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ACS CAN welcomes two new Board of Directors members

Distinguished volunteers join national board to share mission of advocating for evidence-based public policies.​​

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) has announced two new members –– alongside newly-elected leadership officers to the Board of Directors, with terms that began on Jan. 1, 2024. The Board provides leadership and guidance for ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, which supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to end cancer as we know it, for everyone.

"We are proud to welcome two distinguished advocates, both with long histories of advocating for cancer patients with the American Cancer Society and ACS CAN to our Board of Directors," said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. "Our mission to advocate for evidence-based public policies to reduce the cancer burden for everyone will be bolstered by the steadfast dedication, passion and expertise these leaders bring with them.”

Margaret McCaffery, JD, Iowa City, IA – Margaret, pictured above at right, and her husband Fran, University of Iowa’s head men’s basketball coach, have been actively involved with the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer program since 2000 and have raised more than $2 million to support ACS efforts. In 2022, she received the St. George Award, one of the highest ACS honors presented to outstanding volunteers nationwide who have made significant contributions to ACS’ strategic goals. Margaret served on the ACS Board of Directors from 2018 to 2023. She also has actively supported and volunteered at ACS CAN’s Leadership Summit and Lobby Day since 2014.

For the McCafferys, cancer has been a personal journey. Their second child, Patrick, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2014 at the age of 14 and is now celebrating several years of remission. The McCafferys helped launch the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program, which brings focus to the unique treatment, psycho-social and emotional needs of cancer patients diagnosed between the ages of 13- 30. Margaret is involved in several other community organization efforts and serves on the board of the Legal Aid Foundation in Iowa.She has a law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School and is the mother of four children, Connor (25), Patrick (23), Marit (21) and Jack (17). 

Dana Bernson, MPH, Newton, MA – Dana, pictured above at left, is an epidemiologist and the director of Special Analytic Projects within the Office of Population Health at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. She leads development of and strategic direction for the Public Health Data Warehouse, a nationally recognized cross-sector data linkage project initially created to respond to the opioid-related overdose epidemic and now being used to study priority population health trends related to maternal and child health, COVID-19, and the impact of climate change on health. Additionally, Dana is chair of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Institutional Review Board. An accomplished researcher, she is also a reviewer for several peer reviewed journals including, Annals of Internal Medicine, Annals of Epidemiology, Journal of Women’s Health, Public Health Reports, and Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. Dana has a master's degree in public health from the Boston University School of Public Health.

Dana's life has been directly touched by cancer; in 2015, her first husband, Jon, died from a rare form of cancer leaving her widowed at only 29 years old. She has dedicated many years as an ACS CAN volunteer, serving as an Ambassador Constituent Team (ACT) Lead. At ACS she’s also served on the Global Young Professionals Council Leadership board, as a volunteer driver for the road Road to Recovery Program, as a ResearcHERS campaign ambassador, and as a speaker.

"It is an honor to welcome two passionate advocates to serve on the ACS CAN Board of Directors,” said ACS CAN Board Chair Kimberly L. Jeffries Leonard, PhD. “I am confident Margaret McCaffery’s outstanding philanthropic spirit to reduce the cancer burden and Dana Bernson’s breadth of understanding in epidemiology and public health will accelerate our work to influence public policy to better the lives of millions of patients with cancer, survivors and their families. We are eager to welcome them to the ACS CAN family and get to work on our ever-important mission.”

The ACS CAN Board of Directors consists of 18 members who lead ACS CAN in partnership with ACS CAN and American Cancer Society CEO Dr. Karen E. Knudsen and ACS CAN President Lisa Lacasse.

The complete 2024 ACS CAN Board of Directors is: 


  • Kimberly L. Jeffries Leonard, PhD, chair
  • John J. Manna, Jr., Esq., vice chair
  • Scarlott K. Mueller, MPH, RN, FAAN, secretary
  • P. Kay Coleman, MS, MBA, treasurer
  • Maureen G. Mann, MS, MBA, FACHE, immediate past chair 


  • Dana Bernson, MPH
  • David Ford
  • David O. Garcia, PhD, FACSM
  • Roy Jensen, MD
  • Brian A. Marlow, CFA, ACS Board Chair
  • Margaret McCaffery
  • Philip R. O’Brien
  • Susan Penfield
  • Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH
  • Omar M. Rashid, MD, JD, FACS
  • Jose R. Ramos, Jr.
  • Bruce D. Waldholtz, MD
  • Karen Winkfield, MD, PhD

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