Keynote Speakers

Our exceptional line-up of keynote speakers for the AHNS 9th International Conference on Head & Neck Cancer are:

Bob Bell #3a

Robert S. Bell, CM, MSc, MD, FRCSC
Deputy Minister of Health, Province of Ontario, Canada;
Former CEO-University Health Network, Toronto; Orthopedic Surgical Oncologist

Dr. Robert Bell was appointed Deputy Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, effective June 2, 2014. Prior to this role, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of University Health Network for nine years. He was previously the Chief Operating Officer at Princess Margaret Hospital and Chair of both Cancer Care Ontario’s Clinical Council and the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario.

Dr. Bell received his Doctor of Medicine from McGill University and a Master of Science from the University of Toronto. He also completed a Fellowship in Orthopaedic Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University. Dr. Bell is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the American College of Surgeons and an Honourary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

An internationally recognized orthopedic surgeon, health care executive, clinician-scientist, and educator, Dr. Bell brings more than 30 years of health care experience to his current role.


Curt Cronin
Founder, Mastery Technologies; Former Leader Navy SEAL Team

Over 16 years as a Navy SEAL, Curt deployed thirteen times and spent more than four years overseas. In that time, he honed his talent as a catalyst for transformation. Curt’s passion is to engage each person, team, or organization’s highest aspirations and help them connect to the hero within. He is an expert at maximizing human potential and synthesizing the strengths of a team to create unprecedented results in any context. His presentations address the art of leadership, organizational change for the information age, and the talent of harnessing your own courage and heroism to inspire and empower individuals and teams.

During more than a decade of combat operations to eighteen countries throughout the PACIFIC and CENTCOM areas of operation, Curt lead the nation’s Premier SEAL assault force and maximized their effectiveness by forging unique and unlikely alliances; he transformed an offensive unit of Navy SEALs into a defensive Presidential protection unit in the midst of combat; and he single-handedly created the model for multi-disciplinary counter-terrorism operation out of a widely disparate patchwork of organizations as part of an Embassy team in the Middle East. These experiences have reinforced Curt’s fundamental belief that the competitive edge for any organization in the information age is neither technology nor information; rather, it is the unparalleled power of an aligned team.

In today’s dynamic environment milliseconds make the difference between life and death, winning and losing. The speed and volume of global communications generates complex second- and third-order ripple effects for every action. Companies simply cannot address such complexities on a case-by-case basis. Rather, the organization and each individual must be aligned by a common purpose and an unparalleled belief that they can achieve their objective. Curt’s expertise is in identifying and developing the talents of each member of a team and uniting them through shared ownership of the mission. He creates teams empowered to act decisively in any environment because they embody both the content and the context of the leader’s vision.

Curt is a lifetime learner. In addition to co-founding Mastery Technologies, Inc. with fellow warrior and life-long friend Jay Ferraro (The Shrink), a global talent solutions firm committed to Igniting the Human Spirit to Achieve Exceptional Performance, Curt is a featured speaker on the national circuit. He graduated 5th in his class at the United States Naval Academy. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor, Bronze Star medal, and three Distinguished Meritorious Service Medals while serving in the U.S. Navy. He then began his entrepreneurial career with General Stan McChrystal and the McChrystal Group where he served as a managing partner in transformational consulting for two years with companies such as AOL and Hewwlett-Packard. He received his MBA at a combined program from the London School of Economics, New York University’s Stern School of Business, and the HEC school of Management in Paris. He is married to his wife, Julia, and has three children, Conner, Rachel, and Abby.

Shaha, Ashok

Ashok Shaha, MD
Jatin P Shah Chair in Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology Attending Surgeon
Head and Neck Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Shaha is an Attending Surgeon, Professor of Surgery and holds Jatin P. Shah Chair on Head and Neck Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  Dr. Shaha completed his surgical training in Baroda India, worked at Tata Memorial Hospital and subsequently moved to the U.S. in 1975. After completing his surgical oncology fellowship and residency at Downstate Medical Center he was a head and neck fellow at Memorial Hospital between 1981-1982.  He was appointed as an attending surgeon at Downstate Medical Center in 1982 and rose to the rank of Professor of Surgery in 1992.  He moved to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 1993 and has been there since.

Dr. Shaha has received several academic awards including Golden Apple Teaching Award, AOA Honor Medical Society and Outstanding Teaching Award at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  He was visiting Professor of Society of Head and Neck Surgeons and received distinguished service award from the American Head and Neck Society. He also received distinguished service award from AAO-HNS.  He was Co-President of the American Head and Neck Society and has been President of the N.Y. Cancer Society, New York Head and Neck Society, New York Surgical Society and Brooklyn Surgical Society. He has been on the editorial board of several journals.

He has a deep interest in thyroid cancer and thyroid surgery. He has been academically quite active with more than 500 published peer-reviewed papers and approximately 150 of book chapters.  He also performed experimental research on tracheal malacia and tracheal reconstruction.  He has dedicated his professional career to the training of the medical students and residents. He was Chairman of the Advance Training Council for head and neck oncology fellowship in the U.S. for 10 years.  He has been a frequent guest speaker in several international meetings. He was conference Chair of the 6th International Conference in 2004 and is Director of IFHNOS.


Mark Shrime, MD, MPH, PhD
Research Director, Global Surgery and Social Change, Harvard University

Mark G. Shrime, MD MPH PhD FACS is an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology and of Global Health and Social Medicine at the Harvard Medical School.  He serves as the Research Director at the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change at the Harvard Medical School. In addition, he is an otolaryngologist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and associate faculty at Ariadne Labs.

His academic pursuits focus on surgical delivery in low- and middle-income countries, where he has a specific interest in the intersection of health and impoverishment. His work aims to determine optimal policies and platforms for surgical delivery that maximize health benefits while simultaneously minimizing the risk of financial catastrophe faced by patients.

Dr. Shrime graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1996 with a BA in molecular biology. He received his MD from the University of Texas in 2001, after taking a year to teach organic chemistry in Singapore. Medical school was followed by a residency in otolaryngology at the joint Columbia/Cornell program in Manhattan, followed, in turn, by a fellowship in head and neck surgical oncology at the University of Toronto in 2007. He completed a second fellowship in microvascular reconstructive surgery, also at the University of Toronto, in 2008. He was the first to identify a novel independent prognostic indicator in head and neck cancer.

To date, he has worked and taught in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Benin, Togo, Congo, Haiti, Saudi Arabia, and Madagascar. In May, 2011, he graduated with an MPH in global health from the Harvard School of Public Health, where he was a finalist for both the Albert Schweitzer award and the HSPH Student Recognition award, and in May, 2015, he received his PhD in health policy from Harvard University, with a concentration in decision science.

Dave-Williams-HiRes 1a

Dave Williams, MD
CEO, Southlake Regional Health Centre; Former NASA/Canadian Space Agency Astronaut

With a passion for healthcare and risk management, prior to entering the Canadian Space Agency’s program, Dr. Dave Williams worked as an emergency room doctor and later as director of emergency services at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. Formerly the director for the McMaster Centre for Medical Robotics, where he led a team dedicated to developing innovative technologies to assist the development of local and remote patient care. In July 2011 Williams became President and Chief Executive Officer of Southlake Regional Health Centre. In June 2012 Williams was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame.

Dave Williams joined an exclusive club when he blasted into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, and again on Shuttle Endeavour where he walked out into the great beyond. Having also lived and worked in the world’s only underwater ocean laboratory, he became Canada’s first dual astronaut and aquanaut.

Williams is one of the NASA space program’s most accomplished astronauts, setting records in spacewalking. The veteran of two space shuttle missions has logged more than 687 hours in space, including three spacewalks, the highest number of spacewalks ever performed in a single mission. His work with NASA also continued on the ground when the space agency appointed him as director of the Space and Life Sciences Directorate, making Williams the first non-American to hold a senior management position.