Stephanie Rivera: Chief Executive Officer
Stephanie Rivera joined the Lazarex Cancer Foundation as the CEO to continue her commitment to increasing access to health care and clinical trials. In this role, Stephanie brings her long-standing dedication to address health care disparities in underserved communities. In her previous leadership roles with John Muir Health, Public Health Institute, Planned Parenthood, La Clínica de la Raza, San Francisco General Hospital, and University of California, San Francisco, she developed the knowledge to identify health care needs and disparities of the community with the goal of creating positive outcomes.
Stephanie’s advocacy for the community continues with her volunteer services as a board member for Center for Human Development, the Family Justice Center for Contra Costa County, and the Contra Costa County’s Workforce Development Board where she is currently co-chair of the subcommittee on Business and Economic Development.
Stephanie is most proud of her four adult children. She enjoys spending downtime with her partner, family, friends, and her new dog, Lola.
Stephanie holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Science (BS) from the University of California, Davis.
Dana L. Dornsife: Founder, Chief Mission and Strategy Officer
Dana Dornsife founded Lazarex Cancer Foundation, a nationwide non-profit organization, in 2006 in response to a family experience with cancer. 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 costs for FDA clinical trial participation, identification of clinical trial options, community outreach and engagement.
In 2016, Dana expanded the mission at Lazarex to bring sustainable and 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). Most recently, Lazarex created collaboration around a public health initiative in Philadelphia, PA – Community IMPACT. This bold initiative is aimed at creating a replicable model to improve cancer health outcomes and associated co-morbidities for the residents of medically underserved and socioeconomically challenged minority neighborhoods throughout major metropolitan cities and beyond.
Dana is a graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia. She is a board member of the USC Brain and Creativity Institute at University of Southern California, serves on the UCSF Cancer Leadership Council, and the MGH Presidents Council. She is on the governing board of the Yosemite Conservancy, in addition to being a council member. Dana and her husband, Dave Dornsife, a USC Trustee, support a WASH initiative – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, in 24 African countries through World Vision, an international humanitarian agency.
Karen Ambrogi: Communications Manager
Karen Ambrogi joined Lazarex Cancer Foundation in February 2009. Karen manages Lazarex’s internet presence and online community development through websites, blogs, newsletters and social media. She has a strong base in relationship building and service – from working with the mentally handicapped to a very long career incorporating technical sales, account management, technical writing and leadership skills training.
A pre midlife career change led her to establish a company that offered education and travel programs designed to encourage more conscious, authentic and creative living by exploring the mind/body/spirit connection. After losing two brothers in law to pancreatic cancer, Karen is grateful to have the opportunity to give her focus and her heart in the service of building a bridge to hope for cancer patients and their families.
Christopher Douglas: Development Assistant
Christopher Douglas is a husband, father, attorney, entrepreneur and endurance athlete. Having spent a good portion of his adult life working in international health and human rights and as a civil rights attorney, Chris launched Presidio Sports Management, a boutique sports law firm, in 2016. Of his many passions, helping others is the most important to him.
In 2013, he co-founded Team Cancer Sucks with friends AJ Jabonero, Mark San Buenaventura, Louis Sarmiento and Darren Wollrich. With the mission to raise funds to help cancer patients access and pay for treatments, they used their endurance sports platform to help others. The team made an instant splash at events due to the very “loud” race kits that they wore, which drew instant attention with its hot pink and lightning bolts design. From that point on, the Team Cancer Sucks following grew.
To date, Team Cancer Sucks has raised over $200,000 for cancer awareness and treatment.
Samantha Hernandez: Patient Services Coordinator
Samantha graduated from San Jose State University with a major in Sociology and minor in Chicana and Chicano Studies. She knew she wanted to pursue a career where she would be able to assist various members of the community. Sam knew at a young age that she wanted a career centered around healthcare, specifically cancer related, and when she came across Lazarex Cancer Foundation she thought it would be a perfect opportunity to begin her career journey in a healthcare related setting.
At the age of 5 cancer entered Sam and her family’s life. She was diagnosed with Leukemia, and they entered a world that forever shaped their lives. It shaped Sam’s personal life and influenced her career goals. In her senior year of high school, cancer entered her life again when her cousin was diagnosed with Leukemia as well. Working with cancer patients and their families allows Sam to connect, understand, empathize with, and assist them in their time of need. This is her way of fighting back.
Kathleen Ingram: Patient Services Coordinator
Kathleen Ingram joins Lazarex Cancer Foundation as the Patient Services Coordinator. As a former teacher and community service volunteer, Kathleen brings her organizational skills to Lazarex, assisting patients with financial assistance for clinical trial related out of pocket expenses. Cancer first entered Kathleen’s life two years ago when her best friend of thirty years lost her long fight with breast cancer. Guiding cancer patients through a time of need is her way of fighting back.
Kathleen is the proud mother of two college age daughters and lives in Danville, CA with her husband, 2 dogs and a cat. She is caring and community oriented. Staying fit and hiking with her husband and friends are activities that she enjoys.
Ariana Johnson: Program Coordinator
Ariana Johnson (she/her) was thrilled to join Lazarex Cancer Foundation in April 2023 after years of being a supporter of the organization and its mission. Prior to Lazarex, she worked in non-profit theatre and education, most recently as Associate Producer at American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco. A Bay Area local and graduate of Pearson College UWC and Stanford University, Ariana is passionate about making access equitable for all, whether in the arts or cancer care, so that everyone has the opportunity to share their unique story.
Cheryl Johnson: Office Manager and Events Coordinator
Cheryl joined Lazarex Cancer Foundation in April 2022. With a strong background in customer service, events planning and office management, she is excited to bring her experience to the Lazarex team.
Cheryl’s father was diagnosed with melanoma in 1974 and lived until 1990. Her personal experience with cancer has created a spirit of empathy and altruism.
Cheryl has two grown sons whom she is extremely proud of; Go Dawgs and Fight On!
Irene Juarez Cancer Care Companion
Irene Juarez joined the Lazarex Cancer Wellness HUB in July 2022 as the Cancer Care Companion. She has lived, worked, and volunteered throughout Contra Costa County for 47 years. As a local business owner, mother, and active community member she is passionate about helping the community realize all the resources that are available to support them throughout their life and possible cancer journey. She is excited to expand her role in the community while working with the Lazarex Cancer Wellness HUB.
Irene believes that every community member has a right to improve their health and general well-being. As the Cancer Care Companion Irene is a key conduit for community members to connect to the right resources, screening services and care.
Lisa Locus: Development Coordinator
Lazarex welcomed Lisa to the team in March of 2022. Passion for helping others and a strong spirit for caring for those in need made her a perfect fit.
She has worked in education for over 20 years leading staff, caring for families, and teaching children. Those many years gave her the insight and skills to sharpen her effort to provide excellence in customer service. Combined with her many years of voluntary serving in the community that has trained her to listen and be attentive to the needs of others.
It has always been her goal to provide quality care with a strong customer service experience.
Lisa loves spending time with her husband, four children and granddaughter. She is passionate about photographing nature, and her favorite place to be is in a garden or on a nature hike with family or friends.
“I love that during a time of need, I can spend a few minutes to help a patient or family member when it all seems so overwhelming. Everybody has a story to tell, and I love that I get to have a small part of sharing in that.”
Jessica Manzo: Clinical Trial Navigator
Jessica joined Lazarex Cancer Foundation in November 2022. She began her career working with federally qualified health care clinics and transitioned to conducting community research. With a strong background in the nonprofit sector and community research, Jessica is excited to bring her experience to the Lazarex team as a Clinical Trial Navigator, utilizing her skills to assist patients diagnosed with cancer to find clinical trials.
Keiko Masamori: Patient Intake Coordinator
Keiko Masamori graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2023 with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health. She first started at Lazarex as an intern in May of 2022 while still in college. Studying Public Health, she realized that not everyone has access to quality healthcare in the United States. She is hoping to use her education to further the conversation surrounding proving adequate healthcare and resources to those in at-risk communities.
Dorresa Mathis: Administrative Assistant
Dorresa joined Lazarex Cancer Foundation in April 2023, as an Administrative Assistant. She handles the Administration matters of the business such as administrative tasks.
She approaches all aspects of any job with a positive, hard-working mindset and is passionate about helping a large diversity of people. Dorresa brings with her an extensive background in customer service and organizational skills from corporate environment. She is excited to bring these experiences and enthusiasm to the team of Lazarex Cancer Foundation and to our clients.
Kaitlin Milke: Salesforce Administrator
Kaitlin joined our Lazarex team in early December 2022 as our Salesforce Administrator. She is a Graduate of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids Michigan with a double major of Sociology and Theology. She began her career in Youth Ministry- assisting in helping those in need of all ages and backgrounds. From there she transitioned into healthcare as a manager for an in-home health care company. With those diverse backgrounds under her belt- her focus turned to database importance and reporting. In order to grow and help others, one needs to have strong compassion- but also the ability for tracking and gathering information. Her strong attention to detail and troubleshooting skills led her to the software industry where she became Salesforce Certified just in time to join our team.
Kaitlin lives in Michigan with her husband and two dogs. As often as they can- they travel. They go anywhere and everywhere there is a trail to hike or a mountain to climb.
Erin Miller: Development Manager
Erin Miller is a graduate of Florida State University School of Business with a Bachelor of Science degree. After graduating, she worked as a Marketing Representative for IBM selling mid-range computer hardware and software. In 1993, she married Michael Miller. The following year they had the first of three children. In May 2003, Mike was diagnosed with stage IV, non-resectable pancreatic cancer. It was the difficult and painful journey to save Mike’s life that led them to a search for a clinical trial while undergoing traditional cancer therapy. Mike’s participation in the clinical trial resulted in 19 months of life instead of the prognosis of five months. Lazarex Cancer Foundation was founded in Mike’s memory in 2006.
In 2016, Erin and her family relocated to California. Her involvement with Lazarex Cancer Foundation as a board member, advisor and volunteer has been a blessing to her and her family, helping people whose lives have been ravaged by cancer. In 2017, Erin officially joined the Lazarex team. Erin’s passion to understand the patient journey, and help those in need, has guided her in assisting with the development of many of the programs at Lazarex Cancer Foundation. As the Development Manager she will use her experience and passion to raise the needed funds to help patients gain equitable access to the cancer resources and care that they need to have improved cancer health outcomes, across the continuum of care including access to clinical trials.
Caitlyn Miller: Project Manager
Caitlyn Miller graduated from University of Southern California in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. After graduation, she worked as an Associate Development Scientist for Bayer Pharmacology. Working in industry, she recognized how inequitable the health care system is, and decided to make a compassionate change of career.
Caitlyn joined Lazarex Cancer Foundation in 2022 as the Cancer Care Companion. Since then she accepted a position within Lazarex as Project Manager. Caitlyn’s mission is to ensure everyone has access to comprehensive cancer care regardless of their background in alignment with Lazarex mission to improve the outcome of cancer care.
In May 2003, Caitlyn lost her father Michael Miller to end stage pancreatic cancer and, therefore, understands from her own perspective just how unforgiving the cancer care process can be. Her journey with the clinical trial system brought to light the very real disparities that unfortunately exist in cancer care. Caitlyn’s compassion, kindness, and ability to validate others make her an excellent fit for the Lazarex team.
Macy Miller: Database Coordinator
Macy Marshburn joined Lazarex Cancer Foundation’s team in March of 2018. She brings a bright attitude and willingness to lend a hand wherever needed. With an extensive background in Customer Service and Retail Management, Macy loves finding ways to problem solve while keeping a smile on her face.
Macy’s mission is to search for the most comprehensive solution to any obstacle while ensuring that both patients and colleagues alike have an experience that Lazarex cares deeply for all involved in our mission of improving the outcome of cancer care.
Alicia Pearson: Clinical Trial Navigator
Alicia Pearson is a mom, Marine wife, medical copywriter, and clinical researcher. After interning aboard Camp Lejeune with the Intrepid Spirit Concussion Recovery Center she graduated cum laude from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Alicia’s next move was to head the Clinical Research Department for a group of cancer centers in Kentucky where she initiated a patient engagement program that brought an influx of new trials and funding to the rural community. She then went on to be one of the youngest Regional Office Managers for Texas Oncology and the Community Engagement Manager for a national biotech startup.
Alicia is ecstatic to bring her dynamic background, passion for patient education and empowerment, and clinical research expertise to the Lazarex Cancer Foundation family as a Clinical Trial Navigator.
Marya L. Shegog, PhD, MPH, CHES: Health Equity and Diversity Director
Dr. Marya Shegog is dedicated to addressing health disparities in order to achieve health equity for everyone. She is a community activist that believes that through collective action, partnership and education across all sectors health disparities will be eliminated.
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.
The narrative of cancer has often been told through the lens of a single population. Lazarex Cancer Foundation is dedicated to diversifying the story of cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. After serving on the Lazarex Board of directors for over 6 years, Dr. Shegog is excited to bring her skills and knowledge to LCF, as the Health Equity and Diversity Coordinator to continue to aggressively integrate and diversify the story of Cancer. Ultimately achieving health equity. “No one wants to have cancer but everyone that does deserves every chance of successful treatment and the longest and best quality of life possible.”
Ronna Spaan: Bookkeeping Patient Assistant
Ronna was first introduced to Lazarex Cancer Foundation when she attended the foundation’s 2012 gala onboard the USS Hornet in Alameda. She and her husband were guests of a friend who is a longtime supporter of Lazarex. In 2014 she attended the “Give Cancer the Boot” fundraiser and knew then that she wanted to be a part of this organization. She loves the mission and offered to volunteer, helping out in the office wherever a hand was needed.
A year later Ronna was hired to do bookkeeping and patient assistance. It is a challenging and fulfilling role that Ronna claims is “the best job ever!”