The Prevent Cancer Foundation announces 2020-2021 young adult advisory committee

Sixteen young adults were selected for the preventGEN committee to advise on the perspective of younger generations for cancer prevention and early detection

Published on October 16, 2020

Updated on November 1, 2020

The Prevent Cancer Foundation announces 2020-2021 young adult advisory committee

Contact: Lisa Berry Edwards

Alexandria, VA— The Prevent Cancer Foundation welcomes 16 young adults to the preventGEN committee to increase awareness and education of cancer prevention and early detection among younger generations. Committee members have a broad array of experience ranging from communications and marketing to epidemiology.

PreventGEN committee members collaborate with Prevent Cancer Foundation staff on ideas for campaigns, programs, concepts and content. Their feedback is instrumental in helping the Foundation fulfil its mission of saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection.

“Colorectal cancer is on the rise in adults under 50 and skin cancer continues to be a rampant problem for teens and young adults,” said Carolyn Aldigé, Founder and CEO of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. “Prevention can’t wait. The remarkable young adults making up the preventGEN committee will be a great asset in ensuring our messaging connects with younger generations and empowers them to make choices to reduce their risk of developing cancer.”

PreventGEN committee members were chosen for their professional experience, perspective on younger generations and deeply personal connections to cancer and cancer prevention.

Congratulations to the 2020-2021 preventGEN committee members:

Elisabeth Clymer Hockersmith is a returning preventGEN member. She is a student at the University of Texas School of Public Health and is pursuing her master’s degree in health promotion and education.

Valeria Copello is a research assistant at the Miami VA Healthcare System and a cancer biology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Suzanne Hafiz, MPH, CHES, is a returning preventGEN member. She is a precision nutrition coach, as well as a health education and promotion assistant at Benedictine University.

Sonya Jampel is an advocate for efficient, affordable and just medical coverage of prescriptions and durable medical equipment for patients predominately on Medicaid and Medicare.

Monica Kasting, Ph.D., is a behavioral epidemiologist and postdoctoral fellow focused on behavioral oncology. She works as an assistant professor at Purdue University.

Joan Malcolm, Ph.D., serves as the director of external affairs at GRAIL, a health care diagnostic startup. She is pursuing her MBA at the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business.

Gabriela Morales, Ph.D., CCHW, is a returning preventGEN member. She is an assistant professor at New Mexico State University and an adjunct professor at Manchester University in North Manchester, Indiana. Her focus is on the importance of communication in health care and the representation of minority populations in empirical data.

Mary Nicholas, Ph.D., PMP, is a program director at Cancer Pathways in Seattle, Washington.

Elisa Salazar is a returning preventGEN member. She is an account director at a digital agency in New York City. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2018 and is an advocate in the young adult cancer community.

Megan Sappenfield is a donor relations manager at Foundation Communities, a social services organization in Austin, Texas.

Jane Smith, MPH, is a project coordinator at the American Cancer Society. Her focus is to reduce geographic disparities in HPV vaccination rates in rural states of the Rocky Mountain region.

Erin Steigleder is the education manager at the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation and the board chair for the Cancer Action Coalition of Virginia.

Alicia Storkamp is a returning preventGEN member. She works as a professional singer in and is a weekly host at Children’s Minnesota. After becoming inspired to live a healthier lifestyle, Alicia has been passionate about educating and inspiring others to prioritize their health.

Kelly Thomas, Ph.D., is a returning preventGEN member. She has 10 years of experience as a clinical and investigative cancer researcher. Recently, she created Cultivated Curiosity, which is focused on improving wellness to prevent chronic disease.

Irina Usherenko, MPH, is the senior program manager at Seattle Genetics, a global biotechnology company. She is a dynamic global health project leader, bringing over a decade of experience in medical research and program management.

Vanessa Uzoh, MS, CHES, is a returning preventGEN member. She recently received a master’s degree in health promotion management and has experience in public health, community health promotion and clinical research in minority populations for breast and cervical cancer.

About The Prevent Cancer Foundation

The Prevent Cancer Foundation is celebrating 35 years as the only U.S. nonprofit organization focused solely on saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection. Through research, education, outreach and advocacy, we have helped countless people avoid a cancer diagnosis or detect their cancer early enough to be successfully treated.  

The Foundation is rising to meet the challenge of reducing cancer deaths by 40% by 2035. To achieve this, we are committed to investing $20 million for innovative technologies to detect cancer early and advance multi-cancer screening, $10 million to expand cancer screening and vaccination access to medically underserved communities, and $10 million to educate the public about screening and vaccination options.

For more information, please visit

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