Board of Directors
Our Board members are all women who chose flat closure after mastectomy or explant, and are committed to advancing NPOAS’ mission and promoting our core values.
Kim Bowles is a scientist, artist, mother of two, and founder of Not Putting on a Shirt. She decided to go flat in 2017 as part of her breast cancer treatment plan, but her plastic surgeon intentionally left her with excess tissue to facilitate reconstruction. Kim went public with her story, and upon realizing that flat denial is a systemic problem requiring institutional change, decided to invest in pursuing parity for flat closure and helping women protect their choice. Kim has been featured in Cosmopolitan magazine, Women and the World, on the Today Show, and more.
Christy Avila is a career educator, mother, and explant and flat closure advocate. She founded Fierce, Flat, Forward, a support and advocacy group that encourages, guides, and educates other breast cancer survivors and previvors on going flat—whether at the time of initial mastectomy or post-explant. She herself chose to “go flat” after discovering breast implant illness (BII) and choosing to explant based on her subsequent research on breast implants as medical devices.
Christy co-founded “International FLAT Day,” (Oct. 7th), an annual event that celebrates FLAT and promotes flat closure and breast reconstruction awareness. In 2019, she testified before the US FDA at their Hearing on Breast Implant Safety in Washington DC, advocating for proper informed consent for breast cancer survivors. Christy serves on the faculty of the Communication Studies Department at San Jose City College where she has taught for over a decade. She looks forward to continuing her advocacy work to promote flat closure, explant, and informed consent.
Devorah Vester Borenstein
Devorah Vester Borenstein is an appellate attorney in Boston who helps persons with mental illness regain their agency, liberty and dignity. In July 2019, she had a double mastectomy after a local recurrence. Devorah always knew she did not want breast reconstruction, and feels fortunate that her breast surgeon – who told her about the flat movement – honored her choice. Devorah’s closely held values of integrity, transparency and individual autonomy make her an incredible asset to the NPOAS Board. Her goal at NPOAS is to bring all parties to the table – doctors, legislators, health insurers and patients – to make certain that in every state a woman’s right to full disclosure and informed consent is protected, and her decision to go flat is respected.
Shana Whitehead is a wife, mother of four, and a Director of Operations for a publicly traded REIT. Shana was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in January 2018. As a part of the treatment plan, Shana had a double mastectomy with tissue expanders placed in July of 2018. After one year with tissue expanders and suffering from BII symptoms, Shana made the decision to have them removed and decided on a flat closure. Shana was denied a flat result and moved forward with a revision in September 2019. As a result of her experience, she decided to make it her mission to advocate for women and their right to be fully informed about flat closure and acceptable outcomes.
Hi, I am BethAnne King. My interest in this movement is personal. I was denied the flat surgery I wanted and was inspired to establish Breastless and Beautiful, a social support group for mastectomy survivors. This group’s focus is body acceptance, regardless of surgical results. Members talk about adjusting to their changed bodies and new normal, since breast cancer. The validation and sisterhood there is healing and helpful.
I proudly advocate for informed consent for women who are facing mastectomy due to breast cancer (or risk of). My advocacy work is focused on helping to change laws that increase patient’s opportunities for informed consent so that they receive the surgical outcomes they expect.
My goal is to make changes so that no one else has to suffer this experience. We need to update the policies that restrict insurance coverage of revision procedures for those whose wishes were disregarded, and for those who, with more information, have decided they want to go flat.
Our Advisory Council consists of leaders in the professional community – stakeholders such as surgeons, other medical professionals, and legislators – who have generously donated their time and expertise to advise our Board of Directors. As with our Board members, our Advisors are committed to advancing our mission.
Dr. Pankaj Tiwari, MD
Advisor, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Dr. Pankaj Tiwari is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has fellowship training in microvascular surgery and focuses his practice on breast reconstruction after mastectomy. After completing medical school at New York University, plastic surgery residency at the Baylor College of Medicine and fellowship at The MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Tiwari went on to accept a faculty teaching position at The James Cancer Center and The Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Center. While a full time faculty member for seven years, he co-authored numerous publications and book chapters, was awarded the “Microsurgery Case of the Year”, Resident Teaching Award and Best Doctors’ Award and was selected as one of Columbus’ top 40 under 40 professionals. In 2014 he co-founded Midwest Breast and Aesthetic surgery and in 2018 Onyx and Pearl Surgical Suites to provide advanced techniques for reconstructive breast surgery. Beyond microsurgery, Dr. Tiwari has a keen interest in developing practice patterns and standards to help lower the costs of healthcare while providing outstanding quality and safety outcomes. He enjoys spending time with his lovely wife and two daughters, traveling on surgical mission trips and playing the Tabla (Indian Drums).
Dr. Ergun Kocak, MD
Advisor, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Dr. Ergun Kocak is a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in advanced aesthetic and reconstructive surgeries of the breast and body. He is fellowship-trained in microvascular reconstruction and performs over 200 DIEP and other microvascular free flap breast reconstructions yearly. He also specializes in aesthetic operations of the breast including breast reduction, and breast lift (mastopexy). After graduating from the University of Michigan with Honors, Dr. Kocak went on to complete medical school at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Kocak continued his training by completing his plastic surgery residency at The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. During this time, he completed a Research Fellowship and earned a Masters of Sciences degree in Medical Sciences from The Ohio State University’s Graduate School. After residency, he further specialized by completing a fellowship in reconstructive microsurgery and cancer reconstruction at the esteemed M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
Rep. Charen Fegard (D-VT)
Charen Fegard of Berkshire, Franklin County, Democrat, was born on Howard Air Force Base in Panama. She lived in many states and countries growing up and through her twenties. Charen earned a Bachelors degree in Biology from the University of NC at Wilmington. She has worked in the Civil Service in Hazardous Materials/ Environmental Compliance on overseas military bases, and has owned and operated a registered home daycare as well as landscaping and cleaning businesses.
Charen worked for a variety of non-profits in Vermont over the years. Before starting the legislative session, she volunteered on the Richford Restorative Justice Panel. Currently, she consults for non-profits and waste municipalities throughout Vermont regarding recycling, composting, and Indoor Air Quality related to cleaning chemicals. She raises meat birds, sheep, laying hens, a lot of vegetables, and enjoys deer hunting with her husband, Russ Ford. They have 4 children in their blended family.
Corine de Boer, MD, PhD
Advisor, Medical & Research
Corine de Boer is a physician, wife and principal of her own consulting company. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and opted for a double mastectomy. Her female breast surgeon in Seattle was very supportive of her flat choice and did a great job but Corine has since learned, to her dismay, that this is not the case in other parts of the country. She fully supports the mission of Not Putting on a Shirt so every woman who chooses to go flat after mastectomy has a satisfactory outcome.
Not Putting on a Shirt is a 501(c)(3) organization advocating for optimal surgical outcomes for women who choose to go flat after mastectomy.
REGISTERED CHARITY ID# 84-3021062
FAIR USE STATEMENT
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