Dear PPO Network Members,

After the vote of the PPO members, we are happy to congratulate our newly elected PPO leaders:

Dr. Lori Wiener, Ph.D., was elected a Steering Group Member. She is co-director of the Behavioral Health Core and head of the Psychosocial Support and Research Program. As both a clinician and behavioral scientist, Dr. Wiener has developed a robust clinical and research program that has focused on critical clinical issues such as parental coping, lone parenting, transnational parenting, sibling and sibling donor experiences, graph versus host disease, and end-of-life planning. Dr. Wiener has also dedicated a substantial part of her career to applying knowledge from her clinical experience and research to create innovative resources such as books, workbooks, therapeutic games and an advance care planning guide for children, adolescents, and young adults. Each of these resources are distributed worldwide and widely utilized in pediatric centers. Dr. Wiener proudly led the team that has developed the first evidence-based psychosocial standards of care for children with cancer and their family members. She has published over 250 publications spanning peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, co-edited the textbooks Pediatric Psycho-Oncology: A Quick Reference on the Psychosocial Dimensions of Cancer Symptom Management and Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology: Textbook for Multi-disciplinary Care, a storybook, The Gift of Gerbert’s Feathers, to help children through the psychological and behavioral process of preparing for a natural end of life and most recently a Special Issue in CHILDREN on Psychosocial Issues in Children and Adolescents Living with a Rare Condition.

Dr. Chiara Besani was elected a Steering Group Member. Dr. Besani attended the Universita’ Cattolica of Milano in 1998 where she developed a strong interest in family systemic therapies, paediatric psychology and thanks to her mother Giovanna, she developed a specific interest in cancer care. Since then, her passion for Paediatric Psycho-Oncology continued to grow. She moved to Ireland in 2003. She obtained a first Honour Degree in Psychology in Trinity College Dublin. She then moved to Northern Ireland and completed a Dclin Doctorate in Queen’s University Belfast with her clinical and research focus in Paediatric Psycho-Oncology. She was awarded a Clinical Research Fellowship in Paediatric Psycho-Oncology in the RBHSC. She finally returned to Dublin in 2013 and started to work in the National Children Cancer Service in 2015, CHI, Crumlin. Since then, her main objective was to develop paediatric psycho-oncology care in Ireland. Since 2019, Dr. Besani has been working as Principal Psychologist and Clinical Lead in Paediatric Psycho-Oncology. She has worked tirelessly with the consultants’ group in NCCS and with the National Cancer Control Group (NCCP) in particular Prof. Owen Smith and Dr. Helen Greally, to develop a National Paediatric Psycho-Oncology (NPPO) Service in Ireland. Over the past three years, she worked closely with Dr. Greally and Dr. Love in the NCCP to develop a National Model of Care for Psycho-Oncology for Children, Adolescent and Young Adult (CAYA) in Ireland. Dr. Besani has specific interests in systemic therapy, attachment-based family work, preparation for invasive procedures (transplant and amputation), supporting infant mental health and developmental growth through cancer. She has also a specific interest in systemic support in palliative care and end of life.

Dr. Lisa Kahalley was elected a Co-Chair of PPO Network and will begin her term in October 2024. She serves as the Associate Chief of Research for the Psychology Division in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and as the Director of Neurobehavioral Oncology in the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center. She leads an NIH-funded multi-disciplinary research program in radiation-related neurocognitive late effects in pediatric neuro-oncology. Her work has been at the forefront of characterizing neurocognitive risk and sparing associated with proton radiotherapy. She is also committed to research mentorship, having mentored dozens of researchers, from undergraduates to junior faculty. She has been actively involved in mentoring through the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) as Vice Chair for Career Development in the Behavioral Sciences Committee and past Chair of the Mentorship Subcommittee within the Young Investigators Committee.

Congratulations and welcome to the PPO Network to the three newly elected leaders!

Kind regards,

SIOP PPO Network Leaders:


Maria McCarthy, Co-Chair (Australia)

Christopher Recklitis, Co-Chair (USA)

Matt Bissett, Steering Group Member (Australia)

Jurgen Lemiere, Steering Group Member (Belgium)

Fiona Schulte, Steering Group Member (CAN)

Stephen Sands, Steering Group Member (USA)

Victoria Willard, Steering Group Member (USA)

Chiara Besani, Steering Group Member (Ireland)

Lori Weiner, Steering Group Member (USA)