Quality Care for Adenomatous Polyposis Conditions

2017 Presentor Bios

Dennis Ahnen


Dr. Ahnen, MD completed his Medical School Training at Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan and completed a Medical Residency and Chief Residency at Hutzel Hospital in Detroit before going to the University of Colorado as a Fellow in Gastroenterology in 1977.  After completing his Fellowship, he completed a Membrane Pathobiology Research Fellowship at Stanford University before returning to join the faculty of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1982 where he is currently a Professor of Medicine. In 2014, he retired from his long-standing (32 years) faculty position at The Department of Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Health Care System and joined the staff of Gastroenterology of the Rockies.Dr. Ahnen is an active clinician and investigator.  He is the Co-Director of the University of Colorado Hereditary Cancer Clinic and founded the GI Clinic at Gastroenterology of the Rockies; he provides consultative service to GI cancer families in both settings. His laboratory has conducted both basic and clinical investigations related to CRC prevention. At the basic level Dr. Ahnen’s laboratory has examined the biologic and biochemical mechanisms of the chemopreventive effects of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).  Dr. Ahnen’s clinical laboratory group conducts chemoprevention and colorectal screening trials as well as behavioral intervention trials designed to promote colorectal screening in high-risk family members.  The clinical laboratory group has conducted trials of screening colonoscopy, stool DNA testing, and participated in a series of adenoma prevention trials with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, folate supplementation and calcium and is currently conducting adenoma prevention trials testing selenium and  Vitamin D/Calcium as chemo-preventive agents.In collaboration with Dr. Jan Lowery, the behavioral laboratory group conducts trials designed to improve colorectal cancer screening rates in high risk populations such as first degree relatives of patients with colorectal cancer or those have stronger family histories including those that meet the Amsterdam criteria for HNPCC. Drs. Ahnen and Lowery direct the Colorado site of the Colorectal Cancer Family Registry Cohort. Dr. Ahnen joined the National Colorectal Cancer Round Table in 2009, has co-chaired the Family History Task Force with Dr. Paul Schroy since 2012 and joined the NCCRT Steering Committee in November of 2014. Dr. Ahnen is currently working to implement CRC prevention interventions that have been shown to be effective in clinical trials into a community-based practice of Gastroenterology.


Amie Blanco

MS, Certified Genetic Counselor

Amie Blanco is the lead genetic counselor in the Hereditary Gastrointestinal Cancer Prevention Program, a subspecialty of the UCSF Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program. As a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and International Society for Gastrointestinal Hereditary Tumors, Ms. Blanco is widely recognized as an expert in the diagnosis and management of hereditary cancer syndromes.


After completing undergraduate studies at the University of San Diego, Ms. Blanco worked in a biotechnology laboratory, focusing on the identification of small molecules for cancer treatment. She then earned a master's degree in genetic counseling at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she completed a fellowship in Cancer Prevention Education. Ms. Blanco has written about hereditary cancer syndromes for numerous publications, including a chapter on genetic risk assessment and counseling for the book "Everyone’s Guide to Cancer Therapy, Revised 5th Edition." She is active in training genetic counseling graduate students from Stanford University and CSU Stanislaus and has mentored many students in their research graduate projects. She is a frequent lecturer and small groups facilitator for the UCSF medical students. Currently, she is the Gordon and Betty Moore Endowed Counselor in Hereditary GI Cancer Prevention at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Carol A. Burke


Carol A. Burke is the Director of the Center for Colon Polyp and Cancer Prevention and the section head of polyposis in the Sanford R. Weiss MD Center for Hereditary Colorectal Neoplasia at the Cleveland Clinic. She has been a staff member in the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Cleveland Clinic since graduating from her fellowship there in 1993. She holds a joint appointment in the Taussig Cancer Center and the Department of Colorectal Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. She is internationally known for her expertise in the inherited colon cancer syndromes and the prevention of colorectal neoplasia and invited lecturer at national and international meetings. Her area of clinical and research interests include the prevention of colorectal neoplasia both in sporadic individuals and those with the inherited colorectal cancer syndromes. She has funding for her research through the NCI, NIH, USDA and industry. She has been involved in the education of medical students, residents and fellows since 1991 and has developed and coordinated the digestive disease curriculum for trainees in the in and out patient setting in the Department. She is the author of “Colonoscopy for Dummies” and has authored or co-authored over 80 publications. She is a visiting professor, and invited speaker at national and international conferences on the prevention of colorectal neoplasia and the inherited colon cancer syndromes. She serves on the Board of Trustees for the American College of Gastroenterology, the Board of the Ohio Gastroenterology Society and is a past president of the Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Colorectal Cancer. She has been an associate editor for the American Journal of Gastroenterology and is a reviewer for many journals including Gut, Endoscopy, Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, Gastroenterology, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and the American Journal of Gastroenterology to name a few.

James Church

MD, Cleveland Clinic Sanford R. Weiss, MD Center for Hereditary Colorectal Neoplasia

James Church is a native New Zealander who attended medical school at the University of Auckland. His surgical training was also in Auckland, New Zealand.  Following this he spent 2 years doing research before taking up a colorectal surgical fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland Ohio. In 1989 he joined the Staff of the Colorectal department in Cleveland. Dr. Church’s interests include hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes, colonoscopy and polypectomy, the clinical care and molecular biology of colon and rectal cancer, anal fistulas, fecal incontinence and inflammatory bowel disease. He is the Director of the Sanford R. Weiss Center for Hereditary Colorectal Neoplasia, holds the Victor W. Fazio Chair of Colorectal Surgery and is the sole author of 2 textbooks, over 50 chapters and over 295 peer reviewed articles, and for 10 years was co-editor of Diseases of the Colon and Rectum. He is regularly listed among the top doctors in America, is a fellow of the American Surgical Society and became a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Auckland in 2008.

Janice Colwell


Janice Colwell has been working in the field of ostomy care nursing for over 35 years.  She has experience in the inpatient and outpatient areas working with patients who are anticipating ostomy surgery, have had ostomy surgery and are working towards adapting to living with a stoma.  She is the past president of the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society, and has contributed to the field of ostomy nursing by editing two books on ostomy care, editing the ostomy section of the Journal of Wound Ostomy and Continence Nursing, publishing and lecturing on ostomy care nationally and internationally.  She is the current president of Friends of Ostomates Worldwide USA and maintains her certification in wound ostomy and continence care. 

Cole Eicher

Patient Advocate

Cole Eicher is the first person in his family born with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis and, at age 15, has already survived brain cancer. Cole is looking towards prophylactic colectomy and has been an outspoken advocate for child cancer. Cole has been featured in an American Cancer Society Story of Hope, as well an ACS childhood cancer video, Tampa Bay Tribune news article, and ABC ACTION news video.

Dakota Fisher Vance

FAPulous TV and Young People Cancer Connection

Dakota Fisher Vance graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2011 with a degree in biology, a fantastic job lined up, and a perceived relatively healthy body (with the exception of her very active chocolate addiction). Two months later after a severe bout of anemia warranting a trip to the ER and an emergency colonoscopy, she was diagnosed at the age of 22 with the rare genetic disease, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (F.A.P.). F.A.P. increases the lifetime risk of several cancers one of which, colon cancer, she was already in the early stages of developing. Reluctantly, she traded in her post-college job for surgical gowns at the end of 2011 to have her cancerous colon removed. While working abroad in mid-2013, she encountered another trick up F.A.P.’s sleeve and was diagnosed with a desmoid tumor, an even rarer soft tissue sarcoma, which she currently manages with an oral chemo. If anything, this tumor confirmed that while she hoped to be one in a million, statistically speaking, she’s closer to four in a million! Appalled by the lack of information available on her disease, Dakota created the first F.A.P. geared YouTube channel (FAPulousTV) where she shares the experience and research she’s accumulated with F.A.P. and serves as an ambassador for the Hereditary Colon Cancer Foundation in an attempt to enable her diseased peers to better advocate for their own healthcare. She hopes to continue working in the patient advocacy and education sector while occasionally putting some literal distance between her and her diagnoses by expanding upon the list of places traversed by her colonless body (which currently includes Croatia, Bosnia, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, France, and Spain)!

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Wendy Frankel


Wendy Frankel is Kurtz Chair and Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Chair of the Department of Pathology.  She is also the Director of the GI/Liver Pathology Fellowship at OSU.  Dr. Frankel earned her MD from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  She spent five years as a resident and research fellow in the Department of Surgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.   Dr. Frankel then went on to complete a residency in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology in the Department of Pathology, University of California, San Diego followed by a Surgical Pathology Fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco.

Heather Hampel

MS, LGC - Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center

Heather Hampel, MS, CGC, is a cancer genetic counselor at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James). Hampel received her bachelor’s degree in molecular genetics from Ohio State in 1993 and her master’s degree in human genetics from Sarah Lawrence College in 1995. After graduation, she worked as a cancer genetic counselor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City before coming to the OSUCCC – James in 1997. She was appointed in 2001 as a clinical instructor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Human Genetics, where she is now a full professor. Hampel’s clinical duties include providing comprehensive cancer genetic consultations to individuals and families with a history of cancer, a task that includes extensive documentation of cancers in the family, risk assessment, screening recommendations and genetic testing. Hampel’s research interests include screening all colorectal and endometrial (uterine) cancer patients for Lynch syndrome, an inherited condition that predisposes families to multiple cancers. She recently completed a five-year term on the American Board of Genetic Counselors, for which she was president in 2009-10. Hampel also is a part of the Facing Our Risk for Cancer Empowered (FORCE) medical advisory board and an expert for Bright Pink, a national non-profit organization devoted to prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancers in young women while providing support for high-risk individuals. 

Karen Hurley


Karen Hurley, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in hereditary cancer risk, and have counseled more than 400 individuals, families, and couples with a variety of cancer genetic syndromes. She accepts referrals for one-time consultations, brief supportive therapy, and long-term psychotherapy. Dr. Hurley also provides clinical supervision for mental health professionals and genetic counselors, conducts lectures, workshops and training, and consults on patient education materials and research proposals.


In 2014, Dr. Hurley received a "Spirit of Empowerment Award-Individual Commitment" from FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered). 


Dr. Hurley frequently presents lectures, teleconferences and workshops to US and international audiences on psychosocial issues in hereditary cancer, including patient groups (FORCE, Bright Pink, Young Survivor Coalition), professional societies (International Psycho-Oncology Society, National Society of Genetic Counselors) and healthcare facilities (City of Hope, Fox Chase Cancer Ctr, Vermont Cancer Ctr). 


Dr. Hurley’s national advisory board memberships include: FORCE, Bright Pink, Sharsheret, and the Cancer Support Community’s Breast & Gastric Cancer Registry Programs. Until recently, Dr. Hurley had adjunct faculty appointments at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and also at Teachers College-Columbia University, where she teaches in the MA program for Counseling & Clinical Psychology. 


Dr. Hurley also consults for researchers based on her experience as an NCI-funded principal investigator, external grant reviewer (NCI, DOD, ACS) and graduate mentor. Her specialty areas in addition to hereditary cancer include: health behavior theory, instrument selection and interviewer training.


Dr. Hurley recently accepted a position at the Cleveland Clinic.

Michele Kaplon-Jones


Michele Kaplon-Jones is an advanced practice nurse in ostomy care services working in conjunction with the Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Colorectal Surgery and Urology Departments managing the needs of  patients with fecal and urinary diversions.  She is masters prepared as an Adult Nurse Practitioner and is certified by the Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurses Certification Board for over 18 years.  Her more than 27 years’ experience as a nurse ranges  from gerontological rehabilitation, long-term care administration,  occupational injury case management, home health, hospice and hematology-oncology.  She also has facilitated an ostomy support group affiliated with the United Ostomy Association of America in Northwest Indiana over the past eight years.

Shauna Monagan

Patient Advocate

Shauna Pilon is the first person in her family to be diagnosed with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis. Her journey begins with young adult thyroid cancer which led to her diagnosis of FAP. Along with her mother, Suzanne, Shauna was a patient speaker at the Hereditary Colon Cancer Foundation’s recent Family Day held in conjunction with Roswell Park Cancer Institute. 

Megan Myers


Megan Myers is a genetic counselor in the Gastrointestinal Cancer Prevention Clinic, a part of the Cancer Risk Program at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Myers identifies families who are at high risk for hereditary cancer syndromes and provides recommendations to prevent and detect cancer at an early stage, and recommendations for screening and surgeries to prevent or detect cancers that have genetic links. She also provides support to families undergoing genetic risk assessments.

Myers is involved in research on families who have Lynch syndrome and social media tools that help families better communicate and share their genetic information with other at-risk family members. She earned a bachelor's of science degree in genetics at the University of California, Davis in 2007 and a master's of science in genetic counseling at California State University, Stanislaus in 2011. Before joining the staff of Cancer Risk Program in 2007, she was a volunteer for two years.

Peter Stanich

MD, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Peter Stanich MD is a gastroenterologist and assistant professor at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. He serves as the director of the GHN Section of Intestinal Neoplasia and Hereditary Polyposis. His clinical focus is on the diagnosis and longitudinal care of patients with hereditary colon cancer syndromes through an expanding multi-disciplinary specialty clinic in conjunction with genetic counselors. His research interests include PTEN hamartoma tumor syndrome and its gastrointestinal manifestations. He completed his internal medicine residency at the Mayo Clinic and his gastroenterology fellowship at Ohio State.

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ALL Webinars will be  available


ALL Webinars are available