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National Oncology Program Office


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Directors and Program Managers

 photo of M.Kelley, Director of VA National Oncology Program
Dr. Mike Kelley
Director, National Oncology Program, VHA
Michael Kelley, MD is Professor of Medicine at Duke University and Chief of Hematology and Oncology at the Durham VA Medical Center.  As National Program Director for Oncology for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Kelley directs policy and program development that affect the more than 50,000 Veterans diagnosed with cancer each year in the nation’s largest integrated health care system.  Dr. Kelley’s clinical practice is focused on lung cancer and precision oncology and his academic interests are in molecular genetics, experimental therapeutics of targeted therapies, and outcomes research.  Dr. Kelley is an author of more than 95 peer-reviewed primary research articles as well as reviews, book chapters, and numerous meeting abstracts.  He is recipient of the US Public Health Service’s Achievement Award, a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee and an ex officio member of the National Cancer Advisory Board.
photo of Sara Ahmed PhD
Dr. Sara Ahmed
Director of Precision Oncology
National Precision Oncology Program, VHA 
Sara Ahmed, PhD is Director of Precision Oncology at the National Oncology Program office. In her role, she is responsible for the design and implementation of best practices around precision oncology at the Veterans Health Administration. This includes the National Precision Oncology Program (NPOP) which supports molecular testing to match veterans to therapies. It also includes the VA Cancer Registry System, the goal of which is to ensure national standards of completeness, timeliness and quality around capturing cancer data at the VA. Prior to joining the National Oncology Program Office, Dr. Ahmed led the development of software solutions for the interpretation and reporting of NGS based diagnostics at a clinical genomics software and services company. Dr. Ahmed has also held roles in technology transfer and the implementation of in-house clinical genomics testing at academic medical centers across the United States.
Dr. Ahmed holds a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from Northwestern University.
Image of Dr. Deepak Voora
Dr. Deepak Voora
VA PHASeR Program
National Oncology Program
Deepak Voora, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine at the Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, cardiologist at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center.  His research focusses on the discovery and translation of pharmacogenomic biomarkers to address the hypothesis that tailoring drug therapy on the basis of genomic information can improve health outcomes.  He has chosen some of the most commonly used medications used worldwide – antiplatelet and statin medications – for his research.  As Director of the VA PHarmacogenomicS action for cancer Survivors (PHASeR) program, he is leading the VA’s implementation of pre-emptive, panel-based, pharmacogenetic testing to up to 250,000 Veterans.  
Image of Dr. Jennifer Chapman
Jennifer Chapman
Program Manager
VA PHASeR Program
National Oncology Program,
Office of Specialty Care
Jennifer Chapman is the National Program Manager for PHASeR, based in the National Oncology Program, Office of Specialty Care in the Durham VA.  Prior to joining the PHASeR team, she managed several research projects within Health Services Research & Development with the VA in Durham.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin and has been with the VA off and on since 2002.  While she may have started out in social work, running complex and challenging projects is where her real talents lie.  During her non-VA time, she supervised the renovation of her home and taught woodworking at the local community college.  In her free time, she enjoys hiking, parenting her two amazing sons, spending time with her husband of 24 years, and being engaged in her community.  While she hails from Wisconsin originally, she’s called North Carolina home for more than twenty years.  Many members of Jennifer’s family have served in the various branches of the military, including service in conflict zones. This includes her brothers, one having served in the Air Force, the other the Army.  She is proud to serve Veterans and comes to work every day believing in the power of PHASeR to make a real difference in the future of health care for Veterans.
Gina picture
Gina McWhirter, MSN,MBA
Director of TeleOncology
 National Oncology Program, VHA

Gina McWhirter is the National TeleOncology Program Director. Over her 13 years in VA she has served in various roles: Chief Nurse, Intensive Services, Chief of Education, Nurse Manager of Intensive Care and Outpatient Oncology/Infusion Clinic, Acting Chief Nurse of Behavioral Health, Quality Management/Utilization Review Nurse, Intensive Care Nurse, Oncology Nurse and Medical Surgical Nurse. She received a Master of Science of Nursing from Sacred Heart University and Master of Business Administration from Western Governor’s University. She has a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma and has served on multiple academic advisory boards for their schools of nursing.  She is also a recipient of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing End of Life Care for Veterans award.  Gina is passionate about oncology care for veterans and ensuring that they receive world class care regardless of their location or socioeconomic barriers.


VA National Oncology Program Office
Durham, North Carolina