Entries by brooke

Clinical Trials: Promising Treatments Being Developed Today

Joseph Leach, MD:

As senior vice president and chief medical officer (CMO) at Prime Therapeutics, Joseph Leach, M.D., is responsible for providing clinical leadership and expertise to the enterprise, informing and influencing internal and external stakeholders about Prime’s specialty and total drug management capabilities, contributing to innovation in these capabilities and driving client growth.

Dr. Leach joined Prime with more than 20 years of experience as a clinician, researcher and health care leader. For the past 10 years, Dr. Leach has been a hematologist and medical oncologist with Minnesota Oncology, where he continues to see patients. Active in clinical research, Dr. Leach has held numerous national leadership positions in research, including service on the National Cancer Institute Thoracic Malignancy Steering Committee and several roles with the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, which was one of the first publicly funded cooperative groups to perform multi-center clinical trials for cancer research.

Prior to joining Minnesota Oncology, Dr. Leach practiced oncology and held physician leadership roles at several Minnesota hospitals, including the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park and St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee.

Dr. Leach earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota. He trained in internal medicine and medical oncology at the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Midwest Lung Cancer Patient Summit Presentation:

Clinical Trials: Promising Treatments Being Developed TodayJoseph Leach, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Prime Therapeutics LLC 

Women & Lung Cancer: From Sexual Dysfunction to Stigma

Narjust Duma:

Dr. Narjust Duma is a faculty member in the Division of Hematology, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care. She is a medical oncologist with clinical and research focus on thoracic malignancies. She has been recognized for her work with numerous awards, including the Mayo Brothers Distinguished Fellowship Award, considered the highest trainee honor in the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education; the Merit Award/ASCO Employees Endowed Merit Award, American Society of Clinical Oncology; and the Next-Generation Innovators Award, HemOnc Today -Healio, Scholar in Training Award, 11th American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) conference on the science of cancer health disparities in racial/ethnic minorities and the medically underserved. Dr. Duma is a member of the National Hispanic Medical Association, the International Association for the study of the Lung Cancer (IASLC), the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Oncology Training Programs Committee, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Diversity and Inclusivity Task force.

Midwest Lung Cancer Patient Summit Presentation:

Women & Lung Cancer: From Sexual Dysfunction to Stigma – Narjust Duma, MD, UW Carbone Cancer Center

Parenting Through Cancer

Sarah Manes:

On staff at Angel Foundation since 2011, Sarah is the Vice President of Patient & Family Programs and Strategic Partnerships. Sarah has a Master’s degree in Child and Family Development and is a Certified Child Life Specialist. She brings more than 15 years of experience working in the nonprofit and medical fields, particularly focusing on cancer wellness, end-of-life, program development and community outreach. She lives in Minneapolis with her wife, son and dog and enjoys bike rides, cooking and laughing!

Midwest Lung Cancer Patient Summit Presentation:

Parenting Through Cancer– Sarah Manes, CCLS, Vice President of Programs and Community Relations, Angel Foundation

Grief and Self-Care in 2020

Melissa Mork, PhD:

Dr. Melissa Mork is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology, Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement at the University of Northwestern, St. Paul. She is the author of the book, “Navigating Grief with Humor” and the upcoming book, “Self-Care: A mildly interesting, reasonably priced, fairly practical guide to caring for you.” She is a Certified Humor Professional and a Grief Coach. Her greatest accomplishment, to date, was when Jimmy Fallon read her tweet on Hashtags.

Midwest Lung Cancer Patient Summit Presentation:

Grief and Self-Care in 2020 – Melissa Mork, PhD

Mutations and Biomarkers

Manish Patel, OD:

Dr. Patel is the Associate Professor of Medicine and a medical oncologist at the University of Minnesota specializing in the care of patients with lung cancer. He is engaged in lung cancer research trying to develop novel therapies in his laboratory as well as in early phase clinical trials to be applied to lung cancer patients.







Aaron Mansfield, MD:

Dr. Mansfield is a medical oncologist with a focus on thoracic malignancies and early therapeutics. He has played a significant role in clinical trials leading to FDA approval of agents in lung cancer including atezolizumab for small cell lung cancer and pralsetinib for RET-fusion non-small cell lung cancer. His laboratory runs many translational projects to discover and validate biomarkers in thoracic malignancies.






Naomi Fujioka, MD:

Dr. Fujioka is a medical oncologist at the University of Minnesota specializing in thoracic and head/neck malignancies. She is involved in clinical trials. Her research interest is in food-based chemoprevention of tobacco-related lung cancer.


Midwest Lung Cancer Patient Summit Presentation:

Mutations and Biomarkers – Manish Patel, OD, University of Minnesota, Aaron Mansfield, MD, Mayo Clinic and Naomi Fujioka, MD, University of Minnesota

The outcomes of patients with lung cancer have improved largely on the strength of research that has identified biomarkers (DNA mutations or proteins) that are unique to individual patients that can allow us to target therapy more specifically. We will discuss the ramifications of these biomarkers and how they are currently used to decide upon treatments for lung cancer.

Virtual Laughter Yoga

Mary Margaret Anderson:

Mary has spent over 35 years in spandex teaching yoga, mindfulness, group fitness and training instructors in every kind of exercise & wellness adventure. Her passions as a teacher are LOVE, fun, laughter, great music, copious amounts of sweat & kind energy, and getting the uninterested interested. She has trained extensively in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, yoga, meditation, Spin, cardio dance, laughter yoga, Body Pump, and a boring braggy list of things you never heard of. Catch her reading, recycling, biking, running, nordic skiing, drinking coffee and laughing with her husband, Skip. She recently sold her Hot Yoga studio, one of the first HOT yoga studios in Minnesota, surfs the couch on a daily basis and loves chocolate, veggies, butter, being outside and her family—(including her super-hot husband, 4 kids and 5 grand kids).

Midwest Lung Cancer Patient Summit Presentation:

Virtual Laughter YogaMary Anderson, MN Yoga Studios

Join Mary for a quick 20-minute injection of life, love and happiness into your soul. We will laugh, move a bit, breath and love each other. It’s been proven that YOU are easier to be around and heal faster when you are HAPPY! Let’s give it a try!

A Lawyer on Your Cancer Care Team

Lindy Yokanovich:

Lindy is the founder and executive director of Cancer Legal Care, a non-profit organization providing free legal care to Minnesotans affected by cancer. Compelled to bring Cancer Legal Care to life after witnessing first-hand the many legal questions and difficulties her own loved ones faced after being diagnosed with cancer, Lindy counts her work with Cancer Legal Care as the most profound and gratifying of her legal career. For her work in founding Cancer Legal Care, Lindy has been honored by the Women’s Health Leadership Trust, Minnesota Lawyer magazine, Angel Foundation, and the judges of Minnesota’s 10th Judicial District.

Lindy is an adjunct faculty member of the University of Minnesota School of Law, and serves on the board of directors of GiveMN , the steering committee of the Health Care Legal Partnership, and is past steering committee member of the Minnesota Cancer Alliance.

A frequent author and speaker on the intersection of cancer and law, Lindy received her BA from the University of California, Irvine, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

Midwest Lung Cancer Patient Summit Presentation:

A Lawyer on Your Cancer Care Team – Lindy Yokanovich, ESQ, Founder and Executive Director of Cancer Legal Care

The Patient’s Team: Who’s On Call?

Deborah Laxson:

Deborah is an author, speaker, and advocate for effective communication between patients, families, and medical teams. Using personal experiences and relatable stories, Deborah empowers the patient to define, document and communicate their unique priorities and values regarding treatment options. Deborah Day Laxson is the author of The Fog Zone: Navigating the Space After Your Diagnosis and the award-winning book The Gray Zone: When Life Support No Longer Supports Life.

Midwest Lung Cancer Patient Summit Presentation:

The Patient’s Team: Who’s On Call? – Debora Laxson, Vice-Chair of MN Palliative Care Advisory Council, Author

Palliative Care and Alternative Therapies

Merryn Jolkovsky, MD:

After practicing Nephrology for 18 years, Merryn refocused her practice to improve the care of patients facing serious illness and reaching the end of life. She designed and successfully implemented a Palliative Care program within CentraCare, with the goal of improving care for patients with serious illness. Through collaboration with the ICU to integrate Palliative Care, and with the Home Care team to create a Home Care Palliative option. Jolkovsky brought Schwartz Center Rounds to the hospital, and led the collaboration with The Convenings, an Emmy-award winning public awareness campaign for health care directives. Merryn also founded a NPO, Light the Legacy, to promote health care directives in our community and currently serves as chair of the Board of Directors. She works with groups within the state to advance and pass legislation to create a Palliative Care Advisory Council for our state government, and to collaborate with other health systems on a Serious Illness Conversation initiative. She also served on the ICSI Palliative Care Guideline workgroup to rewrite the Palliative Care Guidelines for 2019. I speak at various events throughout central Minnesota on the topics of Palliative Care, medical ethics, and Post-acute Care, and have presented our work at national forums such as CAPC and IHI.



Kathi Sowada, RN:

Kathi works for CentraCare as an Integrative Health Specialist. As a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine with previous experience as a Registered Nurse, she integrates both Eastern and Western medical philosophies into her practice. Specializing in oncology acupuncture and energy healing modalities such as Qigong and Healing Touch, Kathi works with patients of the Coborn Cancer Center to manage the physical and emotional effects of cancer treatment. Her mission is to empower people to realize their inner healing potential and to help them become active participants in their healing process.

Midwest Lung Cancer Patient Summit Presentation:

Palliative Care and Alternative Therapies – Merryn Jolkovsky, MD and Kathi Sowada, RN, Integrative Health Specialist, Centra Care

Introduce evidence-based nonpharmacological healing options for those will cancer and will discuss my experiences working with cancer survivors at the Coborn Cancer Center.

Preparing for A Good Death

Anne Murphy:

Bringing ceremonies to life with a hands on approach to death. Acknowledging the thresholds of life require deep listening, gentle support, and practical information. With almost a decade of working as a celebrant, death educator and home vigil guide, Anne offers her presence, guidance, and expertise to discover how to make meaning through thoughtful conversations, sincerity, and creativity.

Anne is the Co-Founder of Minnesota Death Collaborative, served as a board member on the National Home Funeral Alliance and continues to volunteer for the National End of Life Doula Association, Crescent Cove and the Land Conservation Natural Burial group.





Jane Whitlock:

Jane is a trained end of life doulaand CNA. She didn’t start that way. But after her husband’s death from cancer she realized how unprepared she had been. She helps families at home on hospice prepare for what is to come on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.





Midwest Lung Cancer Patient Summit Presentation:

Preparing for A Good Death – Jane Whitlock, End-of-Life Doula and Anne Murphy, Celebrant, Home Vigil Guide, Death Educator

Embracing death as a natural part of life and planning for it in thoughtful and loving ways can support everyone involved. Come curious to hear about death doulas, green burials, home vigils and how to have meaningful end of life conversations with your family and friends. Through candid storytelling, humor and straight forward information we will highlight some of the choices out there so that you can make end of life decisions based on your values and beliefs. Death, though final, is a part of life and integral to our wholeness as humans. Our hope is that you will leave clearer about your choices and who can support them.