We are grateful and humbled to these founding members of the Health and Wellness Advisory council and look forward to their unique contributions enhancing and advancing our mission.
Please meet the Firefighter Cancer Support Network’s Health and Wellness Advisory Council (HWAC). Our FCSN HWAC consists of highly regarded national researchers and practitioners who advise the FCSN Board of Directors and staff and serves as critical subject matter experts to help us achieve our vision to be the global leader in firefighter support, awareness, and education.
Members of the HWAC greatly benefit our mission by providing our organization with their professional expertise, as well as: advice on emerging issues within the FCSN scope of education and awareness efforts; inform project development for deliverable resources to the fire service; serve as a resource to ensure the empirical evidence shared through FCSN’s education efforts are accurate and current; and provide direction on efforts to encourage and disseminate research engagement on health and wellness.
Dr. Burgess is the Associate Dean for Research for the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and previously worked as an Emergency Medicine physician, Medical Toxicologist and Occupational and Environmental Medicine physician. He received his MD from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1988, an MS in Toxicology with a Concentration in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Arizona in 1993 and an MPH in Environmental Health from the University of Washington in 1996. Dr. Burgess has a long history of collaboration with the fire service, focused currently on cancer prevention, funded by grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). He led the team of multiple academic, government and fire service partners establishing the Fire Fighter Cancer Cohort Study (FFCCS), a prospective multicenter cohort study of cancer in the fire service, which is continuing to expand. He also leads current FEMA grants to study the relationship between per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposure and cancer in firefighters, and cancer, stress, and reproductive hazards in women firefighters. He also leads other current research and training projects, including a NIOSH funded industrial hygiene training program, a National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) funded Center for Indigenous Environmental Health Research; and a NIOSH funded comparison of exposures and health effects from diesel and biodiesel blend-fueled underground mining equipment.
Dr. Kenny Fent is a research industrial hygienist and currently the head of the National Firefighter Registry (NFR) for Cancer at NIOSH. The NFR for Cancer is open for all firefighters in the USA to enroll and aims to be the largest registry of firefighters ever assembled to monitor their occupational cancer risk. He has spent 15 years studying firefighters’ exposures and health effects and published over 80 scientific articles and reports. His research findings have provided evidence to support a variety of control measures to reduce carcinogenic exposures in the fire service. He is also a Commander in the U.S. Public Health Service and has responded to public health emergencies in the United States and abroad.
Dr. Michael Hamrock practices internal medicine and addiction medicine at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center and is the primary care physician for many Boston area firefighters and police officers. In his dedicated service to the Boston Fire Department, first as a firefighter, and later as the department physician, he developed a unique perspective and understanding of the many immediate and long-term serious health risks associated with firefighting and first responder duties.
Dr. Hamrock is passionate about promoting the mindset that first responders are Tactical Athletes to help motivate and empower them to be optimally prepared for the tremendous physical and mental demands of their occupation. His screening guidelines and templates for Comprehensive Physical Exams for firefighters and police officers for early detection, intervention, and prevention of heart disease and cancer are utilized by many primary care providers locally and nationally. Dr. Hamrock is a contributing author to the “Surviving the Fire Service” textbook and has been recognized in Boston Magazine’s Top Doctor List in 2019, 2020, and 2021. He also enjoys participating in marathons with the Boston Fire running team.
Gavin Horn is a Research Engineer with the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI). Gavin’s research interests range from firefighter health and safety and first responder technology development to material testing and nondestructive evaluation. Prior to joining the UL FSRI team, he served as the Director of IFSI Research Programs at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) for 15 years and as a firefighter, apparatus engineer and fire investigator with the Savoy (IL) Fire Department. Gavin holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as a ME in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland. He has published over 80 peer-reviewed journal manuscripts and given presentations at meetings, conferences and symposia around the world.
Dr. Sara Jahnke is the director of the Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research at the National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. She completed her doctorate in psychology with a health emphasis at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and earned the American Heart Association’s Fellowship on the Epidemiology and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. Jahnke served as the principal investigator of several large-scale studies of the health and readiness of the U.S. fire service. She serves as a consultant to fire service organizations, including the National Volunteer Fire Council and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Dr. Kannler was accepted into the MMEDIC program as a college sophomore which awarded her early acceptance into Boston University Medical School. She received her medical degree and masters of public health degree from Boston University in 2000. After medical school she was board certified in Internal Medicine and Dermatology. Her internal medicine residency was completed at Boston Medical Center. She began her dermatology residency at Wright State in Dayton, Ohio. She was awarded the opportunity to act as co-chief resident of Dermatology as a second year resident at Wright State University. She transferred and completed her final year of dermatology residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York in June 2006. After finishing her residency, she worked as a general dermatologist for a year before enrolling in a Mohs fellowship with Dr. Donald Grande, a leading Mohs surgeon, in Stoneham, Massachusetts. Dr. Kannler concluded her Mohs Micrographic surgery fellowship in July 2008 after assisting on over a thousand Mohs Micrographic surgery cases.
She is an active member in the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) and the American College of Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology. Dr Kannler has served on various AAD Task Forces and the AAD Leadership Forum since her graduation from residency. She also served as the President of the New Hampshire Society of Dermatology.
Dr. Kunz completed training in general internal medicine at the Arizona Health Sciences Center in 1993, followed by subspecialty training in medical oncology at the Arizona Cancer Center in 1995. He has subsequently had experience working in academic and private practice medicine, and cancer drug development and clinical trials in the pharmaceutical industry.
In 2017, Dr. Kunz completed a postgraduate degree in Interprofessional Mental Health & Addictions at Camosun College in Victoria, BC, and won a scholarship prize for highest academic performance.
Dr. Kunz currently works as an independent medical oncology consultant, researcher, and educator and lives in Victoria, BC, with his two children. He has developed an active interest in the health and wellbeing of firefighters and first responders, particularly as it involves cancer screening and surveillance, and the ‘situational awareness’ aspect of work-related cancer prevention. Dr. Kunz is also interested in providing support and counsel for firefighters who have been diagnosed with cancer and is actively working to educate other physicians about the carcinogenicity of firefighting. He is also interested in expanding and improving the cancer presumption laws as they apply to firefighters who have been diagnosed with a job-related cancer.