Arkansas Cancer Coalition

21st Arkansas Cancer Summit | 17th Clearing the Air In Communities of Color Conference

Our Team

These are the people that keep the Arkansas Cancer Coalition running. Their hard work and dedication allows us to continue to connect people across Arkansas to fight cancer together.

ACC Staff

Trena Mitchell, MA, CNP
Executive Director
Arkansas Cancer Coalition
Office (501) 404-2351
Fax (501) 404-2351
Trena.Mitchell@arcancercoalition.org

Miriam Karanja, MBA
Director of Programs
Arkansas Cancer Coalition
Office (501) 404-4875
Fax (501) 404-4875
Miriam.Karanja@arcancercoalition.org

Rachael Moore, AAS, AA
Operations Manager
Arkansas Cancer Coalition
Office (501) 404-2307
Fax (501) 404-2307
Rachael.Moore@arcancercoalition.org

Nicole Taylor, BS
Grants Manager
Arkansas Cancer Coalition
Office (501) 408-3867
Fax (501) 408-3867
Nicole.Taylor@arcancercoalition.org

Wonder Lowe, MPA, BS
Health Program Specialist
Arkansas Cancer Coalition
Office (501) 404-0028
Fax (501) 404-0028                                                                Wonder.Lowe@arcancercoalition.org 

Kirsty DeHan
Communications Specialist
Arkansas Cancer Coalition
Office (501) 404-2343
Fax (501) 404-2343
Kirsty.Dehan@arcancercoalition.org

Eva Lepe
Executive Assistant
Arkansas Cancer Coalition
Office (501) 408-3432
Fax (501) 408-3432
Eva.Lepe@arcancercoalition.org

Board Members

Tina Gill
Tina Gill, MAIOC
Chair

Tina F. Gill, MAIOC currently works as VISN 16 Cancer Program Manager, at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS) Strategic Management Service Facility Planning Analyst with the Department of Veterans Affairs. She has a BA in Business for Advertising and Public Relations and a MA in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication both from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She has 13 years of experience in public health and cancer control, and now seven inside a large hospital system. She also worked in manufacturing, and the private sector before moving to state and federal government positions. She is a Mid-South Division Board member with the American Cancer Society and is active with Autism Speaks.

Gill was the first official coordinator of the Arkansas Cancer Coalition, which had its roots in the Arkansas Breast Cancer Coalition. She went on to a position with CDC as a field public health advisor to the Coalition and to other states, tribes and territories across the country. Gill feels that there is so much that we can do at the community level to fight cancer and it starts with providing a proper environment for the work. She believes that we all have gifts which we can and should contribute to make our work, home and play environments healthy for one another. If we don’t do it, well then who will? She is a cancer survivor who has three grandchildren and four step-grandchildren who live in New Jersey, Texas and Arkansas, and she works to see them as much as possible.

Treg Long, O.D.
Vice-Chair

Dr. Long was in a small optometric practice for several years before a cancer diagnosis provided an opportunity to volunteer with the American Cancer Society leading to a position as the Arkansas Medical Affairs Director during the early 90s.

Dr. Long currently serves as the Heath Systems Manager, State-Based for the American Cancer Society providing leadership for cancer control relationships and initiatives in Arkansas for the Mid-South Division. This work includes assisting in the identification and/or development of programs and services designed to integrate cancer control objectives with health care providers, managed care organizations, health insurers, coalitions, worksites, Medicare quality improvement organizations, and a variety of other key health systems that have broad population impact on reducing cancer incidence and decreasing mortality rates. Other positions held during a twenty-three year history with the American Cancer Society have included: Arkansas Health Systems Director, Government Relations Director, Advocacy Manager for the newly merged Mid-South Division, and Medical Affairs Director for the past Arkansas Division as previously mentioned.

Dr. Long has extensive volunteer work with various Arkansas coalitions including: Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas, Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, Arkansas Wellness Coalition, Coalition for a Healthy Arkansas Today, Governors Round Table on Health Care, National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer, Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health across the US, Arkansas Insurance Department’s Consumers Assistance Advisory Committee, and was very involved with the establishment of the Arkansas Cancer Coalition.

Louise Scott, LSW
Treasurer

Louise Scott is a licensed social worker in the state of Arkansas and has more than 30 years of social service experience. She currently serves as the Grants Coordinator for Arkansas Minority Health Commission where she is responsible for the coordination of agency partnerships with community, faith based and government organizations to increase screenings and awareness for heart disease/stroke and other diseases that disproportionately impact minorities.

Issam Makhoul, M.D.
Secretary

Issam Makhoul, M.D., is Associate Professor and Director of the Division of Hematology Oncology and the Fellowship Program Director in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). He is also the inaugural recipient of the Laura F. Hutchins, M.D. Distinguished Chair for Hematology and Oncology. After receiving his medical degree from Tishreen University in Latakia, Syria, Dr. Makhoul obtained a degree in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases from René Descartes University in Paris, France. Dr. Makhoul was a resident in internal medicine at Penn State Geisinger Medical Center in Danvillte, Pennsylvania. Afterwards, he completed a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at Penn State Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Dr. Makhoul is certified in medical oncology and hematology.

Dr. Makhoul is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology and the American Association for Cancer Research. His research interests include breast cancer, GI malignancies and quality of life in cancer patients. He led the Hematology/Oncology program successfully through the Quality Oncology Project Initiative Certification. He chairs the Survivorship Core Group at UAMS.

Bev Eckert, LCSW, JD

With a background in law and social work, Bev Eckert began her work at the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation as the Patient Navigator in early 2012. Having lost a grandfather to prostate cancer, Bev embraced the Foundation’s mission of increasing awareness, encouraging timely detection, and supporting improved treatment of the disease in our state. Furthermore, she believes, as did our founders, that access to information and care should be available to all men regardless of disparities in health related competence, financial resources or proximity to care.

“In the role of Patient Navigator, I engaged daily with Arkansans who were facing the confusion and challenges of confronting a prostate cancer diagnosis. My one-on-one work with prostate cancer survivors was the motivating factor for my acceptance of the position of APCF Interim Executive Director in April, 2013 and the subsequent position of permanent Executive Director in October, 2013”.

“I also serve as the secretary of the National Association of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions (NASPCC) where I sit on the Executive Committee. Through my affiliation with NASPCC I am able to collaborate with prostate cancer advocates across the country about best practices in their respective states”.

Kenya Eddings, MPH, CRS

Kenya L. Eddings, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas received her undergraduate degree from Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama and her graduate degree from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. She currently serves as Workplace Wellness Manager for the Arkansas Department of Health. Previously, Kenya worked as a Research Scientist for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Her research interests included behavioral weight loss and maintenance in African American women and access to healthy food and food deserts.

Ever the servant-leader, she is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Junior League of Little Rock, Leadership Greater Little Rock Class XXIII, Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society and serves on various boards including the Arkansas Arts Center, Quapaw Quarter Association, and the Beverly Divers-White Foundation. In addition, Kenya serves on the steering committees of Philander Smith College’s Social Justice Institute, Women’s Foundation of Arkansas and is the co-founder of Kuumba Arts Collective, an art appreciation group partnered with Hearne Fine Art.

Marian Evans Lothery, DrPH, MPH

Dr. Marian Evans Lothery is the Coordinator for the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office (MISRGO) at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff™ (UAPB). Her background consists of approximately 19 years of experience in program planning and development, capacity building, grant writing and program evaluation. Dr. Lothery completed a Master of Public Health degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, and a Doctor of Public Health degree in Public Health Leadership from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist, a Certified Grant Evaluator and member of the American Evaluation Association.

Dr. Lothery has served on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Jefferson County and the Arkansas Coalition for Excellence (now the Arkansas Non-Profit Alliance). She has also served on two start-up non-profit boards, Involve, Inc. and REFORM, Inc. Involve, Inc. addresses the health and wellness issues that

underrepresented communities face. REFORM, Inc.’s purpose is to empower transitional independent aged youth and young adults from 14-24 to become leaders.

Ronda Henry-Tillman, M.D

Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman is a surgical oncologist specializing in women’s oncology at UAMS Medical Center. She is a Professor in the Department of Surgery, and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. She is the Co-Director of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. As Director, she heads efforts to reduce the mortality, health disparities and cancer burden of Arkansans. She has developed numerous interventions that target cancer disparities.

Dr. Henry-Tillman has been recognized as a leader in cancer diagnosis and treatment. She has numerous publications, and has made national and international presentations on MRI and breast cancer staging and the advancements in breast cancer treatment, as well as cancer disparities interventions. She is federally funded in clinical research, with research interests prevalent in cancer education and awareness and community-based participatory research.

Dr. Henry-Tillman has been awarded several honors in the Cancer Control arena to include the “Community Health Research Leadership Award” from the National Cancer Institute and the “Acknowledgements in Cancer Excellence Community Outreach Award” from the American Cancer Society. She was also recognized by her peers and awarded the “Distinguished Faculty” Award at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, formerly the Arkansas Cancer Research Center. Since 2005, she has been prestigiously honored as one of the “Best Doctors in America”.

Abby Holt, MPH, MLIS

Abby Holt is the Director of the Arkansas Central Cancer Registry at the Arkansas Department of Health. She is responsible for all operations of the cancer registry and coordinates activities according to guidance from the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) at the CDC. She develops and monitors the progress of program objectives and enforces rules and regulations pertaining to the collection and dissemination of state cancer data. She coordinates activities of the Arkansas Cancer Registry Advisory Committee and assures all approved outcomes from the committee are addressed. She’s currently involved in a national pilot project, Virtual Pooled Registry – Cancer Linkage System (VPR-CLS), with the National Association of Central Cancer Registries and is a voting member of the organization. She previously worked as the cancer epidemiologist for the registry program and coordinated the publication of the Arkansas Cancer Facts & Figures report.

Sharp Malak, MD, MPH

Sharp F. Malak, MD, MPH is the Director of the UAMS Mobile Mammography Program and the UAMS Breast Imaging Research Program. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology in the College of Medicine with a secondary appointment in the Department of Epidemiology in the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. Dr. Malak is a faculty lecturer and member of the national Breast Cancer Screening Leadership Group sponsored by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging. He serves on the national ACR Committee on Breast Screening and Emerging Technologies. He is the 2018-19 President of the Arkansas Radiological Society.

Dr. Malak earned a Master’s in Public Health from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and then served as an Epidemiologist for the Infectious Disease Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center as part of a CDC designated “Center of Excellence” program in the prevention of nosocomial infections. His Doctor of Medicine was obtained from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences where he also completed a 5-year residency in Diagnostic Radiology. He returned to New York to complete his Fellowship in Breast Imaging at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He joined the UAMS faculty in 2011 after completing his fellowship.

As an American College of Radiology board certified Breast Imager, his clinical expertise is in the early detection of breast cancer through screening mammography, adjunctive screening in high-risk women with breast ultrasound and MRI, and all aspects of diagnostic breast imaging including minimally invasive image guided breast biopsy techniques.

Travis Montgomery

Travis Montgomery is a Grassroots Manager for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). He is responsible for developing and implementing grassroots advocacy programs in Arkansas to support cancer-related policy initiatives.

Mr. Montgomery brings over 12 years of experience in grassroots organizing, volunteer coordination, and stakeholder management to his role at ACS CAN. He began his career as a community organizer in Arkansas after graduating from Hendrix College in 2006. Since then, he has been a staff member on many local, state, and federal campaigns.

In between campaigns, Mr. Montgomery worked briefly in journalism as well as general consulting, overseeing public affairs activities, issue advocacy, electoral campaigns, and event management.

Travis and his wife, Izzy, reside in Little Rock and can be found enjoying the outdoors in The Natural State when they are not working on public health policy.

Michael Preston, Ph.D, MPH

I am a Health Services and Systems Researcher with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services & Systems Research, serve as Co-Director for Health Initiatives and Disparities Research in the College of Medicine, and served as Director of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Cancer Control Outreach Center. My expertise is in the field of health services and systems research with a concentration in health economics. As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, my research activities include studying cancer disparities in underserved and low-income communities. I applied economic, political, and statistical theory and methods to determine how social factors generate disparities, and to evaluate state and federal policy initiatives that reduce these disparities. I designed an economic analysis of a state demonstration program that reduces screening barriers among low-income, uninsured, underinsured, and underserved populations.

Alicia Storey, RT

Alicia Storey has worked in healthcare for 19 years and has past experience managing and marketing a mobile mammography unit, grant writing and administration, and community health education. Alicia currently serves as manager of oncology programs at St Bernard’s Medical Center and is responsible for overseeing the Cancer Committee, site specific tumor conferences, cancer registry, clinical and psychosocial navigation and survivorship programs.

“I have been a member of ACC for 5 plus years and am a believer in the purpose and mission of this group of cancer advocates. I am overwhelmed at the benefit that I have seen this group provide to those in our state who are working toward a common goal of reducing the cancer burden in Arkansas. I would be honored to serve on a Board with others who share my passion and continue to improve efforts and collaborations across the state”.

“I have experience working with disparate communities and first-hand knowledge of barriers to care. I have experience with grant administration and have served the ACC on committees that help develop the new Cancer Plan. I have experience with emerging areas of oncology including genetic counseling, palliative care, survivorship and navigation. I have worked with oncologists and oncology teams to become a CoC accredited program, so I am familiar with benchmarks and standards for cancer care on the national level”.

Lisa VanHoose, PhD, MPH, PT, CLT

Lisa VanHoose, PhD, MPH, PT, CLT has practiced oncologic physical therapy since 1996. She serves as an Assistant Professor in the Physical Therapy Department at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA). As a NIH, PCORI, and industry funded researcher, Dr. VanHoose investigates socioecological models of cancer related distress and lymphedema with an emphasis on minority and rural cancer survivorship.

Dr. VanHoose served as the 2012-2016 President of the Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association. Dr. VanHoose received her PhD in Rehabilitation Science and MPH from the University of Kansas Medical Center. She completed the NHLBI PRIDE Summer Institute with an emphasis in Cardiovascular Genetic Epidemiology. Her BS in Health Science and MS in Physical Therapy were completed at the University of Central Arkansas. She currently provides oncology rehabilitation services through the Ujima Institute, PLLC, as the owner and service provider.

Olivia Wyatt, LSW, OSW-C

With more than 38 years experience as a medical social worker in the Central Arkansas healthcare community, Olivia Wyatt has spent the better part of her professional career advocating on behalf of cancer patients and their families. A board-certified oncology social worker, Wyatt currently serves as Counseling and Resources Coordinator for CARTI, a nonprofit, independent network of cancer care facilities with locations throughout Arkansas. In her role at CARTI, Wyatt acts as project director for all patient assistance-funded grants and is charged with the responsibility of designing, implementing and reporting programs as specified.

“It would be my goal to use my professional experience and training to contribute to the goals and objectives of the Arkansas Cancer Coalition in a way that would positively impact the awareness of and attention to cancer care in Arkansas,” says Wyatt, who has represented CARTI as an ACC member for the past six years.

“Specializing in oncological social work, I believe I bring a unique perspective on the past, present and future of cancer care in Arkansas, particularly when it comes to the emotional and socio-economic impact it can have on those diagnosed with the disease”.

Prior to joining CARTI in 1999, Wyatt previously worked as a licensed social worker for St. Vincent Infirmary, Hope Lodge, Columbia Doctors Hospital and Baptist Health Medical Center.

A member of both the National Association of Social Workers and the Association of Oncology Social Work, Wyatt has volunteered her professional expertise as a committee member and/or board member for number of local and statewide oncological organizations and charities, including: the Central Arkansas Cancer Registry; the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network; Susan G. Komen for the Cure; and the American Cancer Society. In 2006/2007, Wyatt served as the Arkansas Region III representative for the Association of Oncology Social Work.

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