Eye Believe Patient Survivorship Seminar
Meet Our Speakers & Session Leaders
Takami Sato, MD, PhD, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
As director of the Metastatic Uveal Melanoma Program at Jefferson, Dr. Sato heads one of the few programs in the United States treating melanoma originating in the eye. Dr. Sato has devoted his career to improving understanding of this disease and developing new treatments, particularly for patients who are not eligible for surgery.
Dr. Sato’s studies focus on cancer immunotherapy, or the use of the immune system to fight cancer. His clinical trials involving a procedure called immunoembolization have shown promising results. Dr Sato
Armin Afshar, MD, MBA, Vitreoretinal surgeon and ocular oncologist
Dr. Armin Afshar is an ophthalmologist at UCSF’s Ocular Oncology and Retina and Vitreous Clinics. He specializes in the treatment of eye tumors and disorders of the retina and vitreous. He has special expertise in the management of ocular surface tumors of the conjunctiva and cornea, as well as intra-ocular tumors involving the iris, ciliary body, choroid, retina and the vitreous and optic nerves. His research focuses on genetic analysis of uveal melanomas and improving treatments for retinoblastoma.
Afshar earned his bachelor of science and medical degree in the accelerated honors medical program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, and a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Chicago. He completed a residency in ophthalmology at the University of Chicago and fellowships in vitreoretinal surgery and ocular oncology at UCSF. He is an assistant professor of ophthalmology and a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, American Society of Retinal Specialists, American Association of Ophthalmic Oncologists and Pathologists and International Society of Ocular Oncology.
Zeynep Eroglu, MD
Dr Eroglu is a medical oncologist at the Department of Cutaneous Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center and an assistant professor at the University of South Florida, focusing translational and clinical research in the study of melanoma. Her clinical focus is on treating patients with advanced melanoma, including ocular melanoma, and cancers such as squamous cell, Merkel cell and basal cell carcinomas, and developing and participating in clinical trials. As a clinical investigator, her scientific interest involves clinical and translational research in targeted therapies and combination immunotherapeutics, along with development of biomarkers to predict treatment outcomes and personalized treatment strategies for patients.
Ann Fonfa, Annie Appleseed Project
Ann was diagnosed with cancer in January 1993. Thus she is now a 25+ year survivor. Ann began exploring Integrative Oncology before it was called that. She gathers the evidence around natural cancer strategies, lifestyle issues and holistic therapies. There are many paths to wellness in the natural world. Her nonprofit Annie Appleseed Project has been online since June 1999 and has had millions of visits. The all-volunteer nonprofit will host its 13th Evidence-based Complementary & Alternative Cancer Therapies conference February 28-March 2, 2019 in West Palm Beach.
Ann is known for asking important questions at cancer conferences, and is a very active Advocate for people with cancer. She is connected to many advocacy groups worldwide and has served on grant review panels and many committees.
She’s a happily married (30 +5) to a very supportive man who calls himself the ‘good man’ behind a ‘great’ woman, and now living full-time in Florida. They love their stepson and 2 grandkids and visit them as often as possible (but only in the good weather).
Marie Frankos is a certified clinical research nurse at the Orlando Health UF Health Cancer center located in beautiful downtown Orlando, in the adult oncology. In her current role, she supports Dr. Sajeve Thomas in the melanoma disease group. She has been working in research and has been a licensed nurse since 2015.
Marie has worked on multiple phase II and III clinical trials in her support role as a research nurse, and possesses a very diverse skill set that has allowed her to gain the knowledge experience in working on both device and investigational drug clinical trials effectively. Currently, Marie lives in Oviedo, Florida with her husband Jon of 12 years and their two daughters. In her spare time, Marie loves to garden, cycle, and spend time with her family.
Stefan Kurtenbach, PhD, Bascom Palmer Research
Dr. Stefan Kurtenbach studied Biochemistry at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany. Awarded with a scholarship from the International Max Plank Research School and as a member of the Ruhr University Research School, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Hanns Hatt, investigating the impact of disease related mechanisms on the olfactory system. He completed his PhD thesis in 2011, which was awarded “Summa Cum Laude”. From 2012-2014 Dr. Kurtenbach joined the lab of Dr. Zoidl at York University in Toronto, Canada, working on pannexin/connexin signaling. Since 2014 he is a member of the Ocular Melanoma Laboratory at the University of Miami and the Miller School of Medicine in Florida, lead by Dr. Harbour. Initially awarded with the AACR-OMF Young Investigator Award, his research focus lies on investigating epigenetic changes and signaling cascades leading to tumor progression of uveal melanoma.
A Cure In Sight along with a generous financial gift from Jack Odell and John Dagres, will be funding a new arm of continuing research with Dr. J. William Harbour and Dr. Stefan Kurtenbach of the Harbour Ocular Oncology Laboratory at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. https://acureinsight.org/research-funding-harbour/
Nicole Jarvis, LMSW, Cancer and Careers
Nicole Jarvis joined the team in October of 2015 as Manager of Programs. Now, as Senior Manager, she oversees the website Newsfeed, Blog and Professional Development Micro-Grants program as well as coordinating all 15 annual Cancer and Careers webinars. In addition, Nicole provides direct support and referrals to the many patients, survivors and healthcare professionals who reach out to the organization, as well as assists with the regional and national conferences.
Nicole received her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a focus on women’s health. While in Madison, she was actively involved with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, pursuing work on legislative issues related to access to reproductive healthcare. Following graduation, she worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering for four years in the chemotherapy unit and for a renal oncologist, until attaining her Master of Social Work degree from Hunter College, in 2013. Nicole worked as a social worker in the child welfare arena, advocating for parents in family court, prior to joining Cancer and Careers. cancerandcareers.org
Carolina Eye Prosthetics
Carolina Eye Prosthetics, Inc strives to make the highest quality custom ocular prostheses and provide care tailored to our individual patient’s needs.
Castle Biosciences is a molecular diagnostics company committed to serving patients with underserved cancers. The DecisionDx-UM test enables accurate staging of five-year metastatic risk in uveal melanoma. Validated in multiple prospective and retrospective studies, it is standard of care in a majority of ocular oncology practices. Castle Biosciences also offers DecisionDx-PRAME and DecisionDx-UMSeq testing for uveal melanoma. More information can be found at MyUvealMelanoma.com
Pam Coffman, Artful Expression
Pam Coffman is an accomplished art educator and professional artist with more than 22 years of experience teaching studio art and art history at the secondary and college level. She received her BA from Rollins College in 1984 and her MS in Art Education and Studio Art from Florida State University in 1993. Pam has been the Curator of Education at the Museum of Art- DeLand since 2008. As a professional artist, Pam has been actively engaged in making art since the early 1970s. Her motivation for making art is “to discover answers to questions that have
not been asked.”
In addition to pursuing her own artwork, Pam is passionate about sharing the importance of creativity to our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. She loves to teach classes and workshops on how to bring creativity into our daily lives and experience the healing benefits that come from creative expression.
Christine Karper, Ph.D., LMHC obtained her Master’s Degree in mental health counseling and her Doctoral Degree in counselor education and supervision from the University of Central Florida. She has been serving the Central Florida Community as a Clinician and a Counselor Educator for over 15 years. As a clinician, Dr. Karper enjoys assisting individuals in stress management and in developing means of coping with diverse life challenges, utilizing alternative healing modalities and the gentleness of mind, body, spirit methods. Her expertise includes positive psychology and mindfulness to achieve wellness in the context of coping with chronic medical conditions. Dr. Karper’s research interests include the use of preventative medicine and positive health behaviors to improve quality of life in patients being treated for cancer and other chronic medical conditions.
Carole is a licensed professional counselor and a trainer, educator and practitioner in group psychotherapy and psychodrama (TEP). She is currently conducting psychodrama groups and trainings at Wayside Treatment Center in Delray Beach, Florida, and Caron Renaissance in Boca Raton, Florida. Carole Oliver, M. ED, TEP, LPC has 40 years of counseling, coaching, group psychotherapy and psychodrama experience. She is board certified by the American Board of Examiners in Psychodrama, Sociometry, and Group Psychotherapy. As a Fellow of the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, she has served on the Executive Council for the ASGPP. Presenting at their conferences for the last 30 years. In 2014, she received the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama prestigious Hannah Weiner Award. Ms. Oliver has presented psychodrama trainings both internationally and nationally. Her latest international training was in Trinidad, The British West Indies in 2015.
Anne Osborn, author
Anne, as a teen grew up in the shadows of OM when her mother died of OM. Forty years later, she, was diagnosed with OM, Class 2.
She spent her career in human services, trained as a psychotherapist. Her specialties include initially being a children’s therapist specializing in needs impacting the ability to learn in education. Simultaneously she began leading an emergency team for law enforcement and fire personnel over nearly three decades, ‘when bad things happen to them, we go in’.
Managing her stress was with long distance, both in running and bicycling. Though now, as a Master Gardener time is spent in Nature. Her passion outside of family and friends includes travel, writing and being of service.
Her new book, Coping with Ocular Melanoma: A Toolbox is published. She will talk about its contents here at the conference.
Sapna Patel, BA, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology
Dr. Sapna Patel is an assistant professor in the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Patel serves on the Uveal Melanoma Assembly and is Director of Online Media in the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology. She completed her clinical internship and residency at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado and went on to complete a clinical fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Dr. Patel received her MD from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. She is board certified in medical oncology by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Kori Roberts, LCSW, C-SWHC
Kori is a licensed clinical social worker. She received her master’s degree in social work from the University of South Florida. She has previous experience in child welfare as well as individual and family therapy. She has been at Moffitt Cancer Center for the last four years where she has worked in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. At Moffitt she assists individuals and families as they adjust to their diagnosis of cancer. Kori also participates in the Moffitt Families First program. Families First is a special program at Moffitt for parents with cancer and their young children to help them cope with the changes that occur within the family when a parent has cancer. This program includes providing educational and nurturing materials to parents and children, as well as patient family events throughout the year.
Loren Seaman, Recovery Coach and Trainer & Ocular Melanoma Survivor
Loren’s professional career has been mainly in the mental health industry, specializing in working with women with co-occurring disorders (addiction & mental health). In 2004, Loren was a founding partner at a women’s holistic addiction treatment center that focused on treating women with trauma. This center allowed Loren to fulfill her lifetime dream and passion of helping women and families heal.
Loren’s background in branding, working in public relations, admissions, interventions, and coaching, helped gained national presence for this women’s center. At the end of 2017, with over 19 years of industry experience, Loren decided to leave the women’s center and started a coaching business: “Inspire Hope and Change”, where she is able to continue to help women and families heal.
Personally, Loren was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma in her left eye and was treated 11/10/01 with Brachytherapy. In 2009, she was operated on again on the left eye with a cataract. In June 2017, Loren suffered an Ischemic Optic Stroke in her right eye, which was her healthy eye, and since this time she has been receiving treatments to that eye. Since January 2018 Loren has been suffering from severe Macular Edema (bleeding in both eyes). She is at the oncologist every two weeks for treatments to both eyes and also suffers from Ocular Hypertension. Loren is battling to save her vision.
Loren is a survivor and remains positive and lives “One day at a Time” and continues to spread the message of HOPE!
Jackie Weber joined Orlando Health in September 1992 and since that time has held various roles within Patient Financial Services. She became a Patient Access Manager in 1996 and has led teams in most Orlando Health Hospitals over the years.
“In my current role of Senior Manager of Practice operations at Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center, I have taken all of my experience working with patients, insurance companies and financial assistance services to better assist the special needs of the cancer patient. I also am a four year breast cancer survivor and have lived through the worries of long term financial burden,” says Jackie.