Board of Directors

Breast Cancer Action is led by a volunteer Board of Directors, a remarkable group of people who set the vision for BCA and lead the organization by determining organizational policy, assuring the organization's financial security, and representing BCA's views to the world at large. A small, hardworking, and incredibly able staff make the board's vision a reality.

We're recruiting new members now - find out about joining BCA's Board of Directors.

We would like you to meet them...

Lauri Andress

Lauri Andress, MPH, J.D., Ph.D has dedicated her career to public service. Her goal is to create a better society by connecting research and academic learning to personal concerns and eventually public considerations. One of the leading experts on “health equity readiness”, Lauri developed the concept through her research and work.  She is advising several public health departments on policies, programs, and competencies related to health inequities.  Under her guidance, the Wisconsin Center for Health Equity in Milwaukee, will be the second operating Center at he local level in the U.S.

Lauri lectures on the public policy process, public health laws and policies, social determinants of health, policy framing, and community organizing. Her research interests have included: building and measuring civic capacity; the study of state-level policies on the organization of public health services; the affects of power on marginalized communities; a comparison and analysis of social capital and community building as levers for improved population health; framing public health policies and agenda setting for the social determinants of health in the United Sates and Britain.

For more than twenty years, she has provided community, media, and government relations to various non-profit organizations, government agencies, and elected officials. As the Director of Operations & Strategic Political Action, her work focused on research and policy initiatives related to the social determinants of health.

Lauri received her doctorate in Community Health Science with a concentration in management and policy sciences from the University of Texas. She also received her master’s in public health from the University of Texas and holds a law degree from South Texas College of Law where she received the Vinson & Elkins Public Interest Fellowship.

Vernal Branch

Vernal was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 45. Now, some ten years later, she is a knowledgeable and dedicated breast cancer advocate.  Vernal began her advocacy work by joining the Y-ME Breast Cancer Organization and the National Breast Cancer Coalition. She has designed an outreach program for the African-American teen girls about breast changes and has participated in peer reviews for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program and for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. In addition to serving on the National Cancer Institute’s Director’s Consumer Liaison Group, Vernal is currently a minority recruitment consultant for the Sister Study, being conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences,  She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation where she works on patient and legislative advocacy issues, and she serves on the Board of Directors for the California-based, HER2 Support.org. Vernal’s honors include: National Breast Cancer Coalition Outstanding Advocate – 1998; Susan G. Komen Honorary Chair “Race for the Cure”-1998; Susan G. Komen BMW Hero Award – 2000; and Companeras En Accion Community Leadership – 2000.

Claudia Cappio, President

With a background in urban planning and local government work in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 25 years, Claudia Cappio brings broad experience in how to manage change, navigate through complicated decisions and work with diverse groups. Previous to board membership, Claudia was a volunteer with BCA. Breast cancer has played a big part in her adult life as she struggled with family and friends who have lived with and died of the disease. Instead of remaining frustrated, angry and fearful, Claudia believes that increasing knowledge of the key issues, working for improvements to treatment, focusing on prevention and advocating for more research on environmental links are much better ways to spend her time and energy. She looks forward to implementing BCA's strategic plan.

Lindsey Collins

Lindsey Collins is a PhD student in the History of Consciousness program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she is writing her dissertation on the history and politics of women's mountaineering climbs undertaken to recover from breast and ovarian cancer. Since she began her graduate studies six years ago, Lindsey has had three friends and relatives diagnosed with breast cancer. Lindsey is particularly interested in continuing to write and teach about the environmental and social justice aspects of who has access to quality health care.

Elaine Costello

Elaine Costello was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. Elaine has found the experience of receiving cancer treatment and living with breast cancer to be frightening and physically difficult. And she considers herself lucky. Friends and members of her family have lost their lives to breast cancer. Ending this disease and helping those who are living with breast cancer is compelling work for Elaine. Elaine is on the BCA Board because she supports BCA’s mission to empower people to think for themselves and to take action to prevent breast cancer.

Elaine has been a city planner in the Bay Area for 30 years and is currently the Community Development Director for the City of Mountain View. She has focused her planning practice on helping local communities make progress on the tough planning issues, including environmental quality, affordable housing and creating a range of transportation choices. In 2006, the American Institute of Certified Planners elected Elaine as a Fellow in recognition of her contributions to the field of city planning. Elaine is also a member of the California Planning Roundtable.

Elaine has two daughters whose school experiences galvanized Elaine’s long engagement with educational issues. And her daughters inspire Elaine’s efforts to create healthier communities.

Catherine DeLorey

With a background in public health, Catherine DeLorey is a long time women's health advocate. She has been director of a woman owned and controlled health center, and is director of Women's Health Institute which strives to empower women to make their own wise health decisions. In addition, she has been an organizer for appropriate health care reform for women for more than 20 years, being the coordinator of Women's Universal Health Initiative, promoting and sharing information with and for women.

Catherine is particularly interested in the health communication aspects of breast cancer, especially regarding prevention and with providing women adequate information to make their own best choices.

Tori Freeman

Tori Freeman graduated from Mills College in 1998 with a B.A. in Sociology. In April 1998, Mills College awarded its first Christine LaFia Leadership Award to Tori. She was inspired to do an internship with BCA during her junior year (she later joined BCA's Development Task Force), after her Professor, Christine LaFia, died of the disease in 1996. Christine was a BCA board member from 1995 until her death, at age 37.

Tori is a 4th generation San Franciscan who grew up in the Bayview and still lives in the community. She is on the board of the India Basin Neighborhood Association and is a single mom to a great little girl, named Zoe. She also hosted a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Action. Learn more about it!

Lisa James

Lisa R. James has been treated for breast cancer twice since 2007; her mother was diagnosed with DCIS in 2009. Serving on the Breast Cancer Action Board offers a way to thank the many people who are helping Lisa and her family and the means to fight to help other families avoid the same challenges. Over the last 26 years, Lisa’s career in nonprofit organizations has spanned from the arts to environmental organizations, medical research and now higher education and includes fundraising, development of international projects and administration.

Belle Shayer, Emeritus

Belle Shayer turned from breast cancer patient to breast cancer advocate after her second bout with breast cancer in 1988. She is a founder of BCA, was the organization's first treasurer, and has served on the board of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Belle is an active member of BCA's Speakers' Bureau, and currently serves as well on the Board of the State of California Women's Health Council. Belle is self-employed as a bookkeeper/accountant and private conservator.

Lee Ann Slinkard

Lee Ann is a senior vice president, services, for Accela, a company that provides software solutions to government agencies, in San Ramon. She has a B.A. in psychology from Stanford University.

Jane Sprague Zones, Vice President

Jane Sprague Zones is a medical sociologist and long-time women's health advocate. She has been on the BCA board off and on since 1996, and served as its Chair from 2000 to 2003. In addition, Jane was a board member of the National Women's Health Network between 1988 and 2008, and is a member of the California Women's Health Council, which is an advisory board to the State Department of Health Services' Office of Women's Health. She came to BCA’s board at the request of board member Margi Stuart, a graduate student of Jane’s at UCSF, when Margi’s breast cancer recurred.  Jane’s primary interests are access to care, integrity in the health system, and drug and device regulation.

Marla Stein

Five years ago, at the age of 32, Marla was diagnosed with breast cancer.  In addition to undergoing chemotherapy and having a bilateral mastectomy performed, she faced many medical errors throughout her course of treatment.    Her sister, now 34, has just undergone the same diagnosis and medical care.   Her mother and grandmother also underwent treatment for breast cancer.  These experiences compelled Marla to join the BCA Board of Directors.

In addition to being a survivor, Marla is a seasoned development fundraising professional with experience working in organizations focused on women’s issues and health advocacy.  She holds a Master’s Degree in International and Intercultural Management from the School for International Training and has traveled and lived in the Middle East, Europe and parts of Southern Africa. San Francisco is now her home.

Tracy Weitz

Tracy Weitz, PhD, MPA, is the Director of the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) program and Associate Director for Public Policy at the National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, both at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).  She holds a joint appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences in the UCSF School of Medicine and the Department of Social and Behavioral Science in UCSF School of Nursing.  Tracy has a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in health care from Missouri State University and a doctoral degree in sociology from the UCSF.

Tracy’s passion is for those aspects of women’s health which are marginalized either for ideological reasons, or because the populations affected lack the means or mechanisms to have their concerns raised.  Her current research focuses on innovative strategies to expand abortion provision in the U.S. and new models for addressing the gap in research related to Asian and Pacific Islander women.  She serves on the EJ-RJ Collaborative of the California Women’s Foundation, exploring the intersection of environmental justice and reproductive justice.  She also serves on the California Women’s Health Council, an advisory body to the California Departments of Public Health and Health Care Services.  In 2008 Tracy received the Felicia Stewart award from the Population, Family Planning and Reproductive Health section of the American Public Health Association.  Tracy previously served on the board of the National Women’s History Project and the California Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (CARAL, now NARAL Pro-Choice California) and is a current Board Member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California as well as Breast Cancer Action.


Marilyn Zivian

Marilyn Zivian was first diagnosed with breast cancer 22 years ago. Ten years later the breast cancer metastasized to her bones. For the past twelve years she has been living with active cancer that has been stabilized with anti-estrogen drug therapy. Soon after moving to San Francisco five years ago, she began working as a volunteer for Breast Cancer Action. She helped analyze the data from Breast Cancer Action's online survey of the side effects experienced by women being treated with aromatase inhibitors and contributed to two publications reporting the survey results.

Before retiring and moving to San Francisco, she led the life of a typical university academic: teaching, doing research, and serving as an administrator. Her teaching specialty was developmental psychology. Her research focused on how the media ideal of the female body, social context and eating values affected the body image and the eating choices of young women, how patient age affected the preferences of clinical psychologists, and how working in either male-dominated or female-dominated workplaces affected the women and men in those professions. As an administrator she served as Chair of her Psychology Department, as Director of the Graduate Program in Psychology, and as Associate Dean, Student Affairs, in the Graduate Faculty. She hopes that her academic skills and knowledge and her experience of living with breast cancer will be useful in helping to further Breast Cancer Action's recent victories:in increasing the degree of the current drug approval process's focus onto the lives and needs of patients and decreasing exposure to environmental contaminants that increase the risk of breast cancer.