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PS-ON Patient Advocacy

The PS-ON Patient Advocacy Program is a collaborative effort between investigators of the PS-ON and advocate advisors who serve as liaisons between cancer patients and the scientific community.

Patient advocates of the PS-ON and the Cancer Systems Biology Consortium (CSBC) form the Patient Advocacy Working Group, which meets every month to discuss ongoing PS-ON and CSBC advocacy activities.

PS-ON Patient Advocates

Carole Baas, Ph.D.

Carole Baas, Ph.D.
National Patient Advocate for the PS-ON

Drawing upon her background in biomedical engineering, as well as from her personal experience with breast cancer, Carole supports interactions between PS-ON scientists and the cancer patient community. Her role is to represent the patient perspective, encourage advocacy involvement within the PS-ON, and promote the dissemination of research findings to the public.

Prior to her involvement in patient advocacy, she was a medical researcher studying high altitude physiology for the United States Air Force and NASA. Her doctoral research focused on the development of a mathematical model of a physiologic system: the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the treatment of hydrocephalus.

Bob Riter, M.H.S.A.

Bob Riter, M.H.S.A.
Cornell University

Bob serves as the link between the Cornell PS-ON Center and cancer patients/survivors in the local community. He recruits and organizes panel presentations by patients/survivors for Cornell classes, provides the patient/survivor voice within the PS-ON Center, and helps teach classes that are designed to connect cancer researchers and trainees with cancer patient/survivors.

Jeri Francoeur, M.S.

Jeri Francoeur, M.S.
Moffitt Cancer Center

Jeri is the lead advocate for the Moffitt PS-ON Center and participates in all their outreach programs. She judges their research competitions, speaks at conferences, disseminates information to the lay public, helps with the high school research program, sits on numerous research committees for Moffitt, and attends Lobby Day to request research funding.

Stuart Cornew, M.B.A.

Stuart Cornew, M.B.A.
Northwestern University

Stuart is affiliated with the Northwestern PS-ON Center. His primary role is member of the Executive Advisory Board of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute.

Susan Samson, M.P.H.

Susan Samson, M.P.H.
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

Susan serves as a research advocate to the UCSF Breast Oncology and PS-ON Programs. She brings an extensive background in epidemiology research, clinical trials administration, current Good Manufacturing Practice standards, and FDA regulatory requirements. Along with her involvement in novel physical sciences and oncology mechanobiology research, her other areas of interest include triple negative breast cancer disparities research and HER2-positive breast cancer models.

She currently serves as the advocate on the UCSF Breast Oncology Site Committee, which aims to integrate the science of advocate input in clinical trial development. In addition, she has reviewed grants for Susan G. Komen, CBCRP, Avon, and SPORE programs, and has served as an advocate co-investigator/adviser on eleven breast cancer funded grants. Moreover, Susan has a notable record of presentations and peer reviewed publications.

Anne Meyn, M.Ed.

Anne Meyn, M.Ed.
Houston Methodist Research Institute

Anne was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma and treated late in 1989-1990. Realizing the importance and strength of sharing knowledge, she began her active advocacy in various arenas, including a breast cancer support group, ACS Reach-to-Recovery, and as a volunteer and board member with Susan G. Komen - Houston Affiliate.

Since her retirement from a career in education, she has become more involved with patient advocacy research programs. She has been a patient advocate for the MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) Breast Cancer SPORE. Currently she represents MDACC as the patient advocate for the Translational Breast Cancer Research Coalition (TBCRC), where she was recently selected as co-chair of the Patient Advocate Working Group.

Anne participates in several patient advocate roles at the Houston Methodist Research Institute. She serves as a patient advocate for a Department of Defense (DoD) Innovator Award, DoD Breakthru Level IV, the Data Safety Monitoring Board, and the PS-ON. She also co-chairs the Komen Advocates in Science (AIS) Steering Committee.

Ashley Dedmon, M.P.H.

Ashley Dedmon, M.P.H.
Houston Methodist Research Institute

Ashley is currently a public health professional, a cancer advocate, and public speaker. As a young woman, she lost her mother to stage IV metastatic breast cancer and watched her father battle prostate cancer. With a family history that includes three generations of women affected by breast cancer, Ashley decided to undergo genetic testing and discovered she was BRCA2 positive, a leading marker for the disease.

She is a BRCA2+ patient speaker with Myriad Genetics, a PS-ON patient advocate, and serves on a myriad of breast cancer workgroups and committees. She actively volunteers with Susan G. Komen, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), Got Boobs?, and Ovacome.

Stavroula Sofou, Ph.D.

Stavroula Sofou, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University (JHU)

Stavroula Sofou, PhD., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Associate Researcher at JHU. She also serves as a PS-ON patient advocate.

Her research interests include lipid biophysics, engineering of environmentally responsive lipid assemblies with tunable functionalities, nanoparticle-mediated delivery of chemotherapeutics, and alpha-particle emitters with a twist in targeting and transport.

Valencia Robinson, Ed.S.

Valencia Robinson, Ed.S.
Moffitt Cancer Center

Since the day of her diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer at the age of 33, Valencia has been committed to serving the community in an effort to raise awareness of breast disease.

She has attended Project Lead, the San Antonio Breast Symposium, and AACR. She is a board member for the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation, Triple Negative Breast Cancer Clinical Study Patient Advisory Board, a reviewer for the Department of Defense (DoD) breast cancer research program, an advocate with The Light Collective, as well as an advocate with PS-ON and the Oncology Nursing Society. She is also an editor for the Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry Department at Yale University.

Her passion is to help patients and survivors of cancer (especially breast cancer) in all areas – legislation, research, therapeutics, and overall wellbeing as a patient advocate.

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