Meet the HPV Cancer Prevention Team

Heather M. Brandt, PhD

Director, HPV Cancer Prevention Program

The program is led by director Heather M. Brandt, PhD, a social and behavioral scientist and leader in cancer prevention and control, primarily in HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening. Her research focuses on working with stakeholders to prevent and control cancer by using evidence-based interventions through innovative, partnered approaches. She is also a member of the Department of Epidemiology & Cancer Control.

Andrea Stubbs, MPA  

Administrative Director

“My approach to building a network of viable community members is to use the tenets of servant leadership—encouraging diversity of thought, creating a culture of trust, having an unselfish mindset, and fostering leadership.”

Ursula Leflore

Administrative Specialist

“I love the mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I've worked in areas where I've seen firsthand how St. Jude will go above and beyond to accommodate the patient, the patient's parents/caregivers and family. It brings me joy to know this and how I'm able give this testimony of what a great place this is to work.”

Julia Brown, MPH  

Program Manager

“Through my work with the HPV Cancer Prevention Program, I hope that the general public will learn about the accessibility, safety, and efficacy of this vaccine,” says Brown. “I hope that there will be an increase in vaccination rates and a decrease in the number of deaths related to HPV cancers. There are so many tools and resources available to us that we can see prevention accomplished during our lifetime.”

Portia Knowlton, MHRM  

Program Coordinator

“As a program coordinator, I strive to advocate for public health, by helping build awareness about how we can eliminate HPV with a vaccine," says Knowlton. "It is my goal to bridge any gaps of hesitancy and begin conversations of understanding.”

Duha Magzoub, MPH

Program Coordinator

“As a program coordinator, I hope to educate parents and caregivers that HPV vaccination is cancer prevention, and that the HPV vaccination protects against more than 90% of HPV cancers. In my work, I expect to provide parents and caregivers with the resources and tools, as well as work with healthcare providers to increase the recommendation so that more children will receive HPV vaccinations. With partnerships on a local, state, and national level we can achieve the Healthy People 2030 goal of getting 80% of children vaccinated against HPV.” 

Cristóbal Valdebenito, MA

Program  Coordinator

"The HPV vaccine is one of the major breakthroughs in cancer prevention in the last two decades. Yet, public awareness of the vaccine and the fact that vaccination can start at age nine has been low. Through my work at St. Jude, I hope to educate our communities about the importance of HPV vaccination, identify and overcome barriers to increasing HPV vaccination rates, and work alongside our partners to achieve our shared objective of cancer prevention."

Karlisa Cryer, MPA

Medical Content Writer

“A major part of my work is centered around using health communication best practices to convey the importance of HPV vaccination through various communication channels for parents and caregivers, clinicians, and program partners.”

Pragya Gautam Poudel, DrPH, MPH, MSc

Postdoctoral Research Associate

“I will be working on identifying ways in which we can improve HPV vaccination for cancer prevention among two populations . . . children who have experienced adverse childhood experiences and childhood cancer survivors.”

St. Jude is consistently ranked among Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work For®

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