Arkansas Cancer Coalition

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.

Arkansas Cancer Coalition Staff

Trena Mitchell, MA, CNP
Executive Director

Office: (501) 404-2351
Fax: (501) 404-2351

Miriam Karanja, MBA
Director of Programs

Office: (501) 404-4875
Fax: (501) 404-4875

Rachael Moore, AAS, AA
Operations Manager

Office: (501) 404-2307
Fax: (501) 404-2307

Nikki Butler, BS
Grants Manager

Office: (501) 408-3867
Fax: (501) 408-3867

Wonder Lowe, MPA, BSHE, TTS
Health Program Specialist

Office: (501) 404-0028
Fax: (501) 404-0028                                                      

Kirsty DeHan
Communications Specialist

Office: (501) 404-2343
Fax: (501) 404-2343

Eva Lepe
Executive Assistant

Office: (501) 408-3432
Fax: (501) 408-3432

Board Members

Louise Scott, LSW

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.

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.

Issam Makhoul, M.D.

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.

Gwendolyn Bryant-Smith, M.D.

Gwendolyn Bryant-Smith, M.D. is a native of Arkansas. She is the Chief of Breast Imaging and the Breast Imaging Fellowship Director in the Department of Radiology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). A graduate of the UAMS College of Medicine, Bryant-Smith completed her internship at UAMS, followed by a residency in diagnostic radiology and fellowship training in the UAMS Breast Imaging Fellowship program. She is board certified in Diagnostic Radiology.
Bryant-Smith joined the UAMS Department of Radiology in 2006. She served as Director of Breast Imaging in the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS) Department of Radiology from July 1, 2008 to February 29, 2016. She was named Chief of Breast Imaging at UAMS in the Department of Radiology March 1, 2016.

She has served as chair of the National Veterans Affairs Mammography Advisory Committee and as a subject matter expert on the Upper Midwest Consolidated Services Center (UMCSC) Biopsy Instruments and Needles Committee with Mayo Clinic. She is a clinical image reviewer for the Arkansas Mammography Accreditation Program, a member of the UAMS Radiology Residency Program Evaluation Committee, a member of the UAMS Mammography Workgroup, and an Envoy Board member of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

Bryant-Smith has a strong interest in patient advocacy and health policy. She testified before the 2017 Arkansas General Assembly House and Senate Insurance and Commerce Committees in a successful effort to gain insurance coverage for Digital Breast Tomosynthesis and Whole Breast Ultrasound for women in the state of Arkansas. Bryant-Smith is a member of the American College of Radiology, Arkansas Radiological Society, Radiological Society of North America, and the Society of Breast Imaging.

Chris Collier

A native Arkansan raised in Hot Springs, Chris Collier earned his Bachelor of Arts in political science from Hendrix College in Conway. He was recently hired as the new Executive Director of the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation (APCF), bringing over thirty (30) years of experience in business, education, and non-profit leadership to the position. He is a Founder/Managing Partner in Top Level Tournaments, LLC, and has served as a financial advisor and manager. Chris has been a high school business teacher, department head, and coach. He has also served on and chaired many non-profit boards throughout central Arkansas. Professionally he most recently served as the Director of Organizational Development for Arkansas Teacher Corps, a non-profit arm of the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

With his extensive background and successes in a broad array of ventures, Collier has the experience and perspective to guide APCF as the organization continues to expand its depth and breadth across the state of Arkansas. He is a frequent speaker and presenter and leads various organizational and educational outreach activities. He provides daily leadership for his staff, drives relationship building statewide and beyond with patients, supporters, and stakeholders. In addition, he oversees strategic planning initiatives in support of the continued growth and development of the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation.

A longtime resident of central Arkansas, Mr. Collier has two sons as well as two grandsons and is engaged to Ms. Brenda Thompson of Conway. “Cancer, as a disease, is something very personal with me. I have lost friends and relatives to various forms of cancer, including prostate cancer, and I also have a number of good friends who are prostate cancer survivors. Education, through early detection, is so vitally important.”

Kenya Eddings, MPH, CWWS, 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.

Sarah Faitak, RN, BSN

Graduated from Indiana University School of Nursing in 1978 and is currently the Director of The Breast Center of Northwest Arkansas.  She has spent most of her nursing career working in women’s health, including managing a family planning clinic and a mobile mammography program.  In addition, she has written and managed several health-related grants. In her position as Director of The Breast Center, Sarah oversees the operations of three breast imaging centers that perform over 26,000 mammograms yearly as well as breast ultrasound, needle biopsies and breast MRI.  She developed and staffed the Risk Assessment Clinic, personally counseling and advising over 500 patients who have indications that make them high risk for breast cancer and gene mutations.

In addition to her professional positions, Sarah has served several years as the Grants Chair and a term as President of the Ozark Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  In 2007, she was one of 50 delegates from across the world to be chosen to participate in the Komen Global Summit in Budapest, Hungary. From this experience, Sarah has traveled to Targu Mares, Romania to train physicians and volunteers in breast cancer advocacy and is one of the founders of a Visiting Fellowship at The Breast Center, which has sponsored Romanian physicians for continued learning in breast cancer advancements. Sarah is currently serving on the Arkansas State Breast Cancer Control Advisory Board and will serve in that role until 2021. She is a founder and Secretary of Arkansas Breast Cancer Specialists, a multidisciplinary group of providers caring for breast cancer patients in the NWA region. She also serves on the Board of the NWA Center for Sexual Assault.

Tina Gill
Tina Gill, MAIOC

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.

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.

Treg Long, O.D.

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.

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.

Gay Prescott

Gay Prescott joined Hope Cancer Resources in 2005 and became the Vice President of Development in 2011. Prior to Hope Cancer Resources, Gay served as the Manager of the Cancer Support Home in Northwest Arkansas. She is committed to providing support for cancer patients living their personal cancer journey and their family members.

In 2018, Gay was honored with Outstanding Fundraiser Award nominated by her peers through the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Northwest Arkansas. Gay has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Commercial Design and Advertising. She has over 30 years of marketing experience and over 20 years of non-profit experience and fundraising. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Gay and her husband, Larry have made Northwest Arkansas their home for 23 years. She loves sports and is an avid Razorback fan, but still holds tight to her cowbell.

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.

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