Lori is a board-certified psychiatrist. She served on Vanderbilt University clinical faculty for over 20 years. She has worked as a psychiatrist in academia and in the public and private sectors. She has been a co-administrator of the Facebook BRCA Sisterhood peer support group for over seven years. She believes the drift to a younger age in cancer onset with each subsequent generation is due to environmental factors, so her cancer prevention work and environmental work are intimately related. Lori is a BRCA2 mutation carrier and knew her status since 1997 when peer support was not readily available. She is devoted to helping others understand and navigate the implications of cancer-predisposing genetic mutations. She is a US master swimmer and sprint triathlete.
Karen Malkin Lazarovitz
Karen Malkin Lazarovitz is the Founder of BRCA Sisterhood, the largest and longest established support group for women with BRCA in the world with over 9,788 members. Starting as a small support group in 2009 for a group of friends who were struggling to find resources and support as they navigated decisions about BRCA, Karen has spent over 10 years leading this group with her fellow moderators. Since May 2018, Karen has done everything in her power to protect the BRCA Sisterhood from security and privacy issues impacting the BRCA Sisterhood, and has been a leading force to help fellow-admins in the BRCA Community to collectively organize efforts towards better privacy protections. She lives in Montreal with her family.
After being diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer in 2009, Kathleen Maxian learned a terrible truth: because she inherited a BRCA 1 gene mutation, she was pre-disposed to breast and ovarian cancer that, in fact, could have been detected through comprehensive genetic testing and prevented with prophylactic surgeries. In 2012, Maxian founded the Ovarian Cancer Project, with the mission to provide education on ovarian cancer symptoms and risk factors and to support women with the disease. She is a graduate of the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s premier science training program Project LEAD® Institute. Maxian serves as a Patient Advocate on numerous local and national boards and committees, is a sought after speaker, and has won many national and local awards for her work. Kathleen is an avid gardener and lives with her husband and dog in Upstate New York.
Casey Quinlan covered her share of medical stories as a TV news field producer, and used healthcare as part of her standup comedy set. When she got a cancer diagnosis five days before Christmas, she used her research, communication, and comedy skills to navigate treatment, and wrote “Cancer for Christmas: Making the Most of a Daunting Gift” about managing medical care, and the importance of health literate self-advocacy. She writes, she speaks, she facilitates the Festivus Airing of Grievances in healthcare. Her favorite people to work with are those who want to fix the system, not serve the status quo.
Lisa Rezende is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Arizona, where she teaches introductory biology and genetics as well as science outreach and communication. Complementing her research and education experience, she has worked in science communication for over twenty years, with an emphasis on working with the hereditary cancer community since 2011 when, after discovering that she carries a deleterious mutation in the BRCA1 gene she began volunteering with FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered. She served as Vice President of Education at FORCE from 2014-2017.
For the last eight years, Shoshana Shwartz has dedicated her time to educating people about Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC). She is one of the administrators of the BRCA Sisterhood Facebook Support Group, which is the largest and most active global support group for women facing HBOC and Lynch Syndrome. She has been on the planning committee for the Canadian Cancer Society’s annual Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day and is a volunteer for the Annie Parker Foundation. Shoshana lives in Toronto with her two pups.
Karl Surkan is
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Tiah Tomlin launched My Breast Years Ahead, an online support community created to help women who have been affected by any form of cancer in the Greater Atlanta area. She uses this group to connect women, share resources and provide support, ensuring that no sister walks this journey alone. She also co-founded, My Style Matters, Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides supportive services and healthy lifestyle education for all cancer survivors and their caregivers. Tiah has dedicated herself to being a community change agent and national advocate by fighting against cancer, increasing awareness, speaking out about prevention, calling people to take action with their health and giving people HOPE. She is a graduate of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) Project Lead program; an advocate for the Cancer Policy Action Team (CPAT) and Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC); a Steering Committee member for Cancer Support Community and the Eye for Pharma IM-patient Summit ‘18; a Check It Out speaker; an advocacy board member for AstraZeneca and much more.