They Medical Advisory Board of Say YES to Hope is composed of distinguished leading academic oncologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, oncology nurses and other dedicated specialists working within the field of advanced cancer, representing many of the major cancer centers in the United States. All have made outstanding contributions in their own fields of expertise. We are proud to have their involvement on our behalf.
Ahmed Kamel Abdel Aal, MD, PhD, FSIR
Dr. Kamel is a Professor of Radiology and Internal Medicine, the Chief of Vascular and Interventional Radiology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and the Director of Interventional Radiology at LBJ Hospital in Houston. Dr. Kamel is American board certified in Radiology and Interventional Radiology. He received fellowship training in Vascular and Interventional Radiology as well as Neuroradiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Kamel holds Master’s of Science and PhD degrees in Radiology. He was awarded the “Top ten faculty award for excellence in resident education” from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the “Certificate of Merit Award” from the Radiological Society of North America, the “Certificate of Merit Award” from the American Roentgen Ray Society, the “Certificate of Outstanding performance in Veterans Affairs Radiology Service” and the “Louisville Slugger Award for best Board reviewer.” Dr. Kamel is also a fellow member of the Society of Interventional Radiology. His areas of clinical interest are Dialysis Interventions, Interventional Oncology, and Portal Hypertension Management.
Putao Cen, MD
Dr. Cen is an associate professor in the Division of Oncology at The University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHealth Houston). She is a general oncologist with a special interest in gastrointestinal and genitourinary malignancies, including colorectal, gastroesophageal, pancreaticobiliary, prostate, urothelial, and renal cell cancers. Dr. Cen’s practice philosophy is to treat her patients like her own family, providing them top-notch oncological care. She is known for being easily accessible and easy to understand. As an academic clinician, she utilizes cutting-edge technological advances in cancer care, including diagnostic imaging, immunotherapy, and biological agents. Dr. Cen treats patients 18 years and older and speaks both fluent Mandarin and Cantonese. She has been recognized as a Top Doctor by U.S. News & World Report. Dr. Cen is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine with sub-specialty certification in Hematology and Medical Oncology. She received her medical degree from Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York City and a fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Cen has authored and reviewed many articles on gastroesophageal malignancies and presented her findings at medical conferences across the globe. A resident of the Texas Medical Center area, Dr. Cen is the mother of a son and daughter. She is also a competitive swimmer.
Mike Cusnir, MD
Dr. Mike Cusnir earned his medical degree from Pontifica Universidad Javerian in Colombia and completed his internal medicine residency at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. He went on to complete a fellowship in hematology and oncology at University of Maryland Medical System, where he served as chief fellow during the last year of his training. Dr. Cusnir holds board certifications in internal medicine, hematology, and oncology.
Since joining Mount Sinai Medical Center in 2003, Dr. Cusnir has been active in clinical trials and published multiple articles. He is co-director of Gastrointestinal Malignancies and has a special interest in gastrointestinal, genitourinary, and head and neck malignancies. Dr. Cusnir also is passionate about educating future medical generations. He holds academic titles from the University of Miami and Nova Southeastern University, and has been named attending of the year by residents and interns for multiple years.
Most recently, Dr. Cusnir completed a two-year fellowship in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona. He has been incorporating the techniques he learned there into his general clinical practice and developing novel clinical trials of integrative medicine for oncology patients.
Alain T. Drooz, MD
Dr. Drooz is a Vascular & Interventional Radiology Specialist in Fairfax, Virginia and has over 37 years of experience in the medical field. He graduated from University of North Carolina School of Medicine medical school in 1984. He is affiliated with medical facilities such as Inova Fair Oaks Hospital and Inova Fairfax Hospital.
Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS
Dr. Espat is Chairman of the Department of Surgery, Chief of Surgical Oncology, and Director of the Cancer Center at Roger Williams. A Professor of Surgery and Assistant Dean of Clinical Affairs at Boston University School of Medicine, Dr. Espat focuses his practice on Hepatobiliary and Surgical Oncology. Dr. Espat received his fellowship training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He completed residency and medical School at University of Florida College of Medicine. His clinical expertise is in the areas of liver surgery, pancreas surgery, abdominal wall reconstruction, HIPEC, radiofrequency and microwave ablation. Dr. Espat is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and has research interests in areas including the effect of fatty acids on pancreas cancer growth and response to chemotherapy, chemo-sensitizing of pancreatic cancer, cancer-induced weight loss/metabolism, thermal means of tumor ablation, and biomaterials for tissue regeneration. He speaks English, Spanish, and French.
Karen Howard, RN
Karen is a retired home health and oncology nurse whose passion for helping patients has transcended into her retirement. She has shared her time at YES events through the years such as Retreat from Cancer, Surviving in Fashion, Washing Correspondent’s Dinner, exhibitions, conferences, and events. Karen is a valuable asset as she never tires of lending a hand with discussions on fatigue, side effects, and treatments She is a sounding board for ideas, assists with newsletters, web-site review, and is creative far with campaigns and ideas that further the goals of Say YES to Hope.
Rohan Jeyarajah, MD
Dr. Jeyarajah is the Director of GI Surgical Services at Methodist Richardson Medical Center and Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery Fellowship Program Director at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. He trained at the University of Chicago and then attended the liver transplant fellowship at Baylor University Medical Center after which he was on faculty at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School where he rose to the rank of Associate Professor. He has authored more than 80 articles and book chapters. He is the Vice President of The Fellowship Council and Chair of the HPB Program Directors Committee of the Americas Hepatopancreaticobiliary Association. His practice is focused on surgery of the pancreas, liver, and gastrointestinal tract. He loves complex GI problems.
Dr. Bonita Jones
Dr. Jones is a Medicare-enrolled nurse practitioner in Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated from nursing school in 2011 and has 11 years of diverse experience. Her personal mission is to ‘make a difference in her patient’s lives through multidisciplinary care’. Jones serves as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner at Sun Main Management with almost 30 years’ experience and is also a neuroendocrine cancer survivor herself. Bonita has been an active advocate for Say YES to Hope and has provided a guiding light to us and to those who are needing her expert guidance. She has tirelessly and passionately helped our FRIENDS through side effects, questions, concerns, grief, and celebrations!
Lakshmi Priya Kannan, MD
Dr. Kannan is a medical oncologist at Methodist Hospital, Dallas, whose Fellowship in Hematology/Oncology, UT Southwestern Medical Center. Residency in Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Science Center. Internship, Kilpauk Medical College, Chennai, India. Kilpauk Medical College, Dr. MGR Medical University, Maras, India. Accolades & Memberships American Society of Clinically Oncology, American Society of Hematology, American Medical Association, Tamil Nadu Medical Association – India. Dr. Kannan was the regional first place winner of the clinical Vignette Competition for ACP-ASIM, titled “Scleromyxedema with Seizures and Encephalopathy” – Lubbock, TX May 2001. Presented award by the Department of Internal Medicine for “Outstanding Board Review Performance”, June 2001. Dr. Kannan was born and raised in India. She enjoys her spare time cooking, listening to music and traveling.
Andrew Kennedy, MD, FACRO
Dr. Kennedy joined Sarah Cannon in 2012 as the physician-in-chief of radiation oncology and the director of radiation oncology research at Sarah Cannon Research Institute. He is responsible for strategic development of radiation oncology services for the HCA enterprise and development of radiation oncology research program within Sarah Cannon Research Institute. Kennedy is a graduate of the Loma Linda School of Medicine in California and completed his residency at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is an internationally renowned radiation oncologist specializing in gastrointestinal, breast and lung cancers, brachytherapy and stereotactic approaches. Nationally, he served as a member of the Board of Chancellors for the American College of Radiation Oncology and is a Fellow of the College. He has been selected yearly since 2009 as one of America’s Best Doctors (top 5 percent of U.S.) and was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Society as a faculty member in 1999.
Mark Kozloff, MD
Dr. Kozloff has more than 30 years of experience treating many types of adult cancers and is a medical oncologist at Ingalls Healthcare. He works on a multidisciplinary team of experts in the Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology where he specializes in the treatment of colorectal malignancies. Dr. Kozloff’s clinical research focuses on new drug developments for colorectal, pancreatic and lung cancer. He has co-authored more than 100 scientific papers, abstracts, and letters examining the efficacy, safety and effects of drug therapies for cancer.
Joel Marcus, PsyD
Dr. Marcus is a psychosocial oncologist who places emphasis on the emotional needs of advanced oncology patients and their families. He feels communication is the cornerstone of good multidisciplinary medical care, and the impact of conversations about diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis is indisputable. Healthcare providers must be able to have difficult conversations that accurately describe. Although many published guidelines address difficult communication, communication training is lacking. Consequently, many clinicians may have difficulties with, or in the worst-case scenario, avoid delivering bad news and discussing end-of-life treatment. Clinicians also struggle with how to have the last conversation with a patient and how to support patient autonomy when they disagree with a patient’s choices. There is a clinical imperative to educate physicians and other healthcare workers on how to effectively deliver information about a patient’s health status, diagnostic avenues to be explored, and decisions to be made at critical health junctions. Knowing how to implement the most rudimentary techniques of motivational interviewing, solution-focused brief therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy can help physicians facilitate conversations of the most difficult type to generate positive change in patients and families and to help them make decisions that minimize end-of-life distress.
Dr. Charles Nutting, DO, FSIR
Dr. Nutting is internationally renowned and has been on the forefront of minimally invasive procedures for over 2 decades. He started his career in Arizona before moving to Colorado over 15 years ago. He is internationally known as a physician on the leading edge of minimally invasive treatments and has introduced several procedures and devices to North America. He’s one of the two founders of ECCO after departing from a previous practice where he built his referral and patient base. Dr. Nutting is a board certified Vascular and Interventional Radiologist with extensive experience in embolization. He specializes in complex treatment for liver cancer and benign prostatic enlargement, which he helped pioneer from their inception. He’s treated more patients with these conditions than anyone else in the entire state of Colorado. Dr. Nutting was the first interventionalist in the US to perform the game-changing liver cancer therapy, Yttrium-90. He was the first trainer of other physicians for this revolutionary treatment. For years now, he has flown around the country to teach other physicians this intricate procedure. He is a nationally recognized speaker. He has numerous peer-reviewed publications and treats patients from around the world. Dr. Nutting also brought prostate artery embolization (PAE) to the state of Colorado after training in South America and Europe on the nuances of this complicated procedure. He has done more than anyone in the state and is one of a small number of expert-trainers for this treatment. He has also published several articles on this topic and is a staple on the national speaking circuit.
John J Reddington, DVM, PhD
Dr. Reddington is currently serving as Chief Operating Officer for Hawkeye MRI AG a medical imaging company headquartered outside Zurich, Switzerland, focusing on next generation contrast agents for use with MRI. He also currently sits on the Boards of a number of healthcare and AI companies in the US and Europe. John recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Morris Animal Foundation, the World’s largest animal health granting organization. Before that he was the Chief Operating Officer for Cambridge Biomedical Inc., a privately held bioanalytical CRO. Previously he served as President and CEO of Sirtex Medical, Inc., the US division of an Australian publicly traded company Sirtex Medical Group Ltd. (ASX: SIR). Prior to joining Sirtex, John was COO and SVP of R&D for the publicly traded company Valentis Inc., where he played a key role in transitioning Valentis’ clinical focus from gene therapy to poloxamer-based therapeutics to treat cardiovascular disease. In addition, he was responsible for selling off all non-critical assets to facilitate a reverse merger and spun out the manufacturing division as an independent business unit. Early in his career, John founded DiagXotics Inc. and led it to become the world leader in disease diagnosis for the $52-billion global aquaculture market. At the start of his entrepreneurial endeavors John directed the build-out and operation of a cancer cell therapy laboratory for Greenwich Biotherapeutics Inc., a joint venture between Biotherapeutics Inc., Yale University and Greenwich Hospital. Dr Reddington received his B.A. from Rice University, his M.A. from the University of Texas, Arlington and his DVM and PhD from Washington State University.
Navesh Sharma, DO, PhD, FACRO
Dr. Sharma is a board-certified radiation oncologist and Medical Director of Radiation Oncology for the WellSpan Health System in Southeastern Pennsylvania. As the United States Principal Investigator for the FOXFIRE Global International Trial and as one of the most experienced practitioners of radiation-based liver directed therapies, he tries to integrate all available modalities to treat each patient’s unique situation. Dr. Sharma was previously a Professor of Radiation Oncology at the Penn State University School of Medicine and continues to be active in national organizations that are working to improve patient care in the field of radiation oncology.
Bernie Siegel, MD
Dr. Siegel, who prefers to be called Bernie and not Dr. Siegel, was born in Brooklyn, NY. He attended Colgate University and Cornell University Medical College. He holds membership in two scholastic honor societies, Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha and graduated with honors. His surgical training took place at Yale New Haven Hospital, West Haven Veteran’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. He retired from practice as an assistant clinical professor of surgery at Yale of general and pediatric surgery in 1989 to speak to patients and their caregivers.
Bernie is an American writer and retired pediatric surgeon, who writes on the relationship between the patient and the healing process. He is known for his best-selling book Love, Medicine, and Miracles.
Travis Van Meter, MD
Dr. Van Meter has been practicing interventional radiology in Dallas for more than 20 years. He is board certified in diagnostic radiology and fellowship trained in interventional radiology. He practices the full breadth of interventional radiology and has particular interest and expertise in interventional oncology–a subspecialty of interventional radiology focused on the care of the oncology patient. This area requires working with a multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and surgical oncologists to provide the most advanced care for a cancer patient.
Eugene Wyszynski, DO
Dr. Wyszynski joined the Texas Hematology Oncology Center practice after many years in successful private medical practice in the Dallas/Ft.Worth metroplex. Dr. Wyszynski completed his internship and residency at John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Stratford, New Jersey. He then completed numerous fellowships including one in Hematology/Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Dr. Wyszynski is well known for his quality of care and the personal interest he takes in his patients. He is very active in many professional societies and investigative trials. Dr. Wyszynski is married with four children, enjoys traveling and spending time with his family and is active in many hobbies.