University of Vermont

Vermont Cancer Center's 17th Annual Breast Cancer Conference


Speaker Biographies


The 17th Annual Breast Cancer Conference features more than 80 different sessions with a variety of speakers from around the country. More information about each speaker can be found in their bios below. Please click on the speaker's name for a short biography.


VCC member Vermont Cancer Center member


Fran Carr, PhD VCC member

Catherine Cerulli, M Ed

Mary Chamberlin, MD

Julia Child, PT, CLT-LANA

Rose Colletti, PhDVCC member

Justine Dee, PT, MS, OCS

Kim Dittus, MD, PhDVCC member

Janet Ely, MSN, AOCNP, FNP

Elise Everett, MD

Mary Giancola, MSW, LICSW

Clare Ginger, PhD

Janet Gray, PhD

Jean Harvey, PhD, RDVCC Member

Chef Curtiss Hemm

Patti Johnson, RN, OCN, CBCN

Janet Kahn, PhD, LMT

Jane Lian, PhDVCC member

Susan Marx

Jennifer May, RD, CD

Kathy McBeth, MAVCC member

Wendy McKinnon, MSVCC member

Robert Nesbit, MD

Mary Nolan, RN, OCN

Patti O'Brien, MDVCC member

Michelle Sowden, DOVCC member

Brian Sprague, PhDVCC member

Paul Unger, MD VCC member

Marie Wood, MDVCC member


Fran Carr, PhDFran Carr, PhD VCC member

Dr. Carr is a Professor of Pharmacology at UVM College of Medicine. She is internationally known for her research on thyroid function and thyroid cancer. She is currently studying the effects of exposure to low levels of common environmental toxins or endocrine-disrupting chemicals on thyroid function in normal development as well as the possible role in thyroid cancer. (Session 2.1)

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Catherine Cerulli, M EdCatherine Cerulli, M Ed

Catherine spent years as primary caregiver for a loved one with cancer. This experience fuels her passion for teaching self-care and care for others through Touch, Caring, and Cancer and in her private practice. A professional educator and bodywork practitioner, Catherine is devoted to reducing pain, anxiety, and stress through teaching simple, effective skills that deepen self-awareness, support self-care, and increase confidence and competence when caring for a loved one. Her work with clients and their caregivers is informed and inspired by her professional studies, which have focused on the choices and challenges oncology patients face as they seek effective ways to manage and cope with the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial challenges of cancer. She is certified in Jin Shin Jyutsu®, Acupressure, Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, and Tai Chi Easy™. (Session 1.8)

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Mary Chamberlin, MDMary Chamberlin, MD

Dr. Chamberlin is a hematologist/oncologist from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where she joined the staff in 2006. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont College of Medicine and is certified in both internal medicine and medical oncology. Dr. Chamberlin's practice specialties include breast cancer treatment, personalized therapies, and survivorship. (Session 1.9)

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Julia Child, PT, CLT-LANAJulia Child, PT, CLT-LANA

Julia Child, PT, CLT-LANA received her Complex Lymphedema Therapy Certification in 1999 and has continued to update her practice methods through continuing education since that time. She was a founding member of the Vermont Lymphedema Network in 2000 and held the vice chairman position until 2006. She was a presenter at the International Lymphedema Conference in 2004. Julia owns a private practice in Middlebury Vermont and compliments her lymphedema therapy with orthopedic physical therapy. (Session 1.3)

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Rose Colletti, PhDRose Colletti, PhDVCC member

Rose Colletti, PhD, is a Staff Psychologist in the Cancer Patient Support program and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, Section of Surgical Oncology, at the University of Vermont. She obtained her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, and has worked in private practice as well as the community mental health sector. In addition to helping survivors and their loved ones cope with the changes that accompany a cancer diagnosis, she is interested in educating survivors about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle during and after treatment. She enjoys physical activity, spending time with family and friends, traveling, and reading. (Session 2.5)

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Justine Dee, PT, MS, OCSJustine Dee, PT, MS, OCS

Justine Dee is a clinical assistant professor in the entry level Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. She teaches the Patient Management Foundational Skills class which includes the skills of goniometry, manual muscle testing, muscle length testing, accessory motion testing, postural alignment, gait and functional mobility training. This course also includes sections devoted to how to conduct an interview and perform general health screening with physical therapy clients, and how to document physical therapy care. In the spring semester, Prof. Dee teaches Patient Management I, in which the students learn the how to examine, evaluate and treat clients/patients with musculoskeletal/orthopedic spine and peripheral joint problems. (Session 1.10)

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Kim Dittus, MD, PhDKim Dittus, MD, PhDVCC member

Dr. Dittus is an attending physician at Fletcher Allen Health Care and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Vermont. She holds a Ph.D. in nutrition, completed medical school and residency at East Tennessee State University, and a hematology/oncology fellowship at Fletcher Allen. She is pursuing an academic medical career with a research focus on the health-related issues of cancer survivors. (Session 2.2)

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Janet Ely, MSN, AOCNP, FNPJanet Ely, MSN, AOCNP, FNP

Janet Ely is a family nurse practitioner certified in advanced oncology with a focus on providing comprehensive symptom management for patients diagnosed with cancer. She is currently a nurse practitioner in hematology and oncology at Fletcher Allen Health Care and has worked to develop an out-patient palliative care clinic in the Vermont Cancer Center. Her focus is working with patient at all stages of their cancer care. She oversees the palliative care nurse practitioner fellowship program and is involved with nursing education around oncology and palliative care. (Session 1.7)

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Elise Everett, MDElise Everett, MD

Dr. Everett is a gynecologic oncologist with the University of Vermont and Fletcher Allen Healthcare. She performed her residency at the University of Washington Medical Center and her fellowship at the University of Virginia Medical Center. Prior to coming to Vermont, she spent five years with the Swedish Medical Center is Seattle, Washington. (Session 2.7)

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Mary Giancola, MSW, LICSWMary Giancola, MSW, LICSW

Mary M. Giancola has experience working in a variety of health care settings in the role of medical social worker to improve the quality of life of people living with serious illness. She is presently working in the Hematology/Oncology Clinic as Palliative Care Social Worker at Fletcher Allen Health Care as part of the palliative care team. (Session 1.7)

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Clare Ginger, PhDClare Ginger, PhD

Clare Ginger brings a patient perspective as a breast cancer survivor and someone who has undergone genetic testing. She served in the cancer patient mentoring program, and also has participated in panels to review grant proposals for the VT/NH chapter of the Komen Foundation. She is a faculty member at the University of Vermont where she pursues her professional interests in environmental policy through teaching, research, and service. (Session 2.6)

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Janet Gray, PhD

Janet Gray os a Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) at Vassar College. She has done extensive research in behavioral neuroscience, with a focus on the effects of estrogens and mixed antiestrogens, especially tamoxifen, on brain activity and behavior. Dr. Gray has served as the editor of the Breast Cancer Fund's report State of the Evidence in 2008 and 2010. (Session 2.1)

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Jean Harvey, PhD, RDJean Harvey, PhD, RDVCC Member

Jean Harvey received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nutrition from Penn State University and her PhD in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Her research focuses on obesity prevention in children and behavioral treatments for obesity in adults; specifically the use of the Internet to deliver behavioral weight control interventions. She is currently funded by National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Agriculture. Dr. Harvey is a University Scholar and a Fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and The Obesity Society. Dr. Harvey is Professor and Chair of the Nutrition and Food Sciences Department and a Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Vermont. (Session 2.4)

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Curtiss HemmChef Curtiss Hemm

Chef Curtiss Hemm is the founder and ExecutiveDirector of Pink Ribbon Cooking, LLC. Chef Curtiss is the former Dean of Culinary Arts and Director of Online Programs at the New England Culinary Institute. Additionally Curtiss was an instructor and program coordinator at Paul Smith's College of Arts and Science. Specializing in the artistic presentation and preparation of food, Chef Curtiss is also the author of Garde Manger: The Cold Kitchen, a contemporary culinary textbook focused on the preparation and artistic expression of charcuterie, salads, sandwiches, buffets and decorative sculptures. Chef Curtiss currently sits on the Vermont Hope Lodge Advisory Committee Council 2013 and the Vermonters Taking Action Against Cancer Quality of Life Work Group. Intimately touched by his wife's breast cancer diagnosis and the loss of her mother to lung cancer, Curtiss now channels his professional skills and time toward raising awareness and supporting organizations that are on the frontline in the fight against cancer. (Session 1.5)

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Patti Johnson, RN, OCN, CBCNPatti Johnson, RN, OCN, CBCN

Patti Johnson is the Oncology Care Coordinator at the FitzPatrick Cancer Center in Plattsburgh, NY. She works with Breast Cancer Survivors as a Navigator and a Sexuality Resource RN.(Session 1.1)

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Janet Kahn, PhD, LMTJanet Kahn, PhD, LMT

A massage therapist and a research scientist, Janet has worked to bring the worlds of research and massage therapy together by serving as both the President of the Massage Therapy Foundation and Director of the Massage Research Consortium. She is on the faculty of the University of Vermont College of Medicine and a Preceptor in the Harvard Medical School Fellowship in Complementary and Alternative and General Medicine. In 2011, Dr. Kahn was appointed by President Obama to serve on the national Advisory Board on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health. She also serves on the Advisory Council of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (Session 1.8)

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Jane Lian, PhDJane Lian, PhDVCC Member

Dr. Lian is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Vermont and a member of the Vermont Cancer Center. Recognition for her transformative research includes awards from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the Orthopedic Reearch Society, International Association of Dental Research, the Shirley Hohl Service and the Willian Neuman Research Awards of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr Lian has served on four NIH review panels and the Research Advisory board of the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. Her current research programs are supported by NIH grants from 3 Institutes NIAMS, NIDCR and NCI and a Cancer related Idea Research Award from Pfizer. (Session 1.2)

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Susan Marx

Susan is a certified Kripalu Yoga teacher (KYTA), AFAA Personal Trainer, AFAA Group Fitness Instructor, and is OM Yoga for Women Cancer Survivor certified. (Session 1.11)

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Jennifer May, RD, CDJennifer May, RD, CD

Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian, working full-time for the past eight years with the Cancer Patient Support Program at the Vermont Cancer Center. She provides nutrition counseling to oncology patients in the community and offers lectures on various cancer and cancer prevention topics. Jennifer received her Bachelor's of Science in Dietetics/Nutrition & Food Sciences at the University of Vermont and completed her dietetic internship at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. (Session 1.5)

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Kathy McBeth, MAKathy McBeth, MAVCC member

This year's conference co-chair, Kathy McBeth has been the full time coordinator with the Cancer Patient Support Program for the past seven years. She is a Licensed Psychologist, with a focus on health psychology and adjustment to illness. Kathy is two-time cancer survivor and has been involved with the Breast Cancer Conference for a number of years, first as an attendee, then as a presenter. She is a member of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society, on the steering committee for Vermonters Taking Action Against Cancer, on the Nursing & Allied Health Professional Advisory Committee, and a board member of the Stowe Weekend of Hope. She has presented at the Vermont Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer Conference, the Dartmouth Lymphoma Symposium, the Stowe Weekend of Hope, and at the Northern New England Oncology Society annual conference. (Session 2.3)

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Wendy McKinnon, MSWendy McKinnon, MSVCC member

Wendy McKinnon is a certified genetic counselor who specializes in genetic counseling and testing for familial cancer. Ms. McKinnon is the genetic counselor for the Familial Cancer Program at the Vermont Cancer Center and Fletcher Allen, a multidisciplinary program for individuals and families at risk for hereditary cancer. (Session 2.8)

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Robert Nesbit, MDRobert Nesbit, MD

Dr. Nesbit is an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the UVM Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He graduated from the Medical College of Georgia, completed residencies at Erlanger Hospital and the State University of New York Health Science Center at Syracuse, and finished a fellowship in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery at Charlotte Plastic Surgery. He has been with the University of Vermont College of Medicine since 2005. (Session 2.6)

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Mary Nolan, RN, OCNMary Nolan, RN, OCN

Mary Nolan RN, OCN worked at the Tucker Center For Cancer Care in Middletown, NY and has been with the FitzPatrick Cancer Center since 2008. She works in the Clinic, Infusion Room and as a Sexuality Resource RN. She was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2010. (Session 1.1)

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Patti O'Brien, MDPatti O'Brien, MDVCC member

Dr. O’Brien provides lymphedema consultations at the Vermont Cancer Center at Fletcher Allen Health Care. She serves as co-chair of the Annual Breast Cancer Conference and has also volunteered with many local nonprofits. Dr. O’Brien is a 14-year breast cancer survivor who has participated in multiple national cancer research studies, including those at the Vermont Cancer Center. She is interested in the long term medical needs of cancer survivors. (Session 2.6)

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Michelle Sowden, DOMichelle Sowden, DOVCC member

Dr. Sowden joined the UVM College of Medicine in 2011. Her recent research experience includes a study regarding accelerated partial breast irradiation, as well as a previous study regarding acute hepatic failure and hemorrhage following radiofrequency ablation for liver metastasis. Dr. Sowden has been an invited lecturer for multiple centers and was the recipient of a Breast Cancer Achievment Award at the 12th Annual Lynn Sage Conference. She also received an American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) award for her presentation, “Who Provides Follow Up Care for Breast Cancer Survivors and Does it Make a Difference?” (Session 2.6)

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Brian Sprague, PhDBrian Sprague, PhDVCC member

Dr. Brian Sprague, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Vermont. As a cancer epidemiologist he conducts population-level research on breast cancer incidence, detection, and survival. He leads the Vermont Breast Cancer Surveillance System, a member of the national Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium, which studies risk-based breast cancer screening strategies. He is currently co-Principal Investigator of the Vermont PROSPR Research Center, which seeks to evaluate the breast cancer screening process and identify factors associated with recurrence after an early stage breast cancer diagnosis. (Session 1.4)

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Paul Unger, MDPaul Unger, MD VCC member

Dr. Unger is a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Vermont, co-founder of the Breast Care Center, a hematologist and a medical oncologist on Fletcher Allen’s medical staff. He cares for patients at the Vermont Center for Cancer Medicine & Blood Disorders and at the breast care center at Fletcher Allen. (Session 1.6)

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Marie Wood, MDMarie Wood, MDVCC member

Dr. Wood is a Professor of Medicine in the UVM Division of Hematology/Oncology. She is the founder and principle investigator of the High Risk Breast Program. Dr. Wood provides clinical, research, and programmatic oversight to the program. Dr. Wood is also the director of the Vermont Cancer Center’s Familial Cancer Program, which provides advanced multidisciplinary care for individuals and families at elevated risk for developing cancer. (Session 1.2)

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Last modified July 11 2014 02:58 PM