The University of Illinois Cancer Center Community Advisory Board (CAB) is a collaborative group of individuals dedicated to supporting our mission of reducing the cancer burden and improving outcomes for the people we serve.
The CAB integrates outreach and engagement in all Cancer Center endeavors — ranging from strategic planning to research to fundraising — through meaningful partnerships across Chicago communities and beyond.
Aims for Members as Thought Leaders:
- Support the Cancer Center to reduce the burden of cancer in our catchment area
- Assist with dissemination of evidence-based findings to communities
- Participate in development and execution of Cancer Center strategic plans
- Advise on priorities for clinical support, research directions, and community needs
The Community Advisory Board represents the voices of our community. It serves as an essential connection between the Cancer Center and the community, promoting an equitable and consistent exchange of information and ideas to address the cancer burden faced by our community.
The CAB is comprised of cancer survivors, state representatives, federally qualified health center leaders, NCI-designated health center leaders, minority group representatives, community-based organization members, and faith leaders.
Community Advisory Board Members
Candace Henley, Co-Chair of CAB
Candace Henley is a tireless advocate for colon cancer prevention and support. Candace was a single mother who was raising five children who lost her car and home while battling colon cancer. Her own battle and the devastation it left on her life and that of her children inspired her to create The Blue Hat Foundation.
The organization is founded on unconditional support and compassion for people fighting colon cancer. Their mission is to provide education, information, and free screenings for colon cancer in minority and medically underserved communities. The Blue Hat Foundation started as a single event, “Blue Hat Bow Tie Sunday”— at one church in Chicago. The program is now in 15 churches and promotes “education through participation” by asking the congregation to wear blue in honor of someone who is fighting or passed away from colon cancer.
In addition to the Sunday events, The Blue Hat Foundation raises awareness about the disease’s signs, as well as shares stories of personal experience, through speeches, podcasts, articles and community partnerships.
Joanne Glenn, RN MBA, Co-Chair of CAB
Joanne Glenn is a mentor to many, speaker, and educator. She is always seeking opportunities to serve the communities at risk. She is:
- Co-owner of Comprehensive Quality Care, Inc. Foundation, a Joint Commission Deem Status Home Health Organization 2001
- A past inductee into Wendell Phillips High School, Hall of Fame 2002
- Recognized by National Black Nurses Day, April 2012
- Honored at Black Woman’s Expo, “The Phenomenal Woman Award,” April 2016
- Executive Board Member Friend & Family Health Center, 2016
- Co-Chair of Chicago Cancer Health Equities Collaborative Community (CHEC) Steering Committee 2016
- Black Nurses Rock National Leadership Summit Awardee, New York 2017 & Chicago Chapter President
- A proven and willing community advocate with the focus on quality service without compromise or prejudice
Anousheu Alie holds an Associate’s degree in international business from MacCormac College now known as Generations College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from National-Louis University in Chicago. A long-time resident of the Austin neighborhood, Ms. Alie works as a Liaison for the West Side Task Force and State Representative La Shawn K. Ford (8th District). Anousheu’s ultimate goal is to uplift the west side of Chicago by providing resources to the community and install economic growth.
Bishop Tyree Beard
Bishop Tyree Beard is the Senior Leader and Establishmentarian of The Movement Church – Chicago. He is also the Apostolic Overseer/Senior Leader for The Movement Network which is a collective of churches with an initiative to impact the world through the Kingdom message of Christ.
Beard developed a strong foundation in Christ early on at The Holy Trinity Church under the late Pastor Matthew Pettis Jr. On April 26, 2013, Beard established the “City of David Church” now known as “The Movement Chicago” which is a vital, non-denominational community of believers in the heart of the Chicago suburbs. He now serves on the General Board of Bishops for Pilgrim Assemblies, and is the Prelate for the Western region.
Charles Walton, MBA
Charles Walton is trying to make a difference in the Chicagoland area. He is the newest executive director of the organization 100 Black Men of Chicago, the nearly 60-year-old organization that has chapters nationwide and connects business leaders and other adult volunteers with African-American males, ages 13 to 18, to provide mentoring, education, health, and wellness and economic empowerment.
“I did the financial thing,” said Walton, who majored in math and minored in business administration at Doane University and earned his MBA at Roosevelt University in Chicago.
He worked with Illinois Bell, Amaco, United Airlines, and other companies for more than 30 years in information technology before moving into the non-profit management slot. He worked in Chicago, London, and Washington D.C. and returned to Chicago. Now, Walton lives in Crowne Point, Indiana.
Dan Olas is a Stage 4 colon cancer survivor. He was treated at UI Hospital by talented doctors and wonderful staff. He resides in the near west side with his wife and two not-so-small puppies.
Throughout his cancer journey, he received and participated in cancer support services through Gilda’s Club Chicago. Upon completion of his treatments, he supported Gilda’s Club as a general board member for many years and as President of the Associate Board for four years. As president, he was responsible for leading a team of 40-50 young professionals to generate operational funding through charitable giving and raise community awareness. He has been privileged to represent Gilda’s Club over the years through print, radio, TV and numerous fundraising events.
Gina Curry, MPH, MBA
Gina Curry, MPH, MBA, is an experienced community engagement specialist with over 15 years in community engaged academic research. Curry is well versed in community-academic partnership development, program development, training design and delivery, coalition building, and multi-institutional collaborations.
Prior to joining the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, Curry served as the Community Campus Coordinator for Northwestern University’s Community Based Participatory Research Program for 11 years. She was instrumental in brokering more than 500 partnerships, resulting in dozens of community-engaged research projects, scientific manuscripts, as well as Foundation, PCORI, and NIH funding. Curry is particularly interested in the intersection of faith and health and has been an active member of the American Public Health Association (APHA) for more than a decade, frequently moderating sessions and presenting in their Faith Caucus, Community Based Public Health Caucus, and Cancer Forum.
Dr. Josef Ben Levi, EdD
Dr. Josef Ben Levi, EdD is a scholar of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, Classical African Civilizations, Education, Curriculum, and Disability Studies. He is a scholar of Biblical, Ancient Egyptian, Nubian and Gnostic Literature. His language facilities include Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Mdw Ntr (ancient Egyptian language, Ancient Egyptian history, African and African-American History and Literature), European Renassiance History, and Moorish Spain. His research activity also includes current studies in ancient Gnosticism and the Meroitic language of ancient Nubia, which he has been pursuing since the 1970s. He is also interested in the works of Niccolo Machiavelli, Frederick Nietzsche, and African, African-American, pre-Socratic as well as Socratic philosophers. He has traveled and lectured widely on a variety of topics related to antiquity. His current research interest is in translating Meroitic and Kemetic inscriptions. He currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at Northeastern Illinois University.
Judy Guitelman, founder and Executive Director of Asociación Latina de Asistencia y Prevención del Cáncer de Mama (ALAS-Wings), is originally from Argentina. Judy founded ALAS-Wings in 2011 as a non-profit organization with a mission to provide underserved Latinas diagnosed with breast cancer with support, education, and innovative programs designed to provide a broad platform of support and quality of life improvements. One of ALAS-Wings’ most innovative programs is “ALAS on Wheels-The Mobile Salon™.” This program enhances self-esteem and physical appearance by providing bras, prostheses, and wigs to the uninsured/underserved in the Latino community. Helping a woman feel good about herself after a lumpectomy or mastectomy, and the loss of hair are important components of treating the whole person. ALAS-Wings provides this program in partnership with several hospitals and organizations throughout the Chicagoland area.
Kathleen Goss, PhD
Dr. Goss joined the American Cancer Society in April 2021 as the North Central Region Vice President for Cancer Control. She has a wealth of leadership experience and a passion for the Society’s mission. She’s a long-time cancer advocate and served as a dedicated volunteer with the Society and ACS CAN for more than 19 years before joining the American Cancer Society in this role. In 2017, she was recognized for her service to the Society with the prestigious St. George National Award.
Dr. Goss graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the College of Wooster (Ohio) and a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Vanderbilt University. After postdoctoral training at the University of Cincinnati, she launched her research program on the molecular drivers of breast and colorectal cancer at the University of Cincinnati and then moved her laboratory to the University of Chicago in 2007. In 2013, she joined the administration of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she most recently served as Associate Director for Administration. Dr. Goss also serves on the Board of Directors for the Cancer Support Center in Chicago’s South Suburbs.
Mark Klaisner, PhD
Mark Klaisner, PhD is an Executive Director of West40 ISC which serves 38 districts, three co-ops, 152 schools, and 100,000+ students in West Cook County which has positively impacted students YOY for over five years (currently at 2,500+ students in FY 22). This includes a state-recognized Alternative School, unique turnkey solutions such as a remote school for medically fragile youth, and professional development services to help educators address school safety, threat assessment, mental health, behavioral, and social-emotional needs. He Influenced and ushered a spotlight program in conjunction with Department of Human Services (DHS), Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
Paul Luu is the Chief Executive Officer of Chinese American Service League (CASL). He is a non-profit advocate committed to building organizational capacity for Mutual Assistance Associations (MAA) in the greater Chicagoland area. Mr. Luu works to strengthen organizations’ resources and development, board governance and development, and strategic planning to better serve the greater Chicagoland area. He brings a diverse range of approaches to the non-profit field, drawing from 20 years of non-profit management & leadership, organizational practices and trainings, and non-profit best practices.
Paula Yates is the Chief Impact and Strategy officer at Loretto Hospital, and Executive Director of the Loretto Hospital Foundation. A seasoned strategist, Paula has spent more than 20 years absorbing the intersection of education, government affairs and healthcare with marketing and public relations. She is recognized for a keen ability to bridge authentic partnerships while identifying critical business and social impact drivers that build valuable alliances, fuel stakeholder engagement and equitable deployment of resources. She defines ‘professional ministry’ as being the engineer of collaborations that champion community wellness and advocate for accessibility – ensuring healthcare dignity and justice.
Representative Marcus Evans
Currently in the Illinois House of Representatives, Marcus C. Evans, Jr. chairs the Committee on Labor & Commerce where he looks to lead the advancement of legislation and ideas to improve our state’s workforce and overall economy. Marcus also serves on the following committees: Health Care Availability & Access, Ethics & Elections, Appropriations: Human Services, Executive, Revenue & Finance. Additionally, he serves on four Illinois boards, the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council (SPAC), the Legislative Audit Commission, the Illinois Workforce Innovation Board (IWIB), and Illinois High School Association (IHSA).
Marcus holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Chicago State University. Outside of public service, Marcus works as a licensed real estate appraiser and an Illinois High School Association licensed basketball official.
Walidah G. Bennett, is the founder and Director of the Multi-Faith Veterans Initiative (MVI), housed in DePaul University’s Egan Office for Urban Education & Community Partnerships. The initiative works citywide to integrate mental and behavioral health with faith institutions in developing community circles of support by linking veterans and their families to local services and resources available within the community. Walidah has worked with numerous non-profits and Faith-based organizations and has served as a mental health consultant at the local, state and National levels. In addition to her work with MVI, Walidah is on faculty in the Social and Behavioral Science Department South Suburban College.
Carmen Navarro Gercone
Executive Clerk for Court Operations and Administration · The Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County
Carmen Navarro Gercone is a management and public safety expert, with 26 years of experience in law enforcement and the criminal justice system. As a graduate of the prestigious Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy, Carmen trained with experts from around the world in public safety and violence reduction strategies.
Committed to public service, Carmen draws from her unique personal experiences to bridge the divide between the criminal justice system and the communities of Cook County. Growing up in West Humboldt Park, losing a brother to gang violence, being a young mother on public aid, and having an ethnically diverse family, have all shaped Carmen’s motivation to help others through empathy, kindness, and compassion.
Community Advisory Board Scientist Liaisons
The research liaisons program intends to create a robust partnership between scientists and stakeholders, reinforcing the Cancer Center’s community-informed model for research.
There are designated liaisons from each of the Cancer Center’s three scientific programs – Cancer Biology, Translational Oncology, and Cancer Prevention and Control. The research liaisons will function as active brokers who connect the interests of their research programs, the Community Outreach and Engagement (COE) Office, and the 14-member Community Advisory Board.
Community Advisory Board Administration
Learn more about the Community Advisory Board
If you’re interested in joining or learning more about the Cancer Center Community Advisory Board, please contact Nasima Mannan, MPH, Senior Research Specialist.