Board of Advisors 2020-2022

Mr. Jun Cortez

Advisor (Bowie, MD) - Mr. Cortez is an outstanding and multi-awarded scientist in the United States.  He is the co-founder scientist/innovator of Vapotherm High Flow Therapy System, a medical device used in treating patients suffering from acute respiratory distress from premature babies to geriatrics. In 2012, Cortez's only son was diagnosed with blood cancer.  Cancer taught Mr. Cortez how to be strong for his family, stay determined, and not give up on finding a cure for this terrible disease.  His son is now cancer-free. 

Jonathan Melegrito

Advisor(Kensington, MD) - Jon Melegrito is the Executive Secretary of the Filipino Veterans Recognition & Education Project (FilVetREP),  a community-based, all-volunteer national initiative whose mission is to raise awareness about the service of Filipino World War II veterans. Jon has been part of national efforts to obtain justice and recognition for Filipino veterans and was a recipient of the 2018 Asian American & Pacific Islander Hero Award winner sponsored by AARP. A community activist for many years, he was the first Executive Director of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) when it was founded in 1997. Prior to his service at NaFFAA, he worked for an international labor union (AFSCME) and the George Washington University, where he served as an advisor to the Philippine Cultural Society. Now retired, he spends most of his time volunteering (Meals on Wheels, Tanghalang Pilipino, Philippine American Foundation for Charities),  editing Manila Mail, and writing for various publications. He lives with his wife, Elvie, in Maryland. They have one daughter (a music teacher) and two granddaughters. 

Maria Zenaida Deza Steinhauer

Advisor (West Orange, NJ) - Zenaida came to the United States in 1986 with her twin sons Patrick and Cedric.  She is the daughter of the late Dr. Ernesto C. Deza, a psychiatrist who practiced both in Iloilo, Philippines, and in the United States.  He died in the early 70s in the Philippines a year after he retired. Zenaida’s mother was from Banate, Iloilo from the Brillantes family. She passed away in 2012 in the Philippines.  Zenaida is an alumna of St. Paul College Iloilo, a nurse by profession, and married to a Jewish person, William (Bill) Steinhauer.  As a retired nurse, Zenaida wishes to make a difference in the life of every cancer patient by serving the community.  She believes that Filipino-Americans should be united in the battle against cancer.  

Judilyn Canete Franco

Advisor (New York City, NY) - She is a successful business entrepreneur Is who founded the MedStar Billing Technology and Resources (US-based) and MedStar PHIM (Philippine Based) - healthcare companies and an innovator in providing training to healthcare professionals and the MedStar Educare Services- a placement company that provides teachers around the world an opportunity to teach in the United States of America through the J1 Educational and Cultural Visa program. Currently, Ms. Franco serves as a Consultant/Instructor for the City College of New York Office (CCNY) - Continuing Professional Studies Allied Health courses.  She crafted the first Online-Hybrid Medical Billing and Coding curriculum in New York and has been used by the CCNY and the 1199 Union Hospital Workers one of the biggest Union of hospital Workers in America.  In addition, she the founder of the Christ Alone Ministry - a non-profit organization that provides medical insurance, creates livelihood programs, and offers support systems to the ministers in the Philippines.  Ms. Franco is also active in philanthropic organizations here in the US by serving as the Vice-President of Development & Fundraising- of the Association of Fil-Am Teachers in America (AFTA) and been awarded the Leadership in Education Administration Distinguished Service Award (LEAD).

Emmanuel M. Welsh

Advisor (Catonsville, MD) -  Mr. Welsh is deputy chief of staff to Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. Prior to joining the Comptroller’s Office in 2015, Manny worked for a number of elected officials and government agencies at all levels of government – including a United States Congressman, three Maryland state legislators, and in Baltimore City’s Department of Finance. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Towson University and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Baltimore. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the William Donald Schaefer Center for Public Policy in Baltimore. Born in Manila, Philippines, his family immigrated to the United States in 2002 and has proudly called Maryland home since 2003. He resides in Catonsville, Maryland. Emmanuel is no stranger to cancer as the most influential person in his young life, the late Patrick T. Welsh, had pancreatic cancer.  Emmanuel was only 16 years old when his adoptive father, a former Maryland State Senator lost his battle with the disease.

Velen Amparo Altis John

Advisor (New Jersey) - Velen was born in Iloilo City and Grew Up in Manila. Pamantasan Ng Lungsod Ng Maynila (University of the City of Manila) graduate in 1980 with a Bachelor's Degree in Education under the scholarship of the City of Manila. She arrived in the US in 1991 in Alexandria, VA. She studied at Kean University, Montclair State University in  New Jersey under scholarship. Velen got a Standard License in the field of teaching in the State of New Jersey. She blessed with a loving husband and 2 children: a son, a criminal justice student, daughter a biochemistry student in  New Jersey. Cancer is so damaging to health and it is unfortunate how cancer continues to take more lives. All of us are in it to fight against this deadly disease! Let's fight against cancer! Support our Cancer Patients!.  

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