by Lisa Schlager
“Where’s FORCE” highlights the ongoing efforts of FORCE staff and volunteers on behalf of the community.
As a member of the Bayer Oncology Patient Advocacy Advisory Council (PAAC), FORCE Vice President of Public Policy Lisa Schlager joined representatives from other advocacy groups and Bayer to review project proposals submitted by nonprofit organizations for a competitive funding opportunity from Bayer. The initiative is part of Bayer Oncology’s commitment to engaging patients in its clinical trials processes—and supporting initiatives that benefit the patient community.
The proposals fell into one of three categories:
- Survivorship and the new “Normal”
- Pediatric – Childhood Cancer Research
- Biomarkers for patient selection: Utilizing a personalized medicine strategy to improve clinical outcomes for patients
The organizations that submitted the highest scoring applications have been invited to present their proposal live at ASCO. PAAC members and Bayer senior leadership will award funding for one program in each category.
Lisa Schlager also attended the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC and joined other stakeholder organizations at the Coalition to Improve Access to Cancer Care (CIACC) Issue and Hill Day Training. Formerly known as the Patients Equal Access Coalition (PEAC), this group is working to ensure equal insurance coverage of cancer treatments regardless of how they are administered. Efforts include state legislation aimed at achieving this goal as well as garnering support for a national bill, the Cancer Drug Parity Act (HR-1409).
FORCE Founder and Executive Director Sue Friedman presented the keynote address at the inaugural BRCA Iceland Conference in Reyjkavic, Iceland. Lisa Schlager participated in the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) Women's History Month Panel, held on March 13 at U.S. State Department. Her presentation covered the history of BRCA, FORCE, and recent public policy efforts.
CURE Media Group honored Sue Friedman as one of four 2018 Ovarian Cancer Heroes, individuals who have made exceptional contributions to improving the lives of people affected by ovarian cancer.
Sue Friedman participated in an advocacy meeting at the Gaithersburg, MD headquarters of the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca on April 12. AstraZeneca manufactures Lynparza, a PARP inhibitor approved for recurrent ovarian cancer and metastatic breast cancer in people with inherited BRCA genetic mutations.
Lisa Schlager attended the Breast Cancer Alliance, Take Action Against Breast Cancer panel discussion/event in Washington, DC. The program included a panel of breast cancer experts from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and local cancer centers who spoke about the progress that has been made over the past decade.
FORCE volunteers staffed an exhibit at the Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference and Sandy Cohen, our Senior Vice President of Volunteer Programs, hosted an exhibit at the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Sprint. These exhibits are part of FORCE’s commitment to raising awareness about hereditary cancers and the programs we offer to those who are affected.
Lisa Schlager attended Genentech’s GENspire Advocate Briefing in DC. The program featured U.S. Medical Affairs Director Dr. Lance Baldo, who spoke about the Genentech drug pipeline and focus on precision medicine. FORCE advocate Jill Holdren testified before members of the Colorado legislature in favor of the “Genetic Counselor Licensure Act” (HB18-1114). FORCE supports state and federal initiatives to license genetic counselors.
We closed the month with an exhibit at the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) Conference in New York. FORCE board member Teri Woodhull was a speaker at “The New Landscape of Clinical Trials and Emerging Therapies” session.
In addition to all of these events, nearly 40 local FORCE support group meetings took place in locations including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Columbus, Detroit, North Dakota, Maryland, Portland, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and many more. Sincere thanks to all of our wonderful, dedicated volunteers who help us make a difference!
Check back for a new “Where’s FORCE” update in in a couple of months to learn more about the work we do on behalf of the millions of individuals and families affected by hereditary cancers.