Dana L. Dornsife: Founder and Board Chair
Dana Dornsife is Chairman of the Board and Founder of Lazarex Cancer Foundation, a nationwide public non-profit organization she began in 2006. The unique mission of Lazarex is to improve the outcome of cancer care, giving hope, dignity and life to advanced stage cancer patients and the medically underserved by providing assistance with ancillary costs for FDA clinical trial participation beyond those covered by the drug sponsor, identification of clinical trial options, community outreach and engagement. Dana has recently expanded the mission at Lazarex to bring transformational change to the bench to bedside process of clinical trial enrollment, retention, minority participation and equitable access with IMPACT (IMproving Patient Access to Cancer Clinical Trials). She is a graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia and launched several businesses prior to migrating to the non-profit sector.
Dana is a board member of the USC Center for Civic Engagement and the USC Brain and Creativity Institute within the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. She is Vice Chair of the governing board of the Yosemite Conservancy, in addition to being a council member. She is a member of the Mass General President’s Council. Dana and her husband, Dave Dornsife, a USC Trustee, support the largest privately funded WASH initiative, (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) in 24 African countries through World Vision, an international humanitarian agency.
Clay Jackson: Vice Chair
Clay Jackson is senior wholesale banking leader with a long term track record of successfully managing growth in the development of high quality client relationships. He is a native Californian and part of a three generation family of graduates of USC, where he received his business degree and M.B.A both with high honors distinction.
Clay has a passion for leadership, mentoring and coaching. He has been a volunteer mentor to women in business for the past 15 years via a connection with Menttium Corporation as well being the Board Chair of the International Bankers Association of California, Northstar Club Homeowners Association and the Golden Gate Wine Society.
He is a 20+ year resident of Danville and was drawn to Lazarex Cancer Foundation by its unique role in fighting cancer, its location in Danville, the loss of his mother’s twin sister to cancer, his father’s successful battle with cancer and the extraordinary level of passion, commitment and caring that the overall Lazarex family demonstrates on a daily basis.
Frank Varenchik: Treasurer
Frank Varenchik is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed to practice by the California Board of Accountancy.Frank is a partner in the firm of Varenchik Accountancy Corporation with offices in Danville, CA.He specializes in personal, partnership, and corporate tax and accounting matters as well as not-for-profit accounting and information returns.Prior to becoming a C.P.A., Frank gained more than twenty five years of finance and accounting experience in major organizations including the Atlantic Richfield Company in Los Angeles, CA; Capitol Records in Hollywood, CA; Dillingham Corporation in San Francisco, CA; and, Earthjustice, a national not-for-profit environmental law firm located in San Francisco, CA.Frank received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Business Administration with an emphasis in Quantitative Analysis, and his Master of Business Administration, with a focus on Quantitative Business Analysis, from the University of Southern California, Graduate School of Business Administration.
Frank has served on the board of directors of other non-profit organizations including Save Mount Diablo where he was Treasurer and the Markham Regional Arboretum Society where he was President.Frank and his wife, Barbara, who is also a C.P.A. and partner in Varenchik Accountancy Corporation, make their home in Clayton, CA.In his spare time Frank enjoys hiking, running, travel and artisanal bread baking.
Several members of Frank’s family have been diagnosed with cancer. Two fought it successfully while his younger brother lost his battle with melanoma in 2010 leaving behind two sons, one of college age and one in high school. Frank is proud to be a member of the Lazarex Cancer Foundation team.
Marya L. Shegog, PhD, MPH, CHES: Secretary
Dr. Marya Shegog is dedicated to identifying and addressing health disparities in order to achieve health equity for everyone. She is a community activist and sits on the board of select community based and non-profit agencies that align with creating health equity. Marya earned a Master’s and Doctorate in Public Health focusing on Health Promotion, Education and, Behavior from the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, as well as, a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies. She attained her bachelor’s degree in biology with a molecular emphasis from Hampton University and completed a post – doctoral fellowship with the Center of Health Disparities Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
In 2012, Dr. Shegog brought her skills, knowledge and passion to southern Nevada, again, and is working diligently at creating a new spectrum of health in the region. This includes working closely with the Lazarex Cancer Foundation to establish community based partnerships that will support knowledge, education, early testing and access to additional care and treatment for cancer when needed.
Fundamentally Dr. Shegog believes that everyone deserves access to good, culturally competent health care and by addressing people, not disease, health equity will be achieved. Dr. Shegog, resides in Henderson, Nevada and dedicates her time to supporting people who are creating the lives they want to live. She enjoys spending time with her large family and friends, is a voracious reader and enjoys traveling, swimming, crafting, cooking and anything that requires her to utilize and/or purchase new power-tools or gadgets.
Dr. Frank Crnkovich
Dr. Frank Crnkovich is a graduate of University of Nebraska School of Medicine, with his residency completed at the University of Texas, Medical Branch-Galveston. He served in the U.S. Navy at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, Calif., and his tour of duty included service on the hospital ship Mercy TAH-19, during Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Dr. Crnkovich then accepted a fellowship in Musculoskeletal Radiology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Crnkovich has practiced general radiology in the Denver Metro area for the past seventeen years and is currently the Medical Director of Health Images at South Park, an outpatient imaging center in Colorado.
Dr. Crnkovich’s involvement with Lazarex stems from his volunteer reviews of cross-sectional imaging studies for the initial patients treated with Rexin-G. He has seen the ravages of the disease process on thousands of patients by way of their imaging studies, and he has experienced first-hand the sense of despair when a loved one receives the initial cancer diagnosis: Dr. Crnkovich diagnosed his own father with stage IV lung cancer in 1992. His father succumbed to the cancer three weeks later.
Elizabeth Dale joined Jefferson in February 2014 and serves as Executive Vice President of Institutional Advancement. She leads all initiatives related to the Philanthropy Pillar and has been charged with modernizing Jefferson’s development program, tripling its team of fundraising professionals and mounting the institution’s first comprehensive campaign.
Dr. Dale is a seasoned fundraising professional with a record of building fledgling development programs into top-performing operations and has demonstrated considerable skill at managing large, fast-paced philanthropic enterprises. Before coming to Jefferson, she led development as Senior Vice President at Drexel University, turning a program with annual giving of $35 million into one that raised over $81 million. She also conceived and launched the $400 million Dream It. Do It. Drexel. A Campaign for the Future, completing it 13 months ahead of schedule and 14 percent over the goal while drawing 17,000 new donors, despite one of the most severe economic crises in the last century. Prior to Drexel, Dr. Dale was the Vice Chancellor for Advancement and founding Executive Director of the University of Massachusetts’ Amherst Foundation.
Dr. Dale holds a doctoral degree in Educational Policy, Research and Administration from UMass Amherst and was awarded an American Council on Education Fellowship. She serves on the board of the Lazarex Cancer Foundation and has been a volunteer consultant to small non-profit organizations in Philadelphia.
Martha M. Escutia
Martha M. Escutia, former California State Senator, was appointed vice president for USC Government Relations, effective May 1, 2013. Ms. Escutia oversees the university’s federal, state and local government relations.
Immediately prior to joining USC, Ms. Escutia was a partner at The Senators, a law and consulting firm she co-founded, that provides strategic, legal, legislative, regulatory, and policy advice to a wide array of clients. She was also a partner at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips from 2007 to 2010.
Ms. Escutia was a member of the California State Senate from 1998 to 2006 and a member of the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1998. She was the first woman Chair of both the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees.
In January, 2014, she was appointed to the State Bar of California’s Council on Access and Fairness. She also serves on the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and the Board of the California Emerging Technology Fund, a $100 million fund aimed at bridging the digital divide.
She has also served as a guest lecturer at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and as an adjunct professor in the political science department at East Los Angeles Community College.
Ms. Escutia received her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University and her Bachelor of Science from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.
Greg Francisco is the founder of Healthwise Fitness & Consulting, established in 1996. His focus has been to keep people healthy through exercise, wellness and education. His 10 years of work in the medical field provided experience on the acute side of medicine, and offered critical insight as he moved to the prevention side of wellness. Whether mentoring children or working with professional athletes, Greg’s passion is people.
Greg is a long-time supporter and advocate of The Lazarex Cancer Foundation’s mission and ongoing support of cancer patients and their families. Joining the Board of Directors in 2008 was a meaningful way for Greg to help bring awareness to their mission, and the goal of one day bridging the gap between hope and a cure
Jonathan Jackson, PhD
Jonathan Jackson, PhD, is the director of the Community Access,
Recruitment, and Engagement (CARE) Research Center at Massachusetts
General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. CARE investigates the
impact of diversity and inclusion on the quality of human subjects
research and leverages deep community entrenchment to build trust and
overcome barriers to clinical trial participation. His research focuses
on midlife and late-life health disparities in clinical settings that
affect underserved populations.
Dr. Jackson also works as a cognitive neuroscientist, investigating the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly in the absence of overt memory problems. He has become a well-known representative to underserved communities and dozens of affiliated organizations, particularly regarding participation in clinical research. Dr. Jackson serves on the leadership team of several organizations focused on community health, and has written guidance for local, statewide, and national groups on research access, engagement, and recruitment
Dr. Beverly Moy, MD, MPH
Dr. Moy is the Clinical Director of the Breast Oncology Program and a medical oncologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She received her undergraduate education at the Johns Hopkins University and her medical degree at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Moy completed her internal medicine residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and her hematology-oncology fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She received a Master’s degree in Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Dr. Moy’s specific research interests include breast cancer clinical trials and racial and ethnic disparities in cancer care. She serves as the Chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Ethics Committee and is the Immediate Past Chair of ASCO’s Health Disparities Committee. She has recently been appointed to the ASCO Cancer Education committee and to the ASCO clinical practice guideline panel for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. She is a commentator for ascoconnection.org and an editorial board member of the National Cancer Institute’s Adult Treatment Patient Data Query. Dr. Moy also serves as the Physician Leader of the MGH Avon Breast Care and Community Outreach Program funded by the Avon Foundation.
Karen Sessions is a senior executive with more than 27 years of communications leadership and expertise. Karen currently serves as the Chief External Affairs Officer for 5 Bars, LLC based in Irvine, CA. She has an extensive background in external affairs, public policy, business development and implementing complex architecture in communications technology.
Prior to joining 5 Bars, Karen spent 26 years with Verizon Communications and most recently held the position of Vice President, Public Policy, Law and Security where she was responsible for both present and emerging Communications Public Policy. In addition, Karen managed business stakeholder relationships.
Karen was the Co-founder and Board Member of the N. Donald Diebel, Jr. M.D. Good Samaritan Fund, 501(c)(3), with a specific mission to serve medically uninsured women and children in the Central Florida community. The Fund was established in memory of her late husband.
Karen served as City Commissioner and Vice Mayor (2007-2010) for the City of Winter Park, FL. The city, founded in 1887, has a $155MM budget.
Karen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Notre Dame and a Master’s degree from the University of South Florida. Karen is married to Congressman Pete Sessions (TX-32) and she has three sons, Conor, Liam and Nicholas and two stepsons, Bill and Alex.
Kenny J. Simansky, PhD
Kenny J. Simansky, PhD, is vice dean for research, professor of pharmacology and physiology and professor of psychiatry at Drexel University College of Medicine. Previously, he served as director of the graduate programs in pharmacology and in neuroscience and as associate dean for Biomedical Graduate Studies. A native New Yorker, Dr. Simansky earned PhD in 1979 at the University of Iowa. He joined the faculty of the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1982, after a fellowship in neuroscience at Cornell University College of Medicine. He was funded by the NIH as a principal investigator throughout his academic research career. His research with his students focused on the cellular mechanisms for serotonin, opioids and cannabinoids in regulating eating. These brain mechanisms are important for understanding obesity, drug addiction, and behavioral disorders. He has been invited to present his work nationally and internationally at numerous universities and conferences, and has organized international symposia. He has chaired peer review panels at NIH for investigator-initiated research and for fellowship training in the neurosciences and was president of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, an international scientific society in his field.
Currently, Dr. Simansky is the Drexel site director for the consortium that is designated by the National Cancer Institute at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center of Thomas Jefferson University.