CPEN Member Profiles

The Cancer Patient Education Network (CPEN) is a group of health professionals who share experiences and best practices in all aspects of cancer patient education. Learn more about our members on this page.

Laura Carr

CPEN Chair

Program Manager, Patient Education
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA)

Laura has been at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for 4 years, managing their patient and family education program and making her mark as the plain language go-to for the organization. She’s most proud of her team’s work building up SCCA’s patient education program to include a public facing document library, video library, and growing collection of e-learning courses. She’s a book worm, a yoga fanatic, and loving mom of 3 teens. She loves to learn and grow, and sincerely believes that feedback is, indeed, a gift.

Thanks to CPEN, I have an international network of people I can reach out to on a regular basis to process challenges in my program and learn what I can do differently. CPEN members, more than any other group I’ve been part of, are willing to share their knowledge and resources so that each member can succeed.

Sarah Christensen

CPEN Chair-Elect

Director, Patient Education
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Sarah has been in her role at MD Anderson for 7 years, with 24 total years of cancer education experience. She oversees institutional initiatives and leads a dynamic team of health education specialists and librarians. Her team has created an impressive collection of patient education booklets, videos and Recommended Resources. Sarah enjoys the sunny Texas weather with year-round gardening, being near the Gulf of Mexico and tending to her menagerie of animal companions with her family.

“I know I can always rely on my CPEN colleagues for advice and best practices.”

Debbie Devitt

CPEN Board Secretary

Patient Experience Lead
Durham Regional Cancer Centre/Lakeridge Health

Debbie has been a Registered Nurse for 36 years and in the role of Patient Experience Lead for almost 10 years. In this role, Debbie provides management and oversight to the delivery of patient education to individuals receiving care and treatment at the Durham Regional Cancer Centre. She utilizes every opportunity to share best practices with colleagues at partner sites of the Central East Regional Cancer Program. Recognized for her level of expertise in the development and review of patient facing resources that align with principles of plain language and clear design, Debbie often partners together with colleagues across Lakeridge Health. She completed the Plain Language for Patients/Public Health certificate program offered by the Michener Institute and continually seeks opportunities to enhance her knowledge of best practices in patient education as well as patient experience and engagement.

When she is not working, Debbie enjoys spending time with her husband, 2 adult sons and their families (especially her 4 beautiful granddaughters).

“I describe myself as a lifelong learner and appreciate the educational and engagement opportunities offered by CPEN that contribute to my ongoing professional development.  CPEN also offers me an invaluable network of individuals willing to share from their expertise and available resources.”  


Naa Kwarley Quartey

CPEN Board Treasurer

Manager, Research Program Development
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

I have worked in the Cancer Education Department at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre since 2016 and been in my current role as Manager, Research Program Development since 2020. I am involved with the day to day operations of our research initiatives. Many of our research studies focus on understanding and addressing the information and supportive care needs of patients and their caregivers. I also support with the development of health literate resources for patients and families. I am interested in ensuring research adheres to best practices in health literacy and currently deliver the Health Literacy and Plain Language portion of the Informed Consent Workshop for all research staff at UHN. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, working out, playing volleyball and trying new restaurants!

“The biggest benefit to me from being a CPEN member has been learning from and networking with cancer patient educators and sharing best practices.”


Maritza Nassif, M.Ed.

CPEN Board Member

Program Manager, Patient and Family Programs and Services
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Maritza has been at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for over 6 years, managing the resource centers, the One-to-One peer support program and various Volunteer Services programs. She has worked alongside colleagues to develop a digital resource center, a Dana-Farber Overdrive e-book and audiobook library, relationships with clinical staff to hold live webinars for patients undergoing stem cell transplants and much more. As a young professional it has been vital to connect with others doing similar work and being a part of the CPEN board has been so fruitful. Part time she is an Adjunct Professor at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences teaching Introduction to Psychology. Personally any time she can spend on the beach with a good book is a great day. 


Janet Papadakos

CPEN Canada Board Liaison

Scientist, Co-Director
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Janet Papadakos is a Scientist at The Institute for Education Research, University Health Network, Co-Director, of the Cancer Health Literacy Research Centre, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Provincial Head, Patient Education, at Ontario Health. She is also Assistant Professor, Institute for Health Policy, Management & Evaluation at the University of Toronto. Janet's research and professional program is centered on three platforms:

  1. Health Literacy & Health Communication: Developing interventions to mitigate the impact of low health literacy.
  2. Self-Management: Engaging patient and families to participate in their care.
  3. Patient Education: Advancing patient and family health knowledge.
Janet is an identical twin to her sister Tina Papadakos.

"I have found the networking within the CPEN community to be exceptional!”



Devon Poznanski

CPEN Board Member

Provincial Lead, Patient Education
BC Cancer

Devon works as the Provincial Lead, Patient Education at BC Cancer in Vancouver, Canada.  She has been at BC Cancer for over 15 years and in her current role for 5 years.  As part of the Patient & Family Experience Program, Devon works to ensure BC Cancer produces resources that are easy to understand and meet the needs of our patients and families. Over the past few years, Devon has developed a passion for plain language. She earned a Plain Language Certificate from Simon Fraser University and is now frequently asked to “plain language” communications, education resources and web content.

In the past few years, Devon has helped BC Cancer build their video resources library, increase their number of translated materials, and revise their managing symptoms and side effects handouts.  In her free time, Devon enjoys cooking, getting outside and spending time with her husband and two kids.

“CPEN has been instrumental in my patient education career.  I came into this field knowing very little and CPEN was one of the first resources I found.  The most valuable part of being a member has been the people I’ve met. CPEN members are extremely knowledgeable and always willing to share their resources.”

Allison Reichel

CPEN Board Member

Manager, Patient & Caregiver Education
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

In my role, I help make sure the educational materials MSK offers our patients and their caregivers are comprehensive, current, and clear. My team partners directly with subject matter experts to create and maintain educational resources to help patients and caregivers successfully navigate their cancer treatment. I live in NYC's "sixth borough" -- Hoboken, NJ -- and love walking along the Hudson and appreciating the NYC skyline.

“CPEN has helped me learn more about the field of cancer patient education than I ever could have otherwise. I've met likeminded people from organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada. I've expanded my health literacy and plain language expertise through learning about their challenges and successes. I've also developed my leadership skills by participating in CPEN's committees and special interest groups.”


Clare Sullivan

CPEN Past Chair
Clinical Program Manager of Patient Education
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


I am accountable for the planning, implementation and evaluation of specialized, disease-specific and general multimedia education for patients and families receiving oncology patient care and clinical trials across the continuum. I am a cancer survivor. My passion is teaching Irish dance which I have been doing for 36 years.

“Networking with colleagues has allowed me to build relationships with other cancer centers, share best practices and experiences to help grow our DFCI Patient Education Program. I am humbled to have access to such experienced cancer educators and researchers. I feel compelled to now give back, and share with others new in the field.”

Amanda Stamplis

CPEN Board Member

Plain Language Medical Writer
SWOG Cancer Research Network

My role at SWOG is part of a new plain language initiative that gives focus to communicating with patients and caregivers about clinical trials. Our goal is to make it easier for patients to learn about SWOG trials. My work right now focuses on creating new materials for patients about active trials that they may join. I also work with our protocol development teams to write informed consent documents that are more understandable for everyone. 

After work, I’m most often heading to the gym or rock climbing.

“I joined CPEN during my first year working in cancer patient education. Connecting with others in the field has really helped me see a larger picture of health communications in cancer care. It’s also been a great way to share ideas and resources.”