Staff

Every day, we come together at The Mesothelioma Center to advocate for the people that the asbestos industry turned its back on: Hard-working Americans. Our mission is to provide free information, resources and personal assistance for anyone fighting mesothelioma — whether it’s you or a loved one.

We are here for all of you: Survivors, caregivers and patients.

As a team, we are an advocacy group dedicated to changing the lives of mesothelioma patients around the country. As individuals, we are medical experts, patient advocates, health writers and so much more.

Learn About The Mesothelioma Center

We are an advocacy center that provides free resources and information to people affected by mesothelioma.

Read More

Editorial Team

Our team of writers have spent years reviewing and reading the results of many clinical trials involving new drugs and treatments, interviewing doctors and researchers, speaking with caregivers and survivors, and sharing their personal stories of cancer and mesothelioma.

Walter Pacheco

Walter Pacheco,

Editor

With nearly 20 years of experience, Walter has a history of making sure people are getting the information they need. As the editor of Asbestos.com, he ensures his team of writers provides patients and their loved ones with the latest and most accurate information on mesothelioma diagnosis, treatments, clinical trials and other facets of the disease.

Contact
Tim Povtak

Tim Povtak,

Senior Content Writer

Award-winning writer and journalist Tim Povtak brings more than three decades of experience to The Mesothelioma Center. He spends most of his time speaking with mesothelioma researchers, thoracic surgeons and mesothelioma patients in order to share their words and stories with everyone in the mesothelioma community.

Contact

Michelle Whitmer

Michelle Whitmer,

Content Writer

Michelle has devoted much of her professional life to helping mesothelioma patients get the assistance they deserve. For nearly a decade, she has shared resources about nutrition, health and wellness. Michelle is a member of the American Holistic Medical Association and has been quoted in The New York Times and many more publications. Her dedication to accuracy and clarity has helped Asbestos.com become one of the most trusted internet resources for mesothelioma survivors and their families.

Contact
Matt Mauney

Matt Mauney,

Content Writer

Dedicated to sharing cancer research and treatment options with mesothelioma patients, Matt spends much of his time diving into mesothelioma research articles to ensure people in the mesothelioma community know the latest medical advancements. While he hasn’t been directly affected by mesothelioma, cancer runs in his family. His commitment to cancer survivors drives his desire to help every patient get the resources they need.

Contact

Daniel King

Daniel King,

Content Writer

As an investigative writer with a dual interest in mesothelioma research and environmental issues, Daniel aims to educate others about the dangers of asbestos exposure in order to protect them from the deadly carcinogen linked to mesothelioma before it is too late. On a daily basis, he advocates for a U.S. ban on asbestos. Contact

Kasie Coleman

Kasie Coleman,

Contributing Writer

After struggling with symptoms and misdiagnoses for more than a year, Kasie was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2010. Two HIPEC procedures and several cycles of chemotherapy later, her cancer entered remission. Now, she spends her days running her cupcake business in Baton Rouge and bringing hope to others through her story of survival. Contact


Lorraine Kember

Lorraine Kember,

Contributing Writer

Lorraine is an Australian author and inspirational speaker known worldwide for sharing her firsthand experience as a cancer caregiver. Her husband Brian fought pleural mesothelioma for two years before losing his battle in 2001. Lorraine later shared her mesothelioma caregiver experience with the world. Contact

Melanie Ball

Melanie Ball,

Contributing Writer

Melanie was only 14 years old when she lost her father to mesothelioma. Working in tandem with her mother, Melanie took on the role of caregiver at a very early age. As she grew up, she vowed to use the loss of her father as a means to educate others about the dangers of asbestos exposure and the trials that accompany a mesothelioma diagnosis. Taking it one step further, Melanie is now in the process of becoming of clinical psychologist. Contact

At a time when every little medical service has become almost prohibitively expensive, The Mesothelioma Center provides free resources and guidance to patients who need it most.
Daniel King
Content Writer

Community Outreach Team

Our Outreach Team often communicates directly with patients and caregivers through our social media platforms and other organizations that share our commitment to raise awareness about mesothelioma and asbestos dangers.

Cara Tompot

Cara Tompot,

Social Media Specialist

Every day, Cara speaks with mesothelioma survivors, caregivers and family members in the mesothelioma community. Her goal: Help people find the resources they need. For Cara, cancer has always hit close to home. As a childhood cancer survivor, she knows the fear of the unknown, and as the daughter of a long-term breast cancer survivor, she knows life as a caregiver. Cara also regularly contributes to HuffPost (formerly The Huffington Post) to share her experiences throughout her family’s cancer battle. Contact

Tyler Heath

Tyler Heath,

Outreach Manager

For Tyler, cancer survivors have always been people he wanted to support. His uncle began a cancer battle at a young age, which ignited Tyler’s desire to give back. That’s why he spends time raising awareness about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos exposure. Every day, he works to build relationships with outside organizations. Through these efforts, The Mesothelioma Center is able to advocate for mesothelioma patients throughout their battles. Contact

Contributing Experts

One of the factors that distinguish Asbestos.com and The Mesothelioma Center from similar organizations is the unique stories mesothelioma specialists from across the country share with us. Doctors at the best mesothelioma cancer centers submit their own stories about treatments, their philosophies and successes treating the cancer.

Dr. Jacques Fontaine

Dr. Jacques Fontaine,

Thoracic Surgeon

Dr. Fontaine has practiced thoracic surgery for more than a decade. As a renowned pleural mesothelioma specialist, he leads the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. His dedication to multidisciplinary care and robotic surgery has changed the lives of numerous mesothelioma patients. Contact

Dr. Abraham Lebenthal

Dr. Abraham Lebenthal,

Thoracic Surgeon

Dr. Lebenthal is a thoracic surgeon with a focus on pleural mesothelioma. Currently splitting his time between the VA Boston Healthcare System and the nearby Brigham and Women’s Hospital, he is committed to finding the best treatment options for pleural mesothelioma patients around the country. Contact


Tejal Parekh

Tejal Parekh,

MS, RD, LD/N

Tejal is a registered and licensed dietitian in Florida. For years, she has focused on oncology nutrition in hopes of helping cancer patients maintain a healthy weight throughout their cancer battle. She recently authored "Your Nutrition Guide to Mesothelioma: Recipes & Tips for Healthy Eating" to specifically assist mesothelioma patients improve their diet, nutritional health and ease their cancer symptoms. Contact

Dana Nolan

Dana Nolan,

Clinical Psychologist

Dana Nolan, MS, LMHC, is a licensed mental health counselor who moderates the monthly support group at Asbestos.com alongside our on-staff nurse. She has more than 15 years of experience as a mental health counselor. Specializing in helping patients cope with cancer and other terminal illnesses, Dana strives to aid mesothelioma patients as they overcome the physical and emotional challenges of the disease. Contact

When patients are dealing with a very rare diagnosis such as mesothelioma, they are often searching for others dealing with the same disease. The Coping with Mesothelioma support group helps to fill that void.
Dana Nolan
Clinical Psychologist

Our Patient Advocate Support Team

We believe no one should battle mesothelioma alone. That’s why our team of Patient Advocates is committed to helping anyone affected by mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness.

When you contact The Mesothelioma Center, you connect with a Patient Advocate dedicated to finding the resources and care you need for a longer and happier life. The advocate will be there with you throughout the whole mesothelioma battle — from diagnosis and surgery to remission or recurrence. You are not alone in this. The Mesothelioma Center is here to help you.

Karen Selby

Karen Selby, RN

Registered Nurse and Patient Advocate

Karen Selby joined Asbestos.com in 2009. She is a registered nurse with a background in oncology and thoracic surgery and was the director of a tissue bank before becoming a Patient Advocate at The Mesothelioma Center. Karen has assisted surgeons with thoracic surgeries such as lung resections, lung transplants, pneumonectomies, pleurectomies and wedge resections. Contact

Joe Lahav

Joe Lahav,

Lawyer and Legal Expert

As a young man, Joe lost his mother to cancer. He knows what it's like loving and losing someone to a disease such as mesothelioma. Joe ensures that all those who seek our help are treated with compassion and are provided with the assistance they need to promote their survival. As a lawyer and our in-house legal expert, Joe assists mesothelioma patients with legal advice as well as finding financial assistance to cover the costs of treatment, travel and other expenses. Contact


Vanessa Blanco

Vanessa Blanco,

Patient Advocate

With a background in health service administration, Vanessa works hard to ensure patients can get the resources they need. She is dedicated to providing mesothelioma patients and their family members the tools and knowledge to battle this cancer. Vanessa is also bilingual in English and Spanish, which makes it possible for us to help people in both languages. Contact

Danielle DiPietro

Danielle DiPietro,

Veterans Outreach Liaison and Patient Advocate

Danielle lost two uncles to cancer at a young age. She believes a specialist could have made a difference. As our Veterans Outreach Liaison and a Patient Advocate, Danielle’s goal is to ensure patients get the best care possible — medically, financially and emotionally. She is a VA-accredited Claims Agent, which means she can offer professional guidance for veterans looking to file a claim with the VA. Contact


Missy Edmunds

Missy Edmunds,

Medical Outreach Director

As the leader of the Medical Outreach team, Missy is constantly building new relationships with mesothelioma specialists around the US. Given the rarity of mesothelioma, many patients are misdiagnosed. This is why Missy runs our free Doctor Match program. A mesothelioma specialist gives patients the best chance at a longer prognosis with better treatment options. She also helps patients find travel grants and discounted lodging to ensure they can afford they care they need. Contact

Jose Ortiz

Jose Ortiz,

Medical Outreach Liaison

Jose works hand in hand with Missy to foster strong relationships with mesothelioma researchers and thoracic surgeons around the country. By getting to know these specialists, he can offer better recommendations for patients seeking a second opinion with someone specializing in this rare cancer. Contact


Aaron Munz

Aaron Munz,

Director of Veterans Department

U.S. Army Capt. Aaron Munz leads our Veterans Department in hopes of supporting the brave men and women who have fearlessly defended our country. The New York native is a decorated veteran who served nine years in combat and strategic training in the Army before leaving active duty in 2006. He received the Bronze Star Medal for Valor in 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now, he assists veterans through the VA Healthcare System with filing any necessary paperwork with the VA to get the help they need. Contact

I feel a responsibility to assist veterans and their families who were exposed to asbestos while serving their country. They deserve the best care available and it’s my job to help them access it.
Aaron Munz
Director of Veterans Department
Get Help Contacting Asbestos.com Staff

View our resources for patients and families

Get Help Today
Get Your Free Mesothelioma Guide