From our members, for our members

April 2021 News

Letter from the Editor

To my friends and colleagues within AVAHO, I hope this message finds you doing well and that you are finally seeing a reduction in the impact of Covid-19 in your hospitals and communities.  This past year has certainly been one of both medical catastrophe and achievements occurring simultaneously.  I’m sure most of you believed such as I did, that we would NEVER see or experience anything like this in our lives and this stuff only happens in movies!


When I look at the bigger picture; what amazed me the most (besides all the amazing and heroic things all of you front line works provided and experienced) is how quickly medicine, the government and the pharmaceutical industry worked TOGETHER to find solutions and improve the outcomes this devastating pandemic was having worldwide.  Clinical trials looking for best drug combinations opened rapidly with fewer delays, development of vaccines of various types and mechanisms took priority #1 at all levels.  In reality, things happened very fast as compared to what most of us would expect when trying to get all of the different fractions to work together, but they did!


I am the eternal optimist, and I believe we have seen the worst of this pandemic and many of the success stories are because of all of your dedication, efforts, and commitment to your part of care for our Veteran’s.  I am always grateful for the opportunities I had to provide that level of care when I was still in the workplace, and even more thankful for what ALL of you continue to do daily in these historic times.


Please continue to stay well and keep your families safe, strongly consider getting your Covid vaccine to protect yourself and others and accept my sincere thanks to all of you and our industry partners for your dedication and hard work through all of this.


Rusty Crawford, B Pharm (retired)

AVAHO President 2017-18

Education Committee Co-chair

Letter from the President

I hope this letter finds you well and safe. As you know, we have had a challenging year in midst of a pandemic. I want to personally thank each and everyone of you for the fortitude in taking care our Veterans and our community.

With a newly constituted Board of Directors, we are actively engaging the Membership Committee and Education Committee through regular meetings to ensure we receive feedback from you to create useful educational content for our members. We have also retained a new accreditation agency to expand our offerings of continuing education credit to our interdisciplinary group of members, including social work and psychologists.

This year’s annual meeting on Diversity, Equity, and Stewardship in NexGen Care on September 24th to 26th, 2021 at the Hyatt Regency in Denver, Colorado will be a hybrid of online and in-person attendance.  Our program Co-Chairs Dr. William Wachsman and Ms. Janice Schwartz along with the Program Planning Committee have already started planning a very exciting program.  If you would like to speak at the meeting, please contact one of our program co-chairs. Also, please do not forget to submit your abstracts by July 1, 2021.


We look forward to seeing you at our annual meeting. In the meantime, please stay safe and take good care of yourselves.  See you in Denver!



With warmest regards,


Tony S. Quang, MD, JD

President, AVAHO

2021 Board of Directors

Cindy Bowman:  Cindy is an Onc Nurse Navigator at the Bay Pines VA.  She specializes in head and neck cancer and active on their cancer committee.  She is the new Nurse IG Chair and Co-Chairs the Navigation IG.  Cindy likes to travel in her spare time to Wisconsin or Caribbean!

Brain Dahl:  Brian is a clinical pharmacy specialist, and has been with the VA for 33+ years, joining in 1989.  He has witnessed many changes and advances in cancer care over the years and is excited to be on the board.  He enjoys playing the guitar in his spare time!

Bill Wachsman:  Bill is the most recent Past President of AVAHO and Co-Chair of the Program Committee.  He has participated on this committee for the past 6-7 years.  He is a Heme Onc Provider practicing at the San Diego VA.  In his spare time, he wanders the beaches in sunny California!

Rusty Crawford:  Rusty is a retired Oncology Pharmacist, retiring in 2018 from the Tucson VA.   He has been an active AVAHO member since 2014, served as President 2018-19, took a year hiatus and is now glad to back on the board. He also Co-Chair’s the Education Committee with Mary Thomas.  In his spare time, he enjoys traveling!

Beri Heron:  Beri has been an AVAHO member since 2006, serving on the board for 2 years and is now President Elect.  She works at the National PVM for Hem Onc and will celebrate 20-year anniversary as a VA employee this year.  She enjoys spending her spare time focusing on her kids, along with running and figure skating!

Janice Schwartz: Janice joined the VA and AVAHO in 2014.  She is a Cancer Care Coordinator nurse working out of Surgical Service in Albuquerque.  She enjoys bringing oncology education to nurses and advocates for oncology certification.  In her spare time currently, she enjoys training her two new puppies.

Mark Klein:  Mark has been involved with AVAHO for many years.  He currently lives in Minnesota and is trying to stay warm.  He enjoys family time and telling bad dad jokes to his kids!

Leann Ticknor:  Leann is new to the Board.  Her first year with AVAHO was during the Conference in Chicago.  She is eager to get involved with cancer registry IG.  She currently works at the National Oncology Program Office but her experiences include CTR positions in Wisconsin, Minneapolis, and Nashville VA’s.   She is currently working to update the cancer registry. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the mountains with her dogs.

Angela Schoppet:  Angela is also at the National Oncology Program Office working on revitalizing the cancer registry data base.  Her experience includes working on the Army Corp Cancer Registry, being recruited in the 90’s.  She has also assisted the Navy.  She joined the VA in October 2020.  She is excited to work alongside Dr. Kelley compiling the cancer registry data base.  Angela enjoys hiking and kayaking in good weather, reading and puzzles. 

Tony Quang:  Tony is the current AVAHO President.  He works at the Seattle VA as a Radiation Oncologist, where he treats patients and trains residents. He is excited to see the diversity of the Board this year.  He initially became involved with AVAHO due to the ability to pool VA resources to improve Veteran care through networking and sharing Best Practices.  He maintains a passion to increase access of quality care, and sees this interdisciplinary group having a wealth of knowledge to accomplish such.  He is excited about serving as President this year.  He enjoys travel Caribbean and Asia in his spare time, and is currently writing a text book on the legal aspects of oncology.

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