Skip Navigation

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for Dana-Farber patients & families Learn more

Executive Council

  • The Executive Council of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a dedicated group of women devoted to Defying Cancer. Established in 2002, the Executive Council dared to believe that through education, advocacy, and fundraising, they could change the trajectory of women's cancers. The diverse and accomplished members understand that cancer is a disease that impacts women like themselves — and are challenging the status quo.


  • Dipanjan Chowdhury, PhD, Eric Winer, MD, and Jennifer Ligibel, MD

    Susan F. Smith Center faculty members, Dipanjan Chowdhury, PhD, Eric Winer, MD, and Jennifer Ligibel, MD, share a laugh during the panel discussion at a recent Susan F. Smith Center Executive Council event.

  • The Executive Council shares information on the latest research and treatment of women's cancers through a variety of programs including breakfast and luncheon events, lecture series and on-line forums. Through programming, these women educate thousands who in turn share their knowledge with thousands more.


  • Trustee and Susan F. Smith Center Executive Council member Deborah First

    Trustee and Susan F. Smith Center Executive Council member, Deborah First, proudly shows off an OOFOS recovery shoe. OOFOS has been a corporate sponsor of the Susan F. Smith Center Executive Council events since 2018.

  • The Executive Council is focused on raising awareness about the Susan F. Smith Center to cultivate individual and corporate advocates. The group's goal is to partner with a range of companies and organizations who, like the Executive Council, are committed to philanthropic support for research and treatment of women's cancers.


  • Laurie Glimcher, MD

    Laurie Glimcher, MD, President and CEO of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses being one of the Smith Center Innovation Grant recipients at the 2019 Susan F. Smith Center Breakfast event.

  • The Executive Council is an essential philanthropy network for the Susan F. Smith Center. Since 2002, more than $19 million has been raised for the Center. Today, the funds raised go to the Smith Center Innovation Fund, which provides grants for Smith Center Faculty and scientists to pursue early-stage, lifesaving research in women's cancers that otherwise would not be funded.

    See a list of the generous donors to the Executive Council 2021 fundraising efforts.

    In the past four years, the Smith Center Innovation Fund has supported 12 research projects. One example of the impact a Smith Center Innovation Fund grant is the work of Christina Dieli-Conwright, PhD, MPH, and Alexi Wright, MD, MPH. With their grant, these Dana-Farber researchers were given essential funding for their investigation into the role of physical exercise in preventing the distressing side effects of chemotherapy in patients with ovarian cancer.

    The Executive Council embraces every opportunity to encourage like-minded individuals and corporations to Defy Cancer by joining the Council in their mission of education, advocacy, and fundraising.

  • Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers Executive Council

    Honorary Chair

    Susan F. Smith∞

    Founding Co-Chairs

    Tracey E. Flaherty
    Jane P. Jamieson*
    Beth F. Terrana*

    Executive Council

    Kimberly Amsden
    Meredith Beaton Starr
    Sandy Cassanelli
    Anne Columbia
    Diane Davidson
    Deirdre Dunn
    Hazel Durand
    Deborah S. First*
    Barbara Freedman Wand
    Alicia Grasfeder
    Janit S. Greenwood
    Susan James Geremia
    Janie Haas
    Mary Kralis Hoppe
    Matina Horner
    Sarah Kalil
    Leslee Kiley
    Bette Ann Libby
    Susan Loconto Penta
    Pamela Martin
    Barbara Marx
    Joy Paradissis Playter
    Terrie Perella
    Jennifer Potter-Brotman
    Shannon Robins
    Jill Stansky
    Kathleen Stansky
    Sandra Stratford, MD, MSc*
    Laura Van Zandt
    Kathleen Whelan

    *Dana-Farber Trustee
    ∞In Memoriam

  • 2020-2021 Smith Center Innovation Fund Recipients and Projects

    Thanh Barbie, MD

    Thanh Barbie, MD

    Optimizing Therapeutic STING Agonism for Triple Negative Breast Cancer

    Christina Dieli-Conwright, PhD, MPH
    Alexi Wright, MD, MPH

    Christina Dieli-Conwright, PhD, MPH Alexi Wright, MD, MPH

    Exercise as a Preventive Agent to Combat Immobility in Patients with Ovarian or Endometrial Cancers Receiving Chemotherapy - The MOBILITY Study

    Anna Weiss, MD

    Anna Weiss, MD

    GEnetic Testing For All breast Cancer patienTS (GET FACTS) Randomized Clinical Trial