2018 Conference Schedule, 
Panels & Speakers

                       Breakout Session Speakers


Dr. Shawn McKinney is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana with a degree in chemistry/pre-med. She earned her medical degree at Morehouse School of Medicine and completed a fellowship in breast surgery at Baylor University Medical Center. She has fifteen years of academic practice in the field. In recent years, she has participated on a surgical team at UMMC that offers a procedure for breast cancer patients using the patient’s own tissues instead of an implant to reconstruct the breast.


Dr. Guangzhi Qu practices at Jackson Oncology Associates. He has a medical degree from Peking University Medical School and a PhD in Biochemistry from Tulane University Medical School. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at Mayo Clinic. He specializes in medical oncology.


Dr. Jeanann Suggs is a radiation oncologist with Radiation Oncology of Mississippi at Baptist Cancer Center. She graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in chemistry and mathematics and earned her medical degree at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she also completed her internship and residency. She also holds a PhD in pathology from UMMC.


Vanessa Cousin is an inspirational speaker, singer, songwriter, and author. She is also a three-time breast cancer survivor, originally diagnosed in 2003, who seeks to give hope to those whose lives have been affected by breast cancer and other life-changing circumstances. She recently published a book entitled “I’ve Been Through the Valley, But God...” and will provide musical inspiration during the Celebration Luncheon.


Christi Turnage is currently on the faculty for Western Governors University in the Masters in Nursing Education program. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Mississippi College and the University of Mississippi, respectively. She retired from the University of Mississippi Medical Center after working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and as a clinical educator in Pediatric Critical Care. She was diagnosed with triple negative stage 2 breast cancer in 2006 and stage 4 in 2008. Christi started and continues to facilitate the Awaken cancer support group in the Jackson area for women of all ages, all stages, and any type of cancer.

                              Survivors’ Panel


Brian Fortenberry is a member of First Baptist Jackson. He serves as the Athletic Director for Clinton Public Schools and he and his wife Susan have four children. Brian was diagnosed with stage 2 desmoplastic melanoma in October
2017. Currently, he is cancer-free after surgery, radiation, and immunotherapy.


Lula Williams-Gatlin is a native of Terry and is a two-time cancer survivor. She is employed at St. Dominic Outpatient Infusion Center, where she's blessed to have the opportunity to serve other cancer patients. Lula has served as co-captain of team Total Praise and has participated for more than ten years in the “Making Strides against Breast Cancer” walk, where she enjoys meeting and fellowshipping with other survivors. Her favorite Scripture is Isaiah 40:31: "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."


Carrie McNair was diagnosed in in August 2014 with squamous cell carcinoma.
With this type of cancer and its location, the only treatment option was
chemotherapy and radiation. Carrie is a registered nurse and works as the clinical liaison for Jackson Oncology Associates, where she received chemo and 40 radiation treatments. Since she was diagnosed, God has used Carrie’s journey through treatment to a full recovery to allow her to meet and encourage women with the same diagnosis.


Frances Savageis a former educator and Mississippi legislator, having served in the House of Representatives from 1984-1991. She was diagnosed with stage 3 metastatic breast cancer in June 2006. Her treatment included surgery,
chemotherapy, and radiation. She served as chairperson of the organizing
committee of Crossgates United Methodist Children's Center which opened in
1992 to serve the Brandon community. She still serves on the board of the
children’s center and remains active in the work of her church.

                           Physicians' Panel


Dr. Shawn McKinney is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of
Mississippi Medical Center. She graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana
with a degree in Chemistry/Pre-med. She earned her medical degree at
Morehouse School of Medicine and completed a fellowship in surgical breast
oncology at Baylor University Medical Center. She has fifteen years of academic
practice in the field.


Dr. Guangzhi Qu practices at Jackson Oncology Associates. He has a medical
degree from Peking University Medical School and a PhD in Biochemistry from
Tulane University Medical School. He completed his internship and residency in
Internal Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at Mayo Clinic.


Dr. Jeanann Suggs is a radiation oncologist with Radiation Oncology of
Mississippi. She graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in Chemistry
and Mathematics and earned her medical degree at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she also completed her internship and residency. She also holds a PhD in pathology from UMMC.


Dr. Bobby Wilkerson is a hematologist/oncologist at Jackson Oncology Associates. He graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He earned his medical degree at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where he also completed his internship, residency, and a fellowship in medical oncology and hematology.