Birmingham resident, Dianne Riley, was selected by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) as a consumer advocate to review research applications submitted to the Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRSP). Nominated by Forge Survivorship Center, a Birmingham-based nonprofit providing support and resources to Alabama breast cancer patients, survivors, and co-survivors, Dianne served as a full voting member of the committee. She served alongside prominent scientists to help determine how the $150 million appropriated by Congress for breast cancer research in Fiscal Year 2020 will be spent.
Consumer reviewers are asked to represent the collective view of patients on the impact of proposed research on issues such as diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life. When commenting on serving as a consumer reviewer, Dianne said, “Being a part of new breast cancer treatments is an honor and very educational.”
Forge Executive Director Lauren Roberts expressed her thanks and praise of Riley. “Our breast cancer community and state are fortunate to have such a strong representative at the table. As an active Forge volunteer and mentor for other survivors, Dianne provides the crucial voice of those who are living with a breast cancer diagnosis and their unique needs. Dianne is a fierce advocate for those who will directly benefit from the proposed research.”
Consumer advocates and scientists have worked together in this unique partnership to evaluate the merit of research applications since 1992.
Scientists applying propose to conduct innovative research focused on the urgency of ending breast cancer and enhancing the well-being of patients experiencing the impact of breast cancer. BCRP fills important gaps not addressed by other funding agencies by supporting groundbreaking research while encouraging out-of-the-box thinking.
Forge Survivorship Center supports and empowers Alabama breast cancer patients, survivors, and co-survivors from the day of diagnosis through the balance of life. Created through a unique collaboration of the Women’s Breast Health Fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and the four major health care systems in central Alabama: Brookwood Baptist, Grandview, St. Vincent’s, and UAB, Forge helps create personalized survivorship plans, pairs clients with volunteer mentors to listen and go to appointments, and provides essential resources like professional mental health counseling, transportation to appointments, wellness classes, and a community of support to Forge a new future together. In short, Forge helps solve any obstacle that gets in the way of healing the mind, body, and spirit of breast cancer patients and survivors and their loved ones.