ACKC Officers

JAY BITKOWER – President

Jay is a 7-year survivor of kidney cancer and serves as ACKC’s President. He worked for New York City government for over 30 years before retiring and then worked as an independent computer consultant until retiring again in 2005. Jay decided to create ACKC when he learned the extent to which kidney cancer is under funded as compared to other cancers such as prostate, breast, and ovarian, which have strong advocacy groups.

FRED ATKIN – Vice President

Fred is a 7-year survivor of kidney cancer and serves as ACKC’s Vice President. Fred was a Training Project Manager at Northrop Grumman for over 32 years before retiring. He then started a new career as Co-Coordinator of SeniorNet in Huntington, NY. He and approximately 80 volunteers bring seniors into the modern age by teaching them how to use computers. When he discovered that he had kidney cancer in 2001 he was surprised at how little was known about the disease and shocked to find out how little was being done to screen, treat and find a cure for this devastating disease. That is why he joined Jay to create ACKC to raise funds to find the answers to eliminating kidney cancer.

ALAN DAVID – Treasurer

Alan is a 7-year survivor of stage 4 metastatic kidney cancer and serves as ACKC’s treasurer. He is a Certified Public Accountant, having practiced accounting for 38 years. He is still active in his accounting practice. Alan who survived a heart attack eight months prior to his cancer diagnosis was recently told, by one of his doctors, “after surviving everything that you’ve been through, you must have been put here for a higher purpose.” He felt after his first meeting, with Jay and Fred, that he had found his “higher purpose,” to educate and find a cure for kidney cancer. Alan is proof that kidney cancer is a “silent killer,” after the tests and medical attention administered in his recovery from the heart attack, his kidney cancer remained undetected.

PAT KOCH THALER – Corresponding Secretary

Pat Koch Thaler is a 7-year survivor of kidney cancer and serves as ACKC’s Secretary. Before she retired she was an Associate Dean at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies where she directed the Division of Arts, Sciences and Humanities. Concerned about the paucity of research into the causes and treatment of kidney cancer, she helped to establish ACKC and become an advocate for increased government and private funding to support such research. She is currently writing children’s books.


Charlotte Hettena, Ph.D. is a seven-year survivor of kidney cancer and is Recording Secretary of ACKC. She is a practicing psychologist. Concerned with the lack of specific support groups for kidney cancer patients, she organized the only New York area group specific to kidney cancer. She is co-chair of the Caring Community for her synagogue and edits a psychological publication for the Nassau County Psychological Association.

DR. KEN YOUNER   Medical Director

Dr. Kenneth Youner is Medical Director of ACKC. Dr. Youner, who is a 7-year survivor of stage IV kidney cancer, is a gastroenterologist by training with 30 years practical experience in his field. In the area of kidney cancer advocacy, Dr. Youner has been an advisor to ACKC since 2005. Among his other advocacy activities, in 2008, he served as a Super Advocate to the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship and testified before Congressional health aides in Washington, DC on NCCS’s behalf. Dr. Youner is on leave from his role as co-owner of the Kidney-Onc section of ACOR (Association of Online Cancer Resources listserv), whose members provide advice to fellow kidney cancer patients and caregivers.