Roster of the Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women

What to know

This advisory committee helps CDC develop evidence-based approaches to advance understanding and awareness of breast cancer among young women.

Executive Secretary

Kimberly E. Smith, MBA, MHA

Designated Federal Official

Office of Policy, Partnerships, and Communication

Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

4770 Buford Highway NE, MS S107-4

Atlanta, GA 30341

Phone: 404-498-0073

Fax: 770-488-4760


Committee Management Specialist

Carolyn P.R. Headley, MSPH, CGMP

Public Health Analyst

Office of Policy, Partnerships, and Communication

Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

4770 Buford Highway NE, MS S107-4

Atlanta, GA 30341

Phone: 770-488-4237

Fax: 770-488-4760



Cristina M. Checka, MD

Associate Professor

Breast Surgical Oncology

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

League City, TX


Term: May 17, 2021 to November 30, 2024

Dr. Cristina M. Checka is an assistant professor in the Department of Breast Surgical Oncology, Division of Surgery at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She works within a community-based practice that is uniquely positioned in the longitudinal care of young women.

Dr. Checka's day-to-day work involves breast cancer risk assessment and reduction, survivorship, and the surgical treatment of breast cancer. Her clinical interests include management of women with an increased risk of and with breast cancer. Dr. Checka has worked closely with young, underserved breast cancer patients in urban settings, as well as with rural patients who have unique travel and cost challenges. Dr. Checka earned her medical degree from Michigan State University, completed her residency in general surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and completed her breast surgical oncology fellowship in 2008 at New York University.


Anne H. Blaes, MD, MS

Professor, Department of Medicine, Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN


Term: November 26, 2023 to November 30, 2026

Dr. Anne Blaes is a professor in hematology and oncology at the University of Minnesota, where she also serves as the division director of Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation. She is the director of Cancer Survivorship Services and Translational Research and co-director of the Screening, Prevention, Etiology, and Cancer Survivorship Program in the Masonic Cancer Center. She is an active hematologist and medical oncologist with a special interest in breast cancer, cardio-oncology and cancer survivorship. She is a past chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Cancer Survivorship Committee. She serves on the planning committee for the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the International Cardio-Oncology Society leadership teams, and the American Heart Association Cardio-Oncology Council.

Heather Caro, MBA-HM, BSN

Manager, Alliance Management

Coeur d'Alene, ID


Term: May 13, 2021 to November 30, 2024

Ms. Heather Caro is a manager of alliance management. She is a registered nurse with experience in intensive care, cardiology research, and the pharmaceutical industry and a freelance writer. Despite more than 15 years of experience as a nurse, her most valuable resource has been as a patient, having been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2012 at age 32. Since completing her treatment, she has dedicated herself to helping others through advocacy. She serves as Idaho state lead for the Young Survival Coalition and as a consumer reviewer with the US Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program.

Ashley Dedmon, MPH, CHES®

Breast Cancer Patient and Research Advocate

Manvel, TX


Term: April 1, 2022 to November 30, 2025

Ms. Ashley Dedmon is a native Houstonian. She holds a bachelor of science degree in Community Health from Prairie View A&M University. She also earned a master of public health from Florida A&M University. She is a certified health education specialist and holds a Lean Six Sigma green belt. Ashley has a diverse and multisectoral career background, including in nonprofit education, health care, policy, and government. Her experience has positioned her with unique business acumen.

Ms. Dedmon is a BRCA2+ previvor and was a teen caregiver of two parents with cancer. During her journey, she authored The Big Discovery, a children's book that guides families through a breast cancer diagnosis. She is a research advocate with Houston Methodist Research Institute and a member of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health Physical Sciences-Oncology Advocacy Network, and the Penn Medicine Basser Center for BRCA Young Leadership Council. She volunteers with the Tigerlily Foundation on various health equity initiatives, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) as a peer navigator, and Angels Surviving Cancer. Ms. Dedmon serves on a myriad of related workgroups and committees and has presented at institutions such as MD Anderson Cancer Center, Yale University, Houston Methodist Research Institute, and CURE® Education. When she is not working, she loves to spend time with family and work out.

Jana E. Halaby, MBA

Senior Director, Corporate Strategy


La Jolla, CA


Term: May 12, 2021 to November 30, 2024

Ms. Jana Halaby is the senior director of corporate strategy at Illumina. She has more than 15 years of strategy, marketing, and brand-building experience across an array of industries, giving her a unique perspective on various issues. Her experience across the health care system includes optimizing operations in major health systems, advancing disease self-management through education, and developing and interpreting research to design oncology support programs. Ms. Halaby is also a breast cancer survivor who has a passion for self-advocacy. Her approach to informing herself and others is rooted in a combination of data, evidence, and compassion.

Arin Ahlum Hanson, MPH, CHES

Director of Outreach

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Bala Cynwyd, PA


Term: April 4, 2022 to November 30, 2025

Ms. Arin Ahlum Hanson directs Living Beyond Breast Cancer's (LBBC) strategy for engagement and outreach to under-resourced and special populations, health care providers, and volunteers. As LBBC's director of outreach, she manages LBBC's Young Women's Initiative, which provides educational programs, resources, and support services to women diagnosed with breast cancer before age 45 and educational offerings to health care providers who serve this unique patient population. Ms. Ahlum Hanson has 17 years of experience as a nonprofit program director developing, implementing, and evaluating public health programming for under-resourced populations. She has worked at LBBC since 2009. She lives a dual city and country life by living in West Philadelphia and rural Maryland, with her husband and son.

Samantha Lynn Heller, PhD, MD, FSBI

Associate Professor of Radiology

Perlmutter Cancer Center

New York University School of Medicine

New York, NY


Term: March 31, 2022 to November 30, 2025

Dr. Samantha Lynn Heller is an associate professor of radiology in the Breast Imaging section at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine. She is committed to improving screening outcomes and utilization as well as breast imaging specificity. Dr. Heller is the associate section chief of breast imaging and a director for radiology quality and safety at NYU Langone Health. Dr. Heller graduated from Harvard College and received her doctorate in English literature at Columbia University. She obtained her medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical School followed by an internship at Memorial Sloan Kettering and radiology residency and fellowship training at NYU. After her fellowship, she worked as a breast radiologist in the United Kingdom in the National Health South West London Breast Cancer Screening Service before joining the faculty of NYU School of Medicine.

Michael A. Howard, MD

Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery

Northwestern Medicine

Division of Plastic Surgery

Lake Forest, IL


Term: May 14, 2021 to November 30, 2024

Dr. Michael A. Howard is the clinical associate professor of surgery in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Northwestern Medicine. He is a board-certified plastic surgeon. His practice focuses on reconstructive and aesthetic breast surgery. Dr. Howard's innovative techniques and experience with reconstruction following nipple-sparing mastectomy led to an invitation to co-lead a recurring instructional course for plastic surgeons on this topic at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons' annual meeting. Dr. Howard devotes significant time to education and clinical research. Outside of his medical practice, in keeping with his family's own experience with breast cancer and the breast cancer (BRCA) gene, Dr. Howard serves on the medical expert panel at Bright Pink, an organization focused on young women at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Leigh Hurst

Founder and Executive Director

Feel Your Boobies Foundation®

Harrisburg, PA


Term: May 13, 2021 to November 30, 2024

Ms. Leigh Hurst is the founder and executive director of the Feel Your Boobies Foundation. She is a recognized leader in breast cancer advocacy and a noted social entrepreneur. She is a breast cancer survivor, having been diagnosed at age 33. Her organization, founded in 2004, was the first to focus on the innovative use of technology and social media to promote proactive breast health in young women. Ms. Hurst is a seasoned professional with more than 25 years of design experience and a deep expertise in eLearning, business, and management consulting. She has a unique pedagogical understanding of both cognitive and behavioral learning sciences and their application to technology solutions that create behavior change.

Jennifer Rose Klemp, PhD, MPH, MA

Director of Cancer Survivorship

The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Westwood, KS


Term: November 27, 2023 to November 30, 2026

Dr. Jennifer Rose Klemp is a professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology, the director of cancer survivorship, and the co-program leader for cancer prevention and control at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. Her clinical research practice focuses on cancer genetics and cancer survivorship. Dr. Klemp serves on several national boards, is a subject matter expert in cancer genetics and survivorship, and has peer-reviewed funding. She has presented nationally on cancer genetics, shared decision-making regarding options to manage cancer risk and survivorship issues (including lifestyle modification), and the development and implementation of cancer genetics, survivorship, and navigation programming. In addition to her roles at The University of Kansas Medical Center, she is the Vice President of Global Biopharma Business Development Lead, Biopharma Trials and Networks, at Caris Life Sciences.

Maryam B. Lustberg, MD, MPH

Associate Professor

Yale School of Public Health

Department of Internal Medicine

Yale Cancer Center

New Haven, CT


Term: April 18, 2022 to November 30, 2025

Dr. Maryam B. Lustberg is a breast medical oncologist. She serves as chief of breast oncology and director of the Breast Center at Yale Cancer Center in New Haven, Connecticut. She is the co-chair of symptom intervention for Alliance Clinical Trials and president of MASCC, an international organization devoted to improving cancer supportive care. She treats men and women with all stages of breast cancer with a focus on personalizing all aspects of cancer care. Dr. Lustberg received her medical degree from the University of Maryland, where she completed her residency. She completed a fellowship in medical oncology and breast medical oncology at Ohio State University before joining the faculty in 2010. She earned a master's degree in public health from Ohio State University in 2013.

Rebecca Muñoz, MPH, CHES®

Breast Cancer Survivor and Patient Advocate

Del Valle, TX


Term: March 31, 2022 to November 30, 2023

Ms. Rebecca Muñoz is a young adult breast cancer survivor, diagnosed with triple positive breast cancer in 2017. As she approached her treatment, she experienced many barriers as she attempted to receive cold capping to preserve her hair—and her identity—during her chemotherapy. In 2018, she founded Chemotherapy Cold Cappers, the first global peer-to-peer network to support individuals and their loved ones using scalp cooling methods while undergoing chemotherapy.

Ms. Muñoz is passionate about serving the cancer community and her work focuses on patient research and advocacy. She holds a master of public health degree from Baylor University and a bachelor of arts in organizational and corporate communication from the University of Texas at El Paso. In 2021, she participated in the Éxito Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio. She is pursuing her EdD degree in learning and organizational change with a focus on patient education at Baylor University. She also serves on the Livestrong Cancer Institute's young adult and community cancer advisory boards.

Heather Ochs-Balcom, PhD

Associate Professor

Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health

University at Buffalo, School of Public Health and Health Professions

Buffalo, NY


Term: May 12, 2021 to November 30, 2023

Dr. Heather Ochs-Balcom is an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University at Buffalo, School of Public Health and Health Professions. She has an active research program characterizing how genes contribute to disparities in breast cancer risk for African American women. She has published on her experiences with minority recruitment to cancer epidemiology studies and has been recognized for these efforts. Dr. Ochs-Balcom is committed to the study of cancer health disparities and shedding light on how inherited and behavioral factors contribute to breast cancer risk. She is an outstanding independent researcher whose work is centered on the genetic epidemiology of cancer, particularly breast cancer, with a focus on health disparities.

Melissa A. Peters, CPO, MSPO

Survivor, Founder, Executive Director

Young Breast Cancer Project

Sisters, OR


Term: March 31, 2022 to November 30, 2024

Ms. Melissa A. Peters is a breast cancer survivor and founder and executive director of the nonprofit Young Breast Cancer Project. At 34, with no family history of disease, Ms. Peters faced a delayed diagnosis of 11 months while pregnant. Her primary care physician, obstetrician, and radiologist did not express concerns about her breast health. Four days before giving birth, she was diagnosed with stage IIB invasive ductal carcinoma, and soon learned that she has the BRCA1 gene. While in treatment, she started photographing other young women to raise awareness. Through this work, titled the Breast Cancer Portrait Project, Ms. Peters captured 100 diagnosis stories of adolescent and young adult breast cancer. Her efforts have evolved into community-based research to quantify why women are slipping through the cracks.

Jasmine Dionne Souers

President and Chief Executive Officer

The Missing Pink

Jacksonville, FL


Term: November 27, 2023 to November 30, 2026

Ms. Jasmine Souers is a passionate advocate for young women and people of color affected by breast cancer. Diagnosed with breast cancer at age 26 in 2016, Ms. Souers turned her pain into purpose through volunteerism and advocacy. She co-founded For the Breast of Us, the first inclusive breast cancer community for all women of color. Today, she is the CEO of The Missing Pink Breast Cancer Alliance, connecting change agents to improve the lives of people of color affected by breast cancer. She is a board member for GRASP and lends her experiences and expertise to organizations such as Young Survival Coalition, Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, the Black Women's Health Imperative, and the American Cancer Society's National Breast Cancer Roundtable.

Ex-officio members

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Kisha I. Coa, PhD

Dr. Kisha I. Coa is the director of the Division of Priority Populations in the Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Prior to joining AHRQ, Dr. Coa was a program officer at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, where she oversaw a portfolio of comparative clinical effectiveness research studies focused on health disparities and health systems. Previously, she conducted research in the areas of digital health, cancer control, health behavior change, and health communications. Dr. Coa earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh, an MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, and a PhD in social and behavioral sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health


Health Resources and Services Administration

Nancy Mautone-Smith, MSW, LCSW

Ms. Nancy Mautone-Smith is the director of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Office of Women's Health. In this role, she leads cross-agency initiatives and consultations to advance the health, safety, and well-being of women served by HRSA programs. She oversees activities and initiatives that support the prevention of intimate partner and interpersonal violence, care coordination for women with opioid use disorder, and advancement of cervical health within HRSA settings of care. Ms. Mautone-Smith previously served as the deputy director of the Office on Women's Health from 2016 to 2020.

Prior to coming to HRSA, she served at the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Population Affairs Headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, where she led service delivery program activities of the Title X family planning program. She also worked at the Region 9 Office of the Regional Health Administrator, where she oversaw Title X family planning programs throughout the region. In particular, she enjoyed developing and bringing in-person training and technical assistance to award recipients in the Pacific Region, including Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. A graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, Ms. Smith received the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award for her noteworthy contributions to the social work profession. She retired from the US Public Health Service in 2020 after a career spanning 20 years. Ms. Smith is also a proud Air Force veteran and served as a clinical social worker within mental health and family maltreatment programs at Travis Air Force Base and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Indian Health Service


National Institutes of Health

Jung-Min Lee, MD

Dr. Jung-Min Lee is the assistant clinical investigator in the Women's Malignancies Branch of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Lee is a graduate of Yonsei University, Wonju College of Medicine in South Korea. She completed residency training in internal medicine at Albert Einstein Medical College, followed by a clinical research fellowship on breast cancer functional imaging at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Lee came to the National Cancer Institute for medical oncology training in the Medical Oncology Branch. Subsequently, she joined the Molecular Signaling Section of the Women's Cancers Clinic to investigate potential biomarkers and develop rational combinations of targeted therapies for rare subsets of women's cancers. Dr. Lee maintains her clinical focus in the development of early clinical trials for ovarian cancer and rare subsets of women's cancers, such as BRCA1/2 mutation carriers with ovarian and breast cancers, or women with triple-negative breast cancer. Dr. Lee is a member of the Gynecologic Oncology Group, American Association for Cancer Research, American Society for Clinical Oncology, and the Breast and Gynecologic Malignancies Faculty of the National Cancer Institute's Center for Cancer Research.

Liaison representatives

American Cancer Society


American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Myrlene Jeudy, MD

Assistant Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology

1250 East Marshall Street, 6th Floor

PO Box 980034

Richmond, VA 23298

Phone: 804-828-7877

Fax: 804-628-3585


Black Women's Health Imperative


Lisa N. Kline

Vice President, Marketing and Communications

40 E. Montgomery Avenue, 4th Floor

Ardmore, PA 19003

Phone: 610-642-6550

Fax: 610-642-6559


Bright Pink

Lindsay Avner

Founder and Chairman of the Board

Bright Pink

2045 W Grand Avenue, Suite B #54599

Chicago, IL 60612-1577

Phone: 312-787-4412


FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered

Verinda Hobbs

Partnership Strategy Manager

FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered

16057 Tampa Palms Boulevard W., PMB #373

Tampa, FL 33647

Phone: 954-255-8732


Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Arin Ahlum Hanson, MPH, CHES

Current Committee Member

The National Patient Advocate Foundation

Shonta Chambers, MSW

Executive Vice President, Health Equity Initiatives and Programs

Patient Advocate Foundation

421 Butler Farm Road

Hampton, VA 72366

Phone: 757-952-2544

Fax: 757-952-2533



Adina Fleischmann, LSW, OSW-C

Chief Services Officer


1086 Teaneck Road, Site 2G

Teaneck, NJ 07666

Phone: 201-833-2341

Fax: 201-837-5025


Sisters Network, Inc.


Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Susan Brown, MS, RN

Senior Director, Education & Patient Support

Susan G. Komen

5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 526

Dallas, TX 75244

Phone: 972-855-1635


Tigerlily Foundation

Maimah S. Karmo

Chief Executive Officer

Tigerlily Foundation

11654 Plaza America Drive, #725

Reston, VA 20190

Phone: 888-580-6253

Fax: 703-663-9844


Young Survival Coalition

Jennifer Merschdorf, MBA

Chief Executive Officer

Young Survival Coalition

80 Broad Street, Suite 1700

New York, NY 10004

Phone: 646-257-3001

Fax: 646-257-3030