Lung Cancer Initiative Names Two New Board Members Jason Akulian, MD, MPH, and Aundrea Oliver, MD




Raleigh, NC, August 12, 2021 - The Lung Cancer Initiative (LCI) is pleased to welcome Jason Akulian, MD, MPH, University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Aundrea Oliver, MD, East Carolina Heart Institute, as the newest members of the Board of Directors.

“We are honored to have both of these leaders as a part of our organization,” said Amy Cipau, president and founder of LCI. “Dr. Akulian and Dr. Oliver bring unique perspectives and personal commitments that align with our goals in addressing health disparities and inequities in lung cancer and in furthering outreach and awareness in rural communities across North Carolina and beyond.”

Jason Akulian, MD, MPH

Dr. Jason Akulian is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He serves as Director of the Interventional Pulmonology service and Fellowship Program. Dr. Akulian's clinical interests include malignant/benign airway obstruction, lung cancer staging, lung nodule detection and treatment, and the treatment/palliation of pleural disease. His research interests include early detection of lung cancer, novel drug delivery to the lung, robotic bronchoscopy, and pleural immunology.

“As a Fellow and subsequently in practice, I saw the importance of holistic care in the treatment of lung cancer,” Dr. Akulian said. “My experiences have shaped the way I approach my clinical, research and educational practices always keeping the patient and their needs in the forefront of our efforts. My team and I here at UNC work hard to maintain that approach be it in diagnosing a new patient or enrolling someone in a clinical trial. In addition to this, our pivot toward early disease detection and advanced stage therapeutic delivery has allowed us to firmly plant our flag in the camp that is actively working toward a cure for lung cancer. This shared vision/goal is why it was so important to me to be able to team with the Lung Cancer Initiative as a way to extend our reach and help more people.”

Aundrea Oliver, MD

Dr. Aundrea Oliver is an Assistant Professor of Thoracic Surgery at the East Carolina Heart Institute at East Carolina University. Dr. Oliver’s research interests include thoracic malignancies and social determinants of health. Dr. Oliver is board certified in general surgery and thoracic surgery.

“When I looked to see where the greatest need for surgeons was in the fight against cancer, it wasn’t hard to see that lung cancer has remained the number one cancer killer in the US,” said Dr. Oliver. “At the time of my decision to go into thoracic surgery there was no immunotherapy, and TKI (tyrosine kinase inhibitor) therapy was still in its infancy for lung cancer. Lung cancer patients needed surgeons, and also at the time the field was not very attractive due to the perceived harsh training environment, long hours and high stakes surgery. It sounded like there was a need that would only grow, and where surgeons could have a big impact in survival.”

About The Lung Cancer Initiative

As the state’s leading nonprofit organization supporting lung cancer research and education, Lung Cancer Initiative specializes in connecting patients, survivors, and loved ones with the medical and research community. The organization’s mission is to advance survivorship and provide support to those affected by lung cancer through research, education, and access programs. For more information, or to get involved, please visit us at


For more information, contact (919) 784-0410 or LCI’s Communications & Development Specialist Lane Moore, at, or Executive Director Paige Humble, at

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