Des Plaines resident selected as a stakeholder to review American Cancer Society research grant proposals
Des Plaines resident, Jemmabella “Jemma” Cabral has been selected as one of 18 individuals across the nation with a strong personal interest in cancer to participate in the American Cancer Society’s research grants peer review process for 2013. These Stakeholders, who have been part of the Society’s grant review process since 1999, provide a point of view directly from the cancer experience to help ensure the Society makes sound research funding decisions.
Cabral is a two-time cancer survivor of Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and credits an Autologus Stem Cell Transplant for saving her life. Presently she works as a Programs Manager for a 1-on-1 cancer support organization and is a full-time student earning her Bachelor’s Degree in business management.
Cabral has been heavily involved with the Society and its advocacy partner ACS-CAN for approximately eight years. She has been a Relay For Life Team Captain, sat in several different committees, served as Event Chair three times in two different states and been a Survivor Speaker for more than 20 Relay For Life events.
In 2009, Cabral traveled and participated in more than 25 Relay For Life events around the world for the 25th Anniversary of the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraising event. Cabral was an Ambassador for Celebration on the Hill in 2006 and has been a Relay CAN Chair sharing the connection between Relay and ACS CAN, helping ensure that the voices of cancer survivors, caregivers and all others are heard. Last but not least, Cabral is a Champion for the American Cancer Society, which she sees as a way to leave behind a legacy of her own survivorship.
Stakeholders, who may or may not have formal science or oncology training, have a strong personal interest in cancer research. Each has a personal connection to the disease, such as having had a family member with cancer, having acted as a caregiver, or having had a personal battle with the disease. The participation of Stakeholders brings a critical perspective to the grant review process.
“Selecting which research projects will receive American Cancer Society funding is both a critical and difficult process,” said W. Phil Evans M.D., American Cancer Society national volunteer president. “The participation of Stakeholders is akin to a reality check, to assure that each of the hundreds of research proposals is reviewed not only by scientists, but by people who have real-life experience with cancer.”
“These Stakeholders really add value to the process,” said Elizabeth Jablonski, PhD, director, Research, Health Initiatives and Advocacy, Illinois Division. “Not many get to see the inside of this work. The Stakeholders bring an understanding from the perspective of survivors and their families. Sometimes they bring very science-focused researchers back to the humanity of their studies.”
No formal science training is required to serve as a Stakeholder, each of whom joins clinicians, researchers, and other scientists for a two-year term to review the more than 1,700 applications submitted to the American Cancer Society each year. Stakeholders are recruited from around the United States, and receive training before being assigned to one or more of the approximately 20 peer review committees in the Society’s Extramural Grants Division. In addition to Stakeholders, each committee includes five to 20 researchers, clinicians, and other experts.
Since its inception in 1946, the American Cancer Society’s Research and Training Program has funded more than $3.8 billion in cancer research and health professional training. As the largest private source of cancer research funding in the U.S., the Society funds approximately $100 million in research grants every year. The program has funded 46 researchers who have won the Nobel Prize. The nomination period for the next class of Stakeholders, who will receive training in 2013 and begin a two-year term of service in 2014, is now open. Interested parties can learn more about the program, including how to apply, at http://www.cancer.org/stakeholders, or by contacting Joe Cotter at firstname.lastname@example.org. The nomination period ends December 30, 2012.
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end cancer for good. As a global grassroots force of three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping you stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early, helping you get well by being there for you during and after a diagnosis, by finding cures through groundbreaking discovery and fighting back through public policy. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.8 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.