Keynote speaker – Dr. Muriel Brackstone, MD, MSc, PhD, FRCSC
The keynote speaker is surgical oncologist Dr. Muriel Brackstone of London, breast surgeon lead with St. Joseph’s Breast Care Program, who will present on new surgical approaches in the management of breast cancer.
Dr. Brackstone is an associate professor of surgery and oncology at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, and an executive member of the Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Group, Cancer Care Ontario's breast disease site team, and the international NRG Oncology clinical trials group. A renowned clinician and researcher, Dr. Brackstone initiated the Canadian locally advanced breast cancer consortium for national initiatives in advanced breast cancer treatment and is the lead author on a number of national clinical guideline documents for breast cancer care. She also spearheaded and is Director of London’s first tumour biobank, which provides scientists across the city with access to patient tumour samples and blood in order to test their theories, develop their imaging tools and translate discoveries into new treatment.
Dr. Brackstone is Director of Western University’s Oncoplastic Breast Surgery Fellowship, one of two such fellowships in Canada that trains new surgeons in this technique. She is also co-founder of the Oncoplastic Partnership Workshop, Canada’s first hands-on oncoplastic surgery course for practicing surgeons across the country.
Most recently, Dr. Brackstone was awarded the James IV Travelling Fellowship by the James IV Association of Surgeons. The travelling fellowship is a prestigious award with only one being available in Canada each year. It is designed to promote communication and collaboration in the surgical community. Travellers are both ambassadors representing their home countries, and conduits for the dissemination of knowledge.
Pat Baruth is a nurse practitioner in the Breast Care Program of St. Joseph’s Health Care London. She has been practicing in this role for 20 years. Pat graduated from the University of Windsor, Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program in 1984, and worked for six years in the Critical Care Trauma Centre of London Health Sciences Centre’s Victoria Hospital. After completing her Master of Science in Nursing degree at Western University in 1990, Pat worked as a clinical nurse specialist at Victoria Hospital on a number of inpatient surgical units. She completed her Nurse Practitioner Certificate at the University of Toronto in 1995 and began her career in the subspecialty of breast cancer at that time at Victoria Hospital, moving to St. Joseph’s Health Care London in 2011.
Dr. Ilanit Ben-Nachum is a breast radiologist at the Breast Care Program of St. Joseph’s Health Care London. Born in Israel, Dr. Ben-Nachum completed her medical education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and radiology residency in Tel Aviv University, 2008. She went on to complete a two year fellowship in breast imaging and cross sectional imaging at Western University in 2009 and 2011. Dr. Ben-Nachum joined the St. Joseph’s team in 2013.
Dr. Ben-Nachum is dedicated to the education of residents, fellows and technologists to improve the quality of breast imaging, which is an important part of her role at St. Joseph’s. She is also mammography lead radiologist for the Ontario Breast Screening Program at the London X-Ray Associates community clinics, has been the Diseased Site Imaging Expert for Cancer Care Ontario since 2014, and is an assistant professor at Western University.
Helen Butlin has been a practitioner in spiritual care and psychotherapy for 20 years specializing in oncology. She is passionate about preserving whole-person care and wisdom in medical practices with published book chapters and articles in medical journals on these topics.
Helen is co-author with Jennifer Fazakerley and Grace Bradish of the book, Just Stay: A Couple’s Last Journey, which tells a powerful love story of Jennifer and Rob Fazakerley and their four children living with Rob’s terminal cancer for his last 14 months. She is currently completing her doctoral research investigating women’s wisdom while living with ovarian cancer and unpacks the ways in which wisdom is experienced, lived and passed on through the participants’ lives.
Finally, Helen is the mother of two high school age children and will be the first to say they remain her most rigorous teachers,
Dr. Mario Elia is a family physician in London, Ontario, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Western University. In addition to his work as an OntarioMD Peer Leader, he is a writer and physician advisor with the Medical Post. Dr. Elia presently serves on the OntarioMD EMR Physician Dashboard Advisory Group, the Ontario College of Family Physicians’ Patient Medical Home Advisory Committee, and Health Quality Ontario’s Primary Care Practice Report Working Group. He also contributed as a physician advisor to the Childhood Obesity Tool and the Poverty Tool implementation project with the Centre for Effective Practice.
Dr. Elia He has extensive experience with the Telus PS Suite platform, which he has used since 2012, optimizing workflow and clinical processes. He has presented at the OntarioMD Every Step Conference around the topic of Cancer Survivor Follow-Up in Primary Care.
Dr. Sarah Knowles is currently completing a fellowship in breast surgical oncology and oncoplastic surgery at Western University. She received a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree at McMaster University in 2006, and then went on to obtain a medical degree from Western University in 2011. Dr. Knowles completed her general surgery residency at Western University in 2017, during which she also obtained a Masters of Sciences in Health Research Methodology from McMaster University in 2014. She continues to pursue research and her main areas of academic interest are benign breast disease and oncoplastic surgery.
Sandra McFarlane is the Technical Coordinator for Mammography with the Breast Care Program of St. Joseph’s Health Care, London. She is a medical radiological technologist with a certificate in breast imaging in screening as well as diagnostics. Sandra has more than 20 years of experience in breast imaging and has had the pleasure of working at various centres in Southwestern Ontario, including London, Stratford and Kitchener. From 2014 to 2017, she held the Cancer Care Ontario position of Regional Mammography Technologist responsible for quality control in breast imaging.
Sandra has always been an enthusiastic promoter of breast screening and is the founding Chair of Taking Steps Against Breast Cancer, a Canadian Cancer Society event held in St. Mary’s, Ontario every October. She was a member of the Perth District Breast Committee in Stratford and has been involved in many local events. Sandra has deep roots in rural Ontario. She lives on a 100 acre farm north of London with her husband, two haflinger horses and her dog Wallace.
Karen Panabaker received her Bachelor of Science with Honours in Genetics at the University of Manitoba. From there, she pursued post-graduate training at the University of British Columbia where she completed a Masters degree in Medical Genetics, and then earned a second Masters degree in Genetic Counselling at McGill University. She began her career as a genetic counsellor in Vancouver, and played a lead role in developing the BC Provincial Hereditary Cancer Program. In August 2006, Karen moved to London and is currently the senior genetic counsellor in the Medical Genetics Program at London Health Sciences Centre, and continues to provide cancer genetic counselling services.
Dr. Jacques Raphael is a medical oncologist at the London Regional Cancer Program and an assistant professor at the University of Western Ontario. He completed his medical degree in Lebanon and his medical oncology training at the Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus in France, followed by a translational fellowship within the department of thoracic oncology. He then moved to Canada to complete a clinical and research fellowship at the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto with a focus on breast, lung and kidney tumors.
Dr. Raphael holds a Masters degree in Basic Sciences from the Saint Joseph University, Lebanon, and in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Toronto. His clinical and research interests are focused on identifying prognostic and predictive biomarkers of tumor response and survival in breast and lung cancer.