Program Staff

Steering Committee

 Our steering committee supports the Community Partnership Program by providing strategic direction and making funding recommendations to Knight Cancer Institute leadership. 

  • Abby Tibbs, J.D.: Associate Vice President of Government Relations, OHSU
  • Brian Gibbs, Ph.D., M.P.A.: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Leader, OHSU
  • Cami Miller: Union County Local Community Advisory Coordinator, Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization
  • Donald Shipley, M.S.: Cancer Control Programs
  • Elena Andresen, Ph.D.: OHSU Executive Vice President and Provost, OHSU
  • Gloria Coronado, Ph.D.: Mitch Greenlick Endowed Senior Investigator in Health Disparities Research, Center for Health Research
  • Jennifer Lycette, M.D.: Oncologist, OHSU Cancer Care Center / Columbia Memorial Hospital
  • Katrina Hedberg, M.D., MPH: Health Officer and State Epidemiologist, Oregon Public Health Division
  • Robert Dannenhoffer, M.D.: Executive Director, Douglas Public Health Network
  • Sancy Leachman, M.D.: Chair, Department of Dermatology and director of the Melanoma Research Program, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute
  • Susan Hedlund, L.C.S.W.: Manager, Patient and Family Services, OHSU

Community Partnership Program Staff

Kerri Winters-Stone, Ph.D., F.A.C.S.M.

Dr. Kerri Winters-Stone is a Professor with the OHSU School of Nursing and is Co-Director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute's Community Partnership Program and Co-Leader of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute's Cancer Prevention and Control Program. Her expertise and research focus centers on the use of physical activity to prevent and manage chronic disease. 

Dr. Winters-Stone received her Ph.D. in Human Performance from Oregon State University and holds an M.S. in Exercise Science and a B.S. in Physical Education from the University of California-Davis.

Jackilen Shannon, Ph.D., R.D.

Dr. Jackilen Shannon is an Professor at the OHSU School of Public Health and serves as Director of the Integrated Program in Community Research, Associate Director of the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI) and Director of the Knight Community Engaged Research Program. She is also one of the Co-Directors of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute's Community Partnership Program. 

A nutritional epidemiologist with a strong track record of investigation in the role of diet and nutrition in carcinogenesis, Dr. Shannon joined Oregon Health and Science University in 2000. She completed a doctoral degree program in Nutrition with a minor in Epidemiology at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an NIH-NCI post-doctoral training fellowship in cancer epidemiology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Melinda Davis, Ph.D.

Melinda Davis, Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and the Director of Community Engaged Research for the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network. She uses participatory methods to conduct implementation and mixed-methods research in community and primary care settings. Dr. Davis has been a co-investigator on studies to integrate behavioral health and primary care, improve care transitions between hospital and home, transition practices into medical homes, and enhance delivery of clinical preventive services. Dr. Davis currently leads a portfolio of studies focused on implementing evidence-based interventions to improve colorectal cancer screening in rural and underserved settings, including an AHRQ funded patient centered outcomes research K12 career development and a PCORI pipeline to proposal award. Dr. Davis grew up in the Columbia River Gorge and she has a passion for working with patient, community, and health system stakeholders to improve health and health care delivery in rural and underserved settings.

Niyati Desai, M.A.

Niyati Desai serves as the Manager of Community Outreach and Education with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and has over 12 years' experience in health promotion program management and leadership. She manages operations for the Community Partnership Program and supervises the implementation and evaluation of  community cancer prevention and health education activities in Central Oregon in partnership with National Cancer Institute's National Outreach Network. 

Niyati received her Master's in Integrative Health Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. During that time, she also served as Adjunct Faculty teaching courses in Integrative Nutrition and Health Program Evaluation. She was previously the Program Coordinator for Soul Food at Nextcourse, where she researched the impact of nutrition education and physical activity on health behaviors of formerly incarcerated women in San Francisco, and the Associate Director of Teleosis Institute, managing programs that enhance environmental sustainability in the field of medicine. 

Melissa Varnum, M.P.H.

Melissa is the Community Outreach Specialist for the OHSU Knight Community Partnership Program. She provides technical assistance for grantees around human subjects protection in research and supports community outreach efforts for the program. She seeks to engage communities throughout the state, ensuring that the Community Partnership Program is representative of all Oregonians. 

Prior to her position with OHSU, Melissa was a health educator and project coordinator with the Deschutes County Health Services School-Based Health Center program. She also worked with Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend and Girls on the Run of Deschutes County, developing and managing health promotion programs for youth ages 6-18. 

Melissa received her Master of Public Health degree with a focus in health disparities from OHSU, and her undergraduate degree from Oregon State University.

Devra O'Gara, B.A.

Devra is a Community Relations Coordinator with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and the data guru for the Community Partnership Program. She provides support to applicants and grantees and assists with managing the data and software for proposal submissions and program reporting. Devra received a BA in Journalism from the University of Oregon and has lived alternately in the United Kingdom and Oregon. In her last UK role, she served as the E-commerce Marketing Manager for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds where she sold thousands of tonnes of bird seed and increased sales from $2M to $11M annually over a five-year period. A veteran of the US Army, Devra is the only CPP staff member who knows how to safely throw a grenade.