Jump to Founding Board Members or Board Consultants
Chairman
John C. Lipham, M.D.
James and Pamela Muzzy Endowed Chair
Gastroenterological Cancer
Hoag Memorial Hospital
Chief, Division of Upper GI and General Surgery
University of Southern California
Keck School of Medicine
Director, Hoag-USC Foregut Cancer Program
Los Angeles, California
Vice Chairman
Blair A. Jobe, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Clinical Professor of Surgery
Temple University School of Medicine
Director, Esophageal and Lung Institute
Allegheny Health Network
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Secretary
Jeanelle Taverni, M.B.A.
Area Sales Director
Verax Biomedical
West New York, New Jersey
Treasurer
William J. Hufnell, C.P.A., C.F.P.
Founder and Principal
Bay Point Wealth Management
Annapolis, Maryland
Chairman Emeritus
Bruce D. Greenwald, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
University of Maryland and Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center
Baltimore, Maryland
Steve Bende, Ph.D.
Global Head, Innovation, Franchise
& Product Strategy
Sanofi Pasteur
Swiftwater, Pennsylvania

Sri Komanduri, M.D., M.S., FASGE, AGAF
Medical Director, GI Lab
Director of Interventional Endoscopy
Associate Professor of Medicine and Surgery
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University
Chicago, Illinois

Dana C. Deighton
Director
Strategic Partnerships and Membership
National Geographic Expeditions
Esophageal Cancer Survivor
Alexandria, Virginia

Cheryl K. Middleton
Managing Director
CKM Associates
Baltimore, Maryland

Gary M. Gilbert
A Founding Shareholder
CGA Law Firm
Director, Stewart Companies
Esophageal Cancer Survivor
York, Pennsylvania
Stephen G. Muzzy
Director
MF Partners
Newport Beach, California
Philip O. Katz, M.D., F.A.C.G., A.G.A.F.
Director Motility Laboratories
Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health
Weill Cornell Medicine
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
New York, New York

Michele Rifkin
Customer Service
Trader Joe’s
Esophageal Cancer Survivor
Fox Point, Wisconsin

 Vivek Kaul, M.D., FACG, FASGE, AGAF
Segal-Watson Professorship of Medicine
Chief, Dev. of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Center for Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopy
Co-Director, Developmental Endoscopy Lab
University of Rochester Medical Center
Strong Memorial Hospital
Rochester, New York
Rick Smith, C.P.A.
Shareholder
Gary R. Bozel & Associates, P.A.
Towson, Maryland
 Stephen C. Yang, M.D.
The Arthur and Patricia Modell
Professor of Thoracic Surgery
Professor of Surgery and Oncology
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Baltimore, Maryland
  Mindy Mintz Mordecai
President and CEO
Widow of Esophageal Cancer patient

Founding Board Members

Albert J. Aboulafia
Medical Director
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
John J. Miller
Real Estate Professional
Esophageal Cancer survivor
Scott A. Feeser, M.D.
Internal Medicine
Johns Hopkins Community Physicians
Rachel Miller
Retired Fundraising Professional
Wife of Esophageal Cancer survivor

 

Arlene A. Forastiere, M.D.
Professor of Oncology
Johns Hopkins University , School of Medicine
Leigh Ann Ruggles
Director, Employer Solutions Group
Healthways, Inc.
Melinda Maxwell
Owner, Acadia Broadcast Partners
Widow of Esophageal Cancer patient
David M. Saltzberg, M.D.
Towson Gastroenterology Associates
Andrew Miller
Residential Title
Karen Singer
Senior Vice President and Corporate Counsel
Corporate Office Properties Trust

Jeffery Valentine
Retired Strategic Communications Executive
Health Insurance Industry

Consultant to the Board of Directors

Adam Bass, MD
Gastrointestinal Cancer Center
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Co-Chair, Gastric Project
The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)
of the National Cancer Institute

Officers

John C. Lipham, M.D.
Chairman

John and Pamela Muzzy Endowed Chair
Gastroenterological Cancer
Hoag Memorial Hospital
Chief, Division of Upper GI and General Surgery
University of Southern California
Keck School of Medicine
Director, Hoag-USC Foregut Cancer Program
Los Angeles, California

John C Lipham MD ECAN Board Member

“I wanted to join ECAN because I saw it as the only organization that was truly trying to make a difference and raise awareness about the link between GERD, Barrett’s and Esophageal Cancer. An alarming number of patients are being diagnosed each year with Esophageal Cancer and almost none of them realize that heartburn is what put them at risk for the development of Esophageal Cancer. The only way to impact this disease is by raising awareness and I am confident that ECAN is the organization that can do this.”

John C. Lipham, M.D. is Chief of the Division of Upper GI and General Surgery and Associate Professor of Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Dr. Lipham is also the Director of the USC Digestive Health Center. He serves as the Foregut Cancer Program Director and Chief of USC Affiliated Academic Programs at Hoag Hospital and is the James & Pamela Muzzy Endowed Chair in GI Cancer.

He focuses on benign and malignant diseases of the esophagus and stomach. His clinical interests include the diagnosis and treatment of GERD, hiatal hernias, Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal motility disorders, achalasia, malignant diseases of the esophagus and stomach, and gastroparesis. His current research interests include developing minimally invasive methods of diagnosing and treating gastroesophageal reflux disease, Barrett’s, esophageal cancer and gastric cancer.

Dr. Lipham earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin where he was elected to membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He subsequently completed his internship and residency training in general surgery at USC. During his training at USC, Dr. Lipham had the opportunity to gain further experience in esophageal and gastric surgery by accepting a six-month position as a Senior Surgical Registrar in England. He then went on to complete a thoracic and esophageal surgery fellowship at USC under the direction of Dr. Tom DeMeester. He joined the faculty of USC in 2001.

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Blair A. Jobe, M.D., FACS
Vice Chairman

Clinical Professor of Surgery
Temple University School of Medicine
Director, Esophageal and Lung Institute
Allegheny Health Network
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


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At this stage in my career, I am most interested in efforts to promote the early detection and prevention of esophageal cancer, given the dismal 15 percent survival rate for five years for those diagnosed with esophageal cancer. I look forward to working with the ECAN board on activities promoting greater awareness, prevention and advocacy.”

 

A nationally renowned pioneer in the field of minimally invasive surgery and endoscopic therapy for the treatment of esophageal cancer, Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal mobility disorders and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Dr. Jobe is chief of surgery at West Penn Hospital and director of the Institute for the Treatment of Esophageal and Thoracic Diseases at West Penn Allegheny Health Systems.

A prolific medical researcher and international lecturer, Jobe serves as the principal investigator for two NIH grants that focus on improving early detection of esophageal cancer, specifically on the development of serum and tissue biomarkers, a precursor to a blood test for the early detection and treatment of esophageal cancer.

His numerous honors include being named the 2005 Outstanding Researcher of the Year by the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons and the 2010 Faculty Member of the Year by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Division of Thoracic and Foregut Surgery. He also received a Pittsburgh Business Times’ Health Care Heroes award for his discovery of four protein biomarkers in determining the presence of cancer.

Married and the father of four children, Jobe graduated from Loyola Marymount University and Creighton University School of Medicine, and later completed fellowships at Legacy Emanuel Hospital and Health Center and Swedish Medical Center.

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 Jeanelle Taverni, M.B.A.
Secretary


Area Sales Director
Verax Biomedical
West New York, New Jersey

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My life changed forever in May of 2010 when my boyfriend, Brent Sharpless, was diagnosed with Stage IV Esophageal cancer.  At the time of his diagnosis, Brent was a very active, healthy 36 year-old.  Like many people, he thought that persistent heartburn was an inconvenience rather than a risk-factor for cancer.  Brent fought hard to battle his illness and he was an inspiration to those around him – riding his bike to chemo and radiation treatments, cycling 25 miles to raise money for cancer research, and completing a relay triathlon.  Despite all of his determination, Brent sadly passed away on June 29, 2011, at age 37 – less than 14 months after his diagnosis.

Brent was determined not only to fight hard for himself, but also to raise awareness to help prevent others from going through the perils of Esophageal Cancer.  I became aware of ECAN while Brent was ill and I am inspired by all that it has accomplished.  ECAN is an outstanding organization and it is an honor to serve on the Board of Directors.  I am committed to doing all that I can, including leveraging my sales, marketing, and advocacy experience to further the ECAN mission.  I am extremely passionate about seeing Brent’s hope realized and helping others in their fight against Esophageal Cancer.”

Jeanelle Taverni brings 14 years of healthcare sales and marketing experience to her role as board member of the Esophageal Cancer Action Network.  Jeanelle grew up in New Jersey and received her undergraduate degree in Marketing with a certificate in Gerontology and a minor in communications from West Virginia University in 2001.  After college, she began her career in Pharmaceutical Sales at Abbott Laboratories where she was recognized as ‘Rookie of the Year’.  In mid-2003, Jeanelle transitioned over to Johnson & Johnson where she distinguished herself as one of the top sales representatives nationally, while gaining additional leadership and sales training experience.

Jeanelle was promoted to help launch another Johnson & Johnson company that specialized in Molecular and Cellular Oncology Diagnostics in the Fall of 2006.  This new opportunity brought Jeanelle to Saint Louis, MO, where she also completed the part-time MBA program with a concentration in Entrepreneurship in 2010.  Jeanelle expanded her career by taking over Roche’s Digital Pathology Marketing for the U.S. in 2013.  Most recently, Jeanelle followed her entrepreneurial passion and joined a start-up company, Verax as an Area Sales Director.

The spirit of volunteerism is a cornerstone of Jeanelle’s beliefs.  Jeanelle has volunteer experience as chairperson for the Teams Committee of the Saint Louis chapter of Susan G. Komen, Marketing Chairperson for the Missouri/Arkansas chapter of the Leukemia Society’s Team in Training, an MBA Advisor for Saint Louis University, and a docent at the Saint Louis Zoo.

Jeanelle currently resides in West New York, NJ.  She enjoys cycling, traveling domestically and internationally, and hiking.


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William J. Hufnell, C.P.A., C.F.A
Treasurer

Founder and Principle
Bay Point Wealth Management
Annapolis, Maryland

Bill Hufnell photo
ECAN’s mission of increasing awareness about the link between heartburn and cancer is critical. There generally seems to be a lack of understanding in the public of the potential seriousness of the long-term effects of living with heartburn. I hope to provide the support at the board level to assure the organization meets its goals.”

William J. Hufnell is founder and principal at Bay Point Wealth Management. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University in accounting and his Master’s degree in finance from Johns Hopkins University. Bill is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with extensive knowledge in federal income tax laws and federal estate tax laws.

He is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, the most highly regarded designation within the financial planning industry. Bill is an active member of the National Association of Professional Financial Advisors, the foremost professional association for fee-only financial advisors, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants.

In addition to his 19 years of extensive wealth management planning experience with Bay Point, Bill was previously employed with a Fortune 100 corporation for 10 years, working in the areas of business planning, corporate retirement plans, employee benefits and compensation, and financial reporting.

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Bruce D. Greenwald, M.D.
Chairman Emeritus

Professor of Medicine
University of Maryland
Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center
Baltimore, Maryland
Founding Board Member

Bruce Greenwald Photo

“As a gastroenterologist dedicated to fighting esophageal cancer, I fully support ECAN’s efforts in improving awareness of this disease and improving awareness of heartburn as a risk factor.”

Bruce D. Greenwald, MD is a cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College and graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine magna cum laude in 1987. He completed Internal Medicine internship and residency training at the University of Virginia Hospital, then returned to the University of Maryland to complete fellowship training in Gastroenterology. After serving as chief medical resident for one year, he joined the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1993. He was promoted to Professor of Medicine in 2009.

Dr. Greenwald’s clinical and research interests focus on cancer and pre-cancerous conditions of the esophagus. Early in his career his research focused on genetic and epigenetic changes in the esophagus in cancer and Barrett’s esophagus. More recently his research has centered around minimally invasive staging methods and endoscopic treatments for esophageal cancer. He has pioneered the use of low pressure liquid nitrogen spray cryotherapy for the treatment of Barrett’s esophagus with high-grade dysplasia and early stage esophageal cancer. He is an active member of the Thoracic Oncology Program of the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center at the University of Maryland.

Dr. Greenwald has authored 44 peer-reviewed publications, 17 non-peer reviewed publications, and 7 book chapters, many focused on esophageal disease. He is active in clinical care, teaching, and research.  Bruce served as ECAN’s first Chairman of the Board, a position he held for more than seven years.

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Board Members

Steve Bende, Ph.D.

Global Head, Innovation, Franchise & Product Strategy
Sanofi Pasteur
Swiftwater, Pennsylvania

Steve Bende

“I am honored to join the ECAN Board of Directors to raise awareness and ultimately conquer esophageal cancer.”

Dr. Steve Bende is head of Innovation, Franchise & Product Strategy for Global Commercial Operations at Sanofi Pasteur. Previously, he served as a consultant with the Livingston Group, providing strategic science and business counsel, federal resource/non-dilutive capital development assistance, government relations, and market analysis and strategic communications services to companies, universities, research institutions and not-for-profits. Before rejoining the Livingston Group, he was Senior Policy Advisor in the National Vaccine Program Office where he was responsible for R&D and vaccine safety efforts, and served as industry liaison while earning an award from the Assistant Secretary for Health for his contributions to increasing adult immunization rates.

Prior to joining NVPO, Dr. Bende served as CEO of Bacilligen, an emerging biotech company, funded by NIH and the State of Maryland, which focused on infectious disease vaccines and cancer therapeutics, and which collaborated with the US Army on a biodefense vaccine. While CEO of Bacilligen, Dr. Bende served on three working groups of the State of Maryland Governor’s Life Sciences Advisory Board; he also served as an SBIR commercial reviewer for The National Science Foundation. Dr. Bende serves on the Tenant Review Committee of the Montgomery County Maryland Incubator Network, where Bacilligen had been accepted as a resident company.

Before joining Bacilligen, he consulted in private practice and in affiliation with The Livingston Group, provided strategic science and business counsel, federal resource/non-dilutive capital development assistance, government relations, and market analysis and strategic communications services to a variety of organizations.

Previously, Bende served as Vice President of Scientific Affairs at the Generic Pharmaceutical Association. Before joining GPhA, Bende worked in the Laboratory of Immunoregulation at NIAID/NIH studying the AIDS virus, and subsequently coordinated funding of AIDS vaccine research and development at NIAID’s Division of AIDS. Bende served as Executive Secretary of the NIH AIDS Vaccine Research Committee, which was assembled to advise NIH on HIV vaccine research strategy. While at NIH, Bende received seven Department of Health and Human Services awards, including the NIH Director’s Award.

Dr. Bende is Chair of the ECAN Advocacy Committee.

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Dana C. Deighton

Director
Strategic Partnerships and Membership
National Geographic Expeditions
Esophageal Cancer Survivor
Alexandria, Virginia

Dana Deighton

“Having lost my mom to colon cancer, I thought I knew how to protect myself and had already had several cancer screenings.  But out of nowhere, at age 43, my life changed instantly when I was diagnosed with Stage IV esophageal cancer.  A nonsmoker, having always eaten healthy and exercised regularly (with no symptoms of reflux, etc.), I was terrified and really thought my days were numbered.  But through perseverance, lots of self advocacy, and an amazing integrated team of compassionate physicians, I’m living a very healthy, active life — something that was never presented as a possibility.  I look forward to sharing my insight and experience with ECAN to help advance awareness, medical care, and hope for others.

Dana Deighton began her career at National Geographic in 1992, working mostly in marketing and publishing before joining the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World team in 2013. She also helped create and manage the award‐winning National Geographic Kids Hands-On Explorer Challenge, an annual contest for kids culminating in a National Geographic Expedition to places such as The Galapagos Islands, South Africa, Peru, Australia, and more.

Deighton graduated from Loyola University Maryland with a B.A. in political science and a concentration in international business.  A health enthusiast, runner and community volunteer, Dana stays busy with her husband and three children.

Ms. Deighton is a survivor of Esophageal Cancer and is chair of ECAN’s Marketing Committee.

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 Gary M. Gilbert

Founding Shareholder
CGA Law Firm
Director, The Stewart Companies
Esophageal Cancer Survivor
York, Pennsylvania

Gary Gilbert Board Member

Gary Gilbert is one of the founding shareholders of CGA Law Firm. He began practicing with the firm, then Laucks & Monroe in 1967. Gary developed a particular expertise for dealing with business matters–based on his education and personal experience. Through his participation in a number of local boards, he developed a keen understanding of how business owners think and how to meet their needs. For more than 40 years he has honed these skills to serve his clients. He believes his success hinges on his ability to become a trusted advisor to his clients.

One particular niche area of practice for Gary is business sales and transfers and succession planning. He has a large number of family-owned and closely-held business clients. He works with these clients to ensure optimum terms for the transfer of business interests to the next generation, including consideration of family dynamics to minimize conflicts. He has considerable experience in general ongoing business counseling and in the transfer of business interests. He is able to counsel his clients on matters pertaining to the purchase and sale of assets, business valuation, transfer of stocks, buy-sell agreements and contractual matters. In addition, Gary draws on the expertise of other resources within CGA Law Firm to ensure his clients receive the expert advice they need on matters such as tax planning, estate planning and administration, family law and bankruptcy. He is experienced in tailoring partnership and operating agreements within IRS guidelines to facilitate tax-advantaged transfers of business interests.

Mr. Gilbert holds a bachelor of arts degree in Economics and Finance as well as a law degree, both from Valparaiso University. He is admitted to the Bar of United States Supreme Court and the State of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Gilbert is a survivor of Esophageal Cancer and is chairman of the ECAN Board Development Committee.

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 Philip O. Katz, M.D., FACG, AGAF

Director Motility Laboratories
Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health
Weill Cornell Medicine
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
New York, New York

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“Esophageal cancer is potentially a preventable disease. Heightened awareness of the patient risks so that appropriate screening and surveillance can be done is crucial in saving lives. ECAN is dedicated to prevention and finding a cure for this disease.”

Philip O. Katz, M.D. is the Director of Motility Laboratories at the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health, Weill Cornell Medicine, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in New York City.

Before joining the Monahan Center, Dr. Katz was Clinical Professor of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College and Chairman of the Division of Gastroenterology at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was also Associate Program Director of the Department of Medicine at Albert Einstein Medical Center. Dr. Katz received his medical degree from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He served his residency and chief residency in internal medicine, followed by a fellowship in gastroenterology at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine. He completed a faculty development fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He is board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology.

Dr. Katz is the current Past President of the American College of Gastroenterology (2009-2010) and is a member of the American Gastroenterological Association and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

A recognized national authority on esophageal disease, Dr. Katz’s research interests include all aspects of gastroesophageal reflux disease, including nocturnal recovery of gastric acid secretion during proton pump inhibitor therapy and esophageal pain perception. Dr. Katz is a practicing clinician with active teaching and editorial positions. In addition to lecturing on many gastroenterology-related topics, Dr. Katz is an editorial reviewer for Annals of Internal Medicine, American Journal of Gastroenterology, Gastroenterology, and Digestive Diseases and Sciences. He has contributed to the publication of over 150 peer-reviewed papers, as well as numerous abstracts, books, book chapters, and monographs.

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Vivek Kaul, M.D., FACG, FASGE, AGAF


Segal-Watson Professorship of Medicine
Chief, Dev. of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Center for Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopy
Co-Director, Developmental Endoscopy Lab
University of Rochester Medical Center
Strong Memorial Hospital
Rochester, New York

vivek kaul

Vivek Kaul, M.D. is chief of the department of medicine, gastroenterology/hepatology and the Segal-Watson Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center.Dr. Kaul’s clinical interests include advanced therapeutic endoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, ERCP, esophageal endotherapy and hepatobiliary disease. His work has been published in a number of journals such as Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, The American Journal of Gastroenterology and Liver Transplantation.Dr. Kaul has won numerous awards over the course of his career, including the Maimonides Society’s Scientific Paper Best Manuscript Award. He has also achieved outstanding overall annual proficiency rating as teaching and clinical staff at the Syracuse (N.Y.) Veterans Administration Medical Center from 2001 to 2008.

Dr. Kaul attended medical school at Delhi University in New Delhi, India. He completed his internal medicine residency at SUNY-Downstate Medical University in New York and a gastroenterology fellowship at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.

Dr. Kaul is Moderator of the update of ECAN’s Guide for Patients and a member of the ECAN Medical Committee.

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Sri Komanduri, M.D., M.S., F.A.S.G.E., AGAF

Medical Director, GI Lab
Director of Interventional Endoscopy
Associate Professor of Medicine and Surgery
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University
Chicago, Illinois

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It is essential that we continue to develop innovative strategies on all fronts to stop the rise in esophageal cancer in the United States.  Working with visionary organizations such as ECAN to educate the public is critical in reaching this goal.”

A leader in therapeutic endoscopy for the past 14 years with a track record for research in Barrett’s esophagus and Esophageal Cancer, Komanduri is the director of interventional endoscopy and medical director of the GI Lab at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

He also serves as an associate professor of medicine (gastroenterology and hepatology) and surgery (gastrointestinal) at the Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern University, where he received Teaching Attending Physician of the Year honors.

Komanduri received his bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University of Miami, followed by a master’s degree in clinical research from Rush Medical College, where he also completed a fellowship in gastroenterology.  Additionally, he completed a fellowship in therapeutic endoscopy at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a residency at Rush University Medical Center,

A fellow in the American Gastroenterological Association and American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Dr. Komanduri most recently was appointed as vice-chair for the AGA’s Center for GI Innovation and Technology.  He lives in Downers Grove, Illinois with his wife and children.

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 Cheryl K. Middleton
Secretary

Managing Director
CKM Associates
Baltimore, Maryland

Cheryl Middleton

“As someone who has lived with GERD for more than 12 years, I understand and appreciate the need for greater awareness of the link between heartburn and cancer. Esophageal cancer is one of the most easily preventable cancers, but it is growing at an astounding rate. I am pleased to lend my experience to ECAN so that together, we can make esophageal cancer a rare diagnosis that has a hopeful outcome.”

Cheryl Middleton is a strategy, innovation and new product development consultant who helps organizations develop and implement processes to take ideas from the ‘fuzzy front end’ through to launching a product and creating a revenue stream. She has been a practitioner and a consultant in the fields of strategy, innovation, and new product development. Cheryl has co-founded two software development firms as VP of Sales and Marketing and was co-founder and Managing Director of an international consulting firm specializing in innovation.

As a consultant, she has conducted innovation, new product development, and strategic planning projects for clients in Europe, South Africa and throughout the United States. Past clients include BMW AG (Munich), Sony Electronics Design USA, Siemens AG (Munich), BorgWarner, EATON Corp., Bank of America, the United States Air Force, and Towers Watson.

She began her career in AT&T’s well-regarded Management Trainee program, went on to work in the banking industry and then co-founded two successful firms that sold ground-breaking technology for software developers at Fortune 500 firms. As a practitioner and also as a consultant, she has taken products to market and developed them into multi-million dollar revenue sources and has worked with other thought leaders in the innovation arena at IBM, Harvard Business School, The Quandt Foundation, and Ernst & Young’s Center for Business Innovation in Cambridge MA.

Cheryl has extensive experience working in leadership roles with non-profit organizations, including serving on the Board and as President of the Maryland Chapter of the Product Development Management Association and The Homeland Association.

Cheryl served as ECAN Secretary for five years.


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Stephen G. Muzzy

Director
MF Partners
Newport Beach, California

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Steve Muzzy is a Director with MF Partners, an investment partnership that focuses on late-stage private equity and real estate investment opportunities.

Steve also serves as an Independent Director for Strategic Storage Growth Trust, a public, non-traded self-storage real estate investment trust; as an Independent Director for Strategic Storage Trust IV, a public-non-traded self-storage real estate investment trust; as a member of the Board of Advisors at the Paul Merage School of Business, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of California, Irvine; as a member of the Board of Visitors at the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona; and as Principal of MZ Advisors, a full-service advisory firm providing consultant services to private foundations, schools, churches, and other non-profit organizations.

Prior to his current endeavors, Steve was a banker.  He began his banking career with Wells Fargo in 1994, working seven years within Wells Fargo’s Community Bank where he managed various branch offices throughout southern California.  In 2001, Steve took on new responsibilities as he moved into Wells Fargo’s commercial banking group.  Steve spent time at Commerce National Bank, JPMorgan Chase and, most recently, with OneWest Bank’s middle market banking group.

Steve earned his Bachelors of Arts degree in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Pepperdine University.  He is also an alum of the Social Enterprise Executive Education program at Harvard Business School.

A strong supporter of the community, Steve is currently serving as a board chair for Casa Teresa, and chair of the advancement committee at Santa Margarita Catholic High School.  He also serves or has served as a board member at several other non-profit organizations including the Orange Catholic Foundation, Mission Hospital Foundation, Second Harvest Food Bank and Team Kids.  Steve supports causes that focus on protecting life, Catholic education, and serving the underprivileged and marginalized within Orange County.  He resides in Coto de Caza with his wife and their three children.

Steve is co-chairman of ECAN’s Resource Development Committee.

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 Michele Rifkin


Customer Service
Trader Joe’s
Esophageal Cancer Survivor
Fox Point, Wisconsin

michele rifkin

You have to have a passion in life. It woke me up when I was told I had Stage III Esophageal Cancer. I thought to myself, ‘This is it.’ I am committed to turn the negative of what happened to me into a positive, to tell the world that this could happen to you.”

Michele Rifkin is an Esophageal Cancer survivor who has set a goal of “paying it forward.” Before her formal participation with ECAN, Michele reached out to create the opportunity for several media interviews and speaking appearances, telling her story and spreading ECAN’s message that heartburn can cause cancer.

Michele has worked for the past nine years as Customer Service Manager at Trader Joe’s near her home in Fox Point, Wisconsin, in suburban Milwaukee. There, she serves as “the eyes of the store” in ensuring a superb customer shopping experience and reaching out to make sure customers are satisfied.  Her passion for her work is the same passion she brings to ECAN’s mission and her role as friend and mentor to those who know her. The mother of four lives in suburban Milwaukee with her husband Lorry and one teenaged son.

Michele is a survivor of Esophageal Cancer and co-chairman of ECAN’s Resource Development Committee.

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Rick Smith, C.P.A.

Shareholder
Gary R. Bozel & Associates, P.A.
Towson, Maryland

Rick Smith Photo

“Having served on the board of a well established national charity, I welcomed the opportunity to use my skills in helping to build ECAN and advance its mission to bring awareness to the general public.”

Rick Smith is a Certified Public Accountant and shareholder with Gary R. Bozel & Associates, P.A. a medium sized firm based in Towson MD. Rick has 35 years experience as a CPA in both the public and private sector.  Rick served as ECAN’s Treasurer and key member of the Executive Committee for eight years during the important early years of the organization’s development.

He served as an auditor and controller for a large national homebuilder for 7 years of his career. His public experience covers a wide range of services and clients including financial statement preparation, litigation services and tax planning in regard to for profit and not for profit entities.

Rick served as President and Treasurer of his homeowners association for 5 years which consisted of 280 single family homes. His more recent responsibilities include serving on the board of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore for the past 14 years in the position of chairman overseeing investments, finance and operations as well as serving as an officer on the Executive Committee as Treasurer.

Rick is married with two children.  He served as ECAN’s Treasurer and a key member of the Executive Committee for eight years during the important start-up phase of the organization’s development.

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Stephen C. Yang, M.D.

The Arthur and Patricia Modell
Professor of Thoracic Surgery

Professor of Surgery and Oncology
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Baltimore, Maryland
Founding Board Member

Stephen Yang Photo

Stephen C. Yang, M.D. is The Arthur B. and Patricia B. Modell Professor of Thoracic Surgery and Professor of Surgery and Oncology at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. He serves as the medical student Surgical Clerkship and Curriculum Director, Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program, and Associate Director of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency. Completing his undergraduate studies at Duke University and medical degree at the Medical College of Virginia, his training included a general surgical residency at the University of Texas Health Science in Houston, a 3-year thoracic surgical research fellowship at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and a cardiothoracic surgical fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia.

He is the recipient of the 2006 Thoracic Surgery Directors Association Mentor Award, and the 2008 Johns Hopkins Deans Faculty Award for Clinical Teaching. He chairs the Institutional effort in faculty development and educating all faculty in developing their own personal educators’ portfolio. He serves on numerous national and international committees including the Taskforce Chair on the “Looking to the Future” Residency Scholarships for the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and the Chair-elect of the Surgery Clerkship Directors Association. He is the Thoracic Surgery Section Editor for The Annals of Surgical Oncology, co-editor of the book “Current Therapy in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery”, and book series editor-in-chief of “The Early Diagnosis of Cancer.”

His laboratory research interests include using molecular techniques for lung cancer screening and predicting recurrence following surgical resection. His clinical practice and research covers the breadth of general thoracic surgery in pulmonary and esophageal surgery, video-assisted and robotic thoracic surgery, mediastinal and pleural diseases, lung volume reduction surgery for emphysema, and work in the areas of patient safety and geriatric thoracic surgery. Dr. Yang is chair of ECAN’s medical research committee.

Dr. Yang is chair of ECAN’s medical research committee.

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Mindy Mintz Mordecai


President and CEO
Widow of Esophageal Cancer patient

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“This effort is borne out of my frustration that a disease that could have been cured if found at an early stage stole our family’s happily ever after. Few things are more important to me than working to make sure other families do not suffer the pain esophageal cancer has caused my loved ones.”

ECAN’s founder, President and Chief Executive Officer Mindy Mintz Mordecai is an experienced, award-winning media professional and attorney with a proven track record for leadership of nonprofit organizations that achieve positive change on issues of public importance. Ms. Mordecai is passionate about the work of ECAN in large part because she lost her husband of 14 years to Esophageal Cancer in 2008.

Prior to launching this organization, she had been an award-winning television reporter and anchor for two decades, working for the past ten years as a reporter and host for Maryland Public Television where her work received several Emmy nominations. Ms. Mordecai consistently garnered top journalistic honors while reporting and anchoring at commercial television stations in the Midwest prior to moving to Baltimore to report and anchor for WBAL-TV in 1986. Ms. Mordecai also worked in public radio for several years, selected in 1998 as Baltimore City Paper’s Best Radio Talk Show Host.

In 1989, she graduated with honor from the University of Maryland School of Law and upon graduation became a litigator at Smith, Somerville & Case in Baltimore. In 1991, Ms. Mordecai was recruited to develop and lead an education advocacy project for Advocates for Children and Youth where her work resulted in better educational opportunities for Baltimore City Public School students. She later served as director of Public Safety Policy for the Greater Baltimore Committee where she spearheaded an effort to increase public funding of drug treatment and raised more than $2,000,000 from corporate and foundation sources to establish a community court in downtown Baltimore.

Ms. Mordecai is the mother of two daughters and resides in Baltimore County, Maryland.

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Consultant to Board of Directors

 

Adam Bass, M.D.


Medical Research Consultant
Gastrointestinal Cancer Center
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Co-Chair, Gastric Project
The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)
of the National Cancer Institute

Adam Bass photo

The announcement that TCGA will be sponsoring a project to characterize the genome of esophageal adenocarcinoma is of profound importance. In the recent years, many of the most successful new therapies for cancer have directly followed better understanding of the critical genetic mutations that are commonly found in specific tumor types.
In esophageal cancer, however, we have woefully inadequate understanding of the patterns of genomic alterations. This new project has immense potential to open new areas of biological inquiry into esophageal cancer development and to identify new therapeutic targets for this deadly disease.
I commend ECAN for their tireless advocacy that helped make this project a reality
.”

Dr. Adam Bass is a graduate of Amherst College and Duke University School of Medicine and did his clinical training in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and in medical oncology at the Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Center. Following his clinical training, Dr. Bass performed post-doctoral research training in cancer genomics.

He is currently a physician in the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where he also runs an independent laboratory research program focused on understanding the genomic aberrations responsible for the development of esophageal cancer and other gastrointestinal tumors. Through this work, he hopes to establish a foundation for the development of therapeutic strategies where individual patients’ tumors can be treated based upon the specific genetic alterations in their cancer.

Dr. Bass is co-chair of the Gastric Cancer project of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) of the National Cancer Institute.

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Founding Board Members (Retired)


Albert J. Aboulafia, M.D.

Medical Director
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
Albert Aboulafia Photo

“Treating patients with cancer all of my adult life did not lessen the sadness and feeling of helplessness that I had watching my friend Monte Mordecai and his family combat esophageal cancer. In addition to my personal attachment to this cause, I feel strongly about the mission of ECAN and hope and believe that I can make a meaningful contribution to its goals.”

Albert J. Aboulafia, MD, a renowned leader in cancer care, is Director of the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Cancer Institute at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center. He oversees the divisions of Medical Oncology, Surgical Oncology, the Breast Center, the CyberKnife® Center and the Tumor Registry.

A nationally and internationally recognized leader in the clinical and research aspects of cancer care, Dr. Aboulafia remains active in academics, publications, editorial boards, research and teaching. He also serves in various national leadership positions including President of The Musculoskeletal Tumor Society and The Baltimore City Medical Society.

Dr. Aboulafia is a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School. He completed his residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA and his fellowship in Orthopaedic Oncology at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. Dr. Aboulafia also received an MBA from The Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business.

Dr. Aboulafia previously served as Co-Director of Sarcoma Services at the Alvin and Lois Lapidus Cancer Center of Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He also served as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Maryland. Dr. Aboulafia serves on the editorial board of numerous orthopedic journals and publications. He has authored more than 50 peer reviewed journal articles and has authored numerous textbook chapters and has served on the faculty of over 100 courses both nationally and internationally. Dr. Aboulafia is the proud father of two teenaged daughters, Arielle and Alanna.

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Scott A. Feeser, M.D.

Internal Medicine
Johns Hopkins Community Physicians
Founding Board Member

Scott Feeser Photo

“I support ECAN and its mission to help prevent esophageal cancer because I’ve seen the devastating effects of esophageal cancer both among my friends and my patients. As a primary care doctor, much of my time is devoted to helping patients either prevent disease by living healthfully or detect deadly diseases early enough to be cured. Because treatments for advanced esophageal cancer are rarely curative, early detection is essential. ECAN can help make early detection more the norm than it is currently.”

Scott Feeser, MD, a primary care doctor since 1993, is currently the Office Medical Director at Johns Hopkins Community Physicians (JHCP) at Water’s Edge, and is also the Director of Patient-Centered Medical Home for JHCP.

Dr. Feeser earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at Duke University, graduating summa cum laude in 1982. He then obtained a Master’s in mechanical engineering at University of California, Berkeley in 1983 and subsequently worked for 3 years at the RCA David Sarnoff Reasearch Laboratory developing robotics automation.

Dr. Feeser returned to Duke for medical school, graduating in 1990, and completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. He has worked with Johns Hopkins since finishing residency. Dr. Feeser lives with his wife and 2 children in Baltimore.

Back to the topArlene A. Forastiere, M.D.
Professor of Oncology
Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
Founding Board Member

Arlene Forastiere

I serve on the ECAN Board of Directors because of my belief in the need for a strong esophageal cancer advocacy group to promote public awareness of this disease and to lobby for greater funding of esophageal cancer research from government and from philanthropy.”

Arlene A. Forastiere, MD is an internationally recognized expert in the treatment of head and neck and esophageal cancers. Dr. Forastiere has made numerous research contributions that have led to the current standards of care for the curative treatment of these diseases. Dr. Forastiere is Professor of Oncology, and Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, and Radiation Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

She completed a Research Fellowship in Hematology-Oncology at Meorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1980 and subsequently was Senior Investigator at the National Cancer Institute-Baltimore Cancer Research Program and on the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Forastiere then joined the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School and was Director of Hematology-Oncology at the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Medical Center.

She has been on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine since 1988. Dr. Forastiere is the Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs at ITA Partners, Philadelphia, PA., where she focuses on health care strategies to improve access to quality care for cancer patients.

Back to the topMelinda Maxwell
Owner, Acadia Broadcast Partners
Widow of Esophageal Cancer Patient

Melinda Maxwell Photo

“I don’t want another person to suffer the heartbreak my family and I have felt after losing such a vital man in the prime of his life. No one should die from a disease which could have been successfully treated if only it was discovered at an earlier stage.”

Melinda Maxwell has worked in radio since 1971 and in radio sales since 1980. With decades of experience, in 1997 she and her husband, Conrad Maxwell, a veteran radio broadcaster with 25 years in radio management, joined forces with another veteran radio partner to start their own radio stations. Today, Ms. Maxwell is co-owner of three radio stations throughout Louisiana.

In January of 2005, her husband Conrad was diagnosed with stage three esophageal cancer. Like so many others, the Maxwells had never heard of esophageal cancer. Her husband’s first indication that something was wrong was the heartburn he had all the time. When Conrad Maxwell choked on a piece of food and had pain in his chest, his primary care doctor gave him a prescription. It was Mrs. Maxwell who insisted that her husband go to specialist for an upper endoscopy and that was when the cancer was discovered. Three and a half years later, after treatment at MD Anderson and Duke University, Mr. Maxwell lost his battle with esophageal cancer. He was just 56 years old and was expecting his first grandchild.

Back to the topAndrew Miller
Residential Title

Andy Miller Photo

“I became interested in ECAN after the death of my friend, Monte Mordecai. I just knew that I wanted to do something to spread the word about the dangers of this dreaded disease and for the first time in my life, I felt that I, myself, could actually make a difference. As one of the only lay-persons on the Board, I feel that I bring a unique perspective to the group and I look forward to the challenges that lay ahead for us.“

A lifelong resident of the Baltimore area, Andrew Miller is a graduate of The Park School and the University of Vermont, where he majored in Sociology and Aging. After years in Outside Sales, Andy has spent the last eight years in the Title Industry, and becoming a licensed Settlement Agent in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Andy is married to Dr. Randi Miller, a Baltimore-area Psychologist, and has two daughters, ages 16 and 13. He enjoys live sporting events, live music, and is an avid reade

Back to the topJohn J. Miller
Real Estate Professional
Esophageal Cancer survivor

John Miller Photo

“The incidence of esophageal cancer is rapidly growing in the United States. As a three-year survivor of esophageal cancer, I am a fervent believer and advocate of increased awareness and early detection of this dangerous disease.”

Mr. Miller’s professional career spanned more than 40 years in the engineering, information technology and strategic planning fields. After graduating from the US Merchant Marine Academy with a BS, Marine Engineering, Mr. Miller spent several years as an engineering officer aboard various American-flag merchant vessels.

Coming ‘ashore,’ he served as the Training Director for the Washington Engineering Services Company (WESCO), the Director of Custom Business Application Development for LEASCO (a major computer company), senior system analyst for Operations Research, Inc. (ORI), and then he spent over 31 years in the Federal Government, primarily with the Department of Justice.

During his tenure as a federal employee, Mr. Miller served as the Director, Automated Systems Development (Office of Information Management); Director of Special Studies (Office of Information Systems); and the Director of Strategic and Tactical Planning (Technology Information Technology).

Back to the topRachel Miller
Retired Fundraising Professional
Wife of Esophageal Cancer survivor

Rachel Miller Photo

“Esophageal Cancer changed our lives forever. I know how lucky my family is that my husband survived this horrible disease, and now I want to help others. I am committed to increasing public awareness of the risk caused by reflux, and of the need for early detection.“

 

Ms. Miller’s career spanned fourteen years in the non-profit sector as Associate Regional Director for the United Way of Central Maryland; Director, American Heart Association, Maryland Region; and Associate Director for Howard Hospital Foundation. Prior to working in the non-profit sector, Ms. Miller spent ten years at The Ryland Group, Inc. and worked in the areas of marketing, public relations and training.

Ms. Miller’s husband was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in January, 2007 – he is a three-year survivor. She feels strongly about the need to create greater public awareness and increased early detection.

Back to the topLeigh Ann Ruggles
Director, Employer Solutions Group
Healthways, Inc.

Leigh Ann Ruggles Photo

“I support ECAN because its cause is simple yet profound. To spread the message of how esophageal cancer is caused will have a tremendous impact on hundreds of thousands of families.”

Leigh Ann Ruggles is Director of Business Development in the Employer Solutions Group for Healthways, Inc., the leading provider of specialized, comprehensive solutions to help millions of people maintain or improve their health and well-being and, as a result, reduce overall costs. As part of the Employer Solutions Group, she works with health plan partners to develop and support new business with self-insured employer groups who are seeking solutions to help healthy individuals stay healthy, mitigate and slow the progression of disease associated with family or lifestyle risk factors and promote the best possible health for those already affected by disease.

Leigh Ann served as the President of the Board of Directors of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Mid-Atlantic Chapter. She also helped found the Potomac Chapter of Women in Technolgoy, International (WITI) and served as a Steering Committee Member of the Mentor-Protégé Program for Women in Technology.

Leigh Ann graduated from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She enjoys traveling, restoring historic homes with her husband, and participating in sprint triathlons, although not actually sprinting them.

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David M. Saltzberg, M.D.
Towson Gastroenterology Associates

David Saltzberg Photo

“As a gastroenterologist, I have seen first hand the pain and suffering associated with esophageal cancer. Acid reflux plays a primary role in the development of this difficult to treat problem. My hope is that ECAN can educate people with acid reflux to see their physicians and receive treatment before cancer develops. For those with cancer, we can offer support and direct them to resources to assist them in their battle with esophageal cancer.“

 

David M. Saltzberg, MD is a graduate of The Boston University School of Medicine. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at The Medical College of Virginia Hospital and a fellowship in Gastroenterology at Temple University Hospital. After spending six years on the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, he entered the private practice of gastroenterology in 1990. Currently, he is a partner at Towson Gastroenterology Associates, and serves as Medical Director of Lutherville Endoscopy Center.

He has been married to Elise for more than twenty years and they have three children. He holds a M.A. degree in Jewish History from Baltimore Hebrew University, and is a board member and manager for Wellwood Little League Baseball.

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Karen M. Singer
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Corporate Office Properties Trust

 

 

 

Karen Singer Photo

“There is a lot of work to be done to educate the public to achieve an earlier diagnosis, additional testing for patients and additional dedicated research funds to find a cure or cessation to this disease. I could not think of a better organization than ECAN to dedicate my resources and am happy to serve on the ECAN Board to help achieve those goals.”

Karen M. Singer is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Corporate Office Properties Trust. She is responsible for all legal matters and supervises the Company’s legal department. Ms. Singer has been involved with the creation of all leases, sales contracts, financing documents and other legal instruments involving the company since 1996 when she joined the company as Assistant General Counsel. Ms. Singer was promoted to Associate General Counsel in 1999 and then to General Counsel in 2004.

Prior to joining the Company, Ms. Singer was with the law firm of Weinberg & Green (now known as Saul, Ewing). Ms. Singer graduated cum laude with a BS in Economics from the Wharton School and obtained her law degree from the University of Virginia, where she graduated Order of the Coif and was a member of the Phi Delta Phi Honor Society. She is a member of the Maryland State and the American Bar Associations.

Ms. Singer participates in several civic organizations such as CREW-Baltimore and is a member of the Board of Directors of Art With A Heart, Inc., Maryland Zoological Association, Inc.

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Jeffery Valentine

Retired Strategic Communications Executive
Health Insurance Industry
Baltimore, Maryland
Founding Board Member

Jeffery Valentine Photo

“The illness and subsequent death from esophageal cancer of one of my dearest friends, and the impact of that loss on my friend’s family and friends, motivated me to get involved in efforts to increase awareness about this little-known and -understood disease. Through greater awareness, we hope to promote additional focus on research that might lead to an eventual cure for this terrible disease.”

Jeff Valentine brings 40 years of experience in communications and public policy to his role as vice chairman of the Esophageal Cancer Action Network (ECAN). He retired in 2014 from his post as Associate Vice President of Strategic Communications for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the Mid-Atlantic Region’s largest health insurer with more than 3.4 million members in Maryland, Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Earlier, he served as Deputy Director and Vice President of Public Policy for the Greater Baltimore Committee, a private sector, economic development organization comprised of the region’s largest employers. Earlier in his career, Jeff worked 10 years as a reporter and editor for the Baltimore Evening Sun, where he covered government and politics for Baltimore City, Baltimore County and the State of Maryland. A graduate of the University of Maryland – College Park, Jeff also serves on the Board of Leadership-Baltimore County and recently stepped down after 14 years as a Director of the Maryland School for the Blind.

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