Are you interested in learning more about the true meaning of healing and the importance of community for cancer patients? If so, join the Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund (TDJBCF) for the fifth consecutive year as they welcome “An Evening with Smith Center for Healing and the Arts” on Wednesday, July 19, at 6:30 pm. You can join via Zoom or the TDJBCF Facebook .
Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, a nonprofit health, education, and arts organization located in the heart of U Street, NW, focuses on whole person care and is a leader in the nationwide movement to promote the use of the arts in healing. Smith Center’s mission is to develop and promote healing practices that explore physical, emotional, and mental wellness and lead to life-affirming changes.
Back by popular demand, the support group meeting will be emceed by Lisa Simms Booth, Executive Director, Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. During the meeting, Lisa will lead a robust conversation with Smith Center colleagues, Erin Price OSW, (Young Adult & Psychosocial Support Program Director), Kiersten Gallagher (Cancer Support Program Director) along with our friend from CancerChoices, Laura
Pole, MSN, RN, OCNS, (Senior Clinical Consultant).
You’ll hear about the true meaning of healing and the power of the 7 Healing Practices which can be pathways to restoring your mind, body and spirit during cancer. This evening will focus on providing hands-on information that you can use to improve your physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Lisa Simms Booth comes to Smith Center following a nearly twenty-five year career in media, politics and advocacy. Lisa has always had a servant’s heart and has aspired to do work that improves the lives of others or empowers them to advocate for positive change. She has previously worked at LISTEN, Inc., The Alliance for Justice, Time Dollar Institute, Children’s Defense Fund, Democratic National Committee and the National Rainbow Coalition.
In 2003, Lisa started working at FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, which focuses on the systemic barriers to faster discovery of better treatments and cures for diseases including cancer. At the same time of getting this new job, Lisa’s mother Lucille was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Throughout her 14-year tenure at FasterCures in various leadership roles in partnership development, external affairs, and operations, she created programs that brought together pharmaceutical, biotech, philanthropic, and non-profit communities with the aim to make the system work better for patients. While working at FasterCures, Lisa was also living the roller coaster ride of treatment and remission with her mom which had a profound impact on her. Her mom’s eight-year journey and passing led to Lisa’s passion for cancer advocacy and she dedicates her work with patients to her mom with the hope that she can make this journey better for patients and their families.
This dedication served her well in her role as Senior Director of Patient and Public Engagement at the Biden Cancer Initiative, where she worked prior to joining Smith Center. At BCI, she helped define the organization’s advocacy outreach and collaboration strategies. She also led the design and coordination of the Biden Cancer Collaborative, which mobilized the cancer patient and advocacy community around key priorities, promoting, and sharing tried and tested approaches to addressing common problems. In addition, Lisa served as the staff lead for BCI’s Patient Navigation Working Group which was focused on exploring ways to make patient navigation more accessible to cancer patients.
She is a Pittsburgh native and a graduate of Michigan State University. Lisa lives in Silver Spring with her husband Bryan and their beloved dog, Taz. She’s an avid sports fan and loves music, going to the theater, and spending time with friends. She is active in the music ministry and community outreach efforts for her church, Metropolitan AME.
Thelma D. Jones’ work has been fundamental to civic and youth activism and raising awareness of breast health. She is an award-winning community activist, breast cancer survivor, advocate and founder and board chair of the Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund. Diagnosed in 2007 with a rare (unknown primary) and aggressive form of breast cancer (HER2+), her treatment regimen included chemotherapy, surgery (lumpectomy) and radiation. Jones is a seasoned volunteer with the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACSCAN). In the former capacity she has spoken both locally and nationally, delivering the message of early detection, prevention, treatment and hope to thousands of women, men and young girls. As the recently retired DC State Lead Ambassador for ACSCAN, Jones has lobbied both national and local public officials for funding of tobacco control and cancer research. In April 2010, she established the Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund Support Group, the signature program of the Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund in Southwest DC. Focusing primarily on the historically less served communities, the support group has contributed significantly to providing a safe and secure place for emotional support for breast cancer survivors and caretakers to discuss and share their journeys, hear a range of highly skilled acquire information and resources, and give voices to those who are struggling in silence with their diagnosis.
Recognized for her long-time civic activism and advocacy, Jones has been featured extensively in the media where she speaks candidly about her cancer journey and her desire to turn her challenge into an opportunity to help others. She is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including the Mayor’s Award for Community Service in the Category of Lifetime Achievement and the prestigious White House Champion of Change Award. In June 2016, Jones was selected by ACSCAN to represent the organization at the White House’s Moonshot Summit, and in Septembers, she was recognized with the 2016 State Lead Ambassador of the Year Award by ACSCAN.
Laura Pole is an Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist and Health Supportive Chef who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation and education services for over 35 years. Her interest in integrative cancer care began way before the field was well-known. She has spent years learning about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) so that she could help both patients and clinicians become aware of safe and effective therapies to weave into conventional cancer care. She is also helping shape the practice of culinary translation—helping people with practical ways to translate a diet prescription into delicious healthy food. Laura’s earliest passion in oncology care has been helping people manage pain and other distressing symptoms. Along with that, she helps people talk about and choose care that aligns with their goals, wishes, and values.
Laura is Director of Nourishment Education Programs and retreat head chef for Smith Center. She is the Co-Creator and Co-Coordinator of Smith Center for Healing and the Arts’ national training in integrative oncology patient navigation. She is Senior Researcher for Commonweal’s “Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies” project to provide patients, clinicians and researchers with the best available resources for integrating conventional and integrative cancer therapies. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” Listserv for Smith Center and serves as the senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices, a free online web resource that gives information and guidance in integrative Cancer Care. For most of her career, Laura has also been consulting with and educating patients and professionals in palliative care and advance care planning.
Erin serves as Smith Center’s Director of Young Adult and Psychosocial Support Programs. She is trained in Integrative Patient Navigation, a Project LEAD graduate, and holds a Masters in Social Work. A seven-year breast cancer survivor, Erin is passionate about providing support and community to other cancer survivors, especially young adults. She works with Smith Center’s DC Young Adult Cancer Community and is also actively involved in the cancer community through Young Survival Coalition, Critical Mass, the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates, National Breast Cancer Coalition, and the DC Cancer Action Partnership.
Kiersten has served as the Cancer Support Program Director for Smith Center since 2014. Before coming to Smith Center, she had the privilege to serve individuals and families living with cancer at Wellness House of Annapolis. Kiersten aims to offer programs to reduce stress and help participants to see the world we live in from different perspectives. She thoroughly enjoys teaching yoga and creativity classes at Smith Center and encourages gentle movement and creativity in the healing process. Kiersten is a certified yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance and also has her YCAT (Yoga Therapy in Cancer and Chronic Illness) Professional Certification through the Integral Yoga Academy. She has completed Patient Navigation training through Smith Center’s Institute for Integrative Oncology Navigation and has also completed the Commonweal Healing Circles: Advanced Cancer Support Training. Kiersten is also certified in CLIMB®(Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery) a program that aims to build upon the strengths of children and increase his/her ability to cope with stress associated with a parent’s illness. She believes in a holistic approach to healing, human relationships and is grateful for each and every day. Kiersten has also completed the Compassion Cultivation Training – CCT™ an 8-week program, developed at Stanford University, with insights and techniques from psychology, neuroscience, and contemplative practice. In her spare time, you may find Kiersten laughing with friends, cycling, taking art classes, practicing yoga and spending time with her husband Shane, son Liam, and dogs Beans and Pablo.
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Smith Center for Healing and the Arts is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. (EIN/tax ID number: 52-1977976).