Advisory Board and Our Team
Founder and Executive Director
Lillian Kreppel is many things: she’s a public speaker, entrepreneur, successful marketing strategist and public relations expert. She’s funny, outgoing, and a lover of life. Most recently, she added new roles to her list: anal cancer thriver, activist, and tireless pioneer advocating for the prevention and treatment of human papillomavirus (HPV). Lillian is a woman with an ironclad mission and vision with the endless energy and dedication to achieve them. Her goal is to inspire others with her personal journey and to empower them with the education and awareness they need to manage their own health.
More information about Lillian:
Marcia Cross, Actress
Founding Board Member
Marcia Anne Cross is an American actress. She began her career on daytime soap operas such as The Edge of Night, Another World, and One Life to Live before moving to primetime television with a recurring role on Knots Landing. From 1992 to 1997, she starred as Dr. Kimberly Shaw on Melrose Place. Cross played the role of the conservative housewife Bree Van de Kamp on the ABC television series Desperate Housewives (2004–12), for which she was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, and a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She also recurred as President Claire Haas on the ABC series Quantico.
In June 2019, Marcia revealed that she had been battling anal cancer and is now in remission. Since then, she has been talking about her cancer battle to help destigmatize the disease and encourage people to treat it.
Paul Romesser, MD
Assistant Professor in Radiation Oncology Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Dr. Romesser earned a combined BA/MD at Boston University. He studied at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as a Howard-Hughes Medical Institute and National Institutes of Health Research Scholar. He completed residency in Radiation Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he was Chief Resident. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Radiation Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a physician scientist with an interest in developing novel radiation sensitizers for gastrointestinal tumors. He is a member of the NRG; (NSABP/RTOG/GOG) Oncology colorectal and non-colorectal committees and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Rectal-Anal Task Force. His work has been published in Nature, Science, Cell, The Lancet, Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research, International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biophysics, and Cancer.
Judith Smith, PharmD, BCOP, CPHQ, FCCP, FISOPP
Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology University of Texas, McGovern Medical School
Dr. Smith is an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at UTHealth McGovern Medical School and Director of the Women’s Health Integrative Medicine Research Program. She also is an oncology clinical pharmacy specialist at the UTHealth-Memorial Hermann Cancer Center. She received a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy from Union University Albany College of Pharmacy. She completed residency in Pharmacy Practice and Oncology Pharmacy Practice at National Institutes of Health (NIH) followed by a fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology at UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (UTMDACC).
Previously she was a Faculty member in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at UTMDACC. Dr. Smith is an active member of many pharmacy professional organizations. She has been Board Certified in Oncology Pharmacy and Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality. Her research mission is to advance the progress of the safe and effective use of nutritional and herbal supplements with pharmacologic modalities as it relates to women’s health and cancer through innovative thinking, systematic methodology and collaborative interactions throughout the UTHealth System and global research community.
Carl McDougall, MD
Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Dr. McDougall received his undergraduate degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and his medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College. His medical residency was completed at the Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his fellowship in gastroenterology at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Dr. McDougall has received a number of awards: the Leo Davidoff Society Award for excellence in teaching medical students of Albert Einstein College of Medicine; an Excellence in Teaching Award at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Dr. McDougall is a board-certified gastroenterologist. His practice is currently located in Midtown Manhattan where he continues to provide a wide array of gastroenterological services to patients with related disorders and diseases.
He has published extensively in peer review journals, and is an active member in a number of medical societies, including The American Gastroenterological Association, The American College of Gastroenterology, and The New York Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
Aaron E. Katz, MD, FACS
Chairman of Urology, NYU Winthrop Hospital Professor of Urology, NYU School of Medicine
Dr. Katz established and serves as the Program Director of Urology Residency Program at NYU Long Island School of Medicine and is an attending physician at Winthrop Urology, a progressive urology practice with offices in Garden City, Long Island and the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Prior to joining Winthrop, he was a Professor of Urology at Columbia University Hospital College of Physicians and Surgeons and was the Director of the Center for Holistic Urology, a Center which he established in 1998 performing basic research and clinical trials to investigate the role of natural therapies within urology.
Dr. Katz is also recognized as an expert in the field of prostate cryosurgery. In the early 1990s, he began using cryosurgery to treat and cure prostate cancers. His pioneer work in advancing the technology helped Medicare approve this therapy for treating radiation-recurrent tumors. Dr. Katz has trained over 100 Urologists internationally to perform cryosurgery in their hospitals. Dr. Katz has published more than 150 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, and has written five chapters for Urologic textbooks. He is currently the host of "Katz’s Corner", a men’s health radio program aired every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on WABC Radio.
Stephen E. Goldstone, MD, FACS
Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai
Dr. Goldstone is an active member of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. He attended the State University of NY at Albany, graduated Summa Cum Laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He attended the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha, the medical honor society. He completed a surgery residency at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center and served as Chief Resident for the last two years of his residency.
Dr. Goldstone has spoken at conferences around the world and has done extensive research on human papillomavirus (HPV). His work has been published in many prestigious medical journals. He has developed a surgical technique to treat anal HPV dysplasia and is currently involved in testing both prevention and treatment procedures for HPV. He is a member of the AIDS Malignancy Consortium. Dr. Goldstone is an expert on gay men’s health and authored the best-selling book The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex -- A Medical Handbook for Men. He is past-president of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Alumni Board of Governors. He is the immediate past president of the International Anal Neoplasia Society and has a surgical practice in New York City.
Michael Gaisa, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai
Karyn A. Goodman, MD, MS
Professor and Vice Chair of Research in Radiation Oncology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Dr. Goodman is Professor and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and serves as the Associate Director of Clinical Research in the Tisch Cancer Institute. She recently moved to Mount Sinai from the University of Colorado and was previously the head of GI Radiation Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Goodman obtained her undergraduate and medical degrees from Stanford University. She completed her residency training in Radiation Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and earned a Masters in Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in 2006.
Dr. Goodman’s interests include image-guide radiation therapy, stereotactic body radiotherapy, and intensity modulated radiotherapy treatment planning for gastrointestinal cancers with the intent of reducing toxicity and improving results with radiation therapy. She has also focused her research on quality of life and late effects after radiotherapy. In addition to her interest in technical advances in radiation oncology, she is involved in the development of therapeutic protocols combining radiation, chemotherapy, targeted agents, and immunotherapy for gastrointestinal cancers.
Dr. Goodman is an internationally recognized expert in gastrointestinal cancers and has served in numerous leadership roles on multiple national committees. She now serves as the Co-Chair of the NCI’s Gastrointestinal Steering Committee. She serves as the national Radiation Oncology principal investigator of the RTOG/NRG 0848 study, a phase III trial evaluating the use of post-operative radiotherapy for pancreatic cancer and the national study chair for the CALGB/Alliance 80803 trial evaluating PET-directed therapy for esophageal canceresophageal cancer. She has published more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles, review articles, and chapters.
Marshall Posner, MD
Professor of Medicine Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai
Dr. Posner is Professor of Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY (2010). He is Medical Director of the Head and Neck Oncology Program (2010), Associate Director of the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapeutics (2016), and co-Director of the Cancer Clinical Investigation Program (2018) for the Mount Sinai NCI - National Cancer Institute designated Cancer Center. He was also the Medical Director of the Cancer Clinical Trials Office (2010-2015) at Mount Sinai. He graduated from Yale University with a BA in psychology (1971) and Tufts Medical School with an MD (1975). He completed residency in Internal Medicine at Boston City Hospital (1978) and a medical oncology fellowship at Dana Farber Cancer Institute (1981). He was an Instructor in Medical Oncology at DFCI and Harvard (1981-1983). He was an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Roger Williams Medical Center, and Brown University (1983-1991); an Assistant (1991) and Associate Professor (1994) of medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School. He served as Medical Director of the Head and Neck Oncology Program and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School (1995-2010).
Dr. Posner has published more than 275 peer-reviewed basic laboratory and clinical studies and multiple reviews and abstracts. He has been principal investigator of RO1 grants in immunology and HIV and was Director of the Human Monoclonal Antibody Laboratory at the Roger Williams Medical Center, Brown University (1983-1991), and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School (1991-2010). Dr. Posner has been the principal investigator on numerous therapeutic and laboratory studies of immunotherapy and monoclonal antibodies in pemphigus, HIV, and nasopharynx cancer. He has been principal investigator on Phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical trials in Head and Neck Cancer and other cancers. He holds multiple patents in human monoclonal antibodies to infectious agents. He has a major interest in the immunobiology and therapeutics of Human Papillomavirus and oropharynx cancer and has served on numerous advisory boards for drug development and Data Safety Monitoring Boards for clinical trials.
Keith Sigel, MD, Ph.D
Associate Professor Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai
Marcelo W. B. Araujo, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Dr. Araujo is Chief Executive Officer of the ADA Science & Research Institute and the ADA Foundation, in addition to providing direct scientific advice to the ADA Board of Trustees and the ADA Chief Science Officer.
Dr. Araujo leads the scientific and dental research activities and manages the research agenda, including ADA policies and programs pertaining to the Council on Scientific Affairs; Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry; Research and Standards ADA Seal of Acceptance and Scientific Information. He provides administrative and scientific guidance within the Institute and agencies of the ADA to address current and emerging scientific issues that affect public health, patient care, dental practice, and national and international health programs. Dr. Araujo serves as the liaison to ADA Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center and is the Scientific Advisor to the FDI Science Committee.
Prior to the ADA, Dr. Araujo held Research & Development senior positions in the pharmaceutical industry, both in dentistry as well as other therapeutic areas, including cardiology, nutrition, women’s health, among others, always aiming innovation in healthcare, dissemination of science and improvement of professional education and with academic research. His clinical work has been published in peer review journals, including JADA, benefitting dental practices across the world through global scientific program implementation.
Dr. Araujo held academic positions both in the United States and in Brazil, where he also practiced dentistry in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro. Dr. Araujo received his Doctor in Dental Surgery and earned a Certificate in Periodontology at Universidade Gama Filho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He received his Ph.D. in epidemiology and community health, and Master of Sciences, Oral Sciences from State University of New York at Buffalo, where he also completed a two-and-a-half year Fellowship in Periodontology research and teaching.
Stephanie V. Blank, MD
Director of Gynecologic Oncology
Mount Sinai Health System
Dr. Blank, MD, is the Director of Gynecologic Oncology for the Mount Sinai Health System, a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director of Oncology Programs for the Blavatnik Family Women’s Health Research Institute and the Director of Women’s Health at the Blavatnik Family – Chelsea Medical Center at Mount Sinai. Dr. Blank, who specializes in the treatment of patients with ovarian, cervical, and uterine cancers, and the care of women at increased genetic risk for gynecologic cancer, joined the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in 2017. Previously, she spent 16 years at the NYU Langone Medical Center, where she rose from Assistant to Associate to Full Professor, built a busy clinical practice, launched and ran the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program, developed a cancer risk assessment program for underserved women at Bellevue Hospital, and directed the Gynecologic Oncology Research Program.
Dr. Blank’s research focus is on genetic predisposition to cancer, novel therapeutics and translational research, survivorship, quality of life, and fertility preservation. She serves on the Ovarian Committee of the national cooperative group NRG and has been a principal investigator for investigator-initiated as well as industry-sponsored and cooperative group trials. Dr. Blank is broadly published in peer-reviewed journals and text books and frequently presents at industry seminars and conferences on women’s gynecologic oncology issues. She is the recipient of many honors and awards, including Castle Connolly Top Doctors, Super Doctors, and the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology Teaching Award, among others.
Dr. Blank serves on numerous boards and committees and is actively involved with many professional organizations, including the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, NRG Oncology, Foundation for Women’s Cancer, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. She is a Member of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s Gynecologic Oncology Division, through which she helps set the standards by which gynecologic oncologists are accredited. Additionally, she is a member of the Board of Directors of SHARE and the Medical Advisory Board of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.
Dr. Blank received her undergraduate degree from Yale University, majoring in English and Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and her medical degree from the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the New York Hospital – Cornell Medical Center and a fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. She is a 2020 fellow of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program.
Peter Halperin, MD
The New York Presbyterian Hospital
Dr. Halperin is a Board-Certified Dermatologist and Dermatologic surgeon. He is recognized by New York Magazine and Castle Connolly's Top Doctors as one of New York's premier Medical and Cosmetic Dermatologists. He helps educate the Cornell Medical students and Dermatology Residents as Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at The New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College and Hospital for Special Surgery. He is Past President and on the Board of Governors of the Dermatologic Society of Greater New York. He is Treasurer of the Manhattan Metropolitan Dermatologic Society, a member of the American Academy of Dermatology‘s Professionalism and Ethics Committee and a member of the Physician’s Scientific Society.
Peter graduated Summa Cum Laude from Brandeis University, attended NYU Medical School, and completed his Dermatology Residency training at Weill Cornell New York Hospital, where he was Chief Resident. He volunteers his time at the pediatric clinic at Cornell NY Hospital.
Peter wholeheartedly believes in the goals of the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA) and is committed to help the organization foster and promote awareness, early detection and treatment of oral, anogenital, and Head and Neck cancers.
Abraham Aragones, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Dr. Aragones is an internal medicine physician and public health researcher whose areas of expertise include working with primary care providers to address barriers for cancer screening and prevention among minority and immigrant populations, specifically among the Latino population.
His research interests include understanding primary care providers’ barriers for recommending cancer screening and prevention, designing and implementing interventions tailored to primary care settings and adapted to diverse patient populations, and working with providers in the community serving large Latino populations to design new methods to implement evidence-based interventions into their practice settings.
Dr. Aragones is currently working in the areas of HPV vaccine practices among providers serving large minority populations; developing an intervention to promote the utilization of the HPV vaccine among children of Latino immigrants; and investigating a new model to disseminate and implement evidence-based practices to community physicians serving large Latino populations.
Ashley Burton Arkema, BA, BSN, CNP
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Ashley Burton Arkema is a Nurse Practitioner in The Female Sexual Medicine and Women’s Health Program (FSMWHP) at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). This program provides individual interventions to female cancer patients, women at risk of cancer, and survivors coping with the physical and emotional challenges of cancer treatment. In her current role, she provides care to women experiencing sexual health concerns, including vaginal dryness and pain secondary to their cancer treatment.
Prior to joining MSKCC, she worked in family planning with adolescent girls and a gynecology private practice caring for women across the lifespan. Her academic training includes completing a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health at Purdue University, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at The University of Miami, and a Master of Science in Nursing at Columbia University. She is also a member of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health and received additional training from the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH). Her career goal is to empower female patients and survivors with strategies to improve their quality of life, and she is actively involved in women’s health research, as well as lecturing on this topic with patients and clinicians both within and outside of MSKCC.
Dan Lifton, MBA
Founding Board Member
For more than a decade, Lauren Dillon-Thomas has been a dynamic advisory professional serving the fundraising efforts of various nonprofits and social impact enterprises. She founded Triad Resource Group to meet the specific organizational needs of emergent organizations seeking to increase funding, operate more philanthropically, and execute with greater clarity and focus. Lauren has extensive and diverse experience sitting on several sides of the “donor table” as fundraiser, consultant, and volunteer board member. These roles equip her with an intimate understanding of the many challenges and nuances involved with donor development. As a collaborative leader, she is committed to ‘getting into the trenches’ with Triad’s clients, working together to do whatever it takes to produce real results that further their mission and drive maximum impact.
The majority of her time with clients is spent in major gift cultivation, relationship management, systems efficiency, and grant writing. Lauren has significant, advanced education in international public administration and has layered this acumen with certificates in fundraising management. Additionally, she’s a Certified Trainer of the StartingUp Now™ curriculum for nonprofit startups, helping them to architect the foundational lumber of their inspired vision.
Patient & Stakeholder Engagement Thought Leader
Shazia Ahmad serves as a Director of the Patient & Physician Services team at UBC, a leading provider of pharmaceutical support services. Shazia earned a B.S. in physiology and neurobiology from the University of Maryland and has 20+ years of experience in the healthcare industry. In her role at UBC, Shazia provides oversight and strategy on patient recruitment and retention as well as site feasibility and recruitment for clinical, late stage, safety and risk management programs. Shazia has a passion for ensuring the patient journey and pathway to diagnosis is understood in every program she implements. Shazia is a recognized thought leader and is actively involved with integrating patient advocacy representation in her programs and is also actively involved in presenting with patient advocacy representatives in industry conferences on the importance of working with advocacy groups in the clinical research programs and has chaired sessions at major industry wide meetings, such as the Annual DIA Conference.
Before joining UBC, Shazia served as a study coordinator at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While at the NIH, Shazia coordinated intramural clinical trials across the various institutes, including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Her work included direct parent/patient family interaction across various indications, including but not limited to Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Shazia also served as a study coordinator for ClinSearch, a private research center where she supported protocols from various sponsors and therapeutic areas.
Shazia is a thought-leader in patient advocacy, with a desire to improve healthcare and integrate successful solutions that bring optimal access and diversity. Shazia is committed to support the organization in the advancement of awareness and education of HPV.
“I am very excited to join the HPV Alliance Board, and thrilled to be a part of this amazing group of leaders in healthcare with the uniform goal to help advance the prevention of HPV-related cancers through education, advocacy, and research.''
Melissa DeFreece, MBA
Non Profit Advisor
Partner at Kolektif | V
Melissa DeFreece has a long career in the nonprofit sector and has been committed to uplifting communities in need. Her passion for creating a better world led her to launch a consulting agency with four of her closest friends called, Kolektif | V. The agency is committed to co-creating equitable change within and through communities.
Her love for helping people and being a voice for others has been the driving force behind her being an innovative leader. Melissa serves as the Development Director for the Greater Delaware Valley chapter with JDRF where she recently led the charge for a virtual gala that raised over $2 million dollars. Prior to JDRF, she worked at Liberty Lutheran building relationships with external stakeholders, working on food insecurity and wellness issues for low income seniors, and became a co-facilitator for trainings that covered core competencies such as communication and listening, emotional intelligence, and diversity for internal stakeholders.
Melisa worked at Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia and built a volunteer program from zero to over 100 volunteers recruited to support the mission of serving food and providing social services to the homeless in Philadelphia. Her experience includes nonprofits from the NPR/PBS station (KERA) in Dallas, One Family, Inc. and she worked at Tufts University in Boston. Over the years, her roles varied from program development, volunteer management to fundraising and development work.
Melissa has lived in the Poconos, Dallas, Boston but her home state of NY where her heart lies. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. In 2017, she received her MBA from Temple University. Melissa lives in Philadelphia but still loves going home to the Bronx. In her spare time, she spends time with her family and friends and loves to travel.