Colorectal Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic Team

Medical Oncology

Hematologist/Oncologist

Rimini A. Breakstone, MD is a medical oncologist who specializes in gastrointestinal cancers. She received her medical degree from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University and completed her residency and fellowship at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Breakstone is board certified in hematology, oncology and internal medicine.

Prior to joining the Lifespan Cancer Institute, she was an instructor at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and served on the Unit Based Clinical Leadership Committee focused on inpatient quality improvement measures. Dr. Breakstone is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Medical Association. Her research interests include malignancies of esophagus, stomach, biliary system, pancreas, colon and rectum.

Chief, Hematology Oncology

Howard P. Safran, MD is the chief of hematology/oncology at the Lifespan Cancer Institute at Rhode Island, The Miriam and Newport hospitals, and the medical director for the Brown University Oncology Group. Safran is a professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a nationally recognized leader in the development of new treatments for upper GI cancers. He is a member of the U.S. National Cancer Institute's pancreatic and gastrointestinal cancer task forces.

Radiation Oncology

Clinical Director, Radiation Oncology

Thomas DiPetrillo, MD, is clinical director of radiation oncology at Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals. He is a leading authority on a variety of radiation treatments for cancer, including intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy. DiPetrillo is a pioneer in the use of IMRT, a noninvasive procedure that allows physicians to pinpoint delivery of radiation therapy, resulting in better tumor control with less toxicity. He is also an expert in the use of HDR brachytherapy, a treatment that involves the use of a robotic arm to deliver a radioactive “seed” to a tumor. 

DiPetrillo is a graduate of the University of Vermont College of Medicine and completed his residency at New England Medical Center (now Tufts Medical Center). He is an associate professor of radiation oncology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and an adjunct associate professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Radiation Oncologist

Timothy J. Kinsella, MD, is an internationally recognized radiation oncologist and a research scholar professor of radiation oncology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Kinsella received his undergraduate degree from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY; a master’s degree with honors from Brown University; and both his master of science in radiation biology and his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, NY. He completed his residency training in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic, fellowship training in medical oncology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, and his residency training in radiation oncology at the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program. He was a fellow of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology. Kinsella has been editor-in-chief of Frontiers in Radiation Oncology and editorial board member of eight other journals. He is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and radiation oncology. His areas of clinical expertise include the treatment of bone and soft tissue sarcomas, brain tumors, lymphomas, gastrointestinal cancers and pediatric cancers. He has laboratory expertise in the development of intraoperative radiotherapy, radiation sensitizing drugs and small molecules that modify DNA repair processing of radiation damage.

Radiation Oncologist

Kara Leonard, MD, is a radiation oncologist at Rhode Island Hospital and an assistant professor of radiation oncology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Leonard received her undergraduate degree in neuroscience from Columbia University in New York, her master of science from Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania, and her medical degree from Albany Medical College in Albany, New York. She completed an internship in internal medicine at Albany Medical Center, followed by a residency in radiation oncology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. She specializes in treating breast, gastrointestinal, and head and neck cancers. She is a member of several national honor societies, including Alpha Omega Alpha and Psi Chi.

Radiation Oncologist

Esther Yu, MD, is a radiation oncologist at Rhode Island Hospital. A 2012 graduate of Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Yu has published her research on breast, central nervous system, and gastrointestinal cancers in many medical journals, and has presented at several national meetings for radiation oncology. She was named chief resident during her final year of residency at Tufts Medical Center in 2016-2017.

Dr. Yu is a winner of the American Brachytherapy Society’s 2016 HDR Scholarship Award. She holds a number of professional memberships including the American Society for Radiation Oncology and the American College of Radiation Oncology.

Surgical Oncology

Colorectal Surgeon

Adam Klipfel, MD, FACS, FASCRS, is a board-certified, fellowship-trained colorectal surgeon with expertise in colon cancer and surgical oncology. He received his medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and completed a residency at New York Methodist Hospital. Dr. Klipfel gained further experience through a colorectal fellowship and an anorectal physiology fellowship at University of Southern California-affiliated hospitals. He has expertise in robotic surgery for benign and malignant disease. He is a clinical assistant professor of surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and is program coordinator of the Colorectal Surgery Fellowship program. Dr. Klipfel is the current president of the Rhode Island Chapter of the American College of Surgeons. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Rectal and Colon Surgeons as well as a member of Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract and the New England Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, among others.

Colorectal Surgeon and Co-Director, Program for Pelvic Floor Disorders, Women’s Medicine Collaborative

Leslie Roth, MD, FACS, FASCRS is co-director of the Program for Pelvic Floor Disorders in the Center for Women’s Gastrointestinal Medicine at the Women’s Medicine Collaborative and a colorectal surgeon at University Surgical Associates.

Dr. Roth is the Rosalyn and Joseph Sinclair Clinical Professor of Pelvic Floor Disorders and an assistant professor of surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and her medical degree from the Tel Aviv University Sackler School of Medicine, New York State/American Program, in Ramat Aviv, Israel and New York.

She completed her residency at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. She is a graduate of the colon and rectal surgery fellowship at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Dr. Roth is board certified in both general and colorectal surgery. She is also a fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.

Dr. Roth's areas of clinical interest and expertise include colon and rectal cancer surgery, colonoscopy, laparoscopic/minimally invasive surgery, benign anorectal conditions, fecal incontinence and other pelvic floor disorders.

Interim Chief of Colorectal Surgery for Lifespan

Steven Schechter, MD, is the interim chief of colorectal surgery for Lifespan and a board-certified colorectal surgeon with special expertise in laparoscopic, minimally invasive surgery, fecal incontinence, pelvic floor reconstructive surgery, and colon cancer.

His research interests include rectal cancer treatment, and the link between anal cancer and human papilloma virus in women.

Dr. Schechter is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, and the New England Surgical Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, and a member of the International Society of Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery.

Dr. Schechter is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and recipient of several awards for his teaching at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, where he is a clinical associate professor.

Director of General Surgery, The Miriam Hospital

Patient Navigators

Mary Ellen Danzer, MSN, RN, CNS, OCN
Patient Navigator

Mary Ellen Danzer, MSN, RN, CNS, OCN is a certified oncology nurse and pateint navigator who works closely with the gastrointestinal cancer patient and the malignant hematology patient helping patients and their families navigate the continuum of cancer care.  She is a graduate of Rhode Island College Master of Science in Nursing.  

Lynn Shaw, RN, BSN
Patient Navigator

Lynn Shaw, RN, BSN, is a certified patient navigator and a graduate of Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. She works closely with the Lifespan Cancer Institute gastrointestinal team. Her role involves assisting the hematology/oncology physicians, as well as helping the patients and their families navigate the continuum of cancer care.