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‘s professional nursing career started in Chicago at Michael Reese Hospital School of Nursing. Intrigued with the Law and Medicine, she attended Roosevelt University, completed a paralegal program, and started Glenn-Gavin Medical Legal Consultants. She continued on the path of education and research and obtained both a BS and MBA and enrolled in a PhD program for Health Administration. She chose to withdraw after a year when the passion and mission of servicing and caring for women with Breast Cancer increased, as the prevalence of 1 in 8 became an unwelcome normalcy. The unmet needs in under-served communities were growing, as the desire to help with the navigation and management of Health care became the beat of her heart.
Glenn is a successful business woman and entrepreneur and an experienced, accomplished and published Registered Nurse “working for a healthier tomorrow.”
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
No two days are the same, and it all started with family values, desires, education and faith. Her calling is making a difference!
Business challenges present an opportunity to soothe the soul of a girl from the Hood to the boardroom.
Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, this is Ms. Glenn.
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.
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.
Jacqueline Soto-Herrera is the Director of External Affairs & Communications at Humboldt Park Health, formerly Norwegian American Hospital. She is a strategic and innovative leader with a uniquely comprehensive background in social responsibility, cause-related public relations and marketing, and government relations. She has a proven track record in successfully directing and managing initiatives that advance social mission as well as business goals and priorities. In addition, she has a superior ability to effectively collaborate with a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders and audiences to yield individual and collective outcomes.
Jacqueline demonstrates an uncommon commitment to building community partnerships that strengthen underserved populations and bring tools for healthcare to those most in need.
She serves as Co-Chair for the North West Side Health Advisory Committee and is a member of Alliance for Health Equity, Casa Central’s Health Services Advisory Committee, and Family Connects Community Alignment Board.
Jacqueline received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Michigan State University.
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.
Judes Fleurimont currently serves as the research operations manager at the UI Health Mile Square Health Center, which maintains a multidisciplinary research portfolio designed to improve health outcomes of Chicago’s most vulnerable populations; the portfolio includes NIH-funded longitudinal community-based studies, investigator-initiated trials, and student projects.
He is involved in all phases of the research process including design, feasibility, funding and regulatory requirements, project initiation, roll out, and close out. This position builds upon his previous experience in clinical research, including the management of multi-site global pharmaceutical trials. Mr. Fleurimont came to UIC with over 15 years of experience in community engagement, an expertise he currently he is happy to contribute as a Board member.
Judy Guitelman, founder and Executive Director of Asociación Latina de Asistencia y Prevención del Cáncer de Mama (ALAS-Wings), is originally from Argentina. She is bicultural and fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. Judy is a breast cancer survivor. Her true passion is affording Latina women with breast cancer health resources, survivorship programs, and improving their chances for longevity as well as enhancing their quality of life. Judy’s joy is her two adult daughters.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Judy, a speech therapist by training and Spanish language educator, reached out to other Latinas diagnosed with breast cancer and the Latino community by volunteering with Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization (formerly Breast Cancer Network of Strength™). She continued at Y-ME as the Latino Outreach Coordinator from 2007 to 2010. Judy’s mission was to provide breast health awareness programs to underserved Hispanic/Latina women with the objective of detecting cancer as early as possible. Judy provided cancer patients, survivors, and their care-givers with access to mammograms, educational, and support programs in Spanish. Mastectomy bras, prostheses and wigs were given at no cost for those who could not otherwise afford them.
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.
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.
Prior to the Chinese American Service League (CASL), Mr. Luu revitalized the Vietnamese Association of Illinois (VAI) by instilling strong board of governance, operations, resource and development, and extending the organizational footprint in a neighboring county. He spent a decade with the Boys & Girls Clubs in many different leadership capacities from programs, operations, resource & development, annual campaign, and Board governance. He worked with various Chicago community neighborhoods to help build and restore Clubs to serve thousands of underprivileged youth. In the City of Chicago, Mr. Luu spent five years opening Clubs in the West Garfield Park, Roseland, West Pullman, Morgan Park, and South Deering communities. In Champaign County, he helped spearhead new Clubs in the Champaign and Urbana School Districts, faith-based organizations, the park district, and in underserved communities in Champaign.
Mr. Luu holds a B.S. from Illinois State University and lives in Chicago with his wife and two children.
Representative Marcus Evans
Marcus C. Evans, Jr., was born on the South Side of Chicago and raised by his hardworking teenage mother. He is a proud Chicago Public Schools graduate, having attended Jesse Owens Elementary School and Morgan Park High School. While growing up, Marcus developed a passion for helping others and engaging with people, participating in a variety of community volunteer activities with his schools and church. At the age of 17, during his senior year of high school, Marcus met former Cook County Board President John H. Stroger, Jr. This meeting inspired him to get involved in politics, so he immediately joined President Stroger’s 2002 re-election efforts as a general volunteer and signed up as an assistant precinct captain with the 8th Ward Regular Democratic Organization. After graduating from high school, Marcus continued his political involvement taking roles in the Young Democrats of Cook County and the 8th Ward, while working part time at the Chicago South Target at 87th Street & Cottage Grove, and attending Chicago State University. Marcus worked on a variety of campaigns throughout the county on all levels of government and was mentored by a variety of political leaders. Marcus’ plans for productivity were in motion; however, life threw a major stumbling block in his path.
After high school, a once minor breathing issue progressed into a major problem. By the age of 20, Marcus could barely breathe and began to feel hopeless after being told by doctors that he had no serious ailments. Determined to fight for his life, with no insurance and seeking real answers, he tried one last effort entering Saint Francis Hospital (now Metro South Hospital). The next day on July 31, 2006, after the doctor’s initial doubt, a test revealed that Marcus was suffering from cancer. Marcus underwent major surgery and endured months of outpatient chemotherapy treatment, but made it through as a survivor. Determined to get back on his feet and unable to sit idle at home, Marcus, not yet fully recovered, and against the wishes of some loved ones, started back volunteering and campaigning. One month after major surgery, Marcus was hired by the new 8th Ward Alderman Michelle A. Harris as a full time staff person, and he worked tirelessly serving the residents of the 8th Ward community from 2006 through 2012.
In 2008, as Marcus was adjusting to a normal life after his tumultuous health experience, he felt a reoccurring need to do something to help others. After watching a commercial at home, Marcus called the American Cancer Society and began volunteering in the fight against cancer. Starting in 2008, he joined the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network as an Action Leader for the 1st Congressional District. In this role, he traveled to Washington, D.C. annually to advocate for cancer research funding and healthcare for families across the nation. Meanwhile, Marcus continued to remain civically involved in the community.
In 2012, after the retirement of State Representative Marlow H. Colvin, the committeemen of the 33rd District led by 8th Ward Committeeman Harris selected Marcus as a replacement. Marcus was sworn in April 13, 2012, and immediately began to work hard in Springfield to earn the trust of the community. As State Representative, Marcus has supported, sponsored and passed a variety of impact legislative measures focused on increasing economic growth, advocating for middle class working families and seniors, access to healthcare, and quality education for our children. As a way to bring awareness and advocacy to the forefront and share his experiences within the General Assembly, with the passage of HJR 23, Marcus helped to create the Illinois Legislative Cancer Caucus.
Currently, in the Illinois House of Representatives, Marcus 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.
According to Russell Hopkins, “I grew up ages ago on the Northwest Side of Chicago and was certainly aware of the World War going on around me – rationing, mock air raids, etc. I spent a lot of time devoted to Cowboys and Indians battles in the nearby Edgebrook Woods. I attended and graduated from St. Tarcissus School while playing lots of baseball and hockey, much of it on the frozen Chicago River. I am a major Chicago sports fan who recalls Sid Luckman and attending one of the 1945 World Series games in Wrigley Field.
I attended Fenwick High School in Oak Park and graduated from St. George High School in Evanston after we moved to Skokie. Next academic stops were Notre Dame and Michigan State, where I majored in Marketing and earned an MBA. Mixed up in all of this, was an Army tour in Germany as a Medical Corpsman, which featured several other interested duties which included fostering German/American relations. Those were the days.
In terms of a career, I spent a few years with a Japanese importing company, featuring roller chain, bicycle equipment, and hand tools. After that, I spent a good amount of time representing members of the beer and wine industries with lots of national and some international travels.
Those positions gave me a lot of experience with voluntary organization management and Federal Government relations activity. I guess you could say that I did some lobbying in Washington for awhile.
After that, I founded The Beverage Network which sought to assist beverage suppliers market their innovative new wave beverages in the USA. This included primarily non-alcoholic specialty beverages but also some food items, many imported. In general, we were ahead of our time and watched others capitalize on our brilliant ideas and discoveries.
The next phase is ongoing whereby I am just having lots of fun and much satisfaction as a poor private citizen. I founded the Blue Star Family Platoon and represented the National Military Family Association in Illinois. That was pretty much during Iraq/Afghan wars. At the same time, I became involved with a number of children and family services organizations – some of which are related in some way with the Department of Children and Family Services.
Due to several of health episodes during the past decade, I have also become involved in projects associated with various community engagement committees of the University of Illinois at Chicago, such as the UIC Cancer Center’s Patient Brigade, which fosters clinical research and patient centered care within the UIC Healthcare System.
For years, I have been spending as much time as possible at an old cottage in the woods in Wisconsin with Lake Michigan in the backyard. If you can’t find me in the summer, I am probably there Up North hiding from the Civilized Urban World.”
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.
Saria Lofton, PhD
Assistant Professor, Population Health Nursing Science – Cancer Prevention and Control
Irum Khan, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine – Translational Oncology
Jonathan Coloff, PhD
Assistant Professor, Physiology and Biophysics – Cancer Biology
Community Advisory Board Administration
Jan Kitajewski, PhD
Director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center
Yamile Molina, PhD
Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement
Nasima Mannan, MPH
Senior Research Specialist
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.