Board Members

Board Members

Kim Tankersley, President
Kim Tankersley was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 at the age of 37. She has served on the board of BCCRF since 2008, and is a National Breast Cancer Coalition Project LEAD Graduate and mentor. Kim’s ongoing advocacy activities include working as an advocate advisor to researchers on grant proposals through the CA Breast Cancer Research Program and as a Community Leadership Committee member for the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program at City of Hope. She has participated in the NBCC Leadership Summit since 2009, and is a Lobby Day Team Leader. Kim is a public school educator in Los Angeles at a small high school serving at-risk youth.

Michele Atlan, Vice President
After contracting breast cancer in late 2013, Michele decided that she would transform this adverse event into a positive springboard. Although she happily co-owns an art direction agency, she decided to become certified as an Emergency Medical Technician. The medical knowledge she acquired was fascinating and motivated her to learn as much about the science behind breast cancer as possible. In 2015, Michele graduated from the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Project LEAD. Shortly thereafter, she was introduced to the BCCRF and entered into the world of patient advocacy, participating in the Patient Advocate Program at the 2015 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium and the Project LEAD Advanced Sessions pilot program in 2016. As a recent advocate, Michele is particularly interested in expanding the BCCRF’s underserved community outreach program as well as representing the organization on scientific grant review panels. In July 2017, she will be serving as a mentor at this year’s Project LEAD.

Barbara Stankova, Secretary
Patient advocacy was not practiced in Barbara’s native Czech Republic before she emigrated in 2003. Even though she earned her RN and practiced there for many years in several different fields and institutions she never encountered the concept. It was the same with any sort of deadline to end cancer. That is why Barbara was amazed when she learned about patient advocacy and NBCC Breast Cancer Deadline 2020 at the very first event where she volunteered for BCCRF. These ideas resonated with her deeply and Barbara felt immediately that patient advocacy gives medicine the right focus, tireless energy and correct priorities. Barbora feels grateful and honored to be on the board of BCCRF. Her interest is patient education and empowerment. She currently works on the First in Human/Phase I clinical research team at City of Hope where she lets patient advocacy drive her work every single day. Barbara earned her RN with the highest honors from Palacky Medical School, Czech Republic, and BA with Summa Cum Laude from UCLA. She studies Spanish so that very soon she will be able to engage with Spanish speaking patients and advocates toward real progress for all.

Melanie Canter, Treasurer
Melanie Canter has been a breast cancer advocate and BCCRF board member since 2008. Previously, she was a board member of the Los Angeles Breast Cancer Alliance from 2007-2012, and completed the Young Survival Coalition’s breast cancer mentor training program. She has attended the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Advocate Leadership Summit and Lobby Day on Capitol Hill and understands the vital role of advocacy in eradicating breast cancer. Melanie is a 23- year breast cancer survivor and loves helping fellow breast cancer patients who need guidance and support during their diagnosis and treatment. She has a 24 year old daughter and a 19 year old son, and owns and operates a cookie shop, Cookie Good with her husband in Santa Monica, CA.

Lori Petitti, Board Director
Lori Petitti is a former television and documentary producer in Santa Monica. Along with her engagement with the Breast Cancer Care & Research Fund, Lori is on the steering committee of a new group of survivors working to raise awareness on the unique aspects of lobular breast cancer. Lori also volunteers with the Cancer Support Community and is a mentor for ABCD, an organization that provides support and guidance for those newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Lori is working to be involved as a research advocate to insure that the perspectives of survivors are united into the decisions that effect our efforts to eradicating breast cancer. She loves to hike, swim, and craft in her spare time.

Sandy Walsh, Board Director
Sandy Walsh is the president of California Breast Cancer Organizations (CABCO), a coalition of 7 organizations, that works on public policy affecting those with breast cancer. They work at the state level and nationally with NBCC. She is a consumer editor for the breast cancer group of the Cochrane Collaborative, reviewing and editing proposals submitted to the breast cancer group for publication. Sandy has a science background and uses her knowledge to serve as an advocate representative on scientific proposals that are submitted to seek funding. Sandy has served as a consumer representative on several clinical guideline committees to represent the patient’s point of view in the formulation of the guidelines. She does take time to enjoy golf regularly and enjoys time with her grandchildren. Sandy is both a breast cancer and an ovarian cancer survivor.

Advisory Board

Dolores Beilenson
Congressional Spouses member

Leslie Bernstein, PhD
Professor, Division of Cancer Etiology, Department of Population Sciences, City of Hope

Jessica Clague deHart, PhD
Assistant Research Professor, Division of Cancer Etiology, Department of Population Sciences, City of Hope

Pamela Kaizer
Food Forward, Board Director

Susan Love, MD, MBA
Chief Visionary Officer, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

Lori Marx-Rubiner (deceased)
Metastatic Breast Cancer Research Advocate

Josh Neman, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, University Southern California

Lupe Salazar, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Tumor Vaccine Group, University of Washington

Sen. Alan Sieroty
California State Senator (Ret)

James Waisman, MD
Clinical Professor, Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research, City of Hope


Michele Rakoff, Executive Director
Michele, a 28-year breast cancer survivor and patient and research advocate, spent 20 years working in the clinic directly with patients and the community, developing mentoring programs to help newly diagnosed patients, consulting on the development of survivorship programs for women with metastatic disease, and continues to collaborate with scientists on research grants. She is California Breast Cancer Organizations’ (CABCO) VP, National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) board director, NBCC Artemis Project member and Project Lead graduate and mentor. In addition to serving as a member on the California Breast Cancer Research Program’s (CBCRP) Advisory Council, she was a CBCRP community research collaborative grant recipient. Michele has participated as a peer-reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (DoD BCRP) and holds a seat on the California Teachers Study Scientific Task Force, as well as on the Love Army of Women Scientific Advisory Committee. As a research advocate, she collaborates on a NIEHS Breast Cancer and Environment Research Program grant, a DoD BCRP grant, several Komen grants and is member of the NIH California Precision Medicine Consortium. Michele also focuses on public policy issues as NBCC Field Coordinator in California.