Kiara Ellis, MSW (she/her) Director, Community Outreach and Engagement
Kiara is the Masonic Cancer Center’s Community Outreach and Engagement Director. Her passions lie in serving as a change agent for the community and impacting systemic change that will further cancer health equity in the state. She is the creator of the Cancer Center Community Impact Forum.
Jen Poynter, MPH, PhD (she/her) Associate Director, Community Outreach and Engagement
Dr. Poynter serves as the Associate Director of Community Outreach and Engagement. Her role in the Masonic Cancer Center is to understand the cancer burden in Minnesota and ensure that the Center is responding to the needs of the population of Minnesota through research and clinical care.
Rebekah Pratt, PhD (she/her) Associate Co-Director, Community Outreach and Engagement
Dr. Pratt serves as the Associate Co-Director of Community Outreach and Engagement. Dr. Pratt's role with the Masonic Cancer Center is supporting the ongoing efforts to build relationships with communities, enhance community engagement, and bring community voices into her work.
Christopher Pennell, PhD (he/him) Associate Director, Education
Dr. Pennell serves as the Masonic Cancer Center’s faculty education liaison. His role in the center is to help ensure the Masonic Cancer Center meets the needs of Minnesotans and to encourage students to pursue careers in cancer care and research.
Patty Beckmann, RN (she/her) Oncology Patient Access Nurse
Patty Beckmann, RN, is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and has worked for over 25 years on a variety of cancer clinical research trials. Her professional experience and passion for helping patients navigate clinical research make her a great fit to educate and provide resources to our patients and community members through our Cancer Information Line.
Lissa Martinez Huebner (she/her) Event and Administrative Manager
Ashley Pohlenz, MPH (she/her) Senior Research and Program Coordinator
Ashley comes to the Masonic Cancer Center with a background in reducing cancer burden in Indigenous communities. Her professional experience includes program evaluation, health systems change, and program design and implementation.
Amna Hussein, MBS (she/her) Community Engagement Coordinator
Amna completed her Master’s degree in Biological Sciences with a focus on public health, immunology, and cancer biology. Through various opportunities, Amna's professional experiences have centered around tackling inequities in education and healthcare. She is passionate about addressing the social determinants of health to reduce cancer health disparities in communities across the state.
Cathleen Drilling (she/her) Community Engagement and Education Coordinator
Cathleen previously taught high school science in public, private, and international schools with a focus on helping students to develop the knowledge, skills, and habits needed to carry out their own independent investigations. She is passionate about making science research engaging and accessible for diverse learners of all ages. Her role is to support students and rising researchers in their pathways; additionally, she seeks to help connect the local community with the work of the Masonic Cancer Center.
Elsie Aldrich (she/her) Events Coordinator
Elsie comes to the Masonic Cancer Center from a background in event planning and catering. She has planned and executed over 800 events, and strives to organize meaningful and impactful gatherings for the community & the Masonic Cancer Center network as a whole.
Lei Simmons (she/her) Executive Office and Administrative Specialist
Susannah Bartlow, PhD (she/her) Community Outreach and Engagement Associate - Minnesota Cancer Clinical Trials Network (MNCCTN)
Susannah's job is to understand barriers to clinical research in diverse community settings and develop engagement programs to overcome these barriers. She is passionate about putting research into practice and bridging the gaps between resources and people. Learn more about the Minnesota Cancer Clinical Trials Network (MNCCTN).
Sandy Chen (she/her) Event and Administrative Support Student Worker
Sandy is majoring in Biology and plans to further her education by attending a graduate school to become a Physician Assistant. She is from New Ulm, Minnesota and is a part of the Chinese American Student Association (CASA) on campus, along with the College of Biological Sciences Dean's Scholar Program.
Hattie Gibson (she/her) Public Health Outreach Student
Hattie is a senior majoring in Biology, Society, and Environment with a minor in Public Health. She plans to pursue a career in medicine after undergrad, and hopefully go into pediatrics primary care. She is passionate about community engagement and outreach/public health. She has spent time during her undergrad career doing community-focused public health research in the Twin Cities with Somali and Jamaican communities.