Posted: Apr 18, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

New programs increase number of women’s intercollegiate athletics teams to 16, reinforce UC Davis’ history of leadership in women’s athletics

DAVIS, Calif. – A comprehensive selection process, which began in November, concluded on Friday when UC Davis Athletics announced the addition of women’s beach volleyball and women’s equestrian as its new varsity sports. By adding these two programs, UC Davis will now sponsor 16 women’s intercollegiate athletics teams.

This is the latest example of the University’s history of leadership in women’s athletics and its commitment to Title IX compliance.

“UC Davis has been a leader in the growth of women’s sports throughout our history, especially under the guidance of pioneers like Marya Welch and Pam Gill-Fisher. With the support of Chancellor May, we are honored to uphold that tradition today by adding beach volleyball and equestrian to our intercollegiate athletics program,” said Director of Athletics Kevin Blue.

UC Davis complies with Title IX by providing varsity athletics participation opportunities for female and male student-athletes that are substantially proportional to the percentage of female and male students that comprise the undergraduate student body – otherwise known as “Prong One” compliance.

In 2011-2012, the year prior to launching the 2020 Initiative, the undergraduate population at UC Davis was 55.1% women and 44.9% men. By 2016-2017, undergraduate proportionality changed to 59.4% women and 40.6% men. The number of varsity athletics opportunities for female student-athletes had not changed as swiftly, which is why UC Davis is increasing opportunities by adding two women’s teams.

For more than five months, a campus working group thoroughly gathered and analyzed information about candidate teams before making a recommendation to Chancellor Gary S. May, which he subsequently approved. The process included a survey that generated nearly 600 responses and a public meeting.

A summary of the process followed by the working group, including an assessment of how beach volleyball and equestrian met the previously published selection criteria — number of participation opportunities, philanthropic support, competitive opportunity, and conference affiliation —is available at this link. 

A notable highlight of the group’s analysis is the finding that adding both beach volleyball and equestrian was an effective way to ensure that UC Davis is able to meet Title IX proportionality requirements far into the future.

These teams will begin operations during the 2018-19 academic year.

Gifts to support each new program are being solicited from new donors, which ensures that these sports are launched in a manner that ensures long-term competitive and financial stability.

Beach Volleyball

With more than 50 Division I institutions across the country adding beach volleyball over the last 10 years, UC Davis is now the seventh school to compete in this Big West Conference-sponsored sport.

“Given our geographic footprint, the Big West Conference has been a leader in the growth of collegiate beach volleyball. The addition of a beach volleyball team at UC Davis is a natural fit,” said Big West Conference commissioner Dennis Farrell.

Planning will begin immediately for a new training and competition facility to be constructed on campus, thanks to a generous gift from an alum and donor who prefers to remain anonymous.

Dan Connors will oversee both the indoor and beach volleyball teams as the director of volleyball. A national search will be initiated immediately to hire a beach volleyball head coach.


Considered an emerging sport by the NCAA, the UC Davis equestrian team will compete nationally under the governance of the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) against other large public schools like Fresno State, Georgia, and Texas A&M.

A unique aspect of the equestrian team will be its partnership with the School of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences – both regarded as world-leaders in teaching and research in their respective fields.

“We are very excited about the addition of a varsity equestrian team. This program will add another interesting dimension to the equine education and research activities that take place in our world-renown animal science program,” said Dr. Helene Dillard, dean of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Dr. Michael Lairmore, dean of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, added the following: “We look forward to ensuring that the equine athletes receive superb medical care from our world-leading clinicians and students, and anticipate collaborating with the varsity equestrian team in multiple ways that strengthen the leadership of UC Davis in equine health.”

UC Davis is currently in the midst of a capital campaign to build a state-of-the-art equine performance center.

The equestrian team will also work closely with Campus Recreation, the university organization that manages the UC Davis Equestrian Center. “The equestrian center has been part of UC Davis since 1962, and the addition of a varsity equestrian team will further enhance what the program and facility are able to offer to our students,” said Deb Johnson, the director of Campus Recreation.

Donors have already extended support to the program and the University is actively seeking additional gifts. During competition, equestrian teams use horses that are provided by the host institution. Horses that are part of collegiate equestrian programs are often gifted to universities.

A national search for a head coach will begin immediately.

In addition to beach volleyball and equestrian, other women’s teams include basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, volleyball and water polo.

STATEWIDE POLL: Vast Majority of California Voters Favor Candidates for Governor with Plan to Serve State’s Fast-Growing Senior Population

Posted: Mar 12, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

West Health and The SCAN Foundation Launch “We Stand With Seniors…Will You?” Awareness and Education Campaign

(San Diego, CA) – More than two-thirds of California voters feel the state is not prepared to address the health and social service needs of its fast-growing senior population, and that sentiment could sway votes in the race for governor, according to a new poll commissioned by two California-based senior-focused nonprofit organizations. California is heading for a crisis in caring for its older population if the state and next governor do not act now to create effective and cost-efficient policies.

In proportions rarely seen in statewide opinion research, more than 80 percent of California voters say that when it comes time to vote, they are more likely to support a gubernatorial candidate who has a plan for aging Baby Boomers and seniors that effectively addresses their growing demand for healthcare, dental and social services.

“Now is the time for California to stand with our rapidly growing senior population,” said Shelley Lyford, CEO and president of West Health. “It’s time for candidates running for governor and other statewide offices to develop a concrete plan to provide for the healthcare needs of vulnerable seniors. And it’s time for voters to hold politicians accountable at the ballot box in November.”

According to the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), the state’s 65-and-older population is projected to grow nearly 90 percent, or by four million more people, by 2030, which spans the next three gubernatorial terms.

“In a time when we see so much political polarization, it’s encouraging to see that California Democrats, Republicans and independent voters of all ages can all agree on one thing: We need to provide better care for our older adults,” said Bruce Chernof, MD, CEO and president of The SCAN Foundation. “Now we must work together to enact policies and create an environment that reflects our shared commitment to the well-being of older Californians.”

This poll comes as West Health and The SCAN Foundation launch “We Stand With Seniors…Will You?” a public awareness and education campaign on the specific challenges seniors and their families face in accessing high-quality, affordable healthcare, dental care and supportive services and the cost to the state if these challenges are not addressed.

In the months leading up to the election, the campaign will convene seniors, advocates and policy makers for educational forums throughout the state and conduct periodic surveys on how well the gubernatorial candidates are addressing the issues.

Summary of Poll Findings

  • 67 percent of voters feel that California is NOT prepared to care for its aging population.
  • 87 percent of voters agree that providing dental care for seniors is as important as access to healthcare.
  • 83 percent of voters would be more likely to support a gubernatorial candidate who has a vision and a long-term investment plan to address the increasing demand for senior services for California’s aging population.
  • 82 percent of voters are more likely to support a gubernatorial candidate committed to making high-quality healthcare for seniors more accessible and affordable.
  • 80 percent of voters support the state investing in caregiver programs that assist those who care for senior family members.
  • 79 percent of voters support the state making in-home healthcare service investments that allow seniors to age successfully in place, including medication delivery, telehealth and house calls.

The poll also showed voters want state legislators to support seniors. Eighty-two percent are more likely to support legislative action that improves seniors’ access to dental care, a benefit Medicare does not provide. Voters also want to see improvements in independent living services, mental and behavioral health and other senior services.

“California can lead the country on aging and senior issues, just as it has on so many other issues,” said Tim Lash, chief strategy officer of West Health. “There is tremendous support for it across the state. Now we need a governor who will tap into that support and prioritize the needs of California’s aging population now and into the future.”

Survey Methodology

From Friday, January 12, 2018 through Sunday, January 15, 2018, J. Wallin Opinion Research conducted a telephone survey of voters throughout California. One thousand voters were interviewed using live, professional interviewers, speaking both English and Spanish languages and calling both mobile and landlines. The sample is stratified (the demographic composition of our results matches the demographic composition of the state’s voting population) and has a margin of error of +/-3.1 percent (95 percent confidence interval).

About We Stand With Seniors

West Health and The SCAN Foundation’s “We Stand With Seniors …Will You?” public awareness and education campaign focuses on the specific challenges seniors and their families face in accessing high-quality, affordable healthcare, dental care and supportive services and the cost to the state if these challenges are not addressed. Visit www.WeStandWithSeniors.org for more information. Keep up with #StandWithSeniors on social media via Facebook @WeStandWithSeniors and Twitter @WeStandWSeniors.

About West Health

Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health includes the nonprofit and nonpartisan Gary and Mary West Health Institute and Gary and Mary West Foundation in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. These organizations are working together toward a shared mission dedicated to enabling seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. For more information, visit westhealth.org and follow @westhealth.

About The SCAN Foundation

The SCAN Foundation is an independent public charity dedicated to creating a society where older adults can access health and supportive services of their choosing to meet their needs. Our mission is to advance a coordinated and easily navigated system of high-quality services for older adults that preserve dignity and independence. For more information, visit www.TheSCANFoundation.org and follow @TheSCANFndtn.


Statement by the California Chronic Care Coalition:

Posted: Feb 21, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Bipartisan Coalition of Assemblymembers Announce Legislation to Combat Opioid Crisis

(Sacramento, CA) – The California Chronic Care Coalition, comprised of more than 30 member organizations representing 16 million Californians with one or more chronic diseases, applauds the initiative of the Legislature to reasonably regulate opioid medications to curtail abuse and the ensuing life-altering complications, including overdose and death.

However, the Legislature and stakeholders must be mindful of the millions of Californians in legitimate need of pain relief in order to cope with debilitating, agonizing conditions. Pain relief isn’t just a relief from suffering which must otherwise be endured. Untreated chronic pain causes tangible damage. Unrelieved pain results in physiological stress which manifests in harmful multisystem effects.

Recently it has been discovered that unrelieved chronic pain can lead to brain damage.

Adequate and appropriate pain relief allows people to function in their lives. Withholding of adequate relief can be devastating for people who live with chronic pain, as well as their families. People that were otherwise able to function at a level of independence including holding a job become incapacitated without appropriate relief, such as the case of Petra McDaniel.

“I was in a wheel chair and unable to walk until my pain was managed,” states Ms. McDaniel, who suffers from Dysautonomia. “Had my physician not been able to prescribe medications to treat my pain, I could still be totally disabled and unable to walk.”

Stigmatizing opioid use further harms the patient by interfering with their ability to obtain medical care. Physicians are intimidated by increased scrutiny and become reluctant to prescribe appropriately. Once they are pigeonholed as “drug seekers,” patients find physicians ignore their symptoms and complaints, instead, attributing any complaints to drug seeking.

At worst, labeling of patients may cause physicians to dismiss real complaints, failing to further work to diagnose the cause of the pain. They may fail to work with the patient to find supplementary or alternative pain relief. This attitude ignores the fact that the majority of abuse involves illicitly obtained drugs from other countries.

We fear some desperate patients, if unable to obtain prescription relief, will turn to illicit, unsafe drugs.

We urge the Legislature to keep a balance in their efforts, and to recognize that millions of Californians lives could be devastated by overzealous limitations on access to appropriate pain medication.

Liz Helms is the President and CEO of the California Chronic Care Coalition. She can be reached at (916) 444-1985 or lizhelms@chroniccareca.org







About The California Chronic Care Coalition

The California Chronic Care Coalition (CCCC) is a unique alliance of more than 30 leading consumer health organizations and provider groups that engage policy makers, industry leaders, providers and consumers to improve the health of Californians with chronic conditions. We envision a system of care that is accessible, affordable and of a high quality that emphasizes prevention, coordinated care and the patient’s wellness and longevity. http://www.chroniccareca.org

Motivated Patients with ROS1 Cancer Initiate Global Research Study

Posted: Feb 21, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Patients with a rare tumor help drive a novel clinical study developed and launched by the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute with Champions Oncology

SAN CARLOS, Calif. and Hackensack, NJ (February 21, 2018) — The Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI), Champions Oncology (NASDAQ: CSBR) and the ROS1ders announce the commencement of a global study to gain a deeper understanding of ROS1-positive cancer. The study is developing patient-derived xenografts (PDX) models for ROS1-fusion driven cancers to understand what drives tumor development, therapeutic response and acquired resistance to enable the development of new and more effective therapies against this under-studied molecular subset of cancer.

ROS1 rearrangements occur in one to three percent of lung, gastric and ovarian cancers, as well as melanoma, cholangiocarcinoma, glioblastoma and other cancers. ROS1 is an enzyme coded by the ROS1 gene. A gene fusion occurs when a gene abnormally breaks off and fuses with another gene to form a hybrid gene that can lead to cancer initiation and drive its growth.

Researchers are asking physicians to inform their patients about this opportunity to help improve treatments and hopefully survival for others with this cancer mutation.

“When you get a diagnosis like metastatic lung cancer, it is easy to feel hopeless and helpless,” said Tori Tomalia, a ROS1 lung cancer patient. “By joining up with other ROS1ders, we have empowered ourselves with our shared knowledge. The Global ROS1 Initiative takes it even further by actually moving the needle on the research and hopefully impacting our own survival.”

The ALCMI-006 ROS1 PDX Study is the most recent effort driving The Global ROS1 Initiative, which focuses on improving outcomes for this uncommon yet clinically important oncogene-driven cancer.  ROS1-positive patients meeting eligibility criteria may  contribute viable tumor tissue to develop the PDX models.  PDX models are developed by implanting a fresh piece of tumor tissue from a biopsy or surgery from a patient into immunodeficient mice to act as ‘hosts’ to allow the tumor to grow and maintain features similar to the original human tumor. The resultant models will help researchers understand both the response and the all too often acquired resistance of lung cancer to drug treatments, and accelerate new therapies to patients.

“This innovative study will bring new models to study ROS1 in order to define the best treatments for patients with ROS1 positive tumors,” according to Christine M. Lovly, MD, PhD, a lung cancer physician-scientist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which is a member of the ALCMI research consortium. “I am thrilled to be part of this groundbreaking study, which has been spearheaded by patients and involves a deep collaboration among the patients, health care providers, ALCMI and Champions Oncology.”

“Champions Oncology is pleased to be a collaborator in this exceptional patient-driven initiative. The team assembled brings together shared scientific goals, expertise and commitment that will ensure the success of creating a unique translational resource to further understanding of mechanisms of resistance and enable drug development in ROS1 cancers,” said Angela Davies, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Champions Oncology.

The FDA approved the first ROS1 targeted therapy, crizotinib, in 2016. There are no FDA-approved treatments for patients whose disease progresses after treatment with crizotinib. ALCMI is focusing on this under-studied rare subset of cancer to understand how cancer begins and spreads in these tumors, how these tumors respond to treatment and what happens when tumors stop responding to treatment.

“ROS1 positive patients from North America may now participate in this study, and other countries will soon follow,” said Steven Young, ALCMI president & Chief Operating Officer. “The enrollment methods developed by ALCMI from our previous successful research studies allow for participation by patients wherever they reside, coupled with strategically-placed Champions’ facilities presently in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Israel.”

Unique aspects of this study include the creation of new and critically needed drug development tools, in partnership with ROS1 positive cancer patients across multiple forms of cancer and directly facilitated by a lung cancer patient-founded, global non-profit research consortium with a motivated biotech industry partner.

To participate in the study or for more information, call 866-988-ROS1 (7671) or go to www.alcmi.net/ROS1PDXstudy.


The Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI, voiced as “Alchemy”), founded in 2008 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization by lung cancer survivor Bonnie J. Addario, is a patient-centric, international research consortium driving research otherwise not possible. Working in tandem with its “partner” foundation the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF), ALCMI powers collaborative initiatives in genetic (molecular) testing, therapeutic discoveries, targeted treatments and early detection. ALCMI overcomes barriers to collaboration via a world-class team of investigators from 26 member institutions in the USA, UK, and Europe, supported by dedicated, centralized research infrastructures such as standardized biorepositories and data systems. ALCMI directly facilitates research by combining scientific expertise found at leading academic institutions with patient access through its network of community cancer centers – accelerating novel research advancements to lung cancer patients. By providing access to critical masses of patient stakeholders, academic, community and industry researchers, ALCMI and ALCF are making progress towards their shared goal of transforming lung cancer into a chronically managed disease.  For more information visit: http://alcmi.net/

About Champions Oncology

Champions Oncology, Inc. is engaged in the development of advanced technology solutions and services to personalize the development and use of oncology drugs. The Company’s technology platform is a novel approach to personalizing cancer care based upon the implantation of primary human tumors in immune deficient mice followed by propagation of the resulting engraftments, or Champions TumorGrafts, in a manner that preserves the biological characteristics of the original human tumor in order to determine the efficacy of a treatment regimen. The Company uses this technology in conjunction with related services to offer solutions for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies seeking personalized approaches to drug development that can lower the cost and increase the speed of developing new drugs. TumorGrafts are procured through agreements with a number of institutions in the U.S. and overseas as well as through Champions’ Personalized Oncology Solutions business, in which results help guide the development of personalized treatment plans for individual patients.

For more information visit Champions Oncology, Inc’s website (www.championsoncology.com)

About ROS1ders

The ROS1ders, voiced as “ross wonders”, are a group of patients and caregivers dealing with cancers of all types that test positive for acquired ROS1 rearrangements. We are building a community to accelerate ROS1 research, improve patient outcomes and turn ROS1 positive cancer into a manageable chronic disease. ROS1der members include over 180 patients and caregivers from 20 countries worldwide. For more information visit: https://ros1cancer.com, http://www.lungcancerfoundation.org/patients/ros1/

The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation Awards $100,000 to Winners of the Lung Cancer Early Detection Challenge: Concept to Clinic

Posted: Feb 6, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Global collaboration among data scientists, engineers, developers, coders, radiologists and physicians to end the world’s deadliest cancer.

The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) today announced Willi Gierke, an IT systems engineering student, will receive more than $30,000 as the leader in points in the Lung Cancer Early Detection Challenge: Concept to Clinic. Gierke, a master’s student at Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, and more than 600 contributors from around the world have been working in a collaborative fashion to create open source software with the goal of building out artificial intelligence (AI) that will help lung cancer patients live longer.

“The focus of the challenge was to make artificial intelligence advances useful, not just for data scientists interested in cutting edge methods, but for clinicians working on the front lines of lung cancer detection and the patients they serve,” said Bonnie J. Addario, a 14-year lung cancer survivor and ALCF founder. “My hope is that the winners of this challenge continue the momentum of this exciting project to help radiologists detect lung cancer earlier and save lives.”

During the challenge, run by DrivenData in partnership with ALCF, contributors used patients and radiologists input to build out state-of-the-art algorithms applied to detection and assessment of individual nodules from CT scans. Throughout the competition, a technical panel of experts awarded points and prizes to data scientists, engineers, User Interface (UI) developers and coders based on how valuable their submissions were to the project in the different areas of need: AI-powered prediction models, backend engineering, frontend design implementation and community development.

“I really liked the challenge of building a piece of software that should actually be used by clinicians,” Gierke said. “While the results of the Data Science Bowl 2017 are outstanding without any doubt, the algorithms that were developed for the competition cannot be used in their current forms by radiologists. This challenge was aimed at making the developed approaches available to medical experts, which is a crucial follow-up to such a pure data science competition.”

Top prizewinners were:

  • Willi Gierke, Student, Hasso Plattner Institute, Potsdam, Germany – $30,840
  • Anton Dobrenkii, Student, Innopolis University, Ufa, Russia – $26,530
  • Serhiy Shekhovtsov, Software Developer, Lviv, Ukraine – $15,989

“Building, training, and validating algorithms is only the very first step in taking better care of patients,” said Adjunct Professor Jason M. Hostetter, M.D. from the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, one of the challenge’s advisors. “The next huge challenge is making these algorithms work in the real world, in the hands of clinicians who are face to face with a patient. We will need better software tools to make this possible, and the Concept to Clinic challenge is a great way to address this need collaboratively.”

As one of the few patient-driven, patient-focused nonprofits that run crowdsourcing challenges, this is the third year that ALCF has announced the results of a crowdsourcing challenge. The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 55 percent when the disease is still in the lung, but just four percent once it has spread to other parts of the body. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the world, killing more people than the next three most common cancers (breast, colon, prostate) combined. This year physicians will diagnose nearly 225,000 Americans with lung cancer.

In addition to monetary awards provided by ALCF, several of the challenge partners have made prizes available throughout the competition, recognizing everyone’s efforts who participate. In-kind sponsors include Amazon Web Services, Docker, Fossa GitHub and Travis CI.

To learn more about the challenge and watch the video, click here.

About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the largest international philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating lung cancer through research, early detection, education and treatment. The Foundation’s goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors and their families to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change and turn lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. The ALCF was established on March 1, 2006, as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and has raised more than $30 million for lung cancer research and related programs. The foundation has received four stars from Charity Navigator and has earned the platinum GuideStar nonprofit seal of transparency. For more information about the ALCF please visit www.lungcancerfoundation.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

The California Chronic Care Coalition Stars of Advocacy Gala Honors Heroes of Health Care Advocacy

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (January 25, 2018)  – Tonight, the  California Chronic Care Coalition (CCCC) acknowledged policymakers, advocates and volunteers  for their efforts to improve access to affordable, quality care for Californians with chronic conditions. The organization’s Stars of Advocacy Gala at the Elks Tower Ballroom in Sacramento honored three policymakers and more than one dozen Stars of Advocacy for their demonstrated commitment to overcoming disparities and reducing barriers to care.

“The work being done by these legislators and volunteers supports our efforts to help patients with  chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, sickle cell, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis and more,” said Liz Helms,  founder and CEO of CCCC. “The work of our honorees includes outreach to some of California’s most underserved, ethnically diverse comunities. The honorees have demonstrated their commitment to overcoming social and  economic disparities to provide valuable services to those living with chronic and acute condtitions.”

Honorees included:

  • The Legacy Award – Diana S. Dooley, Secretary, California Health and Human Services Agency
  • Legislator of the Year Awards
    • Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama)
    • Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Rusty Selix, Mental Health Advocate
  • Advocate of the Year – Hattie Rees-Hanley, MPP, Director, The Right Care Initiative

The other Stars of Advocacy honored were:

  • Lynette Blumhardt, Legislative Ambassador – Nominated by the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada for fundraising and engaging Representative Doris  Matsui (D-CA06) and the public in the vital discussion and education necessary to conquer Alzheimer’s.
  • Eve Bukowski, Vice President State Government Affairs, California Life Sciences Association – Recognized by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) for her work to improve the care and access to emerging treatments for patients with chronic diseases.
  • Beatrice Cardenas-Duncan, Volunteer/Advocate – Nominated by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association for more than a decade of volunteer and advocacy work on campaigns such as California’s tobacco tax increase, San Francisco’s sugar sweetened beverage tax campaign and bans on flavored tobacco products.
  • Gary R. Feldman, M.D., Past President, California Rheumatology Alliance – Recognized for his career achievements as a clinician and elevating the California Rheumatology Alliance’s presence and influence within the legislature on behalf of patient access to rheumatology care.
  • N. Gordon, Founding Director, Help & Education for Liver Patients (HELP!) – Honored for fundraising, organ donor awareness campaigns and helping liver patients get on organ transplant lists.
  • Thelma Harris, RN, Volunteer/Advocate, Carrie’s Touch – Recognized for her service to African American women who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
  • Donna Kalauokalani, M.D., President of the Board of Directors, American Chronic Pain Association Board of Directors – Honored for her commitment to furthering programs that assist and enrich the lives of those living with chronic pain.
  • Tony Maynard, Past Board and Committee Member, Hemophilia Council of California (HCC) – Recognized for his efforts to increase access to affordable, quality health care for individuals who live with pre-existing conditions.
  • Katherine McMahon, Manager, Lupus LA – Recognized for assisting lupus patients with care, increasing awareness, and lobbying to increase research funding and protect patient programs.
  • Patty Molinaro, Nurse Navigator, California Health Collaborative, Every Woman Counts Clinical Coordinator – Honored for helping hundreds of women with breast and/or colon cancer navigate their health care journey.
  • James Stewart, District Activist/Leader, National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Well-known resource on health access and disability rights issues to Representative Mike Thompson (CA-05), a member of the Multiple Sclerosis Congressional Caucus. Successfully garnered legislative support for continuity of care and timely access to care legislation.
  • Scott Suckow, Executive Director, American Liver Foundation, Pacific Coast Division, Convenor, California Chronic Care Coalition of San Diego County – Recognized for serving as a critical source of information during and after San Diego’s recent Hepatitis A outbreak.

About the California Chronic Care Coalition (CCCC)

The CCCC represents an estimated 16 million Californians with chronic medical conditions through a unique alliance of over 30 non profit health organizations, physician and provider groups. The coalition is dedicating to developing a system of care that is accessible, affordable and high quality.  The primary objectives promote prevention, early diagnosis, coordination of care, utilizing best practices that are evidenced based and support wellness, quality of life and longevity. For more information go to www.chroniccareca.org.

National Collegiate Equestrian Association Announces Signature Academics as New Corporate Sponsor

Posted: Jan 24, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Signature Academics is dedicated to ensuring today’s equestrian athletes excel in the classroom as well as in the show ring

The National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) today announced Signature Academics as the newest addition to a growing list of corporate sponsors who support the advancement of Women’s Equestrian on the path to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship sport status.

“We are excited to welcome Signature Academics as a national sponsor for the NCEA,” said Tom O’Mara, Co-Chair of the NCEA National Advisory Board. “Their support and vision in advancing the opportunities for young women in our sport is greatly appreciated. As a father of two NCEA equestrian alumni, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to balance school work while competing at the highest level. Signature Academics ensures our student-athletes don’t have to choose between the sport that they love and academic excellence.”

The team of educators at Signature Academics is committed to ensuring each student’s academic success. Signature Academics thoroughly understands the sport and the time, traveling and training commitments it takes for equestrian student-athletes to succeed. By sponsoring the NCEA Student-Athlete of the Month Award, Signature Academics is highlighting the student-athletes who go above and beyond as well as helping advance the sport to NCAA Championship Sport status.

“All of us at Signature Academics and our partner, Wellington Preparatory School, are thrilled to support the NCEA as it focuses on increasing opportunities for top equestrian student-athletes at colleges and universities nationwide. From the beginning, the mission of Signature Academics has been to support high level, equestrian student-athletes in maintaining academic excellence as they train, travel, and compete. The NCEA Student-Athlete of the Month Award recognizes college athletes who are doing exactly that. These award-winning student-athletes work hard, earn their successes, and are role models for the future of equestrian sport.” Wendy Solomon, Executive Director of Signature Academics.

With more than 900 women currently participating on NCAA equestrian teams, and thousands more high school students aspiring to compete on college teams, the NCEA remains committed to the expansion of meaningful educational opportunities for women through athletics.

“The expansion of national sponsors brings more excitement to the sport of equestrian and shines a light on the hard working, successful and award-winning equestrian student-athletes that make up our programs. We value the support of such a strong academic organization as we advance the sport of equestrian at the collegiate level,” said Kevin Hurley, Senior Associate Athletics Director at Texas A&M University.

Promoting academic excellence remains one of the NCEA’s top priorities. The average GPA among NCEA student-athletes in the 2013-14 academic year was a 3.28. By highlighting the impressive academic success of these young women, the NCEA is transforming the way equestrian collegiate sports are perceived while assisting student-athletes in their equestrian and/or career pursuits.

“Signature Academics has a reputation of providing the finest of academic support systems in the competitive equestrian setting. Signature Academics has been a major part in supporting potential student-athletes while away from their home school. We are thrilled to be connected to such a high-quality company,” said Dr. Leah Fiorentino, Executive Director of the NCEA.

About the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA)
The National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA), a non-profit corporation, was created as a governing body to advance the sport of Equestrian for women at the collegiate level. In 1998, Equestrian was identified and adopted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Committee of Women’s Athletics (CWA) as an emerging sport for women at the Division I and II levels. The NCEA, in concert with the mission and vision of the NCAA, is committed to providing collegiate opportunities for female equestrian student-athletes to compete at the highest level, while embracing equity, diversity and promoting academic and competitive excellence. For more information, please visit http://www.collegiateequestrian.com.

About Signature Academics
Things are different now. Today’s student-athletes don’t have to choose. They can be both top students and top athletes, with a little bit of help. That’s where Signature Academics comes in. Our goal is to support today’s student-athletes in their academic pursuits however, whenever, and wherever they need us. From Wellington and Ocala in the winter to locations far and wide during the rest of the year, Signature tutors are ready to work, both in person and virtually. Thanks to the Internet and technologies like Skype, any student can take her tutors with her when she travels. Similarly, today’s technology allows Signature Academics to bring together the absolute best educators in all subjects, regardless of geography. For more information, please visit http://www.signaturetutoring.com/


National Collegiate Equestrian Association Announces Kimes Ranch as New Corporate Sponsor

Posted: Jan 19, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

National Advisory Board identifies new sponsor to raise awareness and support of collegiate equestrian programs

Waco, Texas (January 19, 2018) – The National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) today announced Kimes Ranch, an emerging leader in premium denim, as the newest corporate sponsor to support the advancement of Women’s Equestrian on the path to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship Sport status.

“We are excited to welcome Kimes Ranch as a national sponsor for the NCEA,” said Tom O’Mara, Co-Chair of the NCEA National Advisory Board. “Their support and vision in advancing the opportunities for young women in our sport is greatly appreciated. In the past 50 years, most every women’s sport has eventually been given its due and recognized with Championship status as part of NCAA Athletics. Equestrian is currently designated as an NCAA Emerging Sport and with help from sponsors like Kimes Ranch we will soon have it added to the Championship Sport designation where all in the equestrian world would like it to be.”

Kimes Ranch is a family-owned and operated western apparel company. Established with the sport in mind, Kimes Ranch not only provides the equestrian community high-quality products, the brand dedicates itself to supporting the equestrian lifestyle and helping athletes pursue their passion.

“Collegiate athletics gives students a strong foundation for teamwork, compromise and commitment. Kimes Ranch’s partnership with the NCEA is a commitment to the betterment of young equestrian athletes, for the future of the equine industry,” said Lindsay Parraton, Director of Marketing of Kimes Ranch.

More than 800 women participate on NCEA teams across the nation. As that number continues to grow each year, strategic partnerships of this caliber will benefit current athletes and contribute to the future expansion of NCEA programs.

“Kimes Ranch’s Western Jean sponsorship of the NCEA is a great fit for both parties and represents further expansion of the corporate support for collegiate equestrian,” said Nancy Post, Associate Athletics Director for Business and Senior Woman Administrator at Baylor University.

The NCEA National Advisory Board continues its focus on raising awareness and building cohesive industry support of the relevance and value of women’s equestrian.

“The addition of Kimes Ranch as a new national sponsor is exciting. The opportunity for our teams to be affiliated with such an outstanding sponsor provides our student-athletes access to quality products. As a valued partner, Kimes Ranch will strengthen our core group of national sponsors,” said Dr. Leah Fiorentino, Executive Director of the NCEA.

About the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA)
The National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA), a non-profit corporation, was created as a governing body to advance the sport of Equestrian for women at the collegiate level. In 1998, Equestrian was identified and adopted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Committee of Women’s Athletics (CWA) as an emerging sport for women at the Division I and II levels. The NCEA, in concert with the mission and vision of the NCAA, is committed to providing collegiate opportunities for female equestrian student-athletes to compete at the highest level, while embracing equity, diversity and promoting academic and competitive excellence.

About Kimes Ranch
Founded in 2009, Kimes Ranch (formerly Longhorn Jean Company) was created to fill a void in the marketplace. With a long standing western history, Matt and Amanda Kimes’ desire was to create a company that produced great fitting, quality, long lasting jeans that walked the line between fashion-forward and western folk friendly. The brands catchy logo and even more attractive company culture and customer service have brought them a cult-like following amongst their western consumers. The classically inspired line of jeans, have been featured in magazines including American Cowboy, Horse & Rider, Cowboys and Indians and Chrome Magazine. Kimes Ranch. Superior Fit. Classic Style. Western Uncomplicated. For more information on Kimes Ranch or to order, visit www.kimesranch.com.


Lung Cancer Patients to Help Medical Community Understand the Side Effects of Immunotherapy Treatment

Posted: Jan 18, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

Study designed to help doctors better understand and educate patients with non-small cell lung cancer on what to expect when undergoing immunotherapy treatment.PatientRegistry

SAN CARLOS, Calif. (January 18, 2018) — The Lung Cancer Registry sponsored by the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF), the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), is joining Adam Dicker, M.D., Ph.D. at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University and Heather Jim, Ph.D. at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Inc., in a study to learn about side effects of immunotherapy from patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have undergone therapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors. In addition, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) will join the collaboration as a project partner to maximize awareness of the registry and this research study to both researchers and patients.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors, a form of immunotherapy, have been shown to bring about durable remissions and prolonged survival for patients with NSCLC, but at the cost of toxicity that causes a range of side effects. The goal of this study is to gather information directly from patients and caregivers to better understand what side effects patients have experienced, when side effect symptoms began and how side effects have impacted the patients’ quality of life. Results from the study will give doctors a greater understanding of the how immune checkpoint inhibitor toxicities affect patients and allow them to better inform patients considering immunotherapy treatment for NSCLC.

“Nearly a quarter million Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year,” said Bonnie J. Addario, 14-year lung cancer survivor and founder of the ALCF. “Immunotherapy, along with targeted therapy, has helped transform the treatment of lung cancer over the past decade. Gathering information from patients and passing that knowledge on to other lung cancer patients accurately and quickly is helping patients live longer, which is our goal.”

The study represents the first collaborative effort since the ALCF and the Lung Association joined forces with the IASLC in December 2017 to expand the Lung Cancer Patient Registry. The registry allows patients to contribute information that improves understanding of lung cancer treatments and enables researchers to use that information to improve patient care and outcomes.

“We’re inspired by the opportunity to put the Lung Cancer Patient Registry to innovative use,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “The patient-provided data used in this new trial will allow us to gain knowledge from patients directly and better inform treatment.”

“Patient-reported outcomes (PRO’s) can help show clinical benefit in reducing disease related symptoms, provide more accurate estimates of toxicity, help model treatment costs and improve symptom management,” said Adam P. Dicker, M.D., PhD, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA . “These toxicities really do have costs, and it’s important for patients to know how much out-of-pocket costs they might incur.”

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., accounting for one in four cancer deaths each year. The goal behind creating the registry is to speed and improve research by collecting information scientists can use in developing new treatments. In addition, the registry builds a bridge between patients and clinical trials’ researchers by enabling researchers to submit proposals to enter clinical trials into a database that patients can search.

“When all involved in lung cancer collaborate, patient outcomes improve,” said IASLC CEO Fred R. Hirsch, MD, PhD. “Information gathered in the study will be available to patients, their physicians, caregivers and to researchers evaluating the effectiveness of different treatment options.”

Patients with any form or stage of lung cancer, including patients with NSCLC who are interested in participating in the immunotherapy research study, can join the registry at www.lungcancerregistry.org. There, patients can opt-in to contribute their information, set their contact preferences and compare their experience with lung cancer with others. Patients can choose to receive information about research opportunities or other relevant news as part of their participation.

About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused, and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating lung cancer through research, early detection, education, and treatment. The foundation’s goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors, and their families to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change and turn lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. The ALCF was established on March 1, 2006 as a 501c(3) nonprofit organization and has raised over $30 million for lung cancer research and related programs. The foundation has received four stars from Charity Navigator and has earned the platinum GuideStar nonprofit seal of transparency. Follow us on Twitter @thealcf.

About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

About International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organization dedicated to the study of lung cancer. Founded in 1974, the association’s membership includes more than 6,500 lung cancer specialists in over 100 countries. IASLC members work to enhance the understanding of lung cancer among scientists, members of the medical community and the public. IASLC publishes the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, a valuable resource for medical specialists and scientists who focus on the detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Visit www.iaslc.org for more information and follow us on Twitter @IASLC.

About the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer
The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) is the world’s leading member-driven organization specifically dedicated to improving cancer patient outcomes by advancing the science and application of cancer immunotherapy. Established in 1984, SITC, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, serves scientists, clinicians, academicians, patients, patient advocates, government representatives and industry leaders from around the world. Through in-person and online educational programs that provide state-of-the-art continuing education for the entire cancer care team; open access peer-reviewed guidelines, articles and other resources; interactive, audience-specific online communities; and by fostering collaboration between expert researchers and oncology practitioners, SITC aims to one day make the word “cure” a reality for cancer patients everywhere.



Coordinated Care Leader EHS Medical Group Announces Management Changes

Posted: Jan 17, 2018 | Posted by Kassy Perry

 Cindy Ehnes brings regulatory expertise to Interim CEO role; New independent board of directors to be elected and commit to smooth claims runout

Pasadena, CA – EHS Medical Group today announced the appointment of nationally-respected health care executive Cindy Ehnes as Interim Chief Executive Officer, and the planned election of a new independent board of directors to focus on the company’s commitment to credibility, compliance and change.

For more than 20 years, physician-owned and operated EHS Medical Group has been a trusted provider of quality medical services to more than 600,000 members in communities in Northern California, the Central Valley, Inland Empire, Los Angeles and San Diego counties. EHS is one of the largest medical groups in the state with 6,509 physicians in its network.

“The hallmark of my career has been ensuring patient access to quality health care and protecting the patient-doctor relationship,” said Ehnes. “My core principle of ‘putting patients first’ is embodied by the EHS physicians who provide quality care in their medical practices and go the extra mile treating homeless patients at their non-profit in downtown Los Angeles. That dedication comes from the core and that mission must not be lost.”

In addition to its physician group practice, EHS Medical Group founded and operates the Downtown Coordinated Care Center (DC3) in Los Angeles. The groundbreaking non-profit organization is dedicated to connecting patients, many of whom are homeless with mental illness, to no-cost, quality medical care. The Complex Care Center within DC3 treats the whole person providing mental health services, substance use disorder treatment and wellness education while treating complex medical conditions. The innovative care delivered through DC3 is designed to keep patients out of emergency rooms and avoid delays in care that can result in poor outcomes and skyrocketing costs.

“Ms. Ehnes is well-qualified to lead EHS at this critical time,” said Carl Moy, M.D., EHS Board Chair. “We understand that to regain credibility with the industry and regulators, we must also elect independent board leadership. We are committed to that, a robust compliance regimen and claims runout. We owe our Medi-Cal patients our best efforts to remain of service to them.”

Ehnes joins EHS Medical Group after decades of dedication to the delivery of quality, patient-centered health care. From 2004 to 2011, Ehnes served as Director of the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), where she oversaw health insurance services for 21 million Californians served by the state’s managed health care industry, and levied millions of dollars in fines on California’s largest health plans for violations of law. Prior to her move to California in 2002, Ehnes was known in the Colorado Department of Insurance as a strict, but fair, enforcer of consumer protections. More recently, she successfully helped to turn around a troubled Texas health plan, protecting its members’ access to quality care while restoring financial stability.

Background on recent DMHC action

In December 2017, due to alleged wrongdoing by EHS’ administrative services vendor, SynerMed, the DMHC ordered health plans contracting with EHS to terminate their contracts with EHS.

On November 3, upon learning of SynerMed’s alleged activities impacting access to care for their members, EHS Medical Group terminated its contract with SynerMed and initiated both an investigation of its activities and implemented patient-centered reforms including centering medical review decision-making in physicians reporting exclusively to EHS’ physician Board of Directors.

Ehnes will work with the DMHC, the California Department of Health Care Services and all health plans contracting with EHS Medical Group to ensure compliance with state regulations governing transition of Medi-Cal patients, as well as ensure that EHS physicians are properly reimbursed for patient care during the transition period. One of her first actions as interim CEO is the recruitment of new board members and to facilitate the planned election of a fully independent board of directors overseeing EHS’ operations.

“Everyone falls sometimes,” Ehnes continues. “The measure of a company is in how it stands back up with integrity. EHS’ leadership in providing comprehensive coordinated care will be revitalized by new management committed to implementing best standards of transparent, accountable, and compliant managed care practices.”