Ovarian Cancer Heroes®

Award 2019

Our 2019 Ovarian Cancer Heroes award ceremony will be held in March in Honolulu, HI. Please see details below:
Friday, March 15, 2019
SGO Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer
Hawaii Convention Center (Award Ceremony located in room 316C & Attendee Reception located in room 316B)
Honolulu, Hawaii
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Guest Speaker: Patrick Dempsey
Guest Speaker


Carolyn Berson, RN, BSN
Nurse Navigator, John Muir Health

Carolyn Berson is the nurse navigator for the Gynecologic Oncology program at John Muir Health in Walnut Creek, California, a position she has held since 2007. Berson has a clinical background in oncology and expertise with female reproductive cancers. She received her RN and BSN from the intercollegiate program with Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, California, and Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California, and received her master of science in nursing from the University of Phoenix in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Berson’s nursing career spans over 30 years, all of which has been in the field of oncology. Before becoming a nurse navigator, she worked in the areas of oncology/bone marrow transplant, radiation oncology and breast health services.

With her broad experience, she provides guidance to patients and families from time of diagnosis and throughout their continuum of care. Berson’s clinical strengths include post-operative management of the gynecologic oncology patient, symptom management and quality improvement using evidence-based practice.

Sue Friedman, DVM
Executive Director, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered

Sue Friedman was diagnosed with breast cancer 21 years ago at age 33 and, only after recurrence, learned that she carried a BRCA2 mutation. Friedman recognized gaps in information and resources for people making medical decisions about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC). Consequently, she founded Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), a nonprofit organization, to fill the void and soon gave up her veterinary career to direct FORCE full time.

As executive director, Friedman has 18 years’ of experience addressing the needs of the HBOC community through national education, research, and advocacy programs developed and implemented under her direction. She is responsible for curating FORCE’s expert-reviewed website content addressing every aspect of HBOC. She serves as the principal investigator of examining the Relevance of Articles for Young Survivors, more commonly known as XRAYS, a program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Additionally, Friedman serves as co-principal investigator of the ABOUT Patient Powered Research Network, a patient advocate member of NRG Oncology and on the NCCN Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Breast and Ovarian and the National Cancer Institute’s Council of Research Advocates. Friedman lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Susan Leighton
Founder, Lilies of the Valley

After being diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer, Susan Leighton vowed that no woman would walk this journey alone ever again and co-founded Lilies of the Valley, a nonprofit organization that supports women with gynecologic cancers in the Tennessee Valley.

Recognizing the need to increase awareness of the disease, Leighton joined forces with the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA) for which she serves as the national program director of its Survivors

Teaching Students program. Under her guidance, 850 volunteers educated more than 11,000 medical and nursing students nationwide about ovarian cancer in 2017. As an OCRFA advocate leader, she has carried the voice of the ovarian cancer community to Capitol Hill, testifying before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense and meeting with members of Congress.

Leighton serves on the Programmatic Panel for the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program and is a member of the National Cancer Institute Ovarian Cancer Task Force. She recently spearheaded establishment of the Alabama Study Commission for Gynecologic Cancers.

She has co-authored two journal articles on long-term survivors and a web-based support program. Leighton, an Army veteran, mother and grandmother, lives with her husband of 41 years in Huntsville, Alabama.

Laurel Rice, MD
University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health

Laurel W. Rice is chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. Rice attended college and medical school at the University of Colorado. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology and a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. After four years on the faculty of Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Virginia (UVA) recruited her to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. During her 14 years at UVA, Rice was appointed division chief of Gynecologic Oncology, established a fellowship in gynecologic oncology and served as vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

She is president of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology and president-elect of the American Gynecological & Obstetrical Society.

Since 2006, Rice has served on the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and currently serves as a representative on the board of directors. She is associate editor of Gynecologic Oncology and a reviewer for Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology


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