Meet the CLC!

photo of community liaison committee chair Susan Shinagawa

Susan Matsuko Shinagawa (Intercultural Cancer Council and Asian & Pacific Islander National Cancer Survivors Network) is a 21-year, two-time cancer “Thriver” and 17-year chronic pain patient in active treatment, with a primary focus on cancer control and health equity in communities of color, poverty and oppression in the U.S. and its associated territories. Widely recognized as the nation’s leading Asian American cancer activist, she challenges internal norms and exposes external stereotypes contributing to the unequal burden of cancer in health inequality/disparity communities. Ms. Shinagawa has been appointed to numerous cancer/health-related advisory and research councils at the national/federal, state and local levels, and often serves in a leadership capacity.  She is co-founder and past chair of the Asian & Pacific Islander National Cancer Survivors Network, was the first elected chair of the Intercultural Cancer Council (ICC), was the first national community director of the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research & Training [AANCART; (then) an NCI-funded Special Populations Network], and served on the National Project Advisory Council for the DHHS National CLAS Standards (Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care) Enhancement Initiative. She recently served on the American Association for Cancer Research Scientific Program and Scientific Review Committees for the (Oct 2012) 5th AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities & the Medically Underserved, and is a current Community Advisory Group/Council member for two active NCI-funded Community Network Program Centers: WINCART: Weaving an Island Network for Cancer Awareness, Research & Training (regional) and AANCART (national). Ms. Shinagawa is an often-invited speaker on cancer and pain issues germane to minority and medically underserved communities, and has received numerous honors; among them, HEALTH magazine’s 1st Annual Yes You Can! Award (2011), Prevent Cancer Foundation’s 2010 Prevention Laurel for Advocacy, the Institute for the Advancement of Multicultural & Minority Medicine’s 2006 Eagle Fly Free Award, the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month’s 20th Anniversary Honor Roll Award for Outstanding Advocacy on Behalf of Minorities (2004), and the prestigious American Cancer Society’s Humanitarian Award (2000). That year, ICC also honored her with the newly established (biennial juried) Susan Matsuko Shinagawa Cancer Control Leadership Award.  Ms. Shinagawa joined the planning of the SDSU/UCSD Cancer Partnership in Spring 2004 as member of the IAC, and has also chaired the CLC since its inception in 2008.

photo of four community liaison committee members

CLC members top left to right, Lynda Barbour and Tana Lepule. Bottom row left to right, Syvera Hardy and Lolita Lizarraga.

Lynda Barbour, MPH (American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network) has been a volunteer and employee of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and ACS Cancer Action Network (CAN) for the past 20 years, and currently serves as the ACS Field Advocacy Director in California’s San Diego, Imperial and Riverside Counties, overseeing all local, state, and federal advocacy efforts to prevent, detect and control cancer, improve access to quality care, reduce cancer health disparities, and increase research investments. Her interests are influencing public policy for health promotion, community organizing, and social justice efforts to promote health, especially in medically underserved communities. Ms. Barbour’s past research endeavors include studies of the predictors of political action among health advocates; more recently, she has focused on Latino engagement and empowerment for health advocacy. Ms. Barbour joined the planning of the SDSU/UCSD Cancer Partnership in Spring 2004 as a member of the IAC, and has also served as a member of the CLC since 2008.

Syvera Hardy, RN, (San Diego Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association) was born and educated in Winston-Salem, NC. A graduate of Kate Bitting Reynolds Memorial School of Nursing, she has been a Registered Nurse for over 50 years. Ms. Hardy moved to San Diego in 1974, and worked for the San Diego County Department of Health and Human Services for 26 years. Following her retirement in 2002, she was recalled by the County to work part-time for another 8 years. Ms. Hardy also provided nursing services for Scripps-Stevens Cancer Center’s African-American Prostate Cancer Outreach, AIDS Walk San Diego, and Gay Pride San Diego. She has held various elected positions with the San Diego County Black Employees Association, which offered scholarships to the children of County employees and advocated for equal rights for minority employees. An active member of the San Diego Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association, Ms. Hardy has held the elected positions of Treasurer, Corresponding Secretary, Vice President, and President, and currently serves as Public Relations Chairperson, Coordinator of the annual Flu Clinic, and carries SDBNA’s cell phone as the organization’s primary contact for all incoming calls. Her numerous civic activities include (non-medical) volunteer work with the Kearny Mesa Little League and Kearny Mesa Pop Warner League, and volunteer nursing services with the American Cancer Society – Southeast Branch, United Negro College Fund, American Kidney Foundation, the Encanto Street Fair, Pan African Association, and the San Diego Neighborhood Housing Services’ Facelift program. Ms. Hardy has served as member of the CLC since 2008.

Jonathan (Tana) Lepule (Empowering Pacific Islander Communities and Pacific Islander Festival Association) brings expertise gained through extensive experience in working with various community based organizations and academic institutions.  A Pacific Islander of Samoan descent, Mr. Lepule has more than a decade of experience advocating for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander issues at the local, state and federal levels.  He was the Health Division Supervisor with the Union of Pan-Asian Communities, where he worked for 11 years.  Mr. Lepule has served as a co-trainer and facilitator on community capacity building, tobacco education and coalition development, and has been a community collaborator on multiple Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) projects addressing health disparities among Pacific Islander communities, particularly in Southern California. He serves as President of the San Diego Pacific Islander Festival Association, and Executive Director of Empowering Pacific Islander Communities. In recognition of his leadership, Mr. Lepule has been appointed to the California Governor’s Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs, the California Department of Public Health’s Council on Multicultural Health, the San Diego Police Chief’s Advisory Board, and, most recently, the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network’s Board of Directors. Mr. Lepule has served as a member of the CLC since 2009, and later on joined the U54 as a member of the community health representative staff team.

Lolita V. Lizarraga (MANA de San Diego, San Diego Family Care) has been a community activist for more than 20 years. She has served on the Boards of Directors for several organizations, including MANA de San Diego (11 years), San Diego Family Care (12 years), and the Mexican American Correctional Association (13 years). Additionally, though retired from the San Diego County Probation Department following 33 years of dedicated service, she has maintains her memberships with both the California Parole, Probation, Corrections Association and the Mexican American Correctional Association (member since 1981). A 27-year metastatic breast cancer survivor (since 1986), Ms. Lizarraga has a sustained and vital interest on the impact of cancer on Mexican American and other underserved communities. As such, she serves on a variety of committees, including the San Diego Día de La Mujer Latina Health Festival, the Sylvia Chavez Memorial Scholarship Program, and Serra Catholic School. Ms. Lizarraga has served as a member of the CLC since 2008.