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Quick Guide to Research & Scientific Advocacy Opportunities

In Triage Cancer's free Quick Guide to Research & Scientific Advocacy Opportunities, you'll see examples, learn about organizations participating in scientific advocacy, and learn about free ways to access research articles.

There is a wide spectrum of ways to engage in advocacy opportunities in the cancer community. Research and scientific advocacy opportunities can include activities that involve advocating for advances in science and research. Opportunities include:

  • Reviewing grants for an organization or agency
  • Advocating for increased research funding
  • Joining an organization's scientific advocacy efforts
  • Attending a training on research and science
  • Participating on a hospital's institutional review board (IRB)
  • Completing a survey or participating in a clinical trial

Research & Scientific Advocacy Resources:

Susan G. Komen Advocates in Science (AIS)

The AIS program brings the patient voice to research, ensuring that the unique and valuable perspectives of breast cancer patients, survivors, and co-survivors are integrated into the scientific dialogue and decisions, which impact progress toward ending breast cancer. Advocates play a variety of roles throughout the research process, from educating others about research, to participating in research grant peer reviews, and working with or as part of scientific teams to help prioritize, develop and implement research projects. Advocates also engage in ongoing education to enhance their advocacy skills and expand their own scientific knowledge.

National Breast Cancer Coalition Project LEAD® Courses

NBCC offers a variety of Project LEAD® courses that prepare advocates to engage and effectively influence breast cancer decision-making in research, quality care and community settings. They range from shorter introductory courses open to all, to longer intensive courses involving a competitive application process.

Research Advocacy Network

The Research Advocacy Network offers publications, tutorial resources, and training, designed to equip advocates with an understanding of the medical research system, scientific concepts, and research safeguards.

Local Cancer Centers—Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

Before a cancer center engages in a research study, they have to get approval from an IRB. Many cancer centers include patients, survivors, and caregivers in this process. Ask your healthcare team for more information.

National Breast Cancer Coalition – Center for Advocacy Training

NBCC’s Center for Advocacy Training has developed programs to teach breast cancer activists the strategic and evidence-based approach to advocacy that NBCC has pioneered. By offering world-class, targeted training in breast cancer science and public policy, the center readies breast cancer advocates to become agents of action and change in the mission to eradicate breast cancer.

U.S. Department of Defense – Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP)

By integrating patients, survivors, family members and/or caregivers into the scientific review process, the CDMRP is able to enrich the scientific review with personal perspective, passion, and a sense of urgency that ensures the human dimension is incorporated in the research focus. More than 2,000 consumers have served as Peer and Programmatic reviewers since 1995.

San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS)

This conference provides state-of-the-art information on the experimental biology, etiology, prevention, diagnosis, and therapy of breast cancer. Patient advocates wishing to attend the SABCS can apply for financial assistance by contacting the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation.

American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting

The ASCO Annual Meeting is a forum for cutting edge scientific and educational developments in oncology. Patient advocates can apply for reduced registration rates and scholarships to attend. ASCO also co-sponsors other symposia that offer patient advocate opportunities.

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)

AACR offers advocates affiliate membership to qualified individuals who are survivor-advocates and who are members of organizations that promote the advancement of cancer research. AACR also offers patient advocates discounted registration rates for select conferences and other advocate resources.

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Accessing Articles About Research

In this blog, learn seven tips for accessing research journals and articles for free or at a discounted rate. Tips include requesting access through your library or university, contacting the author personally to request a copy of the article, and using online databases or plug-ins that search specifically for free versions of an article (e.g. Google Scholar, JSTOR, DOAJ, and Open Access Button).

For more information, see our Cancer Advocacy Materials & Resources.

Disclaimer: This handout is intended to provide general information on the topics presented. It is provided with the understanding that Triage Cancer is not engaged in rendering any legal, medical, or professional services by its publication or distribution. Although this content was reviewed by a professional, it should not be used as a substitute for professional services. © Triage Cancer 2022

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