Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Returns as Chair, Elyse Gellerman Steps Up as Affiliate Representative
DALLAS – April 4, 2011 –
Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, welcomes LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., M.D.
and Elyse Gellerman
to its board of directors
. Leffall is returning as chair of the board, a position he held previously from 2002 to 2007. Gellerman, who is joining the board as Affiliate representative, is a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness and a leader with the Denver Metropolitan Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.
Leffall succeeds Alexine Clement Jackson as board chair, and Gellerman succeeds Dorothy Paterson as Affiliate representative to the board. Their term of service is two years.
In addition to being a strong advocate for Komen, Leffall is a pre-eminent and widely-regarded surgeon, oncologist, medical educator and leader in professional and civic organizations. As such, his passion and expertise have been vital assets to Komen as the organization has strategically refocused its research and resources in recent years.
“When you grant patients hope, you grant them one of the greatest of all human joys, and that’s the joy of anticipation that perhaps, just maybe, there’s something that can be done to help them,” Leffall said at a Komen event last October. Offering people that hope and joy is what drives Leffall and Komen’s board of directors to diligently guide the organization in leading the global breast cancer movement.
“Dr. Leffall is highly respected as an extraordinary surgeon, oncologist and educator who demonstrates each day his passion to end suffering from this disease,” said Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker
, founder and CEO of Komen for the Cure. “We value his demonstrated leadership ability in guiding our family of staff, volunteers, grantees, partners and advocates around the world, and we know that under his leadership once again, Komen will move closer to discovering and delivering the cures for breast cancer.”
Gellerman served as president of the Komen Denver Metropolitan Affiliate from 2008 to 2010 and also served on its board of directors for six years. She is currently chair of the Affiliate’s Public Policy Committee. As Affiliate representative to the board, Gellerman will represent the interests of more than 120 Komen Affiliates in communities worldwide.
“Our network of 123 Affiliates serving communities around the world is our greatest strength,” said Brinker. “With first-hand knowledge of what it takes for an Affiliate to have a positive and profound impact on its community, Elyse is an invaluable asset to us as she has been to the Denver Affiliate. We are confident in her expertise and delighted to have her as a representative for Komen Affiliates all around the world.”
Brinker thanked Jackson and Paterson for their distinguished service on Komen’s board of directors. “Alexine provided tremendous leadership through a time of significant growth and challenge for our organization,” Brinker said. “Dorothy’s insights were invaluable as we worked to support our Affiliate network. We cannot thank these two leaders enough for all that they have done in service to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.”
Leffall and Gellerman join Ambassador Brinker, Eric Brinker, Linda Custard, Brenda Lauderback, Linda Law, Connie O'Neill and John D. Raffaelli on the board. Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall
In addition to his involvement with Komen, Leffall serves as the first Charles R. Drew professor of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine, a position he was named to in 1992. His professional life has been devoted to the study of cancer, particularly among the African American population. In his former position as national president of the American Cancer Society, he launched a program focusing on the increasing incidence and mortality of cancer in this community and the implications for other racial and ethnic groups.
In 2006, Susan G. Komen for the Cure established the LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr. Komen Fellowship in Health Disparities to support the participation of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in the field of breast cancer.
Among the many special honors bestowed on Leffall are 14 honorary degrees from American universities, including Georgetown University and Princeton University. He is an Honorary Fellow of several organizations including the West African College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He has inspired students and faculty as visiting professor and guest lecturer at more than 200 medical institutions in the United States and has authored or coauthored more than 150 articles and book chapters. Leffall is also the current chair of the President’s Cancer Panel and a member of the board of trustees for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Leffall is a summa cum laude graduate of Florida A&M College and has a Doctor of Medicine degree from Howard University College of Medicine where he ranked first in his class. Completing his surgical training at Freedmen’s Hospital (now Howard University Hospital), he then took a surgical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Elyse Gellerman
A long-time activist for women’s issues, she is passionate about Komen for the Cure’s mission to save lives and end breast cancer forever, having experienced breast cancer as a co-survivor of many friends and co-workers battling the disease. Gellerman brings to Komen’s board more than a decade of Affiliate expertise as volunteer, board member, officer and advocate.
Initially getting involved with Komen for the Cure as a participant in the Susan G. Komen Denver Metropolitan Race for the Cure®, Gellerman has played an active role in the organization’s Denver Metropolitan Affiliate, serving in many leadership positions, including president from 2008 to 2010. During her tenure, the Affiliate was recognized for its demonstrated commitment to innovation and forward thinking in reducing overall breast cancer mortality as well as disparities in breast cancer mortality. Gellerman served on the Affiliate’s board of directors for six years, a time when the Komen Denver Metropolitan Race for the Cure grew into one of the largest events in the Komen Race Series. She is currently chair of the Affiliate’s Public Policy Committee, which aims to increase access to breast health and breast cancer care for low-income and uninsured individuals.
Gellerman is senior vice president, provider strategies for Aspen Healthcare Metrics, a MedAssets company. She has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare management and, as a consultant for the company, has worked in more than 70 hospitals nationwide, specializing in service line development and cost management.
Originally a radio and television journalist, Gellerman has a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University and a master’s in healthcare systems from the University of Denver. She is a member of the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development and the New England Society for Healthcare Strategy.