As LatinaSHARE commemorates its 30th Anniversary, the LatinaSHARE Conference emerges as a dynamic force, embodying the theme of "United Voices." This milestone event stands as a testament to three decades of collective resilience and progress within our cancer support community. Designed to spur action, this conference centers around community empowerment, education on cancers and support resources, and the shared narratives that bind us together. Here we will address critical issues that impact Latinas with cancer such as socioeconomic barriers and resources, trust in health services, cultural stigmas, and mental health impacts, and serve as a platform to connect, share experiences, and learn from each other. Join us in this significant celebration as we explore innovative ideas and resources, connect with shared wisdom, and take decisive action to propel our community towards a healthier, more supported future.

This conference will be held in Spanish, with simultaneous translation into English.

March 21, 2024

4W43 Building Event Space, 4 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
|      8:00 am
Registration & Breakfast
|      9:00 am
Emcee: Jennie Santiago, Senior Director, LatinaSHARE Patient Support & Education, SHARE Cancer Support
Greetings: Briana Cristal Martin-Villa, John Gardner Public Service Fellow, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Cancer Moonshot
|      9:15 am
Opening Keynote: Latina Empowerment Through United Voices
In a powerful opening keynote address, our expert speaker passionately empowers Latinas to take charge of their health and finances, particularly in the realm of cancer support. With a focus on using your unique voice to build a united community, the speaker inspires action, fostering a network of support that transcends individual challenges and creates a formidable force for health and resilience.
Keynote: Eileen Z. Fuentes, Breast Cancer Survivor, Advocate and Educator
|      9:45 am
Panel Discussion: Exploring Advanced Cancers and the Latest in Cancer Care
Engage with experts and medical professionals on the most aggressive cancers that greatly impact the Latina community, and the latest cancer care updates, trends, and tools that you can utilize in your lives and communities.
Moderator: Egli Colón Stephens, Ed.D., Educator 
Panel: Dr. Maricelly Santiago Ortiz, Scientist and Health Science Communicator, Oncology Quality Services LLC
Dr. Alvaro Menendez, Hematology & Oncology Specialist, Hartford Healthcare Medical Group
|      10:45 am
|      11:00 am
Breakout Discussions: Concurrent Sessions
  1. A. Engaging Family & Community to Challenge Stigmas - Join this engaging and facilitated discussion detailing the social stigmas surrounding cancer, how it impacts Latinas and their families, and ways to ease fears surrounding preventative care and treatment. This discussion will also incorporate the crucial aspects of religion and spirituality in the context of cancer care and community.
Presenters: Paola Torres, MPH, Senior Research Specialist, University of Illinois Cancer Center
Rev. Dr. Zorina Costello, Director of Community Engagement, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Facilitator: Dr. Maricelly Santiago Ortiz, Scientist and Health Science Communicator, Oncology Quality Services LLC

  1. B. Latina Representation in Clinical Trials - Latina representation is lacking in cancer clinical trials, but it’s extremely important in being able to address specific drugs and treatments needed for this demographic. Learn how engaging in clinical trials can be an important step to better cancer treatment for Latinas, and discuss strategies to influence others in the community to participate. 
Presenter: Bárbara Segarra-Vázquez, DHSc, Professor, School of Health Professions, University of Puerto Rico 
Facilitator: Sandra M. Morales, Patient Navigator, SHARE Cancer Support

  1. C. Building Latina Trust in Health Services - Understand Patient Navigation and how it can help address challenges such as communication and language barriers, bias, and access to treatments and information.
Presenter: Kelly Umaña, Senior Manager, Operations and Innovation, Maryland Latinos Unidos
Co-facilitators: Jennie Santiago, Senior Director, LatinaSHARE Patient Support & Education, SHARE Cancer Support
Olympia Cepeda, MPH, LatinaSHARE Director and Senior Outreach, SHARE Cancer Support

  1. D. English Breakout: Cancer’s Impact on the Mind and Body - Understand and address mental health, as well as physical, sexual, and reproductive challenges that impact Latinas during and post cancer treatment. Hear real stories, and learn strategies around rebuilding self care and love during times that test confidence and self esteem.
Presenter: Ife Lenard, DEIB Executive, Share Cancer Support
|      12:00 pm
Buffet Networking Luncheon
|      1:00 pm
Fireside Chat Series:
Engage with leaders as they dive into discussions around three important topics during this Fireside Chat Series.
Emcee: Maria Teresa Estrella, Vice President of Outreach, SHARE Cancer Support
Moderator: Nancy Peña, Lead Patient Navigator at DFCI and Director of NPI, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Navegación de Pacientes Internacional, Inc. (NPI)

  1. A. Climate Change Impact on Latina Health [1:00pm - 1:45pm] 
Understand how underserved communities are impacted the greatest by climate change, what affects it has on the Latina community and cancer care, and what can be done to mitigate future risks.
Presenter: Gabriela Lemus, Executive Director, Maryland Latinos Unidos

  1. B. Improving Health Literacy in the Latina Community [1:55pm - 2:40pm] 
Engage in this discussion on the importance of cancer education and sharing information on nutrition and preventative care in the Latina community.
Presenter: Marenid Planell Camacho, CD, MS, MFT, Founder, Health Literacy Specialist, Public Health Doctorate Student, Beyond the Uterus

  1. C. Economic Barriers and Ways to Find Resources   [2:50pm - 3:40pm] 
Lack of insurance, access to facilities, transportation, caregiver services, and finances pose a significant challenge to Latinas getting the care they need. Engage in this discussion around barriers, existing resources, and additional ways to address financial challenges.
Presenter: Vilmarie Rodriguez, MSW, LCSW, Vice President of Patient Assistance and Community Engagement, Cancer Care
|      3:45 pm
Ambassador Awards Ceremony & Perspectives Panel Discussion
Meet this year’s LatinaSHARE Awardees and learn from a brief panel discussion, why they became Ambassadors, their experiences and hopes for the future.
Moderator: Maria Teresa Estrella, Vice President of Outreach, SHARE Cancer Support
Ambassador Panel:
Leticia Rodriguez
Leslie Kivelier
|      4:30 pm
30th Anniversary Celebration
Embark on a jubilant journey with us as LatinaSHARE marks its 30th Anniversary! Be part of the celebration as we applaud the exceptional efforts of our LatinaSHARE ambassadors and facilitators who have been instrumental in uplifting the Latina cancer community. Stay for the festivities, relish in delectable cultural cuisines, sway to vibrant music, and immerse yourself in the heartwarming spirit of our incredible community celebration.
Agenda Subject to change.
Bárbara Segarra-Vázquez
Professor, School of Health Professions, University of Puerto Rico
Bárbara Segarra-Vázquez D.H.Sc., has been a faculty member at the University of Puerto Rico for more than 30 years and is the Principal Investigators of a R25 training program for young investigators funded by NIMHD. She is a two-time breast cancer survivor and is very active as a research advocate. One of her main efforts is to increase diversity in clinical trials. She is the co-chair of SWOG Cancer Network Patient Advocates Committee and a member of the Cancer Care Delivery Committee. She serves on the Susan G. Komen Advocates in Science Steering Committee and is also a member of the External Advisory Panel for the Participant Engagement and Cancer Genome Sequencing (PE-CGS) Network. She is also the co-chair of the Patient Engagement Committee for Komen’s Share for Cures. She is a member of the Task Force: Latino Research Against Cancer the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio.
Dr. Maricelly Santiago-Ortiz
Scientist and Health Science Communicator, Oncology Quality Services LLC
Dr. Maricelly Santiago Ortiz, a young Puerto Rican scientist and health communicator, brings 24 years of experience in research, teaching, and cancer care. With degrees in Industrial Microbiology and Biology, and a specialization in Oncology and chronic disease, she has worked in academia, the pharmaceutical industry, and community outreach. Dr. Santiago has led numerous oncology projects, served on executive committees, and received over 30 awards. She is a prominent health communicator in Puerto Rico, the US, and Latin America, advocating for cancer education and community outreach. Recently, she joined a pioneering Educational Program in Hispanic Oncology, becoming the first Puerto Rican member, and collaborates with Telemundo Nacional. Dr. Santiago's passion lies in translating scientific efforts into community outreach, exemplified by her role as the founder and Executive Director of Jaque Mate Contra el Cancer, a non-profit in Puerto Rico dedicated to supporting cancer patients. Her motto: bet on the survival of cancer patients.

Egli Colón Stephens
Dr. Egli Colón Stephens, a woman of deep faith and commitment to social justice and education, holds degrees in Health Care Administration, Urban and Multicultural Education, and a doctorate in the same field. She's also a certified teacher and has taught for over 20 years at various New York City universities. Beyond academia, she's a passionate baker and entrepreneur, running her business, Bizcochitos by Egli. An author and co-author of several books, she's been featured in various publications and media outlets, including Oprah Daily and The New York Times. Additionally, she's a certified life coach, former professional lifestyle model, and distinguished lecturer on human rights. Despite her humble beginnings in the Dominican Republic, she's achieved remarkable success, though she recently faced the profound loss of her daughter to cancer.
Eileen Z. Fuentes
Breast Cancer Survivor, Advocate and Educator
Eileen was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2008 and has since become a fierce advocate for all patients with a focus on the most marginalized. For six years, she led a free bilingual wellness program for patients in collaboration with the Herbert Irving Cancer Center at Columbia University Medical Center where she worked full- time addressing disparities in cancer care using communication and patient education strategies that are culturally appropriate, and later at Memorial Sloan Kettering overseeing the Department of Patient Relations. In addition to overseeing HR operations for NYC’s public hospital system, she serves as patient advocate for the
National Cancer Institute, SWOG Cancer Research Network, the Society for Integrative Oncology and New York City’s Nutrition Education Network. Eileen has been recognized by the United States Dominican Consulate for her efforts and was recently honored as 1 of 25 individuals working to improve the lives of people with cancer. Eileen is a wife and mother to three daughters and earned her graduate degree in Health Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Dr. Gabriela Lemus
 Executive Director, Maryland Latinos Unidos
Dr. Gabriela Lemus is a passionate advocate for the Latin community at the intersection of social justice and economic growth. Her career spans more than 20 years in senior strategic leadership roles in congressional and government affairs, non-profit management, policy advocacy and community/civic engagement. She joined Maryland Latinos Unidos (MLU) as the founding Executive Director in 2020 after launching – Revolution Strategy US - a management and communications strategy consultancy where she advised clients best practices for building multi-racial coalitions and advocacy campaigns, advancing public policy and civic engagement. In her first year as Executive Director of MLU, she co-founded and administered the Mid-Atlantic Latinx Vaccine Equity Coalition (MALVEC), now the Latino Health Equity Alliance (LHEA).

Ife Lenard
DEIB Executive, Share Cancer Support
Ife Lenard, MSW, Ed.M., has a profound commitment to intentional spaces that encourage self-awareness and critical reflective practices. Her ability to serve as a catalyst, share stories, and unpack inequities that cause harm assists many in their journey. Ife beautifully uses the transformational movements of educational leadership, clinical social work, and restorative and contemplative practices to supportively guide holistic development and collective humanity. She serves as a Professor, Executive Coach & Consultant, nationally and internationally. Ife holds a B.S. in Human Ecology and two Masters–Clinical Social Work and Educational Leadership.

Jennie Santiago
Senior Director, LatinaSHARE Patient Support & Education, SHARE Cancer Support
 Jennie Santiago's journey with SHARE began upon receiving a breast cancer diagnosis, leading her to join as a support group member. Initially unsure of what to expect, she soon noticed the diverse backgrounds of the women in the group—many from different countries, struggling with language barriers, lack of health insurance, and difficulties communicating with their doctors. Motivated to make a difference, she started volunteering in outreach efforts, gradually transitioning to a part-time role. This path eventually led to a fulfilling opportunity as a Survivor Patient Navigator, a role she deeply values. From her humble beginnings as a support group member, she has evolved into a Survivor, Patient Advocate, Support Group Facilitator, and Survivor Patient Navigator. Her journey serves as an inspiration for LatinaSHARE program participants and Ambassadors, empowering them to emerge as leaders from their own support groups.
Kelly Umaña
 Executive Director, Maryland Latinos Unidos
Kelly Umaña, MPH, CCHW, is a seasoned public health professional with nine-plus years of diverse experience spanning public, private, governmental, and non-profit sectors. Ms. Umaña currently works with Maryland Latinos Unidos as a Senior Manager, Operations and Innovation. Specializing in health equity, she has successfully implemented community-based programs across various public health domains such as maternal health, primary care, chronic disease, and COVID-19 to serve the most underserved population. She is also a certified Community Health Worker and is an Advisory Committee Member for the Maryland Department of Health State Community Health Worker Advisory Committee. She is currently completing her Doctorate in Public Health at the George Washington University, Milken School of Public Health.

Marenid Planell Camacho
 CD, MS, MFT, Founder, Health Literacy Specialist, Public Health Doctorate Student, Más allá del útero
With over a decade dedicated to non-profit healthcare organizations, Marenid Planell Camacho is committed to enhancing healthcare access and quality, especially for pregnant individuals and their families. Specializing in Perinatal Mental Health and Health Literacy, she holds a Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy and is pursuing a doctorate in Public Health. As the founder of "Más allá del útero," established in 2017, she provides vital Perinatal Mental Health and Health Literacy education, particularly for Spanish speaking communities. Her unwavering commitment is to drive advancements in the field, aiming to ensure equitable healthcare access by addressing health literacy barriers, fueled by a passion for positive change in healthcare systems. Her passion, combined with a profound understanding of community engagement, fuels her relentless pursuit of positive change in healthcare systems, ultimately benefiting the well-being of individuals and families alike.
Maria Teresa Estrella
Vice President of Outreach, SHARE Cancer Support
 In 2006, she discovered SHARE while searching for an educational program tailored to Latinas. Her initial experience with the support group left her feeling welcomed and embraced by the community. Eager to deepen her involvement, she applied for the position of Survivor Patient Navigator in 2007 and held the role until 2019. Over the years, she moved up through the organization, transitioning to the role of Outreach Coordinator in 2009 and eventually being promoted to Co-Director of the LatinaSHARE program in 2011. In 2022, Maria was promoted to Vice President of Outreach at SHARE. As a Latina educator and a 24-year breast cancer survivor, she feels privileged to contribute to this dedicated and passionate organization serving women affected by breast and gynecological cancers. Her mission is to cultivate a robust outreach program for Latinas, Blacks, and Chinese, providing access to resources, support, and opportunities to become community advocates and empowering them to take proactive steps toward their health in their native languages.
Nancy Pena
Lead Patient Navigator at DFCI and Director of NPI, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Navegación de Pacientes Internacional, Inc. (NPI)
Nancy Peña, OPN-CG, CMI, BS, serves as Lead Patient Navigator for Gynecologic Oncology clinics at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) since 2005. She specializes in assisting high-risk patients and those with abnormal findings, ensuring they access appropriate care and resources. Notably, she developed protocols that significantly reduced clinic no-show rates. Additionally, she is the Director and Founder of Navegación de Pacientes Internacional, Inc. (NPI), which trains patient navigators globally, particularly in Spanish-speaking regions like Guatemala. NPI also organizes the First Patient Navigation Congress in Latin America. Peña is actively engaged in various organizations, including the ACS Federal Cervical Cancer Roundtable Education and Community Engagement, and produces Colores Latinos TV, a television show promoting healthcare awareness in Hispanic communities. She holds a BS in Communications and Journalism from the University of San Carlos de Guatemala and certifications in patient navigation and medical interpreting from US-based organizations.
Paola Torres
Senior Research Specialist, University of Illinois Cancer Center
Paola Torres, MPH is a bilingual, bicultural public health researcher and community advocate. She leads several initiatives as a Senior Research Specialist for the Community Engagement and Health Equity Office within the University of Illinois Cancer Center. She spearheads initiatives that focus on strengthening partnerships among community / non-profit leaders, survivor advocates, safety net healthcare systems, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), and equity-driven scientists. She leads as a project manager and evaluator for multilevel, multi-sectoral projects that facilitate Latinas’ access to high quality, affordable breast and cervical cancer care across the continuum. Her efforts serve to facilitate evidence-based interventions that FQHCs and safety net hospitals can implement in their systems to increase breast and cervical healthcare as well as optimize their navigation for social determinants of health. Across these initiatives, Ms. Torres strives to empower Latina patients and establish trustworthy systems for Latinx populations.
Rev. Dr. Zorina Costello
Director of Community Engagement, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Rev. Dr. Zorina Costello directs Community Engagement at the Icahn School of Medicine, overseeing initiatives integrating faith and health in the community, such as Project HEAL. She co-facilitates the Anti-Racism Task Force, emphasizing pastoral care and counseling informed by liberation and Latina feminist theology. Dr. Costello collaborates with Behavioral Oncology and the Tisch Cancer Institute to enhance cancer education and screening adherence. With expertise in Pastoral Care/Counseling and Latina Feminist Theology, she promotes social transformations embracing diverse perspectives. Previously, she directed counseling/training at Texas Christian University and served in the Department of Defense. Ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal denomination, she ministers at Bethel AME Freeport Church. Dr. Costello, of bilingual Puerto Rican heritage, also engages in research and teaching at Mount Sinai Health System.
Olympia Cepeda, MPH
Director of LatinaSHARE and Senior Outreach
Olympia Cepeda is a two-time, triple negative breast cancer survivor, diagnosed at 39 years old. Olympia worked with SHARE on and off for many years, first as the program associate for the LatinaSHARE program and as a patient navigator for St. Luke’s Breast Clinic for seven years. Currently she is the LatinaSHARE Manager/Senior Outreach Coordinator. Her present responsibilities include facilitating three Spanish speaking support groups (2 in NY, 1 in NJ); she is also a Helpline facilitator and works closely with outreach coordinator in the Latino community and senior centers throughout NYC. In 2016, she participated in an initiative as a patient navigator with the NYU Bea W. Welters program.
For three years Olympia was a Research Coordinator/Caregivers Interventionist for the Latina Breast Cancer Survivors and Their Caregivers Study sponsored by Georgetown University and funded by PCORI. SHARE was one of four sites in the country involved in the study.
Olympia is a graduate of the Rutgers University School of Public Health where she earned her MPH degree in 2010.
Vilmarie Rodriguez
Vice President of Patient Assistance and 
Community Engagement, Cancer Care
Vilmarie Rodriguez, Vice President of Patient Assistance and Community Engagement, is a distinguished oncology social work professional. A member of AOSW and NASW, she received the 2019 Emerald Leader Award from NASW-NYC. With a focus on Hispanic patients, she presented "Helping Hispanic Patients Find Their Voice" at the 2004 AOSW conference. Fluent in Spanish, Vilmarie played a crucial role as a Hispanic/Latino Advisory Board Member for LIVESTRONG Foundation (2007-2012).
Her impactful contributions include the August 2023 AOSW Connections article, "Navigating the Psychosocial Impact of Financial Toxicity and Health Equity Disparities in Oncology." She also presented on liver cancer treatment and Hurricane Maria's impact on cancer patients. Vilmarie's commitment extends to written works, such as the chapter "Oncology Social Workers and How We Help" in the 2014 book "Surviving Cancer: Our Voices & Choices." Recognized for her leadership and advocacy, Vilmarie Rodriguez is a dedicated professional shaping the landscape of oncology social work.
Briana Cristal Martin-Villa, B.S.
OSTP John Gardner Public Service FelloW
Briana Martin-Villa serves as a John Gardner Public Service Fellow at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Health Outcomes division, where she works closely with the Biden Cancer Moonshot. In February 2022, President Biden and First Lady Biden reignited the Cancer Moonshot with two bold but achievable goals: (1) to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years, and (2) to improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer. 

Prior to joining the Cancer Moonshot, Briana studied Bioengineering at Stanford University, where she co-led an educational program called BioJam CoLABS (Community Learning with Art, Biodesign, and Solidarity), which integrates bioengineering, human-centered design practices, and culturally-relevant pedagogy to engage youth to explore science as a platform to share and connect with their home communities. Briana also conducted extensive research at Stanford using biomaterials and stem cell technology to explore their application in regenerative medicine. As an aspiring physician-scientist, Briana seeks to create systemic change toward making a more just and accessible healthcare system.
Sandra Morales
Patient Navigator, SHARE Cancer Support
Sandra Morales has been an integral member of the LatinaSHARE Program for over nine years, starting as an Outreach Ambassador providing crucial health, screening and treatment information to at-risk underserved community members.
As a Patient Navigator for the Breast Cancer Surgery Department of a major hospital center in NYC for the past seven years, Sandra helped patients and their families to navigate the complex health system, engaging in Community Outreach and referring patients to outside resources.
Through her work with LatinaSHARE, Sandra has also become involved with the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). She has participated in educational conferences and graduated from NBCC's premier Science Course, ProjectLEAD. Sandra has also participated in NBCC lobbying efforts, traveling to Washington, DC as a patient advocate to meet with New York Congressional staff.
The American Association for Cancer Research recently recognized Sandra's journey from Cancer Survivor to LatinaSHARE Outreach Ambassador in the AACR Cancer Disparities Progress Report 2022. Sandra recently joined SHARE as a Patient Navigator, to assist in creating the Pilot Patient Navigator Program. In this role, she will help build and develop the program in partnership with healthcare partners in order to provide patient-centered care, and improve health outcomes for cancer patients.

Dr. Alvaro Menendez
Breast Medical Oncologist, Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute
Medical Director, Cancer Disparities and Health Equity
Dr. Alvaro Menendez is a board-certified breast medical oncologist at Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute and the Medical Director for Cancer Disparities and Health Equity.  In addition, he holds an academic appointment with the University of Connecticut.
Dr. Menendez has presented and published his research at numerous national and international meetings and journals. His research is focused on guaranteeing equitable use of virtual medicine for cancer care delivery in a post pandemic era by attempting to minimize the impact of linguistic incongruence between healthcare providers and patients. In addition, he has investigated objective predictors of financial toxicity in underrepresented populations, stemming from his observations that current financial toxicity screening tools have limited applicability and reliability in first generation Hispanics; in addition to a recently completed funded trial identifying barriers to minority's participation in oncology clinical trials on the basis of local regional and subcultural differences at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute.
Don't miss out.
Register by March 21 . We look forward to seeing you there.
Conference Location
Information on How to Attend:
Those opting to attend via LIVESTREAM will receive a link to the email you used for registration.
Those attending IN-PERSON will join us at Convene -  4 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036. (212)-997-0125

Via Subway:
Take the 7 train to 5th Ave stop, Exit via 5th Ave & 42nd St at SW corner
Take the B, D, F, M to 42nd St-Bryant Pk stop
Take the N, Q, R, W, 1, 2, 3 train to Times Square - 42nd St stop, Exit via Broadway & 42nd St at SE corner

Parking Garages in Area:
Icon Parking Garage - 1114 6th Ave, New York, NY 10036
Edison ParkFast - 50 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036
Icon Parking - 1133 6th Ave, New York, NY 10036
Nearby Hotels:
We do not have room blocks at these hotels,
but they are offered as reasonable and nearby hotels for those needing rooms:

Hilton Garden Inn
New York Times Square
+1 (646) 569-6740

Motto by Hilton
+1 (212) 668-8648

Sofitel New York
+ 1 (212) 354-8844

Royalton Hotel
+1 (212) 869-4400
Founding Sponsors
Advocate Sponsors
Supporting Sponsors

Processing Registration...