Thoracic Cancer Care Team

Our expert staff coordinates treatment, as well as all necessary follow up and rehabilitation, using a team approach. Individually tailored treatment plans increase survival rates and improve a patient’s quality of life.

Our team includes thoracic surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, diagnostic and interventional radiologists, pulmonary medicine and critical care specialists, palliative care experts, geriatric oncology specialists, nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse navigators, pathologists, nutritionists, psychiatrists, social workers, and support staff.

Medical Oncology

Director of Thoracic Oncology

Christopher Gerard Azzoli, MD, has joined the Lifespan Cancer Institute as director of thoracic oncology.  A native Rhode Islander, Dr. Azzoli received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, followed by residency training at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He completed his fellowship in Medical Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York then served there as faculty from 2002 - 2012.  He served as faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston from 2012 - 2018.

Dr. Azzoli is a former Chairman of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Clinical Practice Guideline Committee, and was recently named a Fellow of ASCO.  He specializes in the care of patients with lung cancer, thymoma, and mesothelioma.

Medical Oncologist

Ariel Birnbaum, MD, is a medical oncologist at Rhode Island Hospital. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio, completed his residency training at the University of Minnesota hospitals, and completed his fellowship in hematology/oncology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. His clinical interests include combined modality treatment for lung cancer and end of life care. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical oncology and a participant in the Brown University Oncology Group.

Director, Lifespan Cancer Institute Thoracic Multidisciplinary Clinic

Humera Khurshid, MD, is the director of the Lifespan Cancer Institute’s Thoracic Multidisciplinary Clinic, where she sees patients and collaborates with a team of specialists to coordinate patient care for newly diagnosed lung cancer patients. She is a medical oncologist with a special interest in geriatric oncology and the care of older lung cancer patients. She is also an assistant professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Medical Oncologist

Hina Khan, MD, is a medical oncologist who specializes in thoracic cancers, and an assistant professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She practices at Rhode Island, The Miriam and Newport hospitals, and is board certified in internal medicine, hematology and oncology. 

Dr. Khan's work has been published in several peer-reviewed medical journals and books. She is a member of the American Society of Hematology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Medical Oncologist and Palliative Care Specialist

Angela Taber, MD, is a palliative care specialist and medical oncologist at the Lifespan Cancer Institute at Rhode Island, The Miriam, and Newport hospitals. She has a special interest in issues involving patient quality of life, improving doctor-patient communication, and palliative care for patients with lung cancer. She is board certified in palliative care, and is an active participant in the Brown University Oncology Group, where she is involved in the development of clinical research protocols.

Taber earned her medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts, and completed her residency and hematology-oncology fellowship at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and has been honored nationally for outstanding compassion and cancer care by the American Cancer Society. She is also the American Cancer Society’s designee to the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Advisory Council for the state of Rhode Island.

Surgical Oncology

Thoracic Surgeon

Steven Milman, MD, is a board-certified general and thoracic surgeon and a clinical assistant professor of surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He earned his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College, followed by a residency at Rhode Island Hospital. Dr. Milman completed a fellowship at Rush University Medical Center.

His clinical interests include endobronchial therapy and esophageal stenting for palliation of intrathoracic malignancies.

Director, Division of Thoracic Surgery

Thomas Ng, MD, is a thoracic surgeon at Rhode Island Hospital and is an associate professor of surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Ng received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto and his medical degree from Queen’s University School of Medicine in Kingston, Canada. He completed his residency in general surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, a fellowship in critical care medicine at the University of Toronto and a fellowship in thoracic surgery at the University of Ottawa. Ng is active in a number of societies, including the American College of Surgeons, Canadian Association of Thoracic Surgeons, Cancer and Leukemia Group B, New England Surgical Society, Rhode Island Medical Society, Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, Society of Surgical Oncology and Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Pulmonology

Pulmonologist

Douglas Martin, MD, specializes in pulmonary diseases and critical care medicine in the Interventional Pulmonary Program at Rhode Island Hospital. He graduated from The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and then completed his residency and pulmonary and critical care fellowship at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Martin has a special interest in lung cancer, bronchoscopy and interventional pulmonary procedures. He is board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary diseases, and critical care medicine. He is a member of The American Thoracic Society and The American College of Chest Physicians.

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.

Director of Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Jaroslaw T. Hepel, MD, serves as director of stereotactic radiosurgery at Rhode Island Hospital and as an assistant professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He also serves as associate director of the Tufts-Affiliated Hospitals Residency Training Program in Radiation Oncology. He is board certified in radiation oncology by the American Board of Radiology. Hepel received his undergraduate degree at Cornell University and earned his medical degree at the University of Rochester. He completed internal medicine residency at the University of California Irvine Medical Center, and then went on to complete residency in the specialty of radiation oncology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA. 

Hepel has broad experience and knowledge, and is active in caring for patients with a wide range of malignant diseases. However, he holds a particular interest and clinical expertise in the treatment of breast cancer and in stereotactic radiosurgery/radiotherapy for diseases involving the lung, brain, spine, liver and other sites. He is not only very active in the clinic but also has a keen academic interest in these areas. He has published several book chapters and multiple scientific papers, and has regularly presented his work at national meetings. Through his academic work, he strives to improve treatment outcomes for patients not only in regard to achieving higher cure rates but also to minimizing treatment side effects.

Radiation Oncologist

Paul P. Koffer, MD, is a radiation oncologist at Lifespan Cancer Institute at Rhode Island Hospital. Dr. Koffer received his undergraduate degree in biophysics from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia and completed his residency in radiation oncology at Tufts Medical Center, where he was appointed chief resident. Dr. Koffer’s research and academic interests include the stereotactic radiosurgery and assessment and management of cancer pain.

Nurse Navigators

Stephanie Balzano Sousa, BSN, RN
Nurse Navigator

Stephanie Balzano Sousa, BSN, RN, is a nurse navigator for the head, neck and thoracic adult oncology teams at Rhode Island Hospital and a member of the geriatric oncology clinic team. She obtained her bachelor of science in nursing from Rhode Island College. Sousa is a cancer survivor, which enables her to see a patient’s perspective. She also has experience in psychiatry consultation, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, and in the neonatal intensive care unit at Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals.