I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 49. This experience changed my life in many ways. I left a career that I loved, retrained myself about cancer and advocacy and then formed a nonprofit focused on helping other cancer patients understand the importance of research principals.
I have a B.S. in chemistry and biological science. I also completed a one-year training in clinical laboratory science and hold federal and state licenses in that field. I have had over 25 years of clinical and research lab experience and would probably still be working in a lab somewhere if not for my cancer diagnosis. After treatment I quit my job and took a part time job as the Assistant Administrator for the UCSF Breast Oncology Program where I spent 5 years learning the various aspects of both the research and clinical end of the breast oncology field.
I volunteered for many different committees while at UCSF: I was the first advocate to sit on their Pre-protocol Review Committee (7 years), the Tissue Use Committee (2 years), the Breast SPORE (9 years) and the Special Populations Committee (2 years). Other volunteer efforts include: CARRA advocate for the NCI, member of both ACOSOG and ACRIN (vice-chair) cooperative groups, co-chair of a work group for the Summit Series on Clinical Trials and a NBCC public policy team leader. I have reviewed grants for DoD, NCI, AVON, Komen and CA Breast Cancer Research Program.
I have completed the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) Project LEAD, Clinical Trial LEAD and Quality Care LEAD. I recently served as 1 of 8 advocates at a 45 member NBCC “Measure-What-Matters” Quality Care Meeting. I participated in the Rocky Mountain Evidenced-Based Health Care Program in 2006 and attended two annual AACR meetings as a member of their Scientist<->Survivor Program. I have served as a mentor for this program. I attended the first AACR Scientist<->Survivor Training Workshop for advocates and have served on the faculty of the ASCO/AACR sponsored “Methods in Clinical Cancer Research” held in Vail CO.
I founded Cancer Information and Support Network (CISN) in 2001 and serve as it’s President. CISN was the first nonprofit vendor ever used by a leading biotech company. This included developing educational materials for a specific clinical trial to assist patients understanding of the study. CISN also performs trainings for professional staff as well as advocates on a variety of research topics with a focus on health literacy, clinical trials and the informed consent process.
CISNs goals are to transmit emerging advances in cancer research by bridging the gap between industry, academia and the public. CISN strives to foster public awareness and literacy about the importance of medical research to daily life.