The Colon Cancer Alliance Board of Directors is comprised of highly capable, dedicated individuals with backgrounds in areas such as business, education, non-profit management, healthcare, cancer research, law and finance. Each member is passionate about our mission. Many have a personal understanding of this disease and its impact, which deepens their commitment to helping others affected and to one day finding a cure.

Joseph A. Frick, Chairperson

Joseph A. Frick is Executive Vice Chairman at Diversified Search, one of the top executive search firms in the US, based in the Philadelphia office. Prior to joining Diversified, Mr. Frick served as President and CEO of Independence Blue Cross and is currently a Vice Chair of the Independence Blue Cross Board of Directors. Prior to becoming CEO in 2005, Mr. Frick served as Independence Blue Cross’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Administration since 1997. In this capacity, he was responsible for corporate planning and business development, human resources, and administrative services. As CEO, Mr. Frick spearheaded the creation of IBC 2010, a long-term strategic plan for the company. He formed a new senior leadership team and launched key initiatives to achieve the company’s goals. Under Mr. Frick’s leadership, IBC enhanced its standing as a trusted and respected corporate leader in the Philadelphia community.

Before joining Independence Blue Cross, Mr. Frick was Vice President of Human Resources at Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. (PNI), which published The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News. He joined PNI in 1987 as Personnel Development Director, responsible for employee relations, training and development.

John Backus, Vice Chair

Based in the national capital region, John is a seasoned technology investor and entrepreneur with over two decades of experience investing in and managing rapidly growing companies. Before becoming a venture capitalist, he co-founded US Order, which revolutionized online banking, went public in 1995 and was sold to Visa.

John serves on the Board of Directors of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), the Center for Public Policy Innovation (CPPI), Invincea, Spotflux, PokitDok and the Colon Cancer Alliance. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) Board of Directors, has served as a technology policy adviser to Virginia governors Gilmore, Warner and McDonnell and has contributed his views to The Washington Post, Fortune, VentureBeat and the Huffington Post. John began his career at Bain & Co. and Bain Capital, where he was the first management consultant to take a full time operating role in a portfolio company. John holds a B.A. in Economics from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Heather Dean, CPA, Treasurer

Heather Dean is the Deputy Executive Director of Programs and Operations at the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Prior to joining the PTA, Dean’s career spanned many positions in both the non-profit and corporate industries, to include Senior Auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers not-for-profit/higher-education team, Manager of Financial Reporting and Analysis for a major national association and Senior Financial Analyst and Sarbanes Oxley officer for a publicly traded energy company. She holds a degree in Economics and Accounting from Gettysburg College and is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Virginia.

Michael Zahaby, Secretary

Mr. Zahaby is Managing Director of CapitalSpring Finance Company, a New York-based specialty finance company; an Adjunct Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, and a NACD Fellow with over 20 years of Boards’ service experience.

Michael was a caregiver to his wife of 27 years in her two-year fight against colon cancer. He received a bachelor’s degree in Finance from The Ohio State University’s Fisher School of Business, and an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. He previously served on the boards of Partnership with Children, and the Southeast Pennsylvania United Way, where he chaired many of the board’s committees and sub-committees on funds allocation and children’s issues.

Prior to CapitalSpring, Michael was an Executive Officer and Chief Credit Risk Officer of Amalgamated Bank; Morgan Stanley CFS, Inc., Merrill Lynch BFS, and SVP-Director of Wells Fargo, a successor to CoreStates Bank. He intends to dedicate his efforts to raising awareness of colon cancer in memory of his late wife, Sharon.

Julie Clowes, Board Member

Julie Clowes became involved in colon cancer advocacy efforts after losing her Mother to the disease in 1998. That experience inspired her to “do something” in order to call attention to the disease. Opportunity came when she moved to Washington, D.C. and helped to create the Scope It Out 5K Run/Walk for colon cancer awareness. Her day job is with the Small Business Administration where she helps people start and grow businesses. Through the years she has served as a public affairs specialist, agency attorney and executive leader. Prior to joining SBA she spent three years with the Michigan Small Business Development Center as an International Trade Specialist where she co-authored “Trade Secrets: The Export Answer Book.” Julie is a graduate of the Excellence in Government Fellowship program and has a BA in International Studies from Bradley University and an MBA and JD from Wayne State University.

John Daly, MD, FACS, FRCS (G), FRCS (I), Board Member

Dr. Daly is the Dean Emeritus and the Donahoo Professor of Surgery at the Temple University School of Medicine and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. He is internationally known as a surgeon, researcher, author and academician. During his career, Dr. Daly has been in leadership positions in a variety of organizations including the American College of Surgeons, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the American Cancer Society and the American Surgical Society. Dr. Daly has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards for teaching, research and practice including the Sam E. Roberts Nutrition Foundation Medal of the University of Kansas (1981) and the Elliot Hochstein Medical Student Teaching Award of Cornell University (1995). He has also been included on many “best” lists such as Best Doctors in Philadelphia, Best Doctors in America and Top Cancer Doctors in New York. He is an active research investigator with over 15 years and $20 million of NIH funding. Dr. Daly is the Vice President of the American College of Surgeons and the American Surgical Association.

Riccardo de Marchi Trevisan, Board Member

Riccardo de Marchi Trevisan is an Account Manager at Esri, a firm that specializes in mapping and spatial analysis. Previously, he worked for Forum One and Development Gateway where he helped international governments, non-profits and research institutions identify solutions that could solve important issues related to the international development field. Together with the Colon Cancer Alliance, he produced and hosted the inaugural Blue Star Concert in memory of his mother, Daniela Trevisan. Riccardo is a seasoned technologist with experience in community engagement, digital communication and international relations. He is a native of Trieste, Italy and has an executive master’s degree in international services from American University and a J.D. from LUISS University in Rome.

Tess Fraser, Board Member

Tess Fraser is a Buffalo, NY native who works as a communications and development consultant with a number of local not-for-profit organizations. Having worked in the non-profit sector for the past 15 years, she has extensive experience in fundraising, marketing and development. Ms. Fraser became passionate about raising colon cancer awareness after her mother was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in 2011. She became involved with the Colon Cancer Alliance while caring for her mother and educating her family and friends about the importance of colon cancer screening. Ms. Fraser was instrumental in bringing the Undy Run/Walk to Buffalo in 2012, where it has been fully embraced by the local community and continues to grow each year. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in library and information science—both from the University at Buffalo.

Patrick G. Jackson, M.D., FACS

Dr. Jackson is an Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of General Surgery at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital where he is also the Chair of the Cancer Committee. Having graduated from Harvard University and then Columbia University Medical School, he completed his surgical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital before moving to Washington, D.C..  He has been published extensively and has numerous book chapters and invited lectureships.  He was the state chair for the Commission on Cancer for Washington D.C., and has been the President of the Metropolitan D.C. Chapter of the American College.  He has dedicated himself to the care of colon cancer patients on both the individual and systemic levels.

Katherine Knell, Board Member

Katherine Knell is currently an HRIS Manager for the Federal government. Prior to her Federal service she was the Director of Client Services at Fairfax Public Schools, an Implementation Consultant for Lawson Software/Infor, and a Collegiate Rowing Coach at Purdue University, the University of Virginia and Georgetown University.  She has been recognized in the 2011 Congressional Record, also by the Governor of the State of Michigan for her work on their ERP implementation, and was a member of the 1985 United States Lightweight Women’s Rowing Team; winning gold at Canadian Nationals. As a carrier of the HNPCC (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer) gene, Katherine has survived three different cancers four times in her life. Her interest in Colon Cancer Alliance stems from the enthusiasm of the organization and their goal of not just raising awareness or providing patient/caregiver support, but their efforts in striving for a cure for colorectal cancer. She is also dedicated to fostering the perspective of survival; focusing on retaining a sense of humor and a determined attitude; and the fact that even though cancer is part of life it doesn’t need to define everything about your life.

Paul R. Lelek, CPA, Board Member

Mr. Paul Leleck is the Chief Financial Officer of Building Hope – Charter School Facilities Fund located in Washington D.C. He has more than 40 years of accounting, finance, business and management experience. He is a CPA, former partner with KMPG and serves on various Boards in Washington, D.C. and Brooklyn, N.Y.

Paul was a caregiver to his wife of 40 years in her more than six-year fight against colon cancer. He has a personal understanding of the disease and is a dedicated Board member of both the Colon Cancer Alliance and Hope Connections, a nonprofit dedicated to support victims and their loved ones with the emotional and physical impact of cancer. In 2013, he joined The Friends of the Ruesch at the Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center to help sustain the long-term financial viability through fundraising, special events, advocacy and awareness.

Kevin Lewis, Co-Founder and Board Member

A carrier of the HNPCC (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer) gene, Mr. Lewis has had several family members who have died or suffered from colon cancer. He follows an extensive prevention regime designed to reduce his probability of developing a malignant tumor. He supports the National Cancer Institute by serving as a Patient Advocate on several programs. Mr. Lewis is a Principal and Partner at PwC, providing strategic operations expertise to technology-based clients. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania. His extensive corporate experience includes Raytheon, Teradyne, AMD, Boston Scientific Corporation, Schering Plough, IBM, and Alcatel Lucent, as well as Infolibria, an Internet startup company.

Michael Retsky, PhD, Board Member

A highly regarded researcher in the field of breast cancer, Dr. Retsky was Lecturer in Surgery at Harvard Medical School on Judah Folkman’s staff for 12 years. Dr. Retsky is currently on staff at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and faculty at University College London. His research field is computer simulation of cancer and angiogenesis. Current interest is a clinical trial planned for Nigeria using a perioperative NSAID to prevent early relapses in breast cancer. He is editor of a book on breast cancer from Springer Publications due in late 2016. Dr. Retsky is a 20-year survivor of stage III colon cancer, and he designed his own long-term, low-dose chemotherapy regimen now known as metronomic chemotherapy.  He received a PhD in physics from the University of Chicago.

Frank L. Sapienza, Board Member

Frank Sapienza was a founding director of the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation. He served as Chairman of the Board during 2014 and 2015 and was a member of the Medical Advisory Board for Chris4Life. After a 30-year career with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), he has been a founding partner in The Drug and Chemical Advisory Group, LLC, a consulting group specializing in drug development guidance for the pharmaceutical industry for products containing abuseable substances. During his career at the DEA Mr. Sapienza was the senior scientific advisor on technical and policy matters. He has served on expert panels with the U.S. Government, the World Health Organization, the International Narcotics Control Board and the United Nations Office of Drug Control Policy as well as on scientific and medical advisory boards for the pharmaceutical industry. He has lectured internationally and written and co-authored articles on drug regulation and abuse liability, prepared portions of national legislation and international treaties and provided expert testimony in criminal, administrative and legislative proceedings. Mr. Sapienza has a graduate degree in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh. His wife of 37 years, Christine Antonelli Sapienza passed away in 2009 after a three year bout with colon cancer.

Kitt Shapiro, Board Member

Kitt is the founder and creator of the Simply Eartha™ lifestyle brand and served as president of Eartha Kitt Productions for more than 20 years. She is the daughter of late international star Eartha Kitt, who passed away from colon cancer in 2008.  Her work with her mother was highlighted by her own Grammy nomination as executive producer of Eartha Kitt’s CD, “Back in Business.” Shapiro attended Barnard College/Columbia University before beginning a successful modeling career. She studied interior design and worked in the fashion industry before taking on the responsibilities of running her mother’s company. Shapiro has dedicated herself to sharing her mother’s story and bringing attention to the importance of colon cancer screening and early detection, especially in the African American community.

Jerry L. Tolk, Board Member

Jerry Tolk is a partner and the general manager of the FleishmanHillard Atlanta office. He brings extensive expertise in healthcare communications strategy and delivery. In addition to his healthcare and science background, Jerry advises clients as they transform business strategies during mergers, acquisitions, divestures and joint ventures. During his extensive career in health, first in the US Army, and later in a series of increasingly senior positions at the world’s leading PR and marketing agencies, Mr. Tolk has focused on creating novel health solutions through partnerships between organizations with mutual social and business interests. Mr. Tolk received his medical training at the US Army Medical College and studied graduate-level public relations strategy at New York University. When not traveling to speak at the request of industry and non-profit organizations on topics of audience engagement, new communications platforms and strategic philanthropy, Mr. Tolk competes in triathlons and a variety of sporting events to raise awareness and funding for disease research and patient programs.

Carmen Marc Valvo, Board Member

American fashion designer Carmen Marc Valvo has used his designs as a platform to raise awareness about colon cancer all over the US. Carmen is an Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) Ambassador and has appeared in a PSA with Vanessa Williams for the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA).  As a colon cancer survivor, Carmen Marc Valvo has been working with Katie Couric since 2004 when she partnered with the organizers of New York Fashion Week. His efforts, on behalf of the organization, were honored at a gala in 2006 where Carmen received the first-ever Advocate Award from the foundation. Since then, Carmen has been honored by numerous organizations including Gilda’s Club World Wide, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, the American Cancer Society, and the Colon Cancer Alliance. He has appeared on the covers of AARP and Coping with Cancer magazines, NBC Today Show, CBS Early Show, USA Today and countless other national and local media outlets to make colon cancer fashionable to talk about. His book (no longer in print) “Dressed to Perfection, The Art of Dressing for your Red Carpet Moments” (Rizzoli 2011) benefitted colon cancer research.

For more information about the Colon Cancer Alliance Board, please contact: (202) 628-0123 or

The Colon Cancer Alliance Medical Scientific Advisory Committee advises the organization on new treatments, medications, research and other key issues related to this disease. The committee members volunteer their time and expertise to our organization, ensuring the information we provide to the community is accurate and ethical.

Medical Scientific Advisory Committee Members

Dennis J. Ahnen , MD     
Professor Emeritus of Medicine
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Director of Genetics, Gastroenterology of the Rockies

Patrick Boland, MD
Medical Oncologist
Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Michael Choti, MD
Professor of Surgery
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Edward Chu, MD
Interim Director, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Chief, Division of Hematology and Oncology
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

John Daly, MD, FACS, FRCS (G), FRCS (I)
Dean Emeritus and Professor of Surgery
Temple University School of Medicine

Kathleen Gamblin, RN, BSN, OCN 
Coordinator, Oncology Patient Navigation
Northside Hospital Cancer Institute

David A. Greenwald, MD
Director of Clinical Gastroenterology and Endoscopy
Mount Sinai Hospital

Axel Grothey, MD
Medical Oncologist
Mayo Clinic

J. Randolph Hecht, MD
Director of the UCLA Gastrointestinal Oncology Program

Patrick Jackson, MD
Chief of Surgery
Medstar Georgetown University Hospital

Deborah Keller, MD
Director of Research and Education
Colorectal Surgical Associates in Houston, Texas

Michael D. Kreines, MD, FACP, FACG
Ohio Gastroenterology and Liver Institute
Gastroenterology Section, The Christ Hospital of Cincinnati

Christopher Lieu, MD
Colorectal Medical Oncology Program
Deputy Associate Director for Clinical Research
University of Colorado School of Medicine, Anschutz Medical Campus

John L. Marshall, MD
Chief, Division Of Hematology/Oncology
Medstar Georgetown University Hospital
Associate Director, Clinical Research
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

Beth McFarland
American College of Radiology

Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, MD, MPH
Public Health
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Edith Mitchell, MD
Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology, Department of Medical Oncology
Director, Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities
Associate Director, Diversity Affairs
Immediate Past President, National Medical Association
Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University

Frank Sapienza
Drug and Chemical Advisory Group

Christine Sardo Molmenti, MPH, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Medicine, Epidemiology, and Prevention
Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine

Laura Porter, MD
Colon Cancer Survivor

Michael Retsky, PhD
Research Associate
Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and University College London

Vetta L. Sanders Thompson, PhD
Washington University, Brown School Public Health Program

Sharon L. Stein, MD, FACS FASCRS
Program Director, Colon and Rectal Surgery Residency
Associate Professor of Surgery
University Hospital/Cleveland Medical Center

Ira Steinberg, MD
Vice President, Medical Affairs
Array Biopharma

Jason Zell, DO, MPH
Gastrointestinal Medical Oncologist
University of California-Irvine Health