Serrette brings more than 30 years of success in board and fund development, business development, strategic planning, and sales management.
During his tenure, the NUL completed the most successful single fundraising campaign in the history of African American lead institutions raising $278 million. Prior to joining the League, Mr. Serrette served as Vice President, Corporate Development at United Way of New York City where he was responsible for overall management and growth of their $65 million annual campaign and played a pivotal role in the fundraising administration and donor relations for the September 11th Fund.
Mr. Serrette attended Pace University for undergraduate studies and has recently completed his MBA, Finance at Stetson University.
About the Cancer Support Community
The Cancer Support Community (CSC) is a global non-profit network of 175 locations, including CSC and Gilda's Club centers, hospital and clinic partnerships, and satellite locations that deliver more than $50 million in free support services to patients and families. The in-person locations alone record 500,000 visits each year. In addition, CSC administers a toll-free helpline and produces award-winning educational resources that, together with the locations, reach more than one million people each year. Formed in 2009 by the merger of The Wellness Community and Gilda’s Club, CSC also conducts cutting-edge research on the emotional, psychological, and financial journey of cancer patients. In addition, CSC advocates at all levels of government for policies to help individuals whose lives have been disrupted by cancer. In January 2018, CSC welcomed Denver-based nonprofit MyLifeLine.org, a digital community that includes 35,000 patients, caregivers, and their supporters that will enable CSC to scale its digital services in an innovative, groundbreaking way.