Addressing Advocacy at the Bench at The Science of Cancer Health Disparities 2021

COVID-19 Vaccines: Patient Advocates as Trusted Sources of Information

This session will address the topic of mistrust of health care providers or systems among underrepresented communities, who are more likely to get seriously ill and die from COVID-19, but are hesitant to take the coronavirus vaccine; and highlight ways patient advocates are engaging their communities and building trust in the vaccine. Highlighted programs will focus on improving communications, increasing education, and creating welcoming and safe environments to discuss COVID-19, vaccines, and health care.

panelist Bios

Loriana Hernandez-Aldama

Loriana Hernandez-Aldama: ArmorUp for Life
Ms. Hernandez-Aldama will provide opening statements about the COVID-19 vaccine, discuss her experience with a compromised immune experience, and highlight the need to have an action plan (to be discussed with oncologist/PCP) in place in case there are adverse reactions to the vaccine.

Loriana Hernandez-Aldama is a cancer survivor, patient advocate, inspirational keynote speaker and an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of on-air television experience, anchoring prime-time and morning news as well as reporting on a national and local level. Chances are you’ve seen Loriana’s work, found yourself riveted by her powerful and compelling storytelling or simply enjoyed her charismatic and refreshingly authentic on-camera personality. Others have been captivated by many of Loriana’s public speaking engagements where she urges others to “PREhabilitate” or “ArmorUp for LIFE® “ and change their lives through health and wellness.

Loriana’s unique broadcasting talent has taken her across the country from CNN/CNN Headline News to California, followed by her most recent stops in Dallas and Austin, Texas. Hard news has always been Loriana’s primary post, however her most passionate assignments have centered on the transformational power of health, fitness and nutrition. Loriana has served as National Health Reporter for FOX News stations, and she was most recently recognized by Austin MD Magazine as a “Top 20 woman who has shaped the city’s health and wellness.”

Over the years, Loriana has lent her celebrity and news connections to a variety of community-driven projects, Now her biggest story -surviving CANCER and helping others ArmorUp for LIFE® and get fit to fight whatever comes their way!

Desiree Walker

Desiree A. H. Walker – Young Survival Coalition
Ms. Walker has restructured and expanded her communications to patients during the pandemic. She will discuss the questions and concerns that she hears from cancer patients from underserved populations, as well as share how she is engaging her community to foster confidence in the vaccines.

At the age of 38, Desirée A. H. Walker was diagnosed with breast cancer, which recurred at age 47. For many who have had to fight breast cancer, Desirée serves as an advocate for patients by openly speaking about her diagnoses to audiences nationally and internationally.

She volunteers with the Young Survival Coalition as president, board of directors. She is a member of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship’s Cancer Policy Advocacy Team, The NCI’s Cancer Prevention and Control Central Institutional Review Board; and NCI SWOG Recruitment and Retention and Patient Advocate Committees. Desirée is a former member of the CDC’s Advisory Council on Breast Cancer in Young Women.

Desirée has served as a panelist at SXSW’s International Women’s Day event, the FDA/OCE Educational Series – Conversations in Cancer and a keynote speaker for the Canadian Association for Psychosocial Oncology annual conference. She has provided a patient advocate perspective at MSK’s National Minority Cancer Awareness events, AAADV Annual Meeting, The Cornell Center for Health Equity’s Tri-Institutional Symposium on Health Equity, the 12th AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities and the FDA’s session “Building and Inclusive Cancer Community” at AACR Annual Meeting.

Desirée’s diagnoses motivated her to become a patient advocate to share her talents and aid diverse communities. She uses her platform to be a voice for the voiceless and pay forward by educating and empowering people around the world. 

Vivian Carter

Vivian Carter, PhD, MHRTuskegee University
As a part of the US Expert Panel to review the Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccine trial results, Dr. Carter will address the community’s response to COVID-19 based upon the U54 Community Patient Navigator Program.  

Dr. Vivian Carter is the chair of the Department of Psychology and Sociology. Former deputy director for Community Engagement for the Tuskegee University Health Disparities Institute at Tuskegee University and past-president of the National HBCU Research Network for Research and Health Disparities, Dr. Carter is also a former assistant director for Community Outreach with The Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics.

Dr. Carter is an experienced social scientist with specialties in organizational development and transformation, medical sociology, race and gender relations. Dr. Carter is an accomplished researcher specializing in Community-Based Participatory Research and serves as the Cancer Outreach Team leader and Tuskegee University Primary Investigator for the Cancer Outreach component of the U54 Cancer Research Partnership funded by the National Institute Health (NIH).  Dr. Carter has worked internationally with the United Nations Women’s Coalition (UN Women) to address sexual assault and gender violence on African College Campuses. She has served on several community boards including the Alabama HIV Task Force on Children and Adults, the Alabama Battered Women’s Task Force, the Macon County Cancer Coalition (co-founder), and the Mayor’s Health Advisory Board and currently is a member of the Macon County COVID-19 Community Task Force. In her native state of Oklahoma, she served as the Lead Cultural Diversity Consultant for the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services strategic plan to increase minority participation in rehabilitation service programs. Dr. Carter is the co-author of three community based cancer research studies that have had a dramatic impact on the health outcomes for women and men in Alabama. Dr. Carter has served as editor and journal reviewer for the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, Sage Publishing Journal of Best Practices, Journal of International Bioethics, and Health Quarterly.

Barbara Segarro-Vazquez

Barbara Segarra- Vázquez, DHSc – University of Puerto Rico
Dr. Segarra will discuss her experience in a vaccine center at the University of Puerto Rico. She will share the concerns of her community about clinical trials, FDA, participation, as well as the development of a student program that assist the elderly population.

Bárbara Segarra-Vázquez, DHSc, has been a faculty member at the University of Puerto Rico for more than 30 years, and is the dean of the School of Health Professions, and the principal investigator of a R25 training program for young investigators funded by NIMHD (R25MD007607). Dr. Segarra-Vázquez is a two-time breast cancer survivor and is very active as a research advocate. One of her main focuses is to increase diversity in clinical trials. She has served several times as a consumer reviewer for the Breast Cancer Research Program of the DoD, is the chair of the Susan G. Komen Advocates in Science Steering Committee, and is a member of SWOG Cancer Network Patient Advocates Committee and the Cancer Care Delivery Committee. She is also a member of the Patient Advisory Committee for ASCO’s Cancer LinQ.

Byron Clarke, MBA, JD – Utah Navajo Health System, Inc.
Mr. Clarke will address the importance of using appropriate language to communicate about COVID-19. He will share how he developed resources and a video to address the concerns of the Navajo Nation.

Byron Clarke is the Chief Operations Officer of the Utah Navajo Health System Inc., a private not-for-profit Community Health Center providing medical, dental, and behavioral health care in neighborhoods throughout the northern portion of the Navajo Nation and southeastern Utah. UNHS’ mission is to improve quality of life through comprehensive, self-empowered, culturally sensitive healthcare and amazing customer service. Dr. Clarke graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor of science in economics and an MBA from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. In 2010, he received his JD from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law where he also worked on the Rocky Mountain Innocence Project. As the UNHS COO, Dr. Clarke helped organize mass COVID-19 testing and vaccine drives and create educational materials for patients. He is a member of the Navajo Nation and is happy to work and serve in the beautiful area in which he grew up.