John Wayne Alumni Fellows are working to revolutionize cancer treatment worldwide.

The John Wayne Surgical Oncology Fellowship program is one of the largest in the country and trains the surgeons of tomorrow in the latest techniques and technologies for treating and researching cancer. Fellows graduate and go on to leadership roles at cancer centers and academic institutions across the country. The John Wayne Cancer Foundation continues to support a network of over 160+ alumni fellows who are revolutionizing cancer treatment worldwide.

In addition to the Fellowship program, the John Wayne Cancer Foundation is proud to fund three different grants to help further cancer research initiatives. An Alumni Fellows Grant is given to a medical professional who graduated from the John Wayne Surgical Oncology Fellowship program. The John Wayne Cancer Foundation believes the cancer-fighting community is stronger together and would love your help in supporting this important research!


The John Wayne Alumni Fellows Grant Program provides John Wayne Alumni Fellows with funding to further clinical research efforts in surgical oncology. Most recently, the John Wayne Cancer Foundation has funded the following three Alumni Fellows to continue cancer research and treatment in specific areas noted below.

Mark Faries, MD
Cedars-Sinai Medical Care Foundation
(The Angeles Clinic & Research Institute)

Proposal: Phase 2 Study of Nicotinamide for Prevention of Invasive SkinCancer in Subjects Previously Diagnosed with Skin Malignancies.

David Ollila, MD
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Proposal: Artificial Intelligence-Aided Digital Pathology to Improve Diagnosis in Metastatic Melanoma

Juan Santamaria, MD
University of Nebraska MedicalCenter

Proposal: Increasing Latinx Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Participation through Patient Navigation


John Wayne Cancer Foundation provides funding for the John Wayne Clinical Research Lecture at the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) International Conference. This year’s speaker is Jatin P. Shah, MD. The title of Dr. Shah’s lecture is “New Avenues to Uplift Global Quality of Care in Surgical Oncology” and will take place virtually of Friday, March 19 from 10-10:30 am ET.

SSO has championed leading-edge education, research, and quality impacting the full spectrum of surgical oncology and cancer care. The mission of the Society of Surgical Oncology is to improve multidisciplinary patient care by advancing the science, education and practice of cancer surgery worldwide.


The John Wayne Cancer Foundation provides an Educational Grant for “The John Wayne Critical Issues in Breast Cancer Forum: Special Considerations in Breast Cancer.” We are grateful to provide the ASBrS with the Educational Grant during their annual meeting which focuses on latest science, updates and innovations for Breast Surgeons. This year’s moderator is Dr. Katharine Yao, a John Wayne Alumni Fellow.


New Partnership between John Wayne Cancer Institute and UC Irvine

2nd year Fellows will have the opportunity to rotate down to Orange County, and work alongside Dr. Pigazzi and faculty.

"UCI is delighted to partner with the John Wayne Cancer Institute on this important educational initiative," states Dr. Pigazzi, Chief of the Surgical Oncology Division and Program Director, UC Irvine Medical Center. "As the only academic Medical Center in Orange County we are honored to be able to lend the expertise of our faculty to such a talented group of young surgeons."

In 2015, the John Wayne Cancer Foundation fulfilled a $500,000, 3-year gift to the JWCI Surgical Oncology Fellowship Training Program.

2016 Presenting Fellows Grant Recipients

John Wayne Alumni Fellows Giving Oral Presentations at World Cancer Congress 2016

Dr. Preya Ananthakrishnan, White Plains Hospital, White Plains, NY

Dr. Melanie Goldfarb, JWCI, St. John's Medical Center, Santa Monica, CA

Dr. Anna Leung, Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Jennifer Lin, Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Anthony Lucci, MD Anderson, Houston, TX

Dr. Partha Ray, University of Illinois, Urbana, Carle Cancer Center

Our Community

Features on the 2016-2017 1st-year Fellows

Andrew Conger, MD (Neurosurgery)

Following a brief career as a high school science teacher, Dr. Conger completed his MD, general surgery internship, and neurosurgical residency at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, LA. In his final year of residency, he served as chief resident during which he designed and implemented a new didactic curriculum and revised the existing program for ABNS primary exam preparation. Dr. Conger's first-author citations include technical reviews of endoscopic endonasal resection of craniopharyngiomas (Neurosurg Focus 2014) and multimodal treatment of arteriovenous malformations (Surg Neurol Int 2015). His review of a conservative approach to radiation therapy following resection of cerebral metastases was recently presented at the annual meeting of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies.

Amanda Graff-Baker, MD (Surg Onc)

Dr. Graff-Baker obtained her medical degree from Yale University in 2010 and completed her surgical internship and general surgery residency at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR, where she was recognized as the St. Vincent’s Hospital Chief Resident of the Year in 2016. She pursued year-long research fellowships during both medical school and residency. Dr. Graff-Baker’s first author publications include “Primary Thyroid Lymphoma: Demographic, Clinical and Pathologic Predictors of Survival in 1408 Cases” (Surgery, 2009) and “Expanded Criteria for Carcinoid Liver Debulking: Maintaining Survival and Increasing the Number of Eligible Patients” (Surgery, 2014). She gave a podium presentation at the 2014 American Association of Endocrine Surgeons Annual Meeting in Boston, MA and was a finalist for the 2015 OHSU Resident Paper of the Year for her research focusing on the outcomes of patients who undergo liver resection for metastatic carcinoid tumors.

Daniel W. Nelson, DO (Surg Onc)

Dr. Nelson is currently an active duty Major in the United States Army. After graduating with honors from Des Moines University College of Medicine (Des Moines, Iowa), he went on to complete general surgery internship and residency training at Madigan Army Medical Center (Fort Lewis, Washington). While at MAMC, Dr. Nelson served as administrative chief resident and was a clinical instructor in general surgery through the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (Bethesda, Maryland). After completing residency, Dr. Nelson was stationed overseas for 1 year, where served as the Chief of General Surgery at the 121st Combat Support Hospital (Seoul, South Korea). Dr. Nelson has authored more than 25 peer-reviewed journal articles and has received awards at both regional and National meetings for his research.

Emily Ho, MD (Breast)

Dr. Emily Ho obtained her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine (Detroit). While there she was president of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association. Additionally, she was nominated to the Gold Humanism Honor Society. She then completed her surgical residency at the Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC, New York). At NUMC she served as chief resident and Graduate Medical Education representative. Dr. Ho’s research includes a third place poster at the regional annual conference for lung herniation in trauma. Additional research includes studies on hip fractures in the elderly at a public safety net hospital.

Ahmed Dehal, MD (Surg Onc)

Dr. Dehal obtained his medical degree from University of Baghdad in Iraq; he was then awarded a Fulbright scholarship to Georgia Southern University where he completed a Master’s degree in Public health and clinical research. As part of his MPH degree, he worked as a research assistant at Georgia Cancer Registry. He then joined the cancer research program at the American Cancer Society where he published several papers on colorectal cancer in the journal of clinical oncology. Dr. Dehal completed his surgical internship and residency training at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center/Kaiser (Fontana) program where he served as chief resident. An evidence-based review of cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC conducted during his elective rotation at MSKCC was recently published in the journal of gastrointestinal oncology. Dr.Dehal also co-authored a chapter on colectomy in a surgical oncology textbook that is currently in press. His research on robotic colorectal surgery was recently presented at the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons meeting Santa Barbara.

Brooke Vuong, MD ( Surg Onc)

Dr. Brooke Vuong obtained her medical degree from the University of California, Davis School of Medicine and then completed surgical internship and residency training at Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles. Dr. Vuong’s general surgery research has included a thorough examination of bile duct injuries during cholecystectomy in a large managed health care organization, the effect of an appendectomy on the nosocomial Clostridium difficile infection, and the relationship between pediatric obesity and perforated appendicitis, all presented at regional, national, and international meetings. She has been involved in oncologic research projects focused on outcome of robotic hepatectomies, the extent of lymph node dissections in thyroid cancer, and the significance of porcelain gallbladder. She is currently enrolling patients in a clinical trial studying the benefit of prophylactic pre-operative pancreatic duct stenting on reducing the rate of post-operative pancreatic fistulas in distal pancreatectomies.