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 members—all cancer survivors and caregivers, offer unique patient experiences and connections to their individual networks of cancer support organizations, patients, and other advocates for bi-directional communication.

Goals/Specific Aims 

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 – Research advocates 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 – Research advocates 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 – Research advocates review the patient education materials for whether they are understandable to patients (in simple language and free from acronyms or technical medical terms). They also assess recruitment and social media plans for their reach into the patient community.
  4. Results reporting – Research advocates ensure that advocacy organizations and patients learn about clinical trial results that lead to improvements or changes in cancer treatment. They ensure that published results of clinical trials are summarized in language that is understandable to a lay audience. These are currently available in ECOG-ACRIN’s quarterly Advocacy Blog.



Represents research advocacy on the Executive Committee and NCORP Community Advisory Committee

Mary Lou Smith, JD, MBA

Research Advocacy Network

Cancer Research Advocates CommitteeCancer Research Advocates Committee

Members and Their Committee Assignments

Brain Tumor Working Group

  • Neal Levitan

Breast Committee

  • Carole Baas
  • Robin Evans
  • Brenda Hopper
  • Debra Madden
  • Mary Lou Smith

Cancer Control and Survivorship Committee

  • Annie Achee (Cardiotoxicity Working Group)
  • Sanford Jeames
  • Debra Madden
  • Anne Patterson
  • Mary Lou Smith

Developmental Therapeutics Committee / NCI-MATCH

  • Lorna Beccaria

Experimental Imaging Science Working Group

  • Carole Baas

Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee

  • Melinda Bachini
  • Arlene Dahm
  • Sanford Jeames
  • Steven Merlin

Genitourinary Cancer Committee

  • Stephanie Chisolm
  • James Hutson
  • Glenn Sykes

Head and Neck Cancer Committee

  • Gerald Green

Laboratory Science and Pathology Committee

  • Lorna Beccaria

Leukemia Committee

  • Lisa Beckendorf
  • Steven Buechler
  • Wayne Keese
  • Suzanne Royce

Lymphoma Committee

  • Lisa Beckendorf
  • Trish Cosentino

Melanoma Committee

  • Sam Guild

Myeloma Committee

  • Yelak Biru

Prevention, Screening and Surveillance Committee

  • Robin Evans
  • Sanford Jeames

Sarcoma Working Group

  • Mitch Achee

Thoracic Committee

  • Jill Feldman


Send an email

ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group