Our team bridges existing silos in neuro-oncology and palliative care.

We’re a robust and committed partnership of people with brain cancer, care partners, health care providers, researchers, and advocates representing major institutions with expertise in pragmatic trials, communications, and neuro-palliative care.

Project Lead Sacramento, CA

Project Lead
Sacramento, CA

Liz salmi

Liz Salmi is a former punk rock drummer turned cancer patient, who now works for a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital on a research project called OpenNotes.

After being diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 29, Liz put her digital communications skills to use by blogging, chronicling her daily symptoms, and seeing how much trouble she could get into with her online medical information. Today, she is passionate about empowering regular people to become more engaged in their own health care and improve their experience as patients.

Project C0-Lead Denver, CO

Project C0-Lead
Denver, CO

bethany m. kwan, phd, msph

Dr. Kwan is a social psychologist and health services researcher at the University of Colorado, and a daughter and care partner of a person who had glioblastoma.

Investigator Denver, CO

Denver, CO

Benzi Kluger, MD, MS, FAAN

Benzi Kluger is a Professor of Neurology at the University of Colorado and Founder and Chief of their Neuropalliative Care Section. He has dedicated his career to the emerging field of neuropalliative care, the application of palliative care approaches and principles to improve the lives of persons affected by neurologic illness. In July of 2018 he started a neuropalliative care clinic specifically dedicated to persons with cancers affecting the brain and nervous system at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

Stakeholder/Investigator Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis, IN


Adam Hayden, MA is a graduate trained philosopher, blogger, and speaker. In June 2016, Adam was diagnosed with the aggressive and deadly brain cancer, glioblastoma (GBM), a grade IV astrocytoma. Following his diagnosis, Adam quickly found ways to apply his formal training in philosophy of science and medical humanities to confront his disease from two distinct, yet complimentary, perspectives.

Investigator Tampa, FL

Tampa, FL

maija reblin, phd

Maija Reblin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Behavior at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. She received her PhD in social and health psychology from the University of Utah. Maija’s research focuses on understanding how relationships and communication impact cancer family caregivers’ stress. Her goal is to develop strengths-based interventions to help caregivers or caregiver-patient dyads cope with cancer. Maija has received federal and state funding as both principal and co-investigator to pursue research specifically on patients and caregivers with primary malignant brain tumor and has received a competitive Palliative Care Mentored Research Scholar Award from the American Cancer Society.

Stakeholder Burbank, CA

Burbank, CA

Shirley Otis-Green, MSW, MA, ACSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Shirley Otis-Green is the founder of Collaborative Caring. Her education, research and consultation efforts focus on quality-of-life, palliative care, leadership development and the creation of meaningful organizational change. Shirley’s career is dedicated to enhancing excellence in the delivery of culturally-congruent, person-centered and family-focused interprofessional care through the implementation of effective learning principles.

Investigator Santa Monica, CA

Santa Monica, CA

Marlon Garzo Saria, PhD, RN, AOCNS, FAAN

Dr. Saria is an advanced practice registered nurse with over eighteen years of experience in oncology serving in multiple roles ranging from direct clinical care to program development and management. He is currently the Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center and a Nurse Scientist and Director of the Center for Quality Outcomes and Research in the Department of Translational Neurosciences and Neurotherapeutics at Pacific Neuroscience Institute and John Wayne Cancer Institute.

Stakeholder Eureka, CA

Eureka, CA

michael d. fratkin, md

Father, husband, brother, son, and physician, Dr. Fratkin is dedicated to the well being of his community. Since completing his training, he has made his home and built his family in rural Northern California. He has served his community in primary care in a community clinic system, as a medical director of a hospice, as a leader in the community hospital medical staff, and a transformative voice for improving the experience of people facing serious illness and the end of life.

Stakeholder Tucson, AZ

Tucson, AZ

eve A. isham, phd

Eve Isham is a cognitive scientist. Her lab explores human cognitive processes including time perception, action, and decision making. At the University of Arizona, Dr. Isham is the Director of the Consciousness-Action-Time laboratory, an affiliate faculty in the Cognitive Science Graduate Group and the Evelyn McKnight Brain Institute.

Dr. Isham has a close family member with glioblastoma. She hopes to apply her research and background in cognition to raise awareness for the need of palliative care especially for those with cognitive decline due to brain cancer.

Stakeholder San Luis Obispo, CA

San Luis Obispo, CA

Lisa A. O’Leary, Esq.

Lisa O’Leary is a practicing attorney who became an unwilling member of the brain tumor community when her husband Patrick was diagnosed with glioblastoma in September 2014 after suffering a seizure. Despite excellent surgical resection, chemotherapy and radiation, Patrick’s case was complex from the start due to a severely debilitating focal seizure condition. Lisa acted as his care partner and used her legal experience to be the most effective advocate she could for his care. Unfortunately, Patrick passed away just ten months after his symptoms first presented on July 11, 2015, shortly after being enrolled in hospice care.

Stakeholder Seattle, WA

Seattle, WA

Lynne P. Taylor, MD, FAAN, FANA

Lynne P. Taylor, MD, FAAN, FANA, is co-director of the Alvord Brain Tumor Center at UW Medical Center, and a clinical professor of neurology at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is a neuro-oncologist and is an expert in the care of patients with primary brain tumors, metastatic brain tumors and spinal tumors, as well as neurologic complications of cancer. She is board-certified in neurology, neuro-oncology and palliative care.

Dr. Taylor’s clinical interests include clinical neuro-oncology, paraneoplastic disorders and palliative care in neurology. Her research interests include clinical trials for newly diagnosed glioblastoma, recurrent glioblastoma and primary central nervous system lymphoma.

Stakeholder San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

torrie fields

Torrie Fields is the Senior Program Manager for Advanced Illness & Palliative Care at Blue Shield of California. She leads the development and implementation of palliative care programs and policies across the state of California.

Torrie is a survivor of cervical cancer, an advocate for palliative care, and comes from a long line of family members with brain tumor.

Stakeholder San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

Margaretta S. Page, RN, MS

Margaretta is a career neuroscience nurse. She has spent the last 27 years as a member of the UCSF Neuro-Oncology Clinical Team. Her roles have included providing direct patient care to the neuro-oncology patient across the disease trajectory, research, support group facilitation, and patient and peer education.

She has a special interest in symptom management with a focus over the years on strategies to manage fatigue, sleep disturbance, and most recently caregiver burden and palliative care. She is an active member of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), Putting Evidence into Practice (PEP), Sleep Wake Disturbance and Caregiver Burden teams.

For the last 5 years, Margaretta has collaborated closely with Dr. Susan Chang to develop and run the UCSF Neuro-Oncology Gordon Murray Caregiver Program, a one of a kind service offered to the caregivers of all neuro-oncology patients seen at UCSF.

Stakeholder Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale, AZ

Amanda bates, MS

Amanda Bates is Assistant Director of Community Relations for the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS). She is leading the development of the Patient and Caregiver Engagement Program. She is also a staff member of the Defeat GBM Research Collaborative.

Before joining NBTS in 2015, she was an educator of chemistry.