Our History

Critical Mass was formed in 2006 as the LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance (Alliance), a program of the LIVESTRONG Foundation, built as a volunteer-driven coalition of organizations that included universities and academic medical centers, cancer centers, community hospitals, professional societies, nonprofit/advocacy groups, and liaison members from government agencies such as NCI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The LIVESTRONG Foundation created the Alliance originally as an implementation body to address the recommendations in the groundbreaking report from the NCI’s Adolescent/Young Adult Oncology Progress Review Group in 2006, which was the first major recognition in the United States of young adults between 15-39 years old as a distinct group with unique needs, issues and even biology.

Over the next five years, the Alliance and its partners successfully built the field of Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) oncology, supporting research, awareness and standards initiatives as part of a five-year implementation plan guided by the AYAO PRG recommendations. During that time, Alliance membership grew to over 350 individuals representing more than150 institutions, organizations and government agencies and forming a robust professional network of services, information, best practices, collaboration, referrals and research.

In 2011, the Foundation and the Alliance Steering Committee decided that the field of AYA oncology had matured enough and the Alliance had grown to such a size that it made sense to launch the program as an independent organization. The spin-off occurred in 2012, at which time the Alliance was renamed Critical Mass: the Young Adult Cancer Alliance.

Our name has changed, but our passion to serving young adults with cancer hasn’t. And it never will.

Our Staff

Board of Directors

Every non-profit is only as strong as their board-that’s why Critical Mass is the powerhouse that it is. Like a hot deck in Vegas, our Board of Directors is stacked with all the right suits and we are grateful for their tireless commitment to improving the lives of young adults with cancer.

Advisory Board

Tess Burleson

COO, TGEN and President, TGEN Accelerators
Phoenix, AZ

Nick Grudin

Director of Partnerships, Facebook
San Francisco, CA

Suleika Jaouad

Emmy-award winning health blogger for the New York Times
New York, NY

Michelle Milford Morse

Public Affairs and Advocacy Consultant
Austin, TX

Frank O’Brien

President, OMP Integrated Communications Firm
Washington, D.C.

Michael Slaby

Managing Partner / Head of Mission, Timshel; formerly Chief Integration and Innovation Officer, Obama for America 2012
Chicago, IL

Dan Stroud

SVP/CFO of Nestle Health Science, Lausanne, Switzerland; formerly CFO of Nestle USA, Glendale, CA.


The Emeritus Board recognizes and honors the service of dedicated volunteers who have previously served Critical Mass in a leadership role, and without whom we would simply not exist.

Archie Bleyer, MD

Anna Cluxton

Anna Franklin, MD

Debra Friedman, MD, MS

Danny Indelicato, MD

Rebecca Johnson, MD

Stu Kaplan, MD

Julie Larson, LCSW

Craig Lustig, MPH

Jen Mills, PhD, MSW, MP

Emily Peterson

Selma Schimmel

Brock Yetso

Brad Zebrack

Doug Ulman

Randi Rosenberg

Our Community

patient and caregiver resources
organization bringing it all together