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February marks Black History Month, which is a time to commemorate and reflect on remarkable Black trailblazers who have left enduring legacies by igniting a desire for hope and change.

The Lineberger Equity Council (LEC) also believes it’s a time to celebrate the achievements of UNC Lineberger colleagues whose daily contributions to the cancer center’s mission are immeasurable.

The LEC hopes you will take a moment to acknowledge your own personal accomplishments or send in praise for one of your coworkers. Black History Month pays tribute to past and current generations, and we hope this acknowledgment page highlights the imperative work of our colleagues.

Headshot of Lauren Matthews

Lauren Matthews, MPH
Project Director, UNC Lineberger Equity Council

Lauren wears many hats and I am constantly impressed by her ability to beautifully manage every task put in front of her. She always has a smile on her face and I’m truly grateful for her dedication to make UNC Lineberger a more inclusive work environment. Lauren Matthews, MPH, is the Project Director for the UNC Lineberger Equity Council and the EQUITY in Clinical Trials Program at UNC Lineberger. She supports and manages the ongoing development and implementation efforts for both initiatives.

—Nominated by Taylor Lisenby

Headshot of Danette Cousin

Danette Cousin
Administrative Support Specialist

Danette has grown so much in her role and is an invaluable member of my team. She always puts her best foot forward and gives each task 100% of her time and effort. She has a warm smile and a contagious laugh.

—Nominated by Andrea Walens, PhD

Headshot of Marjory Charlot

Marjory Charlot, MD, MPH, MSc
Assistant Professor, Oncology
Assistant Director, Community Outreach and Engagement
Assistant Director, Patient Engaged Research

Dr. Charlot is leading the charge in making sure clinical trials are available to everyone, particularly those who have been underrepresented in clinical research. I deeply admire her research, which is focused on how to systemically dismantle inequities in research among Black populations. She is deeply committed to her team and her passion is palpable! I am honored to call Marjory a colleague and a friend.

—Nominated by Barbara Alvarez Martin, DrPH, MPH

Headshot of Wendy Brewster

Wendy Brewster, MD, PhD
Professor, OBGYN-GYN Oncology
Director, UNC Center for Women’s Health Research
Associate Director, UNC Lineberger Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

What a rock star, in her career she supports all under-represented groups, has a huge heart and lives what she speaks – she is one of my role models in life and has pushed the UNC SOM DEI agenda and I know will continue to do so.

—Nominated by Stuart Gold, MD

Headshot of Chassidy Dixon

Chassidy Dixon
Administrative Operations Manager

I would like to acknowledge Chassidy Dixon as an exceptional team player and transformational leader. I have been blessed to work with her on the Lineberger Equity Council Staff Retention and Recruitment committee. She has lead our team with an upbeat, can-do attitude. She has seen to us achieving meaningful deliverables. She uplifts the voices and perspectives of everyone involved, and seeks the involvement of those who are not “at the table”. In all that she does, it is evident that she genuinely cares about everyone who she works with and contributing to our collective mission of decreasing the cancer burden in North Carolina.

—Nominated by Rachel Hirschey, PhD, RN

Chassidy is an amazing UNC Lineberger employee. She is always there to lend a hand and has built a strong team of administrators who make my life and my team’s life so much easier! I know I can always go to Chassidy when I need help or have a problem that needs solving. She is also a great friend and a caring, smart, and kind human being.

—Nominated by Andrea Walens, PhD

Headshot of Kimberly Claiborne

Kimberly Claiborne
Finance Manager

Kim is such a joy to work with given her positive attitude and responsiveness to time sensitive grant related concerns. She always follows through on questions and such a wonderful resource to help answer questions that is beyond her scope of duty. Working with Kim has made executing budgets for funded grant projects less stressful. I truly appreciate the expertise and service that she provides to my team.

—Nominated by Marjory Charlot, MD, MPH, MSc

Headshot of Ashley Leak Bryant

Ashley Leak Bryant, PhD, RN, OCN, FAAN
Associate Professor, School of Nursing
Assistant Director of Cancer Research Training Education Coordination (CRTEC)

Dr. Bryant is a complete rock star! I am so impressed by how her research portfolio and leadership have grown in the last few years. Her energy is infectious. She is a fabulous mentor and role model to others, inside and outside the School of Nursing. And she is just a ton of fun to be around!

—Nominated by Barbara Alvarez Martin, DrPH, MPH

Headshot of Sherette Godfrey

Sherette Godfrey, PhD
Team Science Project Manager

Sherette is an invaluable team member for Team Science. She puts her best effort forward for any tasks she is assigned. She has amazing ideas and cares deeply about the culture and environment of Lineberger. We have wonderful conversations and I learn a lot from her. She is extremely kindhearted and caring!

—Nominated by Andrea Walens, PhD

Shekinah Elmore headshot

Shekinah Elmore, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology and Urology

Thank you so much for the opportunity to recognize our inspirational colleague, Dr. Shekinah Elmore, in radiation oncology. I knew of Dr. Elmore and her work prior to her arrival at UNC, from her remarkably insightful and inspiring writing and TEDMED talk on the national stage. We could not have been more thrilled when she was recruited to the faculty here! One of my favorite things about our environment is the fully integrated, multidisciplinary care we provide to patients in the N.C. Basnight Cancer Hospital. In this context, I have had the incredible privilege of working alongside and learning from Dr. Elmore, who not only brings the absolute cutting edge of genitourinary oncology clinical science but also an authentic and deeply human appreciation of our patients. Could not be more grateful to have her as a colleague and peer!

—Nominated by Matt Nielsen, MD

Headshot of Brianna Anderson

Brianna Anderson
Human Resources Consultant

Brianna is the most talented HR consultant I have ever worked with. She always gives her 100% effort and attention when you are in need of support and it is clear that she cares deeply for the employees she supports. Her attitude and energy exemplify the family spirit of Lineberger, and she has been an invaluable addition to our staff. Brianna is an extremely kind, caring, and brilliant individual!

—Nominated by Andrea Walens, PhD

Headshot of Melissa Mack

Melissa Mack
Operations Manager

I’d like to acknowledge and celebrate Melissa Mack, who plays such a critical role at the cancer center and is such a kind and thoughtful person. She is a gem and I’m grateful she’s part of the UNC Lineberger family!

—Nominated by Chesley Kalnen

Melissa is my life support when it comes to all thing’s events! She has been my rock since I started and is always there to answer my questions or push forward my crazy ideas. She always makes time to say hello and catch up when I see her walking around the building. She is a warm, kind, and loving individual.

—Nominated by Andrea Walens, PhD

Headshot of Ashley Smith

Ashley Smith, MS
Grants Development Coordinator

Ashley Smith goes above and beyond in her role daily and the work she produces is always top notch. Ashley is very open to learning and growing in her role and I have really enjoyed being her supervisor. I know she has a strong future ahead of her! She has a wonderful smile, and she is always there to lend a hand.

—Nominated by Andrea Walens, PhD

Headshot of Shakira Grant

Shakira Grant, MBBS
Assistant Professor, Hematology

Dr. Grant is such a trailblazer! She is a clinician-scientist focused on improving health outcomes for older cancer patients, particularly those with multiple myeloma. More than that, she is an amazing mentor who is willing to shine the spotlight on her research staff. In that way, she really is a role model for all clinical researchers in how to cultivate and support amazing research teams!

—Nominated by Barbara Alvarez Martin, DrPH, MPH

Contribute to this page

Throughout the month, we want to hear from you. Send an email to with a photo attached, your name/your colleague’s name, role at UNC Lineberger and three to four sentences about their work at the cancer center. These messages honoring Black colleagues will be displayed on the UNC Lineberger website.

Please note: if you are recognizing another person and wish to remain anonymous, make a note of that in your email as we will contact them for permission before posting to the website.

We encourage you to self-acknowledge and send in information about yourself.

If you have any questions about the process, please email Taylor Lisenby at