Staff Spotlight

Jacqui Douglas, Financial Navigator

John Stoddard Cancer Center

I am the new Financial Navigator at UnityPoint Health - John Stoddard Cancer Center. I am collaborating with the oncology navigation team to reduce financial distress, so it does not get in the way of patient care. I will be answering billing questions, helping establish payment plans, uncovering and addressing insurance challenges, and leading patients and their caregivers to financial assistance programs. I am excited to use my past experiences to help others on their journey, and to fill a void with the patient's experience.

I am always up for new adventures. I enjoy traveling, time with family & fur babies, anything outdoors, running or cycling for a cause, and reading. 


Dish with Nish Podcast is a series exploring topics of interest in cancer prevention, the human spirit and how new ideas are changing cancer care. Dr. Andrew Nish, Medical Director at the Stoddard Cancer Center, hosts insightful conversations with doctors, health care workers and patients discussing various aspects of health and cancer care. To listen to his latest episodes, including the topics of kidney cancer, Adolescent and Young Adult cancer survivorship, and melanoma, click here. Scroll to 'Meet Dr. Andrew Nish'.


FOCUS Award Winner - Alisa Shiber, Unit Clerk, Powell 3 Adult Oncology

Alisa was recognized through a nomination from her teammate for embodying the UnityPoint FOCUS values. From fostering unity within the Powell 3 team to always being available to fellow coworkers, patients and family members, Alisa seizes any opportunity to help. Thank you and great work, Alisa!

2023 DAISY Leader - Rachael Johnson, RN, Manager, Powell 3 Adult Oncology

This special award is given to nurse leaders who are extraordinary role models of compassion, service, respect, ethical behavior, and professional development. Rachel was nominated for being the epitome of what a leader should be. She is respected by her team because is assertive when needed, yet always shows compassion where it matters most. And she supports her team personally with her open-door policy and big heart. Thank you, Rachael, for all you do for your team and Stoddard Cancer Center. You are amazing!

Upcoming Classes, Programs & Events

Hybrid Support Groups

Stoddard Cancer Center has transitioned most support groups to hybrid meetings, so participants have the option of attending in-person or virtually. For information on when groups meet and how to join, click here and contact the phone number listed for the group you are interested in attending. 

Black Women 4 Healthy Living

Black Women 4 Healthy Living (BW4HL) hosts the Black Women’s Health Coalition at Corinthian Baptist Church on the third Saturday of each month in 2023. The focus is on Black women and their health and wellness. Health Assessments are given monthly to measure progress. The group engages in some low-impact physical activity and discusses a health-related topic unique to Black women. These events are completely free, and ALL Black women are welcome to join. For more information or to register, visit

Stoddard Cancer Center at the Downtown Farmers' Market - June 17

UnityPoint Health - Des Moines is the presenting sponsor of the Downtown Farmers' Market. Stop by the tent at 3rd on Court on Saturday, June 17 to say 'hi' to Stoddard Cancer Center staff, pick up information, and take part in interactive activities.

Golf to End Prostate Cancer Outing & 2023 Blue Believers Run/Walk

Stoddard Cancer Center is a proud sponsor to the Prostate Cancer Awareness of Central Iowa's annual golf outing on Wednesday, July 26 and the run/walk on September 23. For details, click here.

Above + Beyond Cancer Elevate Festival

Stoddard Cancer Center is sponsoring Above + Beyond Cancer's Elevate Festival on Sunday, August 20, which features a 5K walk/run, Yoga, and Mindfulness, set to a soundtrack of live music and movement. Come to Water Works Park and join a community, support a charity, and enjoy downtown Des Moines.For information, click here.

Get Your Rear in Gear

Stoddard Cancer Center is proud to sponsor Get Your Rear in Gear on Saturday, August 26 at Raccoon River Park. This run/walk supports those with colorectal cancer. For details, click here.

Bras for the Cause 3rd Annual B4 Ride

Bras for the Cause is committed to raising money to ensure all Iowans, uninsured or underinsured, have access to mammograms, cervical screenings and related medical programs or projects. Join the cause on Sunday, August 27 for this annual bike ride. For information, click here.

Rooted in Nature

UnityPoint Health - Des Moines partners with Polk County Conservation to create health and wellness programs that are focused on improving health with a connection to nature. For a list of classes, click here.


Forest bathing (also called forest therapy) is a wellness practice rooted in scientific research that helps individuals engage with the natural world using all the senses in order to reap positive physiological and psychological benefits. It’s more than a walk in the woods; it’s an immersion into the full experience of the forest and nature. For upcoming opportunities, click here.

Foundation News

West Bank Grants $10,000 to It Takes You Campaign

Donors are critical members of our care team at Stoddard Cancer Center. West Bank is one of the latest partners to support the It Takes You Comprehensive Campaign. With their $10,000 grant, they will help with the expansion of important programs, services and equipment.

With the support of donors like West Bank, the campaign is investing millions of dollars to ensure central Iowa has access to the most technologically-advanced cancer treatment, which began in 2022 with the purchase of a new Halcyon Linear Accelerator, the first in the state of Iowa. In 2023, a second linear accelerator will be replaced with a brand new TrueBeam. The campaign will also invest in essential support programs and services to provide invaluable care, comfort and connection for patients when they need it most.

To date, the campaign has raised over $4 million towards the $6 million goal. To learn more visit Thank you West Bank!

Pictured: Stoddard Cancer Center Director of Development Adam Haselhuhn (left) accepts check from Bryan Freund (right), representing West Bank.

Gift Received From American Cancer Society

We are so thankful to the American Cancer Society for their grant of $20,000 to Stoddard Cancer Center. Their gift will provide cancer patients with gas cards and DART transportation to and from appointments and treatments. More than 30% of Stoddard Cancer Center patients travel significant distances for treatment, which can add up to hundreds of dollars in gas and travel expenses. This grant will help lighten the financial load. 

EmpowHER Raises $23,000 for Pink Days Program

EmpowHER hosted its third annual fundraiser on International Women's Day and raised more than $23,000 for the Pink Days Free Mammogram Program at Stoddard Cancer Center. This will help pay for more than 100 mammograms for uninsured and underinsured Central Iowans. To learn more about the Pink Days program, click here. Scroll to 'Additional Specialty and Support Services'.

Celebrating 10 Years of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program

In 2013, Stoddard Cancer Center and Blank Children’s Hospital developed the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program, the first of its kind in Iowa. Since then, more than 435 patients, ages 15-39, have benefited from the programs and services offered through AYA. 

After having seizures in her sleep, Katie was rushed to the hospital where she was diagnosed with Grade 3 Astrocytoma. After one year, Katie is thankful for the support she found through the AYA program.

“You supported me through a traumatic and isolating part of my life and made it as comfortable as possible, I’ll always be grateful for you,” says Katie.


Thank you for helping us celebrate 10 years of AYA and supporting patients like Katie.

Read Katie's story.

Celebrate Cancer Survivors Day 

On June 4, you are invited to join Stoddard Cancer Center and communities around the world to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day. A day dedicated to those who have survived, inspiring those recently diagnosed, and a day to acknowledge family members, friends and oncology health care providers who have walked alongside patients in their journeys.

You can celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day by making a gift in honor of a cancer survivor, their loved one or a care provider at Stoddard Cancer Center who is special to you.

To donate visit:

New HDR Machine

The Radiation Oncology & Brachytherapy Center recently purchased a different High Dose Rate (HDR) machine, which will deliver faster treatments for patients with certain tumors. In 2022 we had 269 treatments on the HDR machine and in 2021 had had 320 treatments.  

Fun Photos

Stoddard Cancer Center received a sweet donation from a 12-year-old boy and the help of his friends. Instead of birthday gifts, his friends brought items for 16 cancer care packages to his party and he was able to assemble. We really appreciate the thoughtfulness of this donation!

Members of the Radiation Oncology team prepared a meal for the Ronald McDonald House in March.  

Stoddard in the News

The following stories were recently shared on social media and/or the news. Click to view:

Healthy Eats

Cauliflower Shawarma With Spicy Tahini

By Melissa Clark

Christopher Simpson for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

YIELD: 4 servings  TIME: 45 minutes


For the Cauliflower

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1¼ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1¼ teaspoons sweet paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea or table salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground cayenne, optional
  • 1 large head cauliflower (about 2½ pounds), trimmed and cut into bite-size florets
  • 1 large red onion, cut into ¼-inch wedges
  • Pita or flatbread, for serving
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley, plus more for serving
  • Chopped tomato, cucumber and olives, for serving

For the Spicy Tahini Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons harissa paste or other hot sauce, or a large pinch of Urfa or Aleppo pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 fat garlic clove, finely grated, passed through a press or minced
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • ⅓ cup ice water, plus more as needed


  1. Arrange racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Prepare the cauliflower: In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt, coriander, turmeric, black pepper and cayenne. Add cauliflower and onion,and toss until well coated. Spread mixture in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Roast vegetables on the top oven rack until they are golden brown, slightly crisp and tender, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice. If the vegetables look dry as they roast, drizzle with a little more olive oil.
  4. As they cook, prepare the tahini sauce: Whisk together lemon juice, 1 teaspoon harissa, garlic and salt in a small bowl, and let sit for a minute or two to mellow the garlic. Whisk in tahini. Whisk in ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is smooth and thin enough to drizzle. You may not need all of the water or you may need to add a little more: Tahini brands vary a lot. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more harissa, lemon juice and salt if you like. The sauce should taste zippy and creamy.
  5. Warm the pitas or flatbread by placing them directly on the bottom oven rack during the last 5 minutes as the vegetables roast. (Or you can warm the bread on another baking pan if that’s easier for you.)
  6. Scatter parsley on top of the roasted vegetables and serve with warm pitas, tahini sauce, chopped tomato, cucumber and olives.

The American Cancer Society is seeking volunteers to drive cancer patients to treatment appointments. Access to timely, high-quality treatment can often be a cancer patient’s largest roadblock to survival. Many patients must schedule daily or weekly appointments for several months, keeping friends and family from being able to provide all the support needed. The American Cancer Society’s Road To Recovery program fills this gap by offering free rides to patients. Volunteer drivers are urgently needed in Des Moines and the surrounding area. To learn more or to volunteer visit

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