The members of the Steering Group are patients, caregivers, and clinicians in AYA cancer from across the
country, who oversee the Priority-Setting Partnership process.
Dr. Perri Tutelman is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychosocial Oncology at the University of Calgary and Cancer Care Alberta and a Registered Provisional Psychologist. Her patient-oriented research program is focused on understanding and addressing the unique medical and psychosocial needs of adolescents and young adults with cancer.
Fiona Schulte is an Associate Professor in the Department of Oncology, Division of Psychosocial Oncology in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. She is also a registered psychologist in the Hematology, Oncology and Transplant Program at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Fiona’s research is broadly interested in enhancing the patient and family experience for patients diagnosed with cancer and improving the psychosocial late effects of cancer survivors.
Chantale is a Winnipeger and a young adult with lived cancer experience. She was diagnosed at the age of 34 with Stage IV Appendix Cancer. After this life-changing diagnosis, she began to focus on how to best improve the experience for others. Chantale is a co-founder of AYA Can – Canadian Cancer Advocacy, which is a peer-led national organization helping to promote the patient voice in research and advocacy AYA population.
Tamara has been a Patient Engagement Officer with the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) since 2015. She enjoys listening to people with lived experience from across Canada and finding ways to involve them in CADTH’s projects. Tamara is formally trained as a Medical Librarian and has worked with several research groups and professional associations in Canada and the UK. Tamara joined the JLA team in 2019.
Brianna Henry is a Research Coordinator with Dr. Fiona Schulte at the University of Calgary. She graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Calgary. Brianna contributes to several research projects in Dr. Schulte’s lab focused on improving the patient and family experience for those living with and beyond cancer.
Cheryl Heykoop is an associate professor and program head of the Master of Arts in Leadership – Health Specialization at Royal Roads University, and is a Health Research BC Scholar. She leads the Anew Research Collaborative. As someone with lived experience with cancer as a young adult, Cheryl is deeply committed to supporting tangible changes in cancer care systems and in the lives of young adults navigating cancer.
Emily Gallant is a 26-year-old patient representative from Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. In 2022 she was diagnosed with Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma, a form of head and neck cancer caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Her background includes a BSc in biochemistry and chemistry. She is also completing a BSN at Memorial University. Emily draws from her lived experience, clinical background, and education to advocate for the priority issues of AYA patients.
Dr. Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work & Human Services at the University of the Fraser Valley. Dr. Taylor’s clinical and research practices focus on population health inequity and the development of culturally effective practices with marginalized populations - specifically sexual and gender diversity. They are currently the co-lead for Queering Cancer - a CIHR-funded project developing online cancer support resources designed by/for marginalized patients.
Lexy graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2018, in Northern Ontario. She became a Registered Nurse and proceeded to work in Critical Care. In March of 2022, she was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer as a young adult. Her interests include learning more about psychological and psychosocial effects of AYA Cancer.
Lorna is a nurse with a full career in public health. Lorna brings her health promotion and management expertise to her role as President of Team Shan Breast Cancer Awareness for Young Women (Team Shan). Team Shan, a national charity, was established in memory of Lorna’s daughter, Shanna, who lost her life to breast cancer at 24. Lorna is a strong advocate for AYA cancer awareness, early detection and palliative care.
Marlie Smith is the Interim Clinical Nurse Specialist with the Adolescent and Young Adult Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. I am passionate about supporting young patients’ unique needs as they navigate their cancer experience, and my aim is to facilitate as much normalcy and laughter as possible throughout this process. I am particularly interested in finding unique and creative ways to engage patients and to connect them to each other.
Michelle Blue is a certified oncology Registered Nurse with a Master of Nursing (focus in leadership). Her entire nursing career has been in the field of oncology and has covered such roles as staff nurse, resource nurse, and operations manager. Michelle is keen to support the AYA population as they traverse their cancer journey.
Dr. Abdelaal is an Assistant Professor, a Clinician Investogator, and a Staff Physician in the Division of Palliative Care, Department of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Abdelaal finished two fellowships in Palliative Medicine from the University of Toronto, with special training in Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) Palliative Care. In addition to his clinical duties, Dr. Abdelaal has active initiatives of research in specialized palliative care for Adolescents and Young Adults.
Nadia is the Vice-President, Leadership and Corporate Giving at the Canadian Cancer Society. She has spent most of her career in philanthropy connecting people and organizations to supporting the causes that matter to them the most. Nadia is also a AYA cancer survivor. She is deeply committed to advancing AYA cancer research and care to ensure that others facing the disease receive access to the most promising interventions and care they need.
Nicole Maseja is a 31 year old from Calgary, AB. The AYA cancer population is near and dear to her heart as her husband Josh was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 when they were both 25 years old. His cancer diagnosis was a rare and aggressive form called Ewing Sarcoma. Nicole was proudly Josh’s primary caregiver. Josh sadly passed away in January of 2019. Since then, Nicole has switched her career goals, motivated and inspired by her lived experience with Josh.
Dr. Sapna Oberoi is a pediatric hematologist-oncologist at CancerCare Manitoba (CCMB) and Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba, Canada. She leads the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) oncology program at CCMB. Her research focuses on enhancing symptom management, especially mental health and supportive care of children and AYAs with cancer to improve their overall outcomes, cancer experience, and quality of life during and after their cancer treatment.
Stefanie is a physiotherapist working at BC Cancer Vancouver. She sees individuals of various age groups, including AYA’s, throughout their cancer treatment and survivorship. She believes in patient-centred care to help individuals improve their quality of life and manage short and long-term side effects of cancer and its treatment. She works with patients to guide them in meeting their individual functional and rehabilitation goals.
Tim Buckland is a three-time testicular cancer survivor and was first diagnosed a week before his 18th birthday. Tim has been well connected with the cancer research community and has previously supported work of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer’s AYA Task Force, the Canadian Cancer Society’s Research Institute, and most recently, the American Association of Cancer Research’s Scientist <-> Survivor Program.
Vinesha Ramasamy is an adolescent and young adult cancer survivor, health advocate, patient partner, community organizer and leader. She currently sits on the Board of AYA CAN – Canadian Cancer Advocacy. She dedicates her time, mentorship and advocacy to various health care, survivorship and social causes with the dream of seeing equitable outcomes, healing, dignity and better lives for all—primarily marginalized groups. Vinesha regularly shares her lived experiences on intersectionality.