Everyone who goes through treatment for cancer needs a team. Your team will consist of medical specialists, mental health professionals, family and friends, and any others that you choose to be a part of your support network.
You will learn to navigate the many changes that can take place during your cancer journey, and your AYA community will be there with you every step of the way. We offer an AYA Council that is advocating for you by providing emotional support, organizing activities and events, and work to bring a sense of community to young people fighting cancer.
Gary J. Schiller, MD
Adult Medical Director
Dr. Schiller is a well-published clinical investigator in acute and chronic leukemias, multiple myeloma, and other hematologic malignancies, as well as in stem cell and bone marrow transplantation. He lectures extensively and has also written for the popular press.
He is Immediate-Past Chairman of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.
His research projects include clinical studies of new drugs, therapies, and bone marrow/stem cell transplantation for patients with malignancies of the blood or bone marrow such as leukemia, multiple myeloma, and lymphoma. Read more >
Jacqueline N. Casillas, MD
Pediatric Medical Director
Jacqueline Casillas, MD, M.S.H.S., is a pediatric oncologist and a health services researcher at UCLA whose area of interest is access to care, quality of life and quality of care for long-term survivors of childhood cancer. Dr. Casillas received her medical degree from UCLA and completed her residency and fellowship at UCLA-Harbor Medical Center. She is currently an assistant professor in pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine. Dr. Casillas is also the associate director of the UCLA-LIVESTRONG™ Survivorship Center of Excellence. Read more >
Stephen Speicher, MD
AYA Program Director
Stephen Speicher is a board-certified pediatrician and clinical fellow in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at UCLA. During his time as a clinical trainee, Stephen has been working with UCLA Health in the development of this integrated care model for adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer. He has worked with various internal and external stakeholders to build out a standardized approach to care for this patient group and has presented his research at local and national conferences. Stephen has a strong interest in the utilization of technology in various environments within healthcare and the link to the improvement of patient and provider experience and outcomes. He is completing an MS in Healthcare Systems Engineering from Loyola Marymount University, studying the use of traditional systems engineering methodology in the integration of fragmented pieces within healthcare. Stephen is also a current fellow in the UCLA Biodesign program looking at medtech innovation in healthcare. Stephen completed his MD at UCLA and went on to complete residency training in pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. He holds a BS in biology from Loyola Marymount University.
Julia Leavitt, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
AYA Patient Navigator
Julia Leavitt is a licensed clinical social worker and Psycho-Oncology Board Certified Specialist who serves as the Patient Navigator for the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program. For over a decade, she has worked in primary medical settings, including New York University Hospital, as a social work intern in pediatric oncology. She then transitioned to Mount Sinai Medical Center, where she worked for seven years as a pediatric hematology/oncology social worker. Leavitt later returned to her Los Angeles roots and joined a group of psychotherapists at the Samuel Oschin Cancer Center at Cedars-Sinai. There, she provided therapy to children and adults facing active cancer diagnoses. These experiences allowed her to develop the extensive first-hand knowledge and skill set needed to support the unique needs of AYA patients. Leavitt is well versed in the intricacies of developmental stages and how distress impacts milestones of growth. She is also an active member of the Association of Oncology Social workers, serving as Co-Chair for the AYA special interest group.