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Dr. Tapas Das Gupta Cancer Research Symposium 2021

October 15, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 2:30 pm

Dr. Tapas Das Gupta graphic with 4 speaker photos and their names

Framing Value Across the Cancer Care Continuum: Leveraging Yesterday’s Lesson to Create a Better Tomorrow

The University of Illinois Cancer Center invites students, researchers, and healthcare providers in cancer-related fields to join us for presentations including patient advocate Wenora Johnson, and a group of nationally renowned experts in cancer research and patient care. A panel discussion will be led by moderator Shannon MacLaughlan, MD of the University of Illinois Cancer Center.

Register here

Featured Speakers

Wenora Johnson photo

Wenora Johnson
Patient Advocate

In Spite of It All – A Patient Advocates Journey for a Better Tomorrow

Wenora Johnson is a 3x cancer survivor, Research/Patient Advocate, and Navy Veteran. Wenora began working closely with the organization Fight Colorectal Cancer (FightCRC) as a Research Advocate following her diagnosis of stage 3b colon cancer in 2011.

As a Lynch Syndrome patient, Wenora also advocates for genetic testing and awareness. She serves on various panels and review boards to provide extensive feedback on her role as a patient and research advocate with organizations such as CAP (College of American Pathologist); Clinical Trials Curator for Fight CRC; FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered) Volunteer and Board Member; a Consumer Reviewer for the DoD Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program; a PCORI (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute) Ambassador and Clinical Trials Panel Member; CPAT Member for the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS); CMS TEP Panel Member to review Medicare/Medicaid guidelines; AACR Scientist~Survivor Program – presenting a poster on financial toxicities and disparities among minority patients and a National Quality Forum (NQF) Cancer Standing Committee Member. She has written patient advocate blogs and participated as a guest speaker/panelist.

Wenora works in administration in the greater Chicagoland area and enjoys her motorcycle, reading, and traveling with her family.

Oluwadamilola Fayanju photo

Oluwadamilola (Lola) Fayanju, MD, MA, MPHS, FACS
Penn Medicine

Moving the Needle on Disparities in Breast Cancer

Dr. Fayanju is the inaugural Helen O. Dickens Presidential Associate Professor in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Chief of Breast Surgery for the University of Pennsylvania Health System. She is also the Surgical Director of the Rena Rowan Breast Center in the Abramson Cancer Center and an Innovation Faculty member at the Penn Center for Cancer Care Innovation (PC3I). She is an academic breast surgical oncologist whose research focuses on health disparities, aggressive breast cancer variants, and improving value in oncology, particularly through the collection and application of patient-reported outcomes (PROs). She received her undergraduate degree in History and Science and an MA in Comparative Literature from Harvard. She received her MD and a master’s of population health sciences (MPHS) from Washington University in St. Louis, where she also completed her residency in General Surgery. She completed fellowship training in Breast Surgical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. In 2019, she was recognized by the National Academy of Medicine as an Emerging Leader in Health and Medicine Scholar. Her research is supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and she has published in a variety of journals including Annals of Surgery, Cancer, and JAMA.

Fabian Johnston photo

Fabian M. Johnston, MD, MHS
Johns Hopkins University

Palliative Care and Surgery: How Do We Get Back to the Future?

Fabian M. Johnston, MD, MHS is an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at Johns Hopkins University where he also serves as Chief of the Division of Gastrointestinal Surgical Oncology, Director of the Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program, and Program Director of the Complex General Surgical Oncology Program. Dr. Johnston received his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and medical degree from The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. He completed residencies between the Louisiana State University School of Medicine and Washington University in St. Louis. He completed his Complex General Surgical Oncology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. Her is also earned a Masters in Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and a certificate in Patient Safety and Quality through the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. Dr. Johnston is funded through the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality K08 career award and as a co-investigator on multiple PCORI awards. He has authored over 135 publications and 14 book chapters.

Dr. Johnston’s research interests include the utilization of highly innovative and novel strategies for the implementation of patient-centered models of care to improve the utilization of palliative care amongst patients with advanced gastrointestinal malignancies. Through this, he hopes to advance effective care to lessen suffering in vulnerable oncology patients and families, while simultaneously leading to improvement of health care quality, costs, experiences, and outcomes.

Andrea A.Hayes photo

Andrea Hayes-Jordan MD, FACS, FAAP
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Lessons Learned from Developing a Novel Surgical Approach to Cancer in a Vulnerable Population

Andrea Hayes, MD, FACS, FAAP, is a professor of pediatric surgery and surgical oncology at the University of North Carolina Children’s Hospital. She is the Surgeon-in-Chief of the UNC Children’s Hospital and the division chief of pediatric surgery at UNC. Hayes has a basic science laboratory that focuses on rare sarcomas and also maintains clinical research efforts. She specializes in refractory and resistant tumors and children and specifically soft tissue sarcomas and children. Her patients request her services from around the world because of the rare diseases she investigates. She was previously the section chief of pediatric surgery at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center.

She has impacted the field of sarcoma and sarcomatosis by amassing the largest number of desmoplastic small round cell tumor DSRCT patients at any one hospital, and by any one surgeon. DSRCT is a rare disease for which she has improved survival from 30% to 60% based on the complete removal of 100s of intra-abdominal tumor implants and HIPEC. She continues to receive philanthropic funding for her unique research.

Shannon MacLaughlan, MD
Moderator, University of Illinois Cancer Center

Dr. Tapas Das Gupta photo
Dr. Tapas Das Gupta
The Das Gupta Symposium honors the lifetime achievements of the inaugural director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center, Dr. Tapas K. Das Gupta.

Dr. Das Gupta, a renowned surgical oncologist and prolific researcher who has since retired, was the founding Head of the Department of Surgical Oncology at UI Health. Throughout his storied career, Dr. Das Gupta served as President of the Chicago Surgical Society and is a past recipient of the University of Illinois Distinguished Faculty Award, as well as a University Scholar. He consistently received funding from federal agencies and industry organizations and is the author of 275 papers and co-editor of two books.


October 15, 2021
11:00 am - 2:30 pm
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