The women of VA’s National Oncology Program are blazing new trails in how VA treats cancer. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, these leaders are working to close health disparities, increase access to best-in-class cancer care, and are standing shoulder to shoulder with Veterans throughout their cancer journeys.

National TeleOncology: Gina McWhirter, MSN, MBA, RN

Women’s History Month NOP Gina McWhirterGina McWhirter, MSN, MBA, RN is the director of National TeleOncology (NTO) at VA. NTO services are enabling Veterans to receive word-class cancer care from the comfort of their own homes.

“With National TeleOncology, we’re able to serve Veterans in a way that meets their needs. We can ensure they get best-in-class care even if they’re miles away from a major VA facility,” McWhirter said.

Over her 13 years in VA, McWhirter has served in several patient care and leadership roles. Her wide range of experience ensures patient care and patient experience is at the heart of her leadership of NTO. She has served on multiple academic advisory boards for their schools of nursing, and she is also a recipient of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing End of Life Care for Veterans Award.

McWhirter is passionate about oncology care for Veterans, ensuring that they receive world class care regardless of their location or socioeconomic barriers.

Breast and Gynecology Oncology System of Excellence: Haley Moss, M.D. M.B.A.

Women's History Month NOP Dr. Haley MossLed by Haley Moss, M.D., M.B.A., VA’s Breast and Gynecologic Oncology System of Excellence is working to transform cancer prevention, treatment and outcomes while continuing to provide coordinated, integrated and compassionate patient-centered healthcare.

“The number of Veterans who are seeking this cancer care at VA is growing,” Moss said. “Our priority with establishing the System of Excellence is making sure Veterans can access the type of care they need.”

In her role as director for the Breast and Gynecologic Oncology System of Excellence, Moss oversees the development and structure of care teams, facilitates outreach to VAMCs as the system expands, and provides consultations via National TeleOncology to other oncology providers, along with delivering patient care.

Originally from New York, Moss graduated with a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at New York University School of Medicine and completed a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at Duke University. She now holds a faculty position at Duke University Medical Center and is based out of Durham VA Medical Center.

Precision Oncology Program: Sara Ahmed, Ph.D.

Women's History Month NOP Sara AhmedSara Ahmed, Ph.D., is the director of Precision Oncology at VA’s National Oncology Program. In her role as director, Ahmed is responsible for the design and implementation of best practices around precision oncology.

“The recent advancements in cancer care have been driven through genomics. Precision oncology is just one way VA is ensuring Veterans receive the best possible care,” said Ahmed.

This includes the National Precision Oncology Program, which supports molecular testing to match Veterans to the best available cancer therapies. Her leadership also includes VA’s Cancer Registry System, the goal of which is to ensure national standards of completeness, timeliness, and quality around capturing cancer data at VA.

Ahmed holds a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Northwestern University. Prior to joining the National Oncology Program, Ahmed led the development of software solutions for the interpretation and reporting of Next Generation Sequencing-based diagnostics at a clinical genomics software and services company.

Choosing VA for your cancer care

VA is focused on helping Veterans with cancer live better lives. VA leaders work hard to ensure the proper cancer screening takes place, and use best-in-class treatment approaches, including clinical trials, to address cancer care. As a result, this may shorten your treatment time. You may also have fewer side effects during treatment. All VA providers stand shoulder to shoulder with Veterans and support them on every step of their cancer journey.

For more information, visit cancer.va.gov or email cancer@va.gov.

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One Comment

  1. Patricia March 8, 2022 at 10:31 am

    when I told my primary care physician, a P.A. at Jefferson Barracks VA in 2012 that I was diagnosed with breast cancer, she did not believe me! She ultimately said she would put in a consult to an oncologist. I waited two months for an appointment, then went back to her office, inquiring of the scheduler who looked in computer and told me that my P.C. had not put in for a consult.

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