We are pleased to announce four new appointments to our External Advisory Committee. We look forward to introducing them to our center and will look to them for guidance as we begin to prepare for our center grant renewal.
Anita Y. Kinney, PhD is associate director for cancer health equity and engagement at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and director of ScreenNJ, a statewide cancer prevention and screening program. She is also a professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity at the School of Public Health at Rutgers University. Kinney's research program is internationally-recognized for studying and reducing cancer health disparities and translating genomic discoveries into clinical and public health practice. Her research brings a combination of behavioral science, clinical, and epidemiologic perspectives to address unsolved cancer problems in diverse populations and settings.
Adekunle "Kunle" Odunsi, MD, PhD was appointed director of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center effective March 1, 2021. He is also Biological Sciences Division Dean for Oncology and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Chicago. Odunsi is a physician-scientist with expertise in immunotherapy and vaccine therapy for cancer. He previously served as deputy director of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he was also executive director of the Center for Immunotherapy and chair of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology. Odunsi holds leadership positions in several national organizations, such as co-chair of the NCI Cancer Moonshot Immuno-Oncology Translational Network and chairperson-elect of the American Association for Cancer Research's Cancer Immunology Working Group.
Vanessa Sheppard, PhD serves as associate director for Community Outreach Engagement and Health Disparities at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Massey Cancer Center. She is also chair of the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at VCU. Sheppard's research program centers on understanding and improving adherence to evidence-based medical therapies and developing interventions to promote the uptake of these therapies and lifestyle behaviors.
Aleksandar Zafirovski, MBA is the executive director and associate director for Administration at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. He was instrumental in driving the successful launch and continuing expansion of the Northwestern Medicine Developmental Therapeutics Institute in the Lurie Cancer Center. Zafirovski has worked at Northwestern since 2001, serving in previous roles as administrative director of the School of Radiation Therapy and director of Oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
We also wish to thank our departing members, Deborah Erwin, PhD and Theodore Yank, MHA, for their years of service. Their advice, expertise and open comments helped to strengthen our center and lead us in the right direction.