Michael Prestion, Ph.D., MPH
I am a Health Services and Systems Researcher with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services & Systems Research, serve as Co-Director for Health Initiatives and Disparities Research in the College of Medicine, and served as Director of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Cancer Control Outreach Center. My expertise is in the field of health services and systems research with a concentration in health economics. As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, my research activities include studying cancer disparities in underserved and low-income communities. I applied economic, political, and statistical theory and methods to determine how social factors generate disparities, and to evaluate state and federal policy initiatives that reduce these disparities. I designed an economic analysis of a state demonstration program that reduces screening barriers among low-income, uninsured, underinsured, and underserved populations.
Bev Eckert, LCSW, JD
With a background in law and social work, Bev Eckert began her work at the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation as the Patient Navigator in early 2012. Having lost a grandfather to prostate cancer, Bev embraced the Foundation’s mission of increasing awareness, encouraging timely detection, and supporting improved treatment of the disease in our state. Furthermore, she believes, as did our founders, that access to information and care should be available to all men regardless of disparities in health related competence, financial resources or proximity to care.
“In the role of Patient Navigator, I engaged daily with Arkansans who were facing the confusion and challenges of confronting a prostate cancer diagnosis. My one-on-one work with prostate cancer survivors was the motivating factor for my acceptance of the position of APCF Interim Executive Director in April, 2013 and the subsequent position of permanent Executive Director in October, 2013”.
“I also serve as the secretary of the National Association of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions (NASPCC) where I sit on the Executive Committee. Through my affiliation with NASPCC I am able to collaborate with prostate cancer advocates across the country about best practices in their respective states”.
Tina Gill, MAIOC (Chair)
Tina F. Gill, MAIOC currently works as VISN 16 Cancer Program Manager, at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS) Strategic Management Service Facility Planning Analyst with the Department of Veterans Affairs. She has a BA in Business for Advertising and Public Relations and a MA in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication both from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She has 13 years of experience in public health and cancer control, and now seven inside a large hospital system. She also worked in manufacturing, and the private sector before moving to state and federal government positions. She is a Mid-South Division Board member with the American Cancer Society and is active with Autism Speaks.
Gill was the first official coordinator of the Arkansas Cancer Coalition, which had its roots in the Arkansas Breast Cancer Coalition. She went on to a position with CDC as a field public health advisor to the Coalition and to other states, tribes and territories across the country. Gill feels that there is so much that we can do at the community level to fight cancer and it starts with providing a proper environment for the work. She believes that we all have gifts which we can and should contribute to make our work, home and play environments healthy for one another. If we don’t do it, well then who will? She is a cancer survivor who has three grandchildren and four step-grandchildren who live in New Jersey, Texas and Arkansas, and she works to see them as much as possible.
Treg Long, O.D. (Vice-Chair)
Dr. Long was in a small optometric practice for several years before a cancer diagnosis provided an opportunity to volunteer with the American Cancer Society leading to a position as the Arkansas Medical Affairs Director during the early 90s.
Dr. Long currently serves as the Heath Systems Manager, State-Based for the American Cancer Society providing leadership for cancer control relationships and initiatives in Arkansas for the Mid-South Division. This work includes assisting in the identification and/or development of programs and services designed to integrate cancer control objectives with health care providers, managed care organizations, health insurers, coalitions, worksites, Medicare quality improvement organizations, and a variety of other key health systems that have broad population impact on reducing cancer incidence and decreasing mortality rates. Other positions held during a twenty-three year history with the American Cancer Society have included: Arkansas Health Systems Director, Government Relations Director, Advocacy Manager for the newly merged Mid-South Division, and Medical Affairs Director for the past Arkansas Division as previously mentioned.
Dr. Long has extensive volunteer work with various Arkansas coalitions including: Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas, Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, Arkansas Wellness Coalition, Coalition for a Healthy Arkansas Today, Governors Round Table on Health Care, National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer, Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health across the US, Arkansas Insurance Department’s Consumers Assistance Advisory Committee, and was very involved with the establishment of the Arkansas Cancer Coalition.
Krista Thomas (Treasurer)
Krista Thomas is the Health Initiatives Director of Accounts for Arkansas and Mississippi at the American Cancer Society (ACS). As the Director of Accounts, Thomas works with numerous healthcare facilities on cancer related topics ranging from prevention and early detection to quality of life for the cancer patient. As a member of the ACS Arkansas Leadership Team, Thomas has experience in all aspects of a non-profit organization. Thomas has experience in budgeting, personnel decisions such as hiring, coaching, disciplinary actions, board development and management. As Health Initiatives Director, Thomas has experience in overseeing the ACS cancer control program for the State of Arkansas including programs, services, prevention, and early detection. Currently, Thomas serves as Co-Chairman for the 2013 Arkansas Riverfest, is on the Commission on Cancer Committee at the VA and St. Bernards, and is a volunteer for Relay for Life of Pulaski County.
Ronda Henry-Tillman, M.D. (Secretary)
Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman is a surgical oncologist specializing in women’s oncology at UAMS Medical Center. She is a Professor in the Department of Surgery, and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. She is the Co-Director of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. As Director, she heads efforts to reduce the mortality, health disparities and cancer burden of Arkansans. She has developed numerous interventions that target cancer disparities.
Dr. Henry-Tillman has been recognized as a leader in cancer diagnosis and treatment. She has numerous publications, and has made national and international presentations on MRI and breast cancer staging and the advancements in breast cancer treatment, as well as cancer disparities interventions. She is federally funded in clinical research, with research interests prevalent in cancer education and awareness and community-based participatory research.
Dr. Henry-Tillman has been awarded several honors in the Cancer Control arena to include the “Community Health Research Leadership Award” from the National Cancer Institute and the “Acknowledgements in Cancer Excellence Community Outreach Award” from the American Cancer Society. She was also recognized by her peers and awarded the “Distinguished Faculty” Award at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, formerly the Arkansas Cancer Research Center. Since 2005, she has been prestigiously honored as one of the “Best Doctors in America”.
Sara Eichmann, MPH, CHES
Sara B. Eichmann has over fifteen years experience in the public health arena working in both the government and the non-profit sector – first for the Arkansas Department of Health as a program coordinator and regional leader with the Hometown Health program and then serving as coordinator and then executive director for the Arkansas Cancer Coalition. She is currently employed as a grant writer for the Washington Regional Medical Foundation in Fayetteville. Sara earned her Bachelor of Science in biology from Rhodes College and her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In addition, she is a Certified Health Education Specialist. She and her husband Justin live with their two children in Fayetteville, Arkansas where Justin is an attorney and member of the local school board.
Issam Makhoul, M.D.
Issam Makhoul, M.D., is Associate Professor and Director of the Division of Hematology Oncology and the Fellowship Program Director in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). He is also the inaugural recipient of the Laura F. Hutchins, M.D. Distinguished Chair for Hematology and Oncology. After receiving his medical degree from Tishreen University in Latakia, Syria, Dr. Makhoul obtained a degree in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases from René Descartes University in Paris, France. Dr. Makhoul was a resident in internal medicine at Penn State Geisinger Medical Center in Danvillte, Pennsylvania. Afterwards, he completed a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at Penn State Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Dr. Makhoul is certified in medical oncology and hematology.
Dr. Makhoul is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology and the American Association for Cancer Research. His research interests include breast cancer, GI malignancies and quality of life in cancer patients. He led the Hematology/Oncology program successfully through the Quality Oncology Project Initiative Certification. He chairs the Survivorship Core Group at UAMS.
Paulette Mehta, MD, MPH
Dr. Paulette Mehta is an Adult Hematologist/Oncologist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. She is Board Certified in hematology and oncology and has a Master of Public Health. Dr. Mehta is an expert in cancer affecting both children and adults, and has expertise in veterans with war-acquired and other malignancies. Currently, Dr. Mehta is a member of the Association of VA Hematologists/Oncologists and the Cancer Committee at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. Dr. Mehta is on the editorial board for the Federal Practitioner and Journal of Cancer Education. She is also a consultant on cancer in veterans to the VA Central Office in Washington DC.
Taniesha Richardson, MPH
Taniesha Richardson is currently the Program Director, Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) at the Arkansas Department of Health. Since her employment with the health department in 1998, she has also held positions in Tobacco Prevention and Cessation, Workforce and Career Development, Comprehensive Cancer Control- Breast Care and Hometown Health Improvement.
Richardson’s areas of expertise include policy development, program planning and development using systematic approaches, community mobilization, facilitation and training. She volunteers for The Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church Sister to Sister Ministry and Youth Obtaining Unity Organization.
“Within the last four years, my two grandmothers passed away. My father’s mom had breast cancer and my mother’s mom had pancreatic cancer. Because of this, I want to be a voice and volunteer my time to serve in a capacity where we can address and, hopefully one day, eliminate cancer in Arkansas through policy initiatives.”
Alicia Storey, RT
Alicia Storey has worked in healthcare for 19 years and has past experience managing and marketing a mobile mammography unit, grant writing and administration, and community health education. Alicia currently serves as manager of oncology programs at St Bernard’s Medical Center and is responsible for overseeing the Cancer Committee, site specific tumor conferences, cancer registry, clinical and psychosocial navigation and survivorship programs.
“I have been a member of ACC for 5 plus years and am a believer in the purpose and mission of this group of cancer advocates. I am overwhelmed at the benefit that I have seen this group provide to those in our state who are working toward a common goal of reducing the cancer burden in Arkansas. I would be honored to serve on a Board with others who share my passion and continue to improve efforts and collaborations across the state”.
“I have experience working with disparate communities and first-hand knowledge of barriers to care. I have experience with grant administration and have served the ACC on committees that help develop the new Cancer Plan. I have experience with emerging areas of oncology including genetic counseling, palliative care, survivorship and navigation. I have worked with oncologists and oncology teams to become a CoC accredited program so I am familiar with benchmarks and standards for cancer care on the national level”.
Olivia Wyatt, LSW, OSW-C
With more than 38 years experience as a medical social worker in the Central Arkansas healthcare community, Olivia Wyatt has spent the better part of her professional career advocating on behalf of cancer patients and their families. A board-certified oncology social worker, Wyatt currently serves as Counseling and Resources Coordinator for CARTI, a nonprofit, independent network of cancer care facilities with locations throughout Arkansas. In her role at CARTI, Wyatt acts as project director for all patient assistance-funded grants and is charged with the responsibility of designing, implementing and reporting programs as specified.
“It would be my goal to use my professional experience and training to contribute to the goals and objectives of the Arkansas Cancer Coalition in a way that would positively impact the awareness of and attention to cancer care in Arkansas,” says Wyatt, who has represented CARTI as an ACC member for the past six years.
“Specializing in oncological social work, I believe I bring a unique perspective on the past, present and future of cancer care in Arkansas, particularly when it comes to the emotional and socio-economic impact it can have on those diagnosed with the disease”.
Prior to joining CARTI in 1999, Wyatt previously worked as a licensed social worker for St. Vincent Infirmary, Hope Lodge, Columbia Doctors Hospital and Baptist Health Medical Center.
A member of both the National Association of Social Workers and the Association of Oncology Social Work, Wyatt has volunteered her professional expertise as a committee member and/or board member for number of local and statewide oncological organizations and charities, including: the Central Arkansas Cancer Registry; the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network; Susan G. Komen for the Cure; and the American Cancer Society. In 2006/2007, Wyatt served as the Arkansas Region III representative for the Association of Oncology Social Work.