Cancer Research Advocates Committee


The Cancer Research Advocates Committee (CRAC) is a standing committee that brings the patient perspective and experience to the cancer clinical trials being designed and conducted at the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group (ECOG-ACRIN). CRAC membersโ€”all cancer survivors and caregivers, offer unique patient experiences and connections to their networks of cancer support organizations, patients, and other advocates for bi-directional communication.

Goals/Specific Aimsย 

ECOG-ACRIN research advocates are active members of committees across the Scientific Programs, participating in regular meetings and conference calls. They are a resource in multiple ways, advising research teams as they discuss promising new scientific ideas and plan new clinical trials.

There are four essential time points when research advocates represent the needs and concerns of patients:

  1. Design stage โ€“ Explain the practical aspects of being in a clinical trial and what might be attractive or a barrier for potential participants
  2. Protocol and informed consent document review โ€“ Review the informed consent document, focusing on whether it is understandable to a lay audience, using the protocol document as a reference
  3. Trial activation โ€“ Review the patient education materials for whether they are understandable to patients (in simple language and free from acronyms or technical medical terms), and assess recruitment and social media plans for their reach into the patient community
  4. Results reporting โ€“ Ensure that advocacy organizations and patients learn about clinical trial results that lead to improvements or changes in cancer treatment, and published results of clinical trials are summarized in language that is understandable to a lay audience. These summaries are currently available in ECOG-ACRINโ€™s quarterly Advocacy Blog.

Members and Their Committee Assignments


Represents research advocacy on the Executive Committee and NCORP Community Advisory Committee. Also serves as the research advocate on the Breast Cancer Committee and Cancer Control and Survivorship Committee.

Annie Achee
- Cancer Control and Survivorship Committee; Cardiotoxicity Working Group

Mitch Achee
- Sarcoma Working Group

Carole Baas
- Breast Cancer Committee; Experimental Imaging Science Working Group

Melinda Bachini
- Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee

Lorna Beccaria
- Developmental Therapeutics Committee; NCI-MATCH Trial; Laboratory Science and Pathology Committee

Lisa Beckendorf
- Leukemia Committee

Yelak Biru
- Myeloma Committee

Steven Buechler
- Leukemia Committee

Stephanie Chisolm
- Genitourinary Committee

Trish Cosentino
- Lymphoma Committee

Arlene Dahm
- Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee

Robin Evans
- Breast Cancer Committee; Prevention, Screening and Surveillance Committee

Jill Feldman
- Thoracic Cancer Committee

Lauren Ghazal, PhD, FNP-BC
- Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Subcommittee (part of the Health Equity Committee)

Gerald Green
- Head and Neck Cancer Committee

Sam Guild
- Melanoma Committee

Lucy Hanna
- Committee affiliations to come

Brenda Hopper
- Breast Cancer Committee

Sanford Jeames
- Cancer Control and Survivorship Committee; Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee; Prevention, Screening and Surveillance Committee

Wayne Keese
- Leukemia Committee

Neal Levitan
- Brain Tumor Working Group

Debra Madden
- Breast Cancer Committee; Cancer Control and Survivorship Committee

Steven Merlin
- Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee

Anne Patterson
- Cancer Control and Survivorship Committee

Glenn Sykes
- Genitourinary Committee

Tracy Todd
- Leukemia Committee

ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group