Cancer Policy & Advocacy Team (CPAT)

In-Person Symposium

June 21 – 23, 2023

Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill

400 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

The CPAT Symposium is an opportunity to network with other advocates, develop advocacy skills, and learn about cancer policy issues — all in support of NCCS’s mission of improving the quality of cancer care for everyone touched by cancer. Goals for Symposium participants are as follows:

  • Develop an in-depth understanding of survivorship legislation and visit Capitol Hill to share your story with legislators and advocate for the legislation.
  • Learn about topics including cancer rehabilitation, mental health, communication, and National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Survivorship.
  • Participate in advocate-led activities with medical students from the CUPID (Cancer in the Under-Privileged Indigent or Disadvantaged) program.
  • Network with other advocates and engage with the NCCS team.

CPAT Symposium Host Committee

It is our pleasure to introduce you to our CPAT Host Committee. They have been working with us to bring you the Symposium programming and provide the advocate voice to NCCS. At the Symposium they will be an added resource to attendees. Please feel free to ask them any questions about logistics, programming, and policy.

Bethany Ross – CPAT Steering Committee Member
Desirée Walker – CPAT Steering Committee Member
Diane Heditsian – CPAT Steering Committee Member
Noah Davis – Alumni of CUPID Program
Susie Leigh, BSN, RN – Founding Member of NCCS & CPAT Steering Committee Member

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Symposium Agenda

Note: All times are Eastern Time.

Download Event Agenda (PDF)

Wednesday, June 21

2:00 PM Registration and Networking
2:30 PM Opening Session

  • Laurie Isenberg
  • Shelley Fuld Nasso
  • Kara Kenan
3:15 PM Mapping Your Story
Andrew Conte, PhD
Point Park University
Session Slide Deck
4:00 PM Hill Day Preparation

  • Shelley Fuld Nasso
  • Haley Smoot
  • Soapbox Consulting Staff

Session Slide Deck

5:30 PM Break
6:00 PM Group Photo
7:00 PM Dinner by State with Hill Meeting Roleplay

Thursday, June 22

8:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Hill Meetings
Lunch On Your Own
5:00 PM Capitol Hill Debrief
Haley Smoot
5:30 PM Advocate Panel: Building Relationships with Policymakers

  • Sandy Finestone, PsyD
  • Loretta Herring
  • Lou Lanza, Jr.
  • Lisa D. T. Rice (moderator)
6:15 PM Fireside Chat: Generational Impact in the Cancer Community

  • Heidi Floyd
  • Catie Floyd
  • Shelley Fuld Nasso (moderator)
7:00 PM Dinner, with Improving Doctor Patient Communications Activity

  • Kevin Oeffinger, MD
  • Desirée Walker
  • Noah Davis
  • Ryan Hannon
  • Shelley Fuld Nasso (moderator)

Friday, June 23

8:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Get Loud: The Power of Cancer Rehabilitation and Why It Matters

  • Mackenzi Pergolotti, PhD, OTR/L
  • Hilary Hinrichs, PT, DPT, CLT, WCS

Session Slide Deck

9:45 AM Cancer Hope Network: Walking Your Cancer Path with You

  • Beth A. Blakey
  • Samantha Schrager
  • Claudio Pannunzio
  • Gregory D. Blake

Session Slide Deck

10:45 AM Break
11:00 AM Keynote: How Patients Can Partner with Primary Care to Improve Survivorship
Kevin Oeffinger, MD
Duke University School of Medicine
Session Slide Deck
12:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM Introducing the National Cancer Institute Office of Cancer Survivorship

  • Michelle Mollica, PhD, MPH, RN, OCN
  • Bethany Ross

Session Slide Deck

1:45 PM Farewell and Evaluations

Hill Day Training Videos & Resources

Please watch the recorded videos linked below if you are participating in Hill Day meetings to help you prepare. We will provide an overview and answer questions during the Hill Day Prep Session on June 21, but we provide more in-depth information in the videos below.

How to Tell Your Story

This short Telling Your Story presentation that walks you through how to use the Telling Your Story worksheet to hone your story for Hill meetings. Since you don’t have much time in these meetings and may be paired with other advocates, it’s best to keep your story under 2 minutes.

Please complete the worksheet and bring it with you to the Symposium. During the Hill Day Prep session, you’ll have the opportunity to share it.

Running time: 6:23

Telling Your Story Slide Deck (PDF)

Hill Meetings 101

Watch our Hill Meetings 101 presentation for more information about what you can expect in your Hill meetings, including dos and don’ts for meetings, how meetings are typically structured, what to do after a meeting (e.g. tweet your legislator, send a thank-you email, etc.), and how to stay involved with your members of Congress when you return home.

Running time: 12:08

Video Chapters
00:00 Congress Basics
04:23 Do’s and Don’ts For Hill Meetings
08:38 The Meeting
10:18 Maintaining Relationships

Hill Meetings 101 Slides (PDF)

Comprehensive Cancer Survivorship Act (CCSA)

This presentation gives you more background about the Comprehensive Cancer Survivorship Act, the legislation that we’re advocating for during this year’s CPAT Hill Day. Learn about the bill’s champions and how the provisions in the bill will help cancer survivors.

Running time: 20:56

Video Chapters
00:00 Bill Background
01:46 What’s in the CCSA?
05:23 Cancer Care Planning
08:01 Employment Assistance
10:59 Adult Cancer Survivorship Study
12:42 Conducting the Meeting

CCSA Presentation Slides

CCSA Fact Sheet
This fact sheet summarizes the need for the CCSA and highlights some of the most important provisions.
CCSA Fact Sheet

CCSA: Section-By-Section Summary
This document breaks down each of the provisions in the CCSA and describes them in detail.
CCSA Section-By-Section Breakdown

Media Training Webinar

Press Release Template (Word Doc) – A template press release that you can personalize and share with your local TV media in your community about your Hill meetings with Members of Congress.

Example Advocate Press Release (Word Doc)

Hill Meeting Scheduling

Good news! NCCS is working with Soapbox Consulting to schedule Hill meetings for those attending this year’s in-person CPAT Symposium.

Soapbox will email you your preliminary schedule on the Friday before Hill Day. That email will include a website for each attendee to enter a unique schedule code. You will be able to see your schedule in real-time, as well as the roster for your meetings, links to any virtual meetings you might have, bios for your members of Congress, feedback questions to answer after your meetings, and the email addresses of others in your group.

You will attend meetings with other advocates from your state. If you are the only advocate from your state, you may be paired an advocate from another state, so you’re not on your own. NCCS staff and board members will attend meetings. You will see on your schedule the names of anyone joining meetings with you.

Because congressional appointments can and do change up until the last minute, final schedules will not be available until the day before Hill Day. Soapbox will join us during our Hill Day Prep Session on June 21 to distribute final schedules and answer any questions.

Speaker Biographies

Click a speaker name to read more.

Gregory D BlakeGregory D. Blake, M.S. Ed, LRIC
Caregiver Volunteer Mentor
Cancer Hope Network

Greg was an institutional bond specialist on a Wall St. trading floor for thirty-four years up until the time his wife of thirty-nine years passed away in late 2018 from pancreatic cancer.

Soon thereafter, the financial organization he was a part of for twenty years merged with another large organization resulting in the dissolution of his entire team.

Greg had graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania forty-four years earlier, and rather than attempt to reenter the brokerage field, he decided to put the knowledge and experience he had accumulated during his wife’s fight with cancer to work by getting the education he would need to help others with their cancer journey. To this end, he was accepted into the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and received his master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling in May of 2022.

He spent his Practicum and Internship years while at PENN with Cancer Hope Network and recently was asked to join their Board of Trustees. He also serves as a Peer-to-Peer Caregiver Volunteer for the organization.

He is a Licensed Resident in Counseling in the state of Virginia and will soon earn his Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) designation.

Beth BlakeyBeth A. Blakey
Executive Director & COO
Cancer Hope Network

Beth Blakey is a seasoned nonprofit professional and proven leader who works with the Cancer Hope Network Board of Trustees, Medical Healthcare Advisory Board, Board Committees, staff, and volunteers to ensure the excellence and quality of Cancer Hope Network’s one-on-one peer support program for cancer patients, caregivers, and those who love them. Ms. Blakey is responsible for driving positive programmatic outcomes, robust funding relationships/fundraising results, publicly representing and articulating Cancer Hope Network’s mission and vision to a national audience, encouraging and inspiring staff and volunteers, and providing operational oversight for all aspects of Cancer Hope Network’s business. In addition to her role as Executive Director & COO, Ms. Blakey is a trained Cancer Hope Network Caregiver Mentor, having served as a caregiver to her incredible mother who is a two-time cancer survivor. She is also certified in Mental Health First Aid, and she is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Ms. Blakey is a passionate advocate for peer support as part of a whole-person, patient-centered care approach for people experiencing cancer.

Prior to joining the Cancer Hope Network team, Ms. Blakey honed her nonprofit leadership and fundraising skills at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, NY; the Rutgers University Foundation in New Brunswick, NJ; and the Mayo Theatre in Morristown, NJ. She also ran her own nonprofit and corporate communications consulting business for 13 years providing organizational assessments, board development, professional grant writing, strategic planning, business development, public relations and corporate communications strategies, and funds development services to a national client base.

Andrew Conte, PhD
Founding Director, Center for Media Innovation
Point Park University

Andrew Conte, Ph.D., serves as founding director of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University. He writes the Pittsburgh Public Editor column at NEXTpittsburgh. Previously, he worked as an investigative journalist, and he has authored several nonfiction books, most recently 2022’s Death of the Daily News (University of Pittsburgh Press).

Andrew previously worked as an investigative reporter at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, where he won numerous national, state and local awards. The Pennsylvania Society of Professional Journalists and the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania each has recognized Andrew with its top award four times. The Scripps Howard Foundation honored Andrew with the William Brewster Styles Award for outstanding national business and economics reporting.

Andrew’s book, The Color of Sundays, explores the role of race in the National Football League and examines how the Pittsburgh Steelers identified undervalued players at historically black colleges and universities. The Independent Book Publishers Association recognized the book with a Silver Benjamin Franklin Award. Prior to that, Andrew authored Breakawaya bestseller about how the Penguins hockey team built a championship franchise and a new arena. He also has written All About Roberto Clemente, a children’s book about the Pirates outfielder and Puerto Rican native.

Andrew holds degrees from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Dickinson College, as well as a Ph.D. in Community Engagement from Point Park University.

You may find more at

Noah DavisNoah Davis
Medical Student, Indiana Univ. School of Medicine
Former CUPID Student

Noah is currently a medical student at Indiana University School of Medicine where he conducts cancer research and leads their oncology student interest group. His advocacy and interest in oncology is inspired by his late grandmother. He had the great privilege of caring for her during her final weeks of life after surviving for several years with metastatic melanoma. Noah’s advocacy journey started last year at the 2022 CPAT symposium and he is thrilled to return this year. He is hoping to learn more about how health care professionals and researchers can better serve cancer survivors. Noah is excited to learn about how organizational leaders promote advocacy in their communities. Finally, he cannot wait to continue to grow as an advocate through discussions on Capitol Hill.

Catie FloydCatie Floyd
Patient Advocate

Catie Floyd has been a cancer advocate since childhood, while watching her mom go through breast cancer. Her first keynote speech was at an ACS event when she was 8 years old — and needed a step stool to reach the microphone. She has become a thoughtful and conscientious advocate and understands the urgency of policy change for all.

Heidi FloydHeidi Floyd
Patient Advocate

A two-time cancer patient, Heidi’s story of hope and perseverance has been requested at global events for over a decade. Having lost her mother to breast cancer at a young age, she faced her own initial diagnosis as a wife and mother of 3 very young daughters – and pregnant with her son. The challenges faced during that journey inspired her to advocate for others for as long as she is able. Heidi has been invited to speak at corporate events, conventions, Boards of Directors, personal fundraisers and religious institutions across continents. Her main speaking topics are Hope, Perseverance, Compassion and Community.

The advocacy work has lead to myriad invitations to participate in other spheres of influence. Heidi has been asked to join the Grant Boards for both the American Cancer Society, Department of Defense, NCCS and the American Society of Breast Surgeons Foundation. Reaching far beyond breast cancer, her advice regarding optimism and resilience became a feature for speaking engagements during the Covid-19 global pandemic. Pivoting to virtual presentations in lieu of live events, she spoke to organizations around the world.

Her speaking engagements include: Google, Ford Motor Company, Forbes, Reuters, Estee Lauder, the US Department of Defense, The National Consortium of Breast Centers, Abbott, the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen, Soroptimist International, WellStar Health, Vera Bradley, Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Mass Mutual, EyeForPharma, Evidence Life Science, Four Stars, Pharma Forum, Informa Connect, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, Patient Centricity and Global World Congress, among many others.

Heidi’s written work has been included in the New York Times, CNN, the Huffington Post, and her published book In A Word is housed in the Library of Congress.

Sandra FinestoneSandra Finestone, PsyD
President, Susan G. Komen Inland Empire Affiliate

Sandra (Sandy) Finestone, PsyD, is a 30-year breast cancer survivor and research advocate who has been a volunteer for Susan G. Komen for over 25 years. Sandy is the President of the Susan G. Komen Inland Empire Affiliate, Past President and Race Chair of the Orange County Affiliate and chaird the Advocates in Science (AIS) Steering Committee.

A long-time advocate, Dr. Finestone organized a support group for husbands of breast cancer survivors. She also founded the Orange County Breast Cancer Coalition and opened the Hope Wellness Center to meet the needs of breast cancer survivors. Her advocacy knows no borders; in 2009, Dr. Finestone went to Jordan to facilitate a meeting that taught healthcare providers about support groups for women with breast cancer, and later that year, returned to the middle-east to train women in Kuwait and Egypt about support groups.

Loretta HerringLoretta Herring
NCCS Elevate Ambassador
Founder, Cancer Awareness Network for Children

As an advocate for cancer, Loretta Herring founded Cancer Awareness Network for Children, Inc. a non-profit 501© 3 organization that was birth out of the pain of her mother’s untimely transition to heaven due to cancer. For the past 25 years, Loretta Herring has served as Co-founder and CEO. Loretta, along with her sisters, host four free workshops/luncheons at local churches and community centers throughout the Birmingham Metropolitan Area that touch over 250 lives annually. Their goal is to eliminate the fears associated with the diagnosis of cancer. Her cancer journey and advocacy work allow her to serve as a Consumer Peer Reviewer for with DOD Research Programs (CDMRP), a Graduate of Project LEAD with the NBBC, a scholarship to and attended the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, in December 2016 & 2019, and presented at AACR Minority Disparity Conference in September 2017 & 2019. Serving as Elevate Ambassador for NCCS and CPAT for the past 5 years.

Hillary HinrichsHillary Hinrichs, PT, DPT, WCS, CLT
Program Director
ReVital Cancer Rehabilitation

Hillary Hinrichs serves as a program director of ReVital, Select Medical’s national cancer rehabilitation program, with SSM Health Physical Therapy in St. Louis Missouri.

Hillary is a board-certified Women’s and Clinical Specialist from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties with a passion for treating pelvic health, oncology rehabilitation and women’s health. She is a certified lymphedema therapist with additional certifications in Pelvic Physical Therapy from the American Physical Therapy Association.

Hillary is a core faculty member and mentor for the SLU-SSM Health Physical Therapy Women’s Health Residency program.  Her current clinical emphasis is rehabilitation for the pelvic or breast cancer survivor as well as global women’s health.  Hillary is an active member of local cancer committees, tumor boards and survivorship programs throughout the greater St. Louis region.  She received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy and Bachelor’s in Health Sciences from the University of Missouri.

Find Hillary on LinkedIn.

Laurie Isenberg 200pxLaurie Isenberg
Chair, Board of Directors
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

Laurie Isenberg joined the NCCS Board in 2016 and has served as Board Chair since 2022. As a two-time breast cancer survivor, Laurie was inspired by Ellen Stovall, her husband’s cousin, to work as a patient advocate. She has worked with the UCSF Center of Excellence for Breast Cancer Care, where she served in a marketing advisory capacity at, a matching clinical trial service for anyone touched by breast cancer.

She is currently working with a team at the UCSF Cancer Center who are building integrated survivorship care resources across various cancer programs.Laurie is a strategic marketing and branding consultant helping both social enterprises and for-profit companies with their launch, branding and repositioning plans. She began her career in acquisitions and strategy for the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation in NYC and was the Director of Strategic Planning for D&B’s subsidiary, ACNielsen Worldwide. She subsequently co-founded SPINS, a marketing research firm for the natural consumer products industry. Laurie has worked with Prophet Brand Strategy and other consulting firms; her work includes developing a brand strategy for Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (formally The Breast Cancer Fund), a research and policy organization that works to remove cancer-correlated toxics from consumer products.

Laurie earned her B.A. in Economics at the University of Colorado and her M.B.A. at The Wharton School of Business.

Louis LanzaLouis Lanza
Patient Advocate, NCCS CPAT Member

At a Celebration of Life at Jefferson University, Lou was introduced to the Buddy Program. The program provides support to help cancer patients recently diagnosed with what to expect and how to cope with the changes to come. Lou has also been involved with the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a patient consultant for Patient-Centered Oncology Care Pilot Practice Collaborative. This provided technical assistance to practices on how to involve patients and families in their efforts to implement patient-centered oncology care and was mentored by the late Ellen Stovall. Lou participates in the Health Mentor Program at Jefferson University. He provided input for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Cancer Support and Welcome Center at Jefferson, and in June 2016 he served as a committee member and speaker at the NCCS CPAT Symposium in DC. Lou has attended the Symposium every year since, both In Person and Virtual. Lou is also active with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and has attended their Annual Conferences. He also collaborates with the CSCGP, NBTS, and more.

Michelle MollicaMichelle Mollica, PhD, MPH, RN, OCN
Deputy Director
NCI Office of Cancer Survivorship

Michelle Mollica, PhD, MPH, RN, OCN, serves as deputy director of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Office of Cancer Survivorship. In this role, Dr. Mollica is responsible for developing, supporting, and promoting research efforts focused on cancer survivorship. Dr. Mollica also holds a secondary appointment as a program director in the Outcomes Research Branch (ORB) of the Healthcare Delivery Research Program, where she manages a research portfolio of grants focused on cancer survivorship and healthcare delivery across the lifecourse, from childhood through older adulthood. Dr. Mollica serves as scientific lead for several recent funding opportunity announcements focused on specific aspects of survivorship care.

With an enduring interest in improving care for those impacted by cancer, Michelle explores the intersection of survivorship and healthcare delivery, including the transition into post-treatment survivorship, models of survivorship care, integration of oncology and non-oncology providers in survivorship care, patient experiences, and informal cancer caregiving.

Michelle holds a PhD in Nursing Science, an MPH in Community Health and Health Behavior, and an MSN in Nursing Education. Previously, Michelle was an NCI Cancer Prevention Fellow and worked clinically as an oncology nurse.

Watch a NCCS webinar presented by Dr. Mollica: Survivorship Needs for People Living with Advanced and Metastatic Cancers

Shelley Fuld Nasso, MPPShelley Fuld Nasso
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

Shelley is honored and humbled to serve NCCS and the millions of cancer survivors and their family members NCCS represents. She is a policy wonk and advocate and loves to empower cancer survivors to make their voices heard in Washington, DC and around the country. She joined NCCS in December 2012 and was named CEO in October 2013.

Prior to joining NCCS, Shelley served in leadership roles at Susan G. Komen, where she leveraged Komen’s grassroots network in Washington, DC and in state capitals. There she built relationships with policymakers and partner organizations and led a team of staff and volunteer leaders to influence state budgets and legislation. Shelley has also served as Director of Community Philanthropy at The Dallas Foundation and held management positions at communications and technology enterprises. She is a graduate of Rice University and holds a Master of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Shelley’s commitment to the work of NCCS is strongly tied to the experiences in the cancer care system of her dear friend, Dr. Brent Whitworth, a beloved physician who was diagnosed with stage IV cancer days before his 42nd birthday and who passed away 19 months later. Through Brent’s experiences, Shelley witnessed the strengths and flaws of the cancer care system and embraces the notion that policy change can make cancer care better for patients and caregivers.

Kevin C. Oeffinger, MD, FASCOKevin C. Oeffinger, MD, FASCO
Founding Director, Duke Center for Onco-Primary Care
Director, Supportive Care and Survivorship Center, Duke Cancer Institute

Kevin C. Oeffinger, MD, FASCO, is a family physician, the founding Director of the Duke Center for Onco-Primary Care, and the Director of the Supportive Care and Survivorship Center at Duke Cancer Institute. He is a Professor in the Department of Medicine with secondary appointments in the Departments of Family Medicine & Community Health and Population Health Sciences. Dr. Oeffinger has a long-standing record of NIH-supported research in cancer screening and survivorship and has served in a leadership capacity in many organizations, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Cancer Society.

Claudio PannuzioClaudio Pannunzio
Survivor Volunteer Mentor
Cancer Hope Network

Claudio Pannunzio is a marketing and communications senior executive and entrepreneur. During his career, he has held senior management positions at leading financial services companies both in Europe and the US. For the past 24 years, he has served in senior executive capacities at premier US marketing, branding and public relations agencies.

Since his youth, Claudio has devoted time to help ease the suffering of human beings. As a high school and college student in Rome, Italy, he was actively involved with humanitarian organizations providing Free Ambulance Transportation to underprivileged individuals, helping Russian and Vietnamese Refugees, and Victims of Domestic Violence.

Claudio is a two-time cancer survivor. He volunteers for The Cancer Hope Network, providing moral and emotional support to cancer patients and their families. He also volunteers at Yale-Health, Greenwich Hospital, in the Medicine and Oncology Divisions where he offers guided imagery, mindfulness meditations, and emotional support to adult cancer patients, their families and hospital staff.

From 2010 to 2017, he has served as Director of the Board of Camphill Foundation–an initiative for social change for individuals with developmental disabilities based on the principles of anthroposophy. From 2017, is a Director of the Board at TRIFORM–a residential community providing education and training for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. From 2022, he sits on the Board of Directors of RDC Center for Counseling and Human Development–an organization providing affordable mental health services to underprivileged individuals and families.

As a volunteer consultant for I Have a Dream Foundation–an organization providing social, emotional, and academic support from kindergarten to college to young people from under-resourced communities–he conducts training and seminars on self-care, stress reduction, resiliency through mindfulness and guided meditations for student and counselors.

Claudio is also a Certified Consulting Hypnotist, Certified in Neuro Linguistic Programming [NLP], and a Certified Senior Trainer in Corporate Based Mindfulness and Leadership Competence. He conducts training seminars on work-life balance, interoception and mindfulness, self-awareness, stress reduction, focused communication, as well as meditation practices for both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Claudio is a frequent guest lecturer on Mindfulness & Marketing at the MBA Programs of New York University-Stern School of Business, Copenhagen Business School-Handelshøjskolen, and Long Island University-School of Business, and University at AlbanyMBA Program

For the past 30 years, Claudio has been a student of Zen Buddhism in the Soto School tradition and an active practitioner of Japanese, Korean and Chinese martial arts.

He holds Marketing, Communications and Public Relations degrees from Universita’ La Sapienza in Rome, Italy and New York University in New York City.

Mackenzi Pergolotti, PhD, MS, OTR/LMackenzi Pergolotti, PhD, MS, OTR/L
Senior Director of Research and Clinical Development
ReVital Cancer Rehabilitation

Dr. Mackenzi Pergolotti is the Senior Director of Research and Clinical Development for ReVital Cancer Rehabilitation, adjunct professor at Colorado State University and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

As an occupational therapist, Dr. Pergolotti worked at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) developing programs aimed to better address the needs of adults and children with cancer. Considering the impact of cancer rehabilitation, she was driven to build the evidence-base and increase access to cancer rehabilitation programs nationwide.

Dr. Pergolotti was trained the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she worked collaboratively with researchers from the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, the Gillings School of Global Public Health, in the Department of Health Policy and Management, the Cancer Research Outcomes Group, and the Geriatric Oncology Program at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center to look at utilization, access to and the quality of cancer rehabilitation. Dr. Pergolotti’s Pre-Doctoral fellowship was supported by a T32 National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Training Grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and her Post-Doctoral fellowships were funded through an R25 Cancer Care Quality Training Program from the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Pergolotti is well published in cancer rehabilitation, with over 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts. She is also the co-lead of the ACRM, Cancer and Research Networking Group, Research and Outcomes. Dr. Pergolotti leads and oversees the strategy and implementation of research, education and quality for the ReVital Cancer Rehabilitation Program.

Find Dr. Pergolotti on LinkedIn.

Lisa D. T. RiceLisa D. T. Rice
Vice Chair, Board of Directors
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

Lisa D. T. Rice is an influential advocate for multiple causes—including quality cancer care, women’s health and empowerment, and palliative and hospice care. She is a political strategist and social media activist, driven by the principles of accountability, transparency, and ethical behavior.

Lisa first connected with Shelley and NCCS in 2015, the year after two dear friends died of metastatic cancer. Those tragic, premature deaths drove Lisa’s search for a meaningful policy role in the cancer advocacy community. Due to her mother’s advanced Alzheimer’s, Lisa was already responsible for all medical decisions when, in 2014, her mother received a cancer diagnosis – her second in 31 years. With Shelley’s encouragement, Lisa wrote her first post for the Cancer Policy Matters blog in 2016. Read about the very tough decisions faced and bold actions taken on her mother’s behalf here. Later that year, Lisa wrote a second post for the NCCS blog, her tribute to a childhood friend killed by metastatic breast cancer.

A sought-after communications expert and recent cancer survivor, Lisa has represented the caregiver’s perspective on Cancer Care Planning (2018 NCCS CPAT symposium) and Overtreatment & Overdiagnosis (2018 NCCS Cancer Policy Roundtable) panels. Lisa supports other survivors and advocates with one-on-one coaching, teaching them how to deliver succinct, compelling stories to policymakers about cancer’s personal impact. She also accompanies survivors on constituent visits to their members of Congress. She has actively advocated for NCCS policy efforts on Capitol Hill in both the U.S. House and Senate since 2016.

Lisa serves on the boards of directors of Unite America (investing in the infrastructure of political reform) and the Newcomb Alumnae Association. A fourth-generation quilter, she is dedicated to preserving this art form and teaching the next generation of makers.

Lisa holds a B.A. degree in American Studies from Newcomb College of Tulane University and an M.S. degree in Management from the MIT Sloan School. A native Washingtonian, Lisa lives in the District with her husband, Tom Thompson.

Bethany RossBethany Ross
NCCS CPAT Steering Committee

Bethany Ross was diagnosed in August 2018 at the age of 30, with Stage IV neuroendocrine cancer in her appendix and pancreas that spread to adjacent lymph nodes and her liver. She saw 6 doctors and was sick for almost a year until she got someone that finally listened to her. She had monthly treatments and two surgeries and is currently stable and gets PET scans and blood work every 3-6 months.

Since her diagnosis, she has run 4 half marathons, gone skydiving, outdoor rock climbing, snowboarding and most recently joined her state’s roller derby team. She works full time as an Information Security Engineer at an internet infrastructure company, remotely from New Hampshire. She got involved in NCCS and cancer advocacy after attending Stupid Cancer’s young adult cancer conference, CancerCon, and hearing about what NCCS does. Since then, she has participated in conferences and blogs from NCCS, the FDA and the National Cancer Institute.

Bethany serves on the CPAT Steering Committee for the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS). Her passion lies in helping other young adult survivors (or as she calls them cancer badasses) and has enjoyed adventures from First Descents and Send It and various programs through Dana Farber’s Young Adult Program, Cactus Cancer Society, Stupid Cancer and Elephants & Tea. Getting cancer at such a young age drastically changed her life and she wants to do whatever she can to make sure other young adults and metastatic badasses get the support and resources they need. When not adventuring or doing advocacy work, she enjoys building Lego, crafting and spending time with friends, family and her pitbull mix, Rey.

Read more about Bethany on our blog.

Samantha SchragerSamantha Schrager
Programs Director
Cancer Hope Network

Samantha Schrager joined the Cancer Hope Network team in 2020 and serves as the organization’s Programs Director. Ms. Schrager leverages her expertise and knowledge from working in clinic and infusion units at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to lead Cancer Hope Network’s Programs Team with wisdom, compassion, and unwavering dedication to the community we serve. She has seen firsthand the value of personalized, one-on-one peer support and recognizes the benefits of connecting with someone who has shared a similar experience.

As Programs Director, Ms. Schrager oversees the matches between cancer patients, caregivers, and their loved ones and our trained volunteer mentors, the volunteer onboarding and training process, and she works closely with Cancer Hope Network’s Medical Healthcare Advisory Board on all aspects of the program including quality assurance, program growth, strategic planning, partnerships and collaborations, training and continuing education, and community outreach. Under Ms. Schrager’s leadership, Cancer Hope Network is ensuring that our survivor and caregiver volunteers feel just as supported by the Cancer Hope Network team as the patients and families they are helping to support. Her commitment to Cancer Hope Network’s “supported supporter” philosophy can be seen in every aspect of the work she does and her hard work at the helm of Cancer Hope Network’s program has consistently resulted in a 94% or greater “satisfied” or “very satisfied” rating by both clients and volunteers. Ms. Schrager passionately believes that nobody should walk their cancer path alone, and feels grateful for the opportunity to help create meaningful connections at Cancer Hope Network.

Haley SmootHaley Smoot
Director of Public Policy
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

Haley Smoot joined NCCS in the fall of 2021 and serves as the Director of Public Policy. She is responsible for representing cancer survivors on Capitol Hill and with federal agencies and state governments to advance NCCS’s policy priorities.

Prior to joining NCCS, she worked with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission where she led and implemented critical legislative initiatives, including projects centered on CHIP, Medicaid, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Texas, and provided strategic guidance and support as the Senior Policy Advisor to more than 40 social services programs. Apart from her experience in state government, she worked with the American Heart Association and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society where she spearheaded policy, advocacy, and partnership efforts.

Haley’s passion for cancer policy and advocacy stems from her own personal connection. Her father battled cancer from 2015 to 2017, and her mother was later diagnosed with cancer in 2019. As her parents’ caregiver, she witnessed first-hand the challenges of the current health system and the importance of quality cancer care.

Haley holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee and a master’s degree in Material and Visual Cultures of the Past from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in Global Health Policy from the University of Edinburgh.

DesireeDesirée Walker
NCCS CPAT Steering Committee

At the age of 38, Desirée was diagnosed with breast cancer, which reoccurred at 47. She serves as an advocate for patients by openly speaking about her diagnosis to audiences globally. Desirée shares her time and talent conducting outreach in the African American community to educate others about breast and ovarian cancers as well as the importance of research and participating in clinical trials. Her goal as an advocate is to increase the likelihood that all cancer survivors and thrivers have access to quality health care and quality of life after a diagnosis.

Through research advocacy, she reminds the research community that science cannot truly advance without participant diversity, especially those burdened by disease. Through SHARE’s Side by Side Program, Desirée trains medical students and physicians on how to deliver disappointing news. She also volunteers with NCCS, NCI CIRB, Society of Integrative Oncology SWOG and Young Survival Coalition. She seeks resources to train communities on research and legislative advocacy.

Event Logistics

2023 CPAT In-Person Symposium Virtual Meet and Greet

Join Shelley, Haley, and Veronika to ask any logistics and policy questions about joining us in DC. Kara and Michael Holtz will be in attendance to answer any social media or traditional media questions too.

June 14, 2023, 04:00 PM Eastern Time


  • The Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill is located at 400 New Jersey Avenue NW. The hotel has a map and directions on their website.
  • Registration and the Symposium sessions on Wednesday and Thursday will take place in the Congressional A room. Programming on Friday will be in the Thornton Room.

Getting Around

What to Bring/Wear

  • The weather in late June in DC is unpredictable: it may be beautiful, but it is likely to be hot and humid. Rain is common in June, so an umbrella may come in handy.
  • The Symposium is business casual, and we encourage you to wear layers and/or bring a wrap or sweater in case the room is too hot or cold for you.
  • Masks are welcome and encouraged at the Symposium. Some legislative office may ask you to put them on when you visit. The registration desk will have extra masks if you need them.
  • For the Hill visits, business attire is ideal, but please wear comfortable shoes. And feel free to wear the NCCS colors of yellow and blue!

Social Media Kit

Excited to attend the CPAT Symposium? Let’s spread the word on social media! We invite you to stay connected and share your CPAT & Hill Day experience throughout the symposium. Take travel selfies, express your enthusiasm, and engage with fellow attendees on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more! Let’s amplify our voices and make a difference together!

Sample Social Posts

We have provided some sample posts below for each social platform. Sample posts are sorted by social media platform and then by date for your convenience.

* Feel free to customize these posts to fit your needs. Remember to include photos, tag relevant organizations or individuals, and engage with other participants using the event’s designated hashtags: #CPAT23 and #NCCSHillDay23

Social Media Handles – Members of Congress
We have compiled a list of social media handles, sorted by state, of the Members of Congress you’ll be meeting with on Hill Day.

June 19
Counting down the days until the @CancerSurvivorship #CPAT23 Symposium in #WashingtonDC! Can’t wait to connect with fellow survivors and advocates and learn about the latest policies. #CancerAdvocacy #PatientAdvocate #CountdownBegins

June 20/21
On my way to #WashingtonDC for the @CancerSurvivorship #CPAT23 Symposium! Excited to meet fellow cancer advocates and make a difference together. #Traveling #CancerAdvocacy #Almostthere

June 21
Inspired by the insightful discussions on day one of @CancerSurvivorship’s #CPAT23 Symposium. Feeling empowered to advocate for better cancer care and policies. #CancerAdvocacy #WashingtonDC

June 22
Had an impactful day on Capitol Hill advocating for better cancer policies. Grateful to [insert member handles] for the opportunity to make our voices heard. #NCCSHillDay23 #CPAT23 #CancerAdvocacy #PolicyMatters #CancerSurvivorship

June 23
Reflecting on an incredible final day at @CancerSurvivorship’s #CPAT23 Symposium. Grateful for the connections made and knowledge gained. #CancerAdvocacy

June 19
Two more days until the @CancerSurvivorship #CPAT23 Symposium! Excited to travel to #WashingtonDC and join the incredible community of cancer advocates. #Countdown #CancerAdvocacy #PatientAdvocacy

June 20/21
On my way to #WashingtonDC for the @CancerSurvivorship #CPAT23 Symposium! Grateful for this opportunity to connect, learn, and advocate for better cancer policies. #CancerAdvocate #Travel #CancerAdvocacy

June 21
Day one of the @CancerSurvivorship #CPAT23 Symposium was incredible! Engaging sessions, inspiring speakers, and a powerful community of cancer advocates. #CancerAdvocacy #WashingtonDC

June 22
Spent the day on #CapitolHill advocating for cancer patients. Thank you [insert member handles] for the opportunity to make our voices heard. Together, we’re committed to making a difference. #NCCSHillDay23 #CPAT23 #CancerAdvocacy #PolicyMatters #CancerAdvocacy #CancerSurvivorship

June 23
What an inspiring end to the @CancerSuvivorship’s #CPAT23 Symposium! Feeling motivated to continue advocating for cancer survivors and advancing policies that matter. #CancerAdvocacy

June 19
Just packed my bags for the @CancerAdvocacy #CPAT23 Symposium! Excited to travel to #WashingtonDC and join the incredible community of cancer advocates. #Countdown #CancerSurvivorship

June 20/21
On my way to #WashingtonDC for the @CancerAdvocacy #CPAT23 Symposium! Thrilled to be part of this impactful event and raise my voice for cancer patients. #Traveling #CancerAdvocacy

June 21
What an amazing start to the @CancerAdvocacy #CPAT23 Symposium! Learning, sharing, and collaborating with passionate advocates. Together, we can make a difference. #CancerSurvivorship #WashingtonDC

June 22
Proud to join fellow advocates for #NCCSHillDay23. Thank you [insert member handles] for the opportunity to make our voices heard. Together, we’re committed to making a difference. #CPAT23 #CancerAdvocacy #PolicyMatters #CancerSurvivorship

June 23
The final day of the @CancerAdvocacy #CPAT23 Symposium was impactful and empowering. Grateful for the shared experiences and insights. #CancerSurvivorship

June 19
The countdown is on! In just a couple of days, I’ll be attending the annual #NCCS #CPAT23 Symposium in #WashingtonDC. Looking forward to engaging discussions and connecting with passionate advocates. #Advocacy #PatientAdvocate

June 20/21
Boarding the plane to #WashingtonDC for the #NCCS #CPAT23 Symposium! Looking forward to the next few days of empowering discussions and connections. #Travel #Cancer #CancerAdvocacy #PatientAdvocate

June 21
Day one of the NCCS #CPAT23 Symposium was filled with thought-provoking discussions and valuable insights. I’m excited to be learning, sharing, and collaborating with passionate advocates. Together, we can make a difference. #CancerSurvivorship #WashingtonDC

June 22
Engaging in #NCCSHillDay23 at the NCCS #CPAT23 Symposium was an empowering experience. Thank you [insert member handles] for the opportunity to make our voices heard. Together, we’re committed to making a difference. #CancerAdvocacy #PolicyMatters #CancerSurvivorship

June 23
The final day of the @CancerSuvivorship’s #CPAT23 Symposium was a testament to the power of collaboration and advocacy. Honored to be part of this passionate community. #CancerAdvocacy