PROGRAM NURSE MANAGERS
Christine Lyss, R.N.
When Christine’s mother died of breast cancer, she vowed to dedicate her life to working toward a cure. By anyone’s count, she’s kept that promise. She has been an oncology nurse. A volunteer. An advocate. And she’s been an integral part of Gateway to Hope since its founding, growing the program, recruiting medical professionals, and helping to establish partnerships with hospitals and ambulatory care facilities. “My job doesn’t end when I leave here. It will never end until breast cancer ends.” Christine’s experience as an oncology nurse makes her the perfect person to help navigate patients through their treatment and recovery. She goes beyond the job description, communicating with patients as people, not case files. “I believe you should get involved in their background and stories. You really come to understand what their hardships are – their emotional and physical needs. Then you can create a plan, together, that addresses those needs.” Seeing women go from despair to hope inspires Christine every day – the resilience, their willingness to give back. It’s the most rewarding part of her work. Even when Christine leaves the office, she is never off the clock. She has been a longstanding member and leader in the St. Louis Breast Cancer Coalition. Christine sets an example for women everywhere, staying healthy and sharing the Gateway to Hope message.
Jane Roodman Weiss, R.N., B.S.N.
After watching five family members go through the heartache of breast cancer, Jane knew she wanted to use her experiences to make a difference for others. She has spent more than thirty years dedicating her career to oncology nursing and clinical oncology research. Her career has always gravitated toward breast cancer outreach and education, so much so, that she has helped build and grow a breast cancer awareness program for young women and support groups for those battling the disease. Dr. David Caplin knew Jane throughout her nursing career, and asked Jane if she’d be interested in helping get a program off the ground – a program that donated care to woman unable to afford breast cancer treatment. Jane saw the program as a meaningful opportunity, and a three-month volunteer position turned into a passionate career at Gateway to Hope. “Seeing patients go back to normal – living, working, supporting their families. Then they turn around and ask, ‘What can I do for Gateway to Hope?’ You just feel so touched. These are people who have been through extremely difficult times, and seeing them get back on their feet is very rewarding.” Since day one, Jane’s worked tirelessly to recruit partners, inform the community and most importantly, to change the lives of people in need. She has shared the founders’ vision and helped bring it to life.
Dawn Van Houten is the new Executive Director for Gateway to Hope as of May 1, 2016. Dawn has been on the Gateway to Hope Board of Directors for four years, participating on the marketing and development committees. Previous to Gateway to Hope, Dawn was the Vice President, Regional Marketing and Public Relations Director for Fifth Third Bank St. Louis where she managed all facets of marketing, community engagement, media relations, charitable contributions and was a member of the executive leadership team for the bank. Other positions Dawn has held include Vice President, Regional Marketing and Public Relations Director for M&I Bank (old Southwest Bank), Treasury Management Business Development for Enterprise Bank and Trust, and a National Account Manager for NewGround, a St. Louis based trdesign/build/branding firm. She also has experience in training and development, human resources, and operations management. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Business from Truman State University and MBA from Columbia College.
Tracy became involved with Gateway to Hope in 2009 as a member of the Young Friends Committee, and has served as the Executive Assistant and Development Coordinator for the organization. She is actively involved in the St. Louis community as a member of the Angels’ Arms Junior Board and as a class chair for the Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS) annual fund campaign.
Pam has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 30 years. Prior to joining Gateway to Hope she served as the supervisor for BJC’s breast health outreach program and marketed the mammography van. While at Cardinal Glennon Hospital, she successfully received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for Pediatric Surgery Fellows. She has extensive experience in nonprofit project management, analyzing, tracking outcomes, process improvement methodologies and administrative management. She is a native New Yorker; lived and worked as a civilian contractor in Saudi Arabia for ten years and formerly active duty (USAF). Pam received a Bachelors from Columbia College with an emphasis in business and management. “It’s an honor and privilege to be a part of this great organization. I was drawn to Gateway to Hope by their mission and the desire to ensure that individuals diagnosed and impacted by breast cancer understand they are not alone.”
Keri Koehler, LMSW
When Keri graduated from Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work she knew her passion would be to pursue a career in medical social work. Embarking on this path was the optimal way for her to ensure that individuals have access to high quality health care. Keri firmly believes that an individual with a chronic illness is so much more than a diagnosis. “I believe each individual deserves all the support needed to successfully navigate the complicated health care system.” Keri is well prepared to take on the challenges of the newly launched Insurance Premium Program at Gateway to Hope. She vigorously works to assist individuals diagnosed with breast cancer or at high risk for developing the disease, with the cost of their health insurance premiums and with their basic household expenses to ease financial hardship. It is evident from Keri’s experience interning at BJC Hospice Center, the Saint Louis University Cancer Center and serving as the Program Coordinator for the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Program that she has a strong passion and deep commitment for working with oncology patients. She brings a high level of knowledge to each and every individual she helps. “My goal as a Program Social Worker at Gateway to Hope is to combine my interests and passions to help an even greater number of individuals that need medical, emotional and financial assistance. I am very grateful for the opportunity to guide so many deserving individuals with breast cancer through their treatment journey.”
Delesha has a background in administration and experience working for non-profit organizations. She is a native St. Louisan and enjoys cooking, participating in arts and crafts with her daughter, and spending time with friends and family.