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...helping navigate cancer survivorship

Board of Directors

Majid Abadi

Majid Abai is co-founder and Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. Majid and his team advise national and global companies on how to utilize cutting edge technologies (including Big Data, IoT, & A.I.), advanced marketing techniques, and continuous innovation to rapidly increase revenues, reduce costs, and enhance operations.

A serial entrepreneur, Majid has built and successfully exited multiple companies – and therefore understands the needs and goals of the executive suite in various industries.

Majid co-authored the book Data Strategy and was an adjunct professor at UCLA for nine years. He is frequently invited to speak at national and international conferences.

Megan Antonelli

Megan is the Founder & CEO of Purpose Events.  Purpose Events produces regional and national events that bring together Healthcare executives looking to accelerate improvements in healthcare delivery. Megan manages event strategy, production, marketing, and operations for the HealthIMPACT and Health INSIGHTS series.

Prior to founding Purpose Events, Megan managed a multi-million dollar event portfolio and produced hundreds of healthcare events. She held positions at Informa, World Congress, IQPC, Institutional Investor, WebMD, Kaiser Permanente, and Columbia Presbyterian.  Megan graduated from Vassar College and attended Columbia University’s School of Public Health. When she’s not creating memorable events, you’ll find Megan at the ballpark watching little league with her two boys, planning meals that may never be made, running, taking pictures, blogging, comparing LA to NY, and enjoying life at the beach with her husband.

Monica Bryant, Esq.
Chief Operating Officer

Monica is a cancer rights attorney, speaker, and author, dedicated to improving access to, and availability of, quality information on healthcare-related issues.  Monica is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer for Triage Cancer, a national, non-profit organization that provides education and resources on cancer survivorship issues.

Previously, Monica was Midwest Regional Director for a national cancer rights organization she forged relationships with cancer organizations, hospitals, law firms, other community partners, and members of underserved communities. Prior to relocating to Chicago, Ms. Bryant served as Legislative Counsel for U.S. Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez and Law Clerk for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. During her time in Congress, Ms. Bryant focused on health, justice, civil rights, and women’s issues. She was also heavily involved in the nomination hearings for United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

Throughout her career, Monica has provided hundreds of educational seminars, written articles and blogs, and appeared on community television and radio shows discussing healthcare-related legal issues.

Additionally, Monica is an Adjunct Law Professor at John Marshall School of Law in Chicago, teaching a class on Cancer Rights. Monica currently serves on the American Bar Association’s Breast Cancer Initiatives Executive Committee.

Monica received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Law & Society, with an emphasis in criminal justice, and Psychology from the University of California Santa Barbara and a Juris Doctor from The George Washington University Law School. She is a member of both the California and Illinois State Bars.

Debra Weintraub Burgin, MPH

Deb Updated Headshot 7.2013

Deb Burgin, MPH, works as a consultant and coach providing strategic services to non-profit organizations. Most recently, she worked as the Executive Director of LA Diaper Drive, a non-profit organization committed to providing free diapers to low-income families, using them as incentive to get parents into life skills, parenting, GED preparation and other life-improving classes.

Deb also served as Director of Mission Programs at the Los Angeles County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® for three years, overseeing the community grants program, leading data collection and needs assessment efforts, coordinating outreach and education efforts on breast health issues in the community and advocating on public policy issues. Deb also worked at the American Cancer Society in Los Angeles as Director of Health Programs, providing outreach and education to medically underserved and ethnically diverse communities, and coordinating patient programs at hospitals.

Deb received her Masters of Public Health from California State University, Northridge in 2003, and completed her internship at UCLA on the IMPACT program, a program for underinsured and uninsured prostate cancer patients. She spearheaded an evaluation project at IMPACT and published her Master’s thesis, entitled, “An Evaluation of Prostate Cancer Materials: Examining Their Suitability, Readability, Self-efficacy, and Cultural Sensitivity.”

Deb brings her experience and her commitment to improving the public health of the community to her Board position at Triage Cancer.

Margaret Chapman, MA
Board Treasurer

Margaret Chapman

Margaret Ann Chapman, MBA, MA is the Director of Finance and Administration for the International START Secretariat, an organization specializing in climate change initiatives in developing countries.  Prior to that position, Margaret was the Fiscal Manager for the George Washington University Cancer Institute which focuses on survivorship, patient navigation and patient access to care advocacy within Washington, DC and nationwide.  She has her Masters in Business Administration and European and Eurasian Studies from the George Washington University.  In addition to Triage Cancer, Margaret serves as the immediate past president of the board of directors for Street Sense, a Washington, DC, non-profit helping create economic opportunities for the district’s homeless population.

Nancy Fawzy, PhD, RN


Dr. Fawzy received a Masters Degree in Oncology Nursing and a Doctorate in Nursing Science, from the U.C.L.A. School of Nursing. She was named one of “Sixty Most Influential Graduates” in the UCLA School of Nursing 60th Anniversary Magazine.

She has worked with cancer patients for over 40 years and has always been interested in the importance and impact of psychosocial issues faced by patients and family members. She participated in landmark research demonstrating that a short-term structured psychoeducational intervention helps newly diagnosed cancer patients to cope more effectively and to feel better emotionally. This research also demonstrated a small but statistically significant survival benefit 6 and 10 years later.

Dr. Fawzy was the founder and director of the John Wayne Cancer Institute Psychosocial Care Program from 1991 to 2002. In this capacity, she ran psychoeducational support groups for patients with cancer and their families, provided individual patient consultations, and was the co-founder and supervisor of the Positive Appearance Center, one of the first hospital located boutiques catering to the cosmetic and comfort side-effects of cancer treatment.

Dr. Fawzy is a longstanding member of the Oncology Nursing Society and received The ONS Excellence in Supportive Care award in 2005. She is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor in the UCLA School of Nursing.

Kirk Hartley, Esq.

Kirk head shot

Kirk Hartley is a trial lawyer and consultant with a passion for the intersections between law and science, including the medical and legal principles involved in many aspects of cancer. Kirk’s pro bono legal work is focused on articles, presentations and/or litigation regarding the rights of persons with cancer with respect to access to diagnostics and therapies. That work focuses primarily on efforts to persuade or force private insurers or insurance plan administrators to provide access to precision medicine diagnostics and therapies. For over 30 years, Kirk has represented commercial clients in business litigation, including winning judgments for some of the largest companies in the US, as well as smaller entrepreneurs. Over the years, Kirk has increasingly focused on the growing and changing intersections between molecular science, tort law, corporate law, and insurance, as well as the increasing use of bankruptcies and schemes of arrangement to resolve or limit underlying contingent liability claims. Kirk frequently speaks on and writes about law and science issues, and has been time and again recognized as being part of the top tier of US lawyers.

Kirk’s almost 35 years of practice have focused on advising a wide range of corporations, associations, and individuals as both plaintiffs and defendants, but in different law firm settings. In June 2011, Kirk created his own law firm, LSP Group LLC, to continue his focus on issues involving law, science and policy. Kirk’s immediate prior practice focused on representing policyholders against insurers for a national insurance coverage boutique (Childress Duffy) that represented policyholders against insurance companies. Kirk also enjoyed over 25 years as a partner in a national law firm (Katten Muchin Rosenman) and then a nationally known litigation boutique (Butler Rubin Saltarelli & Boyd). Immediately after law school, Kirk learned many lessons during a wonderful year spent as a law clerk for Howard C. Ryan, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Illinois.

Kirk also is a director in a boutique consulting firm, Gnarus Advisors LLC. Gnarus combines economic, scientific, engineering, and regulatory expertise to provide clients with multidimensional support on a wide range of challenges affecting their financial performance, risk management goals, and dispute resolution efforts.

Kirk also writes an independent blog, GlobalTort.com, which focuses on global tort claiming, science, cancer, insurance and mass tort bankruptcies.

Kirk is the very proud father of two daughters in college pursuing undergraduate degrees aimed at putting molecular biology knowledge into action as part of programs to assist people facing challenges arising from diseases or developmental barriers or disabilities.

Joanna Morales, Esq.
Chief Executive Officer

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Joanna Fawzy Morales, Esq. is a cancer rights attorney, author, speaker, and CEO of Triage Cancer, a national nonprofit organization connecting people to cancer survivorship information and resources through a national speakers bureau, educational events, and online tools.

Mrs. Morales has spent more than twenty years working on behalf of individuals with cancer, including five as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, teaching a seminar in Cancer Rights Law, and eight at the John Wayne Cancer Institute’s Psychosocial Care Program and Positive Appearance Center.

Mrs. Morales has presented hundreds of educational seminars on employment, insurance, health care, and advocacy issues throughout the country for patients, survivors, caregivers, health care professionals, advocates, lawyers, employers, and the general public.

In addition, Mrs. Morales serves on numerous cancer community committees and boards, including as Chair of the Board of Directors for the California Division of the American Cancer Society, the National Advisory Board of CancerForward, and the Stupid Cancer Survivorship Advisory Council. She has also served on the Executive Committee of the American Bar Association’s Breast Cancer Task Force.

She has been published in a variety of publications, such as Psycho-Oncology, Coping with Cancer, Women, and Ability Magazine. In 2009, she also contributed to a book entitled, “Work and Cancer Survivors.” She has co-authored a book on Cancer Rights Law for the American Bar Association (to be released in 2015).

Mrs. Morales has received numerous awards and recognition for her service to the cancer community and her work in the area of legislative advocacy, such as the 2009 Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Public Policy Advocate of the Year. In 2010, she was also recognized by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the Top 20 Attorneys in California Under the Age of 40.

She also serves as Principal of North Star Alliances, a business and nonprofit consulting and service firm. Mrs. Morales received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations from the University of California Los Angeles and a Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School Los Angeles. Mrs. Morales can be followed on Twitter @CancerRights.

Jodi Omear, MA, APR
Board President

Jodi Omear is a strategic communications and media relations consultant with more than 15 years of experience and a proven track record of leading teams through the development and implementation of successful communications campaigns that achieve measurable results. Her expertise includes traditional and social media, crisis communications, website content development, publications, and conference and event management.

Currently, Omear serves as the vice president of communications at RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. She is also partner at Statera Strategies, LLC. Previously, she served as the chief communications strategist for the nation’s governors at the National Governors Association (NGA), directing strategic messaging on a variety of issues at both the state and federal level. Prior to joining NGA, Omear was the press secretary and spokeswoman for West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise. She also served on Wise’s United States House of Representatives staff.

Throughout her career, Omear has led numerous media training seminars; written and placed pieces in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Washington Times, Roll Call, Politico, the Hill and the New York Times; and appeared in radio and television interviews, including National Public Radio and CNN.

Omear received a Bachelor of Science in English and Journalism from West Liberty University and a Masters of Arts in Political Management from The George Washington University. She also holds an Accreditation in Public Relations and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.

John T. Vernagus
Board Secretary

John Vernagus is a senior marketing and corporate communications executive with more than 20 years of experience in C-level roles positioning and promoting companies ranging from emerging ventures to global brands. With a career-long focus on tech-forward products, he has been at the forefront of innovations that have and continue to shape telecommunications, software services and digital media.

Currently, John works as an independent business advisor and marketing consultant. He is also professionally affiliated with NextGen Venture Partners. Past corporate employers include Yellowpages.com, AT&T, Concert Networks, Pacific Bell Wireless and Sprint.

To the Triage Cancer Board, John brings a breadth of strategic planning acumen, classic marketing expertise and social media know-how in support of the organization’s alliances, campaigns and event initiatives. He also comes well-versed in the dynamics of health- and wellness-focused non-profits as a result of his past involvement as a corporate sponsor and company fundraising chair in support of the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House Charities and United Way.

Mr. Vernagus received a Bachelor of Arts degree, with an emphasis in management, and a Masters of Business Administration Degree, with an emphasis in marketing, from Michigan State University.