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Meet our CEO, Board of Directors, and Medical and Scientific Advisory Board

Driven by our mission and vision, NOCC leadership team guides the organization, and strategizes and develops programing that keeps our efforts on track.

Melissa Aucoin, CEO of National Ovarian Cancer Coalition or NOCC
Chief Executive Officer

Melissa Aucoin

As Chief Executive Officer for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Melissa leads the strategic direction and day to day operations of the organization's mission. Under her leadership, the organization has seen significant and meaningful growth in their slate of mission programs and services, while continuing to extend their reach nationwide. In addition to improving business processes that have led to operational efficiencies and expense reduction, she was also instrumental in achieving the organization’s highest revenue results to date through the rebranding of its signature event and expansion of its revenue portfolio.

An industry veteran and champion of women’s health, she brings over two decades of expertise in a large-scale nonprofit environment, including organizational structure and development to her role. She was previously with Susan G. Komen as the National Director of their legacy event, Race for the Cure® where she led a team of professionals in developing growth strategies for volunteer development and revenue generation for the organization’s 100 plus Affiliates around the globe.

Melissa’s personal passion and vision for the organization are to create a future where all women are knowledgeable about ovarian cancer and feel empowered to advocate for their health so that outcomes improve, and lives are saved.


Meredith R. Mitstifer, Psy.D

Dr. Meredith Mitstifer is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Prior to her 13 years with the Bureau, she was a psychologist for the Arizona Department of Corrections Death Row & Special Management Units. Meredith was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 30, when she was four months pregnant. This year she celebrates 18 years of survivorship with her son. Meredith serves as NOCC's Chairman of the Board of Directors and has since 2018. She has presented and published research on perceived partner adaptation during a cancer diagnosis. She is a public speaker on vicarious trauma, transformational leadership and living both authentically and fearlessly after an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Meredith enjoys traveling with her son as they raise their voices together against this disease that whispers.
Vice Chair

Debra Richardson, MD, FACOG, FACS

Debra L. Richardson, M.D., FACOG, FACS, has been a member of the NOCC Board of Directors since 2015 and a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board since 2011. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor for 8 years at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She attended the University of Virginia for undergraduate studies and received her medical degree from New York Medical College. She completed her fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Debra was voted by her peers as one of the Best Doctors in Dallas, D Magazine, from 2014-2017, and was recognized as a Castle Connolly Top Doctor of Dallas 2017. She is active in many professional medical organizations including the Society of Gynecologic Oncology. Dr. Richardson is actively involved in research and has been the principal investigator on a multicenter cooperative group trial in recurrent ovarian cancer. She is on both the Developmental Therapeutics and Ovarian Cancer committees for NRG, a cooperative group. Dr. Richardson enjoys traveling and has been to six continents. She has also participated in many medical missions in developing nations. She is a passionate sports fan and follows both college and professional football very closely.

Rhonda Reeve, CPA

Rhonda Reeve is a five-year Survivor of ovarian cancer who was elected to the NOCC Board of Directors in 2018. She has been associated with the organization as an active fundraiser and champion of awareness since 2016. Rhonda has worked in accounting and finance as a Certified Public Accountant for the past 30 years after graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from West Texas State University. She now works with her husband in his law firm. She enjoys spending time with family, working out, gardening and tournament fishing for crappie as a member of Team Reeve. Team Reeve hosts two large fishing tournaments each year that raise awareness and funds for the NOCC. They also have a large boat that is wrapped with the NOCC logo that is a moving billboard for awareness! After diagnosis of Stage 3C ovarian cancer in 2015, this is the way they have chosen to make a difference.

Sara Harris

Sara Harris is a lawyer at Jackson Walker LLP. Her law practice includes defending employers, large and small, in employment discrimination litigation and counseling employers on day-to-day matters, such as teleworking, non-compete agreements, and employee handbooks. She also advises clients in the healthcare industry on regulatory matters including telemedicine, physician employment, and entity licensing issues. Sara serves as a board member on The American Lawyer’s Young Lawyer Editorial Board and enjoys giving back to the community through pro-bono legal work. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University and earned her law degree at the University of Texas, where she was Order of the Coif. Sara lives in Dallas with her husband, their three small children, and too many pets.


Kathryn Ballard

Kathryn Ballard has been a member of the NOCC Board of Directors since 2016. She has a long history of charitable and community work, currently serving as a Trustee on the Board of Directors of Florida State University. Previously, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Florida Special Olympics, the Florida State University College of Human Sciences Board and the Board of Trustees of the Maclay School of Tallahassee. She also served as Chairman of Maclay School Capital Campaign. A lifelong FSU fan, Mrs. Ballard has been honored for Outstanding Achievement by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and the Tallahassee/Leon County Historic Preservation Commission for her efforts to restore Tallahassee's historic Lively House. Mrs. Ballard graduated from Florida State University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Human Sciences and is currently serving as The National Council Board for White House Historical Association.

Richard M. (Rick) Boulay, MD, FACOG

Rick is a board-certified Gynecologic Oncologist and Director of Cancer Survivorship at the St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem, PA, where he also chairs the ACOS CoC Cancer Committee. After numerous family members were diagnosed with cancer, Rick found support, comfort, and wisdom in his patients’ experiences and narratives. With profound respect and admiration for their wisdom, he rededicated his career to the understanding of cancer survivorship. He began the Catherine Boulay Foundation, in honor of his grandmother, dedicated toward sharing the wisdom of cancer Survivorship. His numerous articles in the medical literature and lay press, written at the intersection of cancer and society, join his many recordings of therapeutic music and a recently Emmy-nominated documentary Close to Home: Cancer Survivorship, each sharing the wisdom of cancer survivorship. Join Rick on Twitter @journeycancer.

Elizabeth Isham Cory, MBA

Elizabeth Isham Cory came to her first NOCC Run/Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer exactly one year after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She felt so inspired by the event that she started volunteering with the Illinois Chapter. She soon became a member of the NOCC Board of Directors, where she is the current Chair of the Governance Committee. She is a former television anchor, newspaper reporter, radio talk show host, and commercial voice artist. During her television years, she hosted a regular program called "HealthWatch," and won several awards for her medical reporting. From television, she moved into healthcare marketing and public relations, where she was elected President of the Illinois Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations. She currently works as a media spokeswoman for a Federal regulatory agency, where she has been the communications lead on airspace redesign projects, Federal regulatory rulemaking committees, and general aviation safety committees. She conducts media and public speaking training for agency leaders. She has received several awards throughout her career, including two US Secretary of Transportation Team Awards for Transportation Excellence, and the President’s Award for service to the Illinois Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations. Elizabeth earned her undergraduate degree (BA) in English, Journalism, and Mass Communications from the University of Iowa, and her Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Northern Illinois University.

April Donahue

April has served on the NOCC Board of Directors since 2006 and has performed various roles such as President, Treasurer, and Medical Scientific Advisory Board member. April began her affiliation with NOCC as the President and a founding member of the Philadelphia NOCC Chapter. April has a very personal connection to the cause as a Survivor. In 1991 she was diagnosed with stage 1A ovarian cancer at the age of 24. She is currently a member of the Advocate Advisory Board for the Long-Term Ovarian Cancer Research Study funded by the DOD with Principal Investigator Michael Birrer, MD at the University of Alabama Birmingham. April has previously served as a member of the Consumer Advocates in Research and Related Activities (CARRA) program sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, and also a patient advocate and member of the executive committee of the ovarian SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence) with the University of Pennsylvania and Fox Chase Cancer Center. She strives to represent the patient’s point of view and to advocate on behalf of the patient during research and communication reviews. April has worked in the banking industry for 32 years and brings this expertise to her volunteer work. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Delaware Valley University where she is taking classes towards an MBA. April resides with her daughter Sara, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Eric Heck

Eric comes to the NOCC Board of Directors after 7 years as a caregiver for his wife of 35 years, Kathy, during their years battling and living joyfully with ovarian cancer. He also was a Caregiver Ambassador for the Our Way Forward Ovarian Cancer Program which helps healthcare providers, women living with ovarian cancer, and their loved ones work together to navigate the physical, emotional, and medical challenges that this disease brings. Eric was also a volunteer with the NOCC Delaware Valley Chapter prior to serving on the Board of Directors. Eric graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and holds an MBA in graduate studies. Eric worked in the Software Industry, developing, designing, and managing systems software and business processes within several industries, including Healthcare Providers over the final 6 years of his career. Eric and Kathy, who owned a Tea Room (The Talking Teacup), retired early to travel, live aboard their sailboat, and provide an inspirational example of living actively and joyfully while battling ovarian cancer. He resides in Pennsylvania when land based and on his sailboat on the Chesapeake and elsewhere as weather, season, and time permits. Eric enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, sailing, kayaking, and writing as well as advocating for ovarian cancer patients and caregivers.

Wendy Lancaster Homer

Wendy Lancaster Homer has served on the NOCC Board of Directors since 2009 and has been in several roles, including Co-Chairperson and Chairperson. Before serving on the Board of Directors, Wendy led the NOCC Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Chapter. After losing her mother to the disease on Christmas Day in 2002, Wendy focused on joining the Chapter and educating people about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. Wendy is a graduate of the International University, located in Vienna, Austria. Wendy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in General Studies and speaks fluent German. Wendy is the Owner and Operating Principal of Keller Williams Princeton Real Estate, located in Princeton, New Jersey. She is a Registered Public Purchasing Official and Qualified Purchasing Agent, in the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Wendy’s passion consists of volunteering for the NOCC, KW Cares, and other charities. She resides with her husband, Frank, in Pennsylvania. She also enjoys spending time with family/friends and traveling the world.

Tiffani N. Mickens, MSN, RN

Tiffani N. Mickens’ 16-year nursing career includes but is not limited to working in critical care nursing. She has experienced travel nursing, and for the past 11 years she has taught nursing at the collegial and university levels. Combined with her passion for teaching and hopes to do more in her community Tiffani continues to aspire and support her community to improve health literacy, health promotion and community awareness for women’s health conditions. She and her family have also experienced personal loss at the hand of ovarian cancer. Her cousin, Mrs. Belinda O’Neal Britton, educator and business owner, passed away after an 18-month battle with ovarian cancer. After many years of educating countless families and patients with life-threatening and even terminal health conditions, Tiffani now understood advocacy to be her “calling”.

Suzen Stewart

Suzen Stewart is a math specialist in Connecticut. She has over twenty years of experience working in public education with students in grades 5-8. In her current role, she works with students, completes data analysis for the district, and works with colleagues to help improve math instruction. Suzen has served as the coordinator for the philanthropic student group at her school for several years. She also served as a caregiver to her sister, Jean Maday, who battled ovarian cancer for over 3 years. Suzen supported Jean throughout her treatments, joined by phone calls, texts, and hospital stays. Throughout Jean’s journey and since her passing Suzen has worked to raise awareness, funds and educate others about ovarian cancer. She believes the caregiver role is tremendously important to the patient but also needs its own support.

Medical and Scientific Advisory Board

Rebecca Arend, MD
Associate Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Jennifer Barton, PhD
Professor, University of Arizona
Michael Birrer, MD
Vice-Chancellor, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Stephanie Blank, MD
Director, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Michael Bookman, MD
Director, Gynecologic Oncology Therapeutics, Kaiser Permanente, Northern California
Richard Boulay, MD
Director of Cancer Survivorship, Chair Cancer Committee , St. Luke's University Health Network
Jennifer Cox, DNP
Family Nurse Practitioner - U.S. Public Health Service, CDR USPHS Commissioned Corps
April Donahue
NOCC Board Member, Patient Advocate
Heidi Donovan, PhD, RN
Professor of Nursing and Medicine Co-Director, National Center on Family Support Director, GynOnc Family CARE Center, University of Pittsburgh
Linda Duska, MD
Lawrence Penniston Family Endowed Professor of Women’s Oncology Research, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Associate Dean for Clinical Research, UVA School of Medicine Interim Senior Associate Dean for Research, UVA School of Medicine
Melissa Hardesty, MD
Gynecologic Oncology, MPH, Alaska Women’s Cancer Care
Elizabeth Jewell, MD
Vice-Chair, Regional Network and Affiliates, Director of Surgery MSK Monmouth & BSK, Director of BSK Monmouth OR's, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Sheila Jones
NOCC Volunteer - AZ, Patient Advocate
Jayanthi Lea, MD
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UT Southwestern Medical Center
Nita Lee, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Section of Gynecologic Oncology, Assistant Director, University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center
Sharyn Lewin, MD
Gynecologic Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai
Suzy Lockwood, PhD, MSN
Associate Dean for Nursing and Nurse Anesthesia; Director, Center for Oncology Education & Research, Texas Christian University
Scott Richard, MD
Associate Professor, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital - Philadelphia
*Debra Richardson, MD
Associate Professor, Section of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, NOCC Board of Directors, *Vice-Chair, NOCC Medical & Scientific Advisory Board, Chair
Julian Schink, MD
Chief Medical Officer President of Cancer Treatment Centers of America Physician Group
Sarah Taylor, MD
Assistant Professor Gynecologic Oncology, University of Pittsburgh/UPMC
Shannon Westin, MD
Associate Professor, Dept. of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
Jason Wright, MD
Chief, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Columbia University
Kristin Zorn, MD
Professor, University of Arkansas UAMS

Related Topics


Learn about our investment in research and how it funds pioneering initiatives to advance treatment options and ultimately find a cure.


Find links to current and archived financial reports on the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.

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