Speakers are listed in order of appearance on the agenda


Dawn Messer, OD, MPH - Mindful Meandering: Morning Walk - Dawn Messer is a retired optometrist with a master’s degree in public health. After a breast cancer diagnosis in 2005, Messer became interested in the effects of stress on the immune system and in ways to reduce chances of recurrence and enhance well-being. In 2009, she founded Mindful Meanderings, a meditative walking group for anyone touched with cancer.

In 2014, she partnered with Tucson Cancer Conquerors to broaden its offerings to cancer survivors to help them achieve optimal wellness.


Rose Kress - Morning Meditation & Gentle Yoga - Rose Kress, yoga teacher and yoga therapist, specializes in therapeutic yoga for managing depression, anxiety and trauma. Her Therapeutic Yoga classes incorporate gentle movement, sound, breathing practices, visualization, meditation and relaxation to bring the body and mind into a state of balance. Kress has been teaching yoga to cancer patients, survivors and their support networks since 2009. Her classes at Arizona Oncology focus on practices to move the lymph, release tension, open the body and invite energy to stabilize. Kress is devoted to supporting her students in clients in whatever way they need.


Robert Brooks, M.D. - Welcome & Overview - Dr. Brooks has practiced medicine in Tucson since 1982. He is a medical oncologist with a special interest in breast cancer. Dr. Brooks is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and a past member of ASCO's clinical-practice committee. He is a founder of the Life Beyond Cancer program, an annual retreat focusing on cancer survivorship held at Miraval in Tucson and has served on the editorial board of CURE magazine. His past appointments have included medical director of patient advocacy for US Oncology, chief of staff of St. Mary's Hospital, a member of the board of directors for the Southern Arizona Division of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and a member of the board of directors of the Association of Community Cancer Centers. Dr. Brooks served as the first president of the Arizona Clinical Oncology Society. He has been recognized several times as a Best Doctor and also as one of America's Top Oncologists by the Consumers Research Council of America. Dr. Brooks currently serves on the board of directors for the Arizona Oncology Foundation.


Ruben Mesa, M.D. - Welcome & Overview - Dr. Mesa is chair of the division of Hematology & Medical Oncology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. He has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator in more than 50 clinical trials for patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms or other myeloid disorders. He is currently the chair for the National Cancer Center Network MPN Treatment Guideline Panel. Additionally, he is co-principal investigator of the clinical trial group of the Myeloproliferative Disorders Research Consortium. Dr. Mesa currently serves as the chair of the Arizona Cancer Coalition which oversees the Arizona Cancer Control Plan and works with the Arizona Department of Health Services in advocating for cancer in the state of Arizona. Dr. Mesa has more than 800 lifetime medical publications and serves as the editor-in-chief of Current Hematology Malignancy Reports. He is a frequently invited speaker on the MPNs with more than 600 such lectures, and visiting professorships, nationally and internationally.


Alan H. Bryce, M.D. - Genomics in 2017 - Dr. Bryce studies cancer genetics and novel therapeutics with a focus on personalized medicine. His clinical practice centers on genitourinary malignancies (prostate, kidney, bladder and testicular cancers) and melanoma. He is the medical director of the Genomic Oncology Clinic at Mayo Clinic Arizona where he utilizes whole genome sequencing of tumors to identify key driver mutations. This approach allows for precise targeting of a patient's tumor, leading to a greater chance of remission. In addition, Dr. Bryce participates in community outreach to underserved populations and has an interest in health-disparities research. He also conducts Phase I clinical trials of new cancer drugs.


Denise Millstine, M.D. - Integrative Medicine for Health & Cancer - Dr. Denise Millstine is an assistant professor of medicine, consultant in women’s health internal medicine, and director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. She is also a fellow in the American College of Physicians and serves as faculty for the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. A board-certified internal medicine physician, Dr. Millstine completed her medical degree at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. She completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and her fellowship in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona.

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Christopher Di Simone, M.D., PhD - Innovations in Cancer Care - Among Dr. DiSimone's many honors and fellowships are undergraduate general honors and department honors from the Johns Hopkins University, NIH predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships, and receipt of the Edward M. Gold Award signifying University of California-Davis most outstanding student in medicine. Dr. DiSimone's research has been published in Virology, Vaccines and BMC Microbiology.

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Michele Boyce Ley, M.D. - Innovations in Cancer Care - Dr. Boyce Ley was raised in Northern California and has lived in Tucson since 2000. She graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in molecular and cellular biology. She completed medical school at St. Louis University and moved to Tucson for her general surgery residency at the University of Arizona. Dr. Boyce Ley is board-certified in general surgery. Subsequently, she completed a fellowship in breast surgical oncology at the University of California San Francisco, Carol Frank Buck Breast Care Center in 2006 before establishing a breast surgical oncology practice in Tucson. Most recently, she was director of breast surgery at the University of Arizona and associate professor of surgery.


Leslie Langbert, MSW, LCSW (FL) - Opening to Self-Compassion: Tools for the Journey - Langbert is executive director of the Center for Compassion Studies, in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona. A licensed clinical social worker, yoga therapist and meditation instructor, she is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey of self-discovery to further develop the skills of compassion, kindness, forgiveness, gratitude and mindfulness.
She shares compassion training and mindfulness programs with adults and youth, and teaches an undergraduate course - Self-Care in the Helping Professions. A transplant to the desert from Florida, she holds a master of social work from Florida State University.


Donald W. Northfelt, M.D. - Break Out: Breast Cancer - Dr. Northfelt is active in conducting clinical trials in breast cancer and also helps coordinate phase I and survivorship cancer clinical trials at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. He participates in foundation-wide efforts in these areas.


Marilyn Croghan, M.D. - Break Out: Breast Cancer - Originally from Le Grande, Oregon, Dr. Croghan is a widely published researcher, participating in more than 20 clinical research studies. She is a member of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, American College of Radiology and Arizona Women's Physician Association. Dr. Croghan is a founding member and past president of the Arizona Oncology Foundation and currently serves on its board. She also serves on the advisory board for Tucson Cancer Conquerors. Her major focus is on breast cancer and collaborative health care.

Schluender.jpg Stefanie J. Schluender, M.D. - Break Out: Colorectal Cancer - Dr. Schluender received her doctor of medicine degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. She completed her residency at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and her fellowship in colon and rectal surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Schluender moved to Tucson in 2006 to join Southwestern Surgery. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Her surgical focus is advanced laparoscopic surgery, and colon and rectal surgery, including inflammatory bowel disease, colon and rectal carcinoma, diverticular disease and single-incision laparoscopic colectomy.
Stanton.jpg Natalie A. Stanton, M.D. - Break Out: Colorectal Cancer - Dr. Stanton provides comprehensive oncology and hematology care to patients at the Craycroft office in Tucson. She treats all types of hematology and cancer cases. She has a special interest in gastrointestinal cancers, which includes gastric, gallbladder, colorectal anal, and pancreatic cancers, and the multidisciplinary approach required to treat these disorders.
Bekaii Saab.jpg Tanios Bekaii-Saab, M.D. - Break Out: Colorectal Cancer - Dr. Bekaii-Saab is a medical oncologist in Phoenix and is affiliated with Mayo Clinic. Dr. Bekaii-Saab earned his medical degree from the American University of Beirut, followed by residency in internal medicine at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis. He completed fellowships in clinical pharmacology and experimental therapeutics and hematology/oncology at Tufts University/New England Medical Center in Boston.
Gin.jpg Robert Gin, M.D. - Break Out: Colorectal Cancer - Dr. Gin specializes in radiation oncology with a special interest in breast, and head and neck malignancies. He has interests in the diagnosis and treatment for all soft tissue cancers such as breast, prostate, lung and ductal carcinoma in situ. He received bachelors of science in chemistry and in molecular and cellular biology, with a minor in math and physics, from the University of Arizona. During that time, he earned membership in the academic honors society Phi Beta Kappa. He received his medical degree from the University of Arizona Medical School. Dr. Gin interned at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix. He returned to the UA to complete his residency in radiation oncology, where he served as chief resident. Before joining Arizona Oncology, Dr. Gin had the opportunity to help develop a new radiation-oncology facility at the Ozarks Cancer Treatment Center in West Plains, Missouri.

Douglas G. Lowell, M.D. - Break Out: Lung Cancers - Originally from Tucson, Dr. Lowell attended Canyon Del Oro High School and went on to graduate from the University of Arizona. He then attended Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center and his fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at Indiana University Medical Center. Dr. Lowell is the former chief of staff elect at Tucson Medical Center and is the medical director of the thoracic oncology program. He is board-certified in both thoracic and general surgery. He joined Southwestern Surgery in 2004.


Jonathan E. Schwartz, M.D. - Break Out: Lung Cancers - Dr. Schwartz specializes in medical oncology and hematology. He has a special interest in thoracic and genitourinary oncology, and malignant hematology. During his professional career, Dr. Schwartz has served as an assistant clinical lecturer at the University of Arizona, attending physician in the UA Cancer Center and a research assistant at Likoff Cardiovascular Institute at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. He is a member of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons and was honored with the Mary DeLeo Prize for special achievement in cancer research by the Temple University School of Medicine and as a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Society. Dr. Schwartz is currently the head of the Arizona Oncology pharmacy therapeutics committee.


Helen Ross, M.D. - Break Out: Lung Cancers - Dr. Ross is a medical oncologist in Scottsdale and is affiliated with Mayo Clinic. She received her medical degree from David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and did her residence at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Her expertise includes esophageal cancer, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Dr. Ross’s interests include thoracic oncology: lung cancer, malignant mesothelioma and esophageal cancer, multimodality therapy and clinic trials.


Nikhil Thaker, M.D. - Break Out: Lung Cancers - Dr. Thaker is a radiation oncologist with Arizona Oncology. He completed his specialty training in radiation oncology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston where he received additional sub-specialty training in advanced radiation-therapy technique and a fellowship in health care quality and operations. He has worked with the largest cancer centers in the country and the Harvard Business School to help translate advances in radiation therapy to community practices. He has published nearly 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts, editorials, commentaries and book chapters.


Andrew C. Neuschatz, M.D. - Break Out: Other Cancers - Dr. Neuschatz completed his undergraduate studies at Columbia University, where he graduated with honors. After graduating, he remained in New York City to complete research projects in cancer biology. He earned his medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine, graduating with honors in 1998. Following graduation from medical school, Dr. Neuschatz completed an internship in internal medicine and a residency in radiation oncology at the Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston. He served as chief resident before joining Arizona Oncology. Dr. Neuschatz has published numerous articles on breast and lung cancer in prestigious journals including Cancer, Annals of Surgical Oncology, Annals of Thoracic Surgery, and the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics.



Dolores D. Basden, M.D. - Break Out: Other Cancers - Dr. Basden received her undergraduate degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas and earned a master's degree in nutrition and foods from Auburn University in Alabama. Her interest in nutrition led her to Australia, where she completed a graduate program on a Rotary graduate scholarship. She became interested in medicine while working as a clinical dietitian in the surgical intensive care unit of Hermann Hospital in Houston. Dr. Basden earned her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. She completed an internship at the University of Texas Affiliated Training Programs in Houston and a residency in radiation oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.


Andrew Clark - Exercise to Enhance Recovery - Andrew Clark owned Performance Fitness for more than 10 years. His programs focused on athletics and physiological function for wellness. He now lends his expertise in the surgical correction of sports injuries, while working in advanced surgical devices at Smith & Nephew.

Jones.jpg Jill Jones - How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep - Jill Jones is a motivational health and wellness speaker. She has developed a series of lectures called the Proactive Wellness Program that explains the science behind our bodies and how daily habits have an enormous impact on our well-being. As a TMC for Seniors volunteer, Jones has been a speaker for the last four years at TMC for Seniors at the El Dorado Health Campus. Before starting Inspired Motives, Jones worked at IBM for 33 years. She had various assignments including systems engineer, instructor and consultant advising clients in the semiconductor and aerospace and defense industries. She earned her bachelor of science in mathematics and natural sciences.
Luciani.jpg Tina Luciani - Living With the New Normal - Tina Luciani, R.N., is a palliative-care nurse coordinator at TMC. The Palliative Care Team is available by consult on TMC inpatients with serious illness. Luciani was honored as an outstanding nurse and recognized at the 2016 Fabulous 50 Award during the Tucson Nurses’ Week Foundation event.
Bethesthi.jpg Maryam Beheshti, M.D. - Loving the One You’re With - Dr. Beheshti is an obstetrician-gynecologist at Ironwood OB/GYN and is affiliated with Tucson Medical Center. She received her medical degree from University of Toledo College of Medicine and completed her residency at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Mary Marian, DCN, RDN, CSO, FAND – Diet & Inflammation - Marian has been a clinical dietitian nutritionist for more than 25 years. She is board-certified in oncology nutrition and has been working with cancer survivors for more than 20 years. She has also been a speaker on various topics related to nutrition and cancer at the local, national and international level. Marian has authored many journal articles, books and book chapters on this topic as well. She is also professor at the University of Arizona where she teaches undergraduate and graduate students on how to provide medical nutrition therapy.


Kathryn Kennel, MSN, FNP-BC, ACHPN - How to Tell the World about Your Cancer - Kennel began her nursing career working for Visiting Nurse Service in Rochester, New York, providing home hospice care. She continued her education while working there and began working as a family nurse practitioner in 2004, providing both hospice and palliative care in an outpatient setting. Kennel became an Arizona transplant in 2008 and was instrumental in developing the palliative care consultation service at Tucson Medical Center. She is now providing palliative care consultations and follow-ups as a provider with Arizona Oncology.


Johelen Carleton, M.D., FACS - How to Tell the World About Your Cancer - 
Dr. Carleton is board-certified in surgery, vascular surgery, and hospice and palliative medicine, and serves on the Palliative Care Team at TMC. She is a clinical assistant professor in surgery at the UA College of Medicine, Phoenix campus. She was founding program director of the Hospice and Palliative Care Fellowship at the VA in Phoenix, and acting associate chief of staff for geriatrics and extended care.


Gulshan Sethi, M.D. - Laughter is the Best Medicine - Dr. Sethi was born in Kashmir India and graduated from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, in 1963. In 1972 he joined the faculty at the Duke University Medical Center where he was a professor of surgery. He moved to Tucson in 1988 to join the University of Arizona. Currently, he is professor emeritus at the UA and director of cardiothoracic surgery at Tucson Medical Center. Dr. Sethi served on the Cardiovascular Devices Panel for the FDA and was a member of the Cardiac Surgery Consultants Committee for the Veterans Administration for more than 20 years. He completed a fellowship in integrative medicine from the University of Arizona under Dr. Andrew Weil and serves on the faculty with him. Dr Sethi has authored some 250 peer review papers. He has presented his research in national and international meetings. His current interests include adult cardiac surgery, integrative medicine and telemedicine.