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Personalized Support

The NBTS Personalized Support and Navigation team responds to outreach from patients with a brain tumor and care partners with quality, unbiased information, resources, support programs, and services. We also assist in meeting other brain tumor-related needs of patients and care partners.

While NBTS does not provide medical advice, we empower our community members with key tools, information, and opportunities for their brain tumor experience while being able to make more informed decisions about their care.

To connect with our Personalized Support and Navigation team, email

Our helpful team will respond to your questions and provide you with the personalized information and support you need. Depending on your inquiry, you will connect with one of our three team members.

Patient Navigator: Katherine Pahler

Katherine Pahler, RN, serves as the Patient Navigator at the National Brain Tumor Society. With more than 10 years of experience helping patients and their families navigate the complexities of the health care system, Katherine works closely with patients and care partners to equip them with information, tools, and resources while also connecting them with support groups and building strong relationships at every step of the brain tumor experience.

Before joining NBTS, Katherine worked as a clinical research nurse at the Nexus Research Center at the Medical University of South Carolina. In her role, Katherine provided care to patients in clinical trials and helped implement translational research to catalyze brain tumor treatments. Additionally, she previously specialized in neurosurgery at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, where she strived to advance surgical interventions for brain tumors. 

Katherine’s experience will help guide patients and care partners to quality, unbiased information. She aims to empower brain tumor community members to feel they can advocate for themselves and ask questions to make informed decisions about their care.

Engaging with patients and care partners impacted by a brain tumor diagnosis has taught me that we must keep their unique needs and experiences at the center of our efforts. Whether newly diagnosed, facing a recurrence, navigating survivorship, or grieving a loss, I am dedicated to providing comprehensive support to empower our community throughout their brain tumor experience.

Katherine Pahler

Patient Advocate: Rachael Kittleson

Rachael Kittleson is the Senior Director, Community at National Brain Tumor Society. In her role as a patient advocate, Rachael works with patients who have questions about financial assistance, finding support programs, social support, and tissue donation. She has previously served as an educational administrator, nonprofit foundation president, pediatric cancer and brain tumor advocate, and community leader. Rachael specializes in program curriculum development, creating effective and comprehensive educational materials, and engaging with and responding to the needs of diverse stakeholders.

As a former caregiver, I am passionate about providing our community with the support and resources they need to help navigate the challenges of a brain tumor diagnosis, along with providing opportunities for connection so patients and care partners know they are not alone.

Rachael Kittleson

Patient Advocate: Kimberly M. Wallgren

Kimberly M. Wallgren is the Executive Director of the CERN Foundation, a program of the National Brain Tumor Society. Under Kim’s leadership, the CERN Foundation has built the leading ependymoma tumor-focused community in the United States and globally, raising public awareness, advancing medical research, and providing support and advocacy for this often underserved disease affecting children and adults.

Bringing nearly fifteen years of experience interacting with patients and families, Kim is passionate about the individual experience of a CNS tumor diagnosis and seeks to influence outcomes by providing direction and education at critical points of the journey. Kim is committed to collaboration between all stakeholders, and she bridges gaps between industry leaders and the patient community.

For me, it is most important to lead with empathy and listen with a careful ear to understand the family’s situation. My goal is to empower families to take the best next step unique to their situation and meet them where they are at in their experience with a brain or spinal cord tumor diagnosis.

Kimberly M. Wallgren

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