A significant number of doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows at universities across the country are engaged in basic science research relating to cancer. Very few of these scientists-in-training, however, have an opportunity to get out of their laboratories and meet individuals directly affected by the disease that they are researching.
We want to change this.
- Those of us with cancer want the scientists involved in cancer research to understand that we are more than cells or molecular pathways. We are people first.
- Scientists seeking funding for cancer-related research often have their proposals reviewed by “consumers” (i.e., cancer survivors.) The National Cancer Institute, the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, the Susan Komen Research Program, and other funders require that consumers be included on the scientific peer review panels that make funding recommendations. Exposing scientists-in-training to the consumer perspective will help prepare them for this process.
- It is increasingly important for scientists to be able to explain their research to a lay audience. This can affect funding decisions and generate public support.
- Most of us, scientists included, like to know that our work has meaning and is making a difference. What better way to nurture the career of a scientist-in-training interested in cancer than by connecting them to people whose lives will be affected by what goes on in the laboratory?