by Lisa Schlager
This issue of “Where’s FORCE” features an overview of the many places FORCE staff and volunteers have been in the recent months.
July and August
NRG Oncology is a nonprofit research organization formed to conduct oncologic clinical research and to broadly disseminate study results for informing clinical decision making and healthcare policy. As a member of the NRG Oncology Cancer Prevention and Control Committee, FORCE executive director Sue Friedman attend its semi-annual meeting, July 12-14 in Philadelphia. The meeting included sessions and workshops on gynecologic and ovarian cancers, precision medicine, immunotherapy, radiation oncology and more.
The Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA) held its national conference, July 13-15 in Washington, DC. Lisa Schlager, FORCE Vice President of Public Policy, participated in partner member events, attended sessions, and staffed a FORCE exhibit along with local volunteers.
We kicked off the new FORCE Patient Advocate Leaders (PALs) program with its first webinar training on July 16. This program aims to mobilize members of the hereditary cancer community to have a stronger, more strategic role in driving state and national policies that represent the distinct needs of those affected by hereditary cancer.
In mid-July, FORCE collaborated in a heath care policy effort by submitting comments on the Health and Human Services Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs.
The month of August tends to be slow but the reprieve is welcome in light of the frenzy of September and October. With few meetings and events, the FORCE staff used the time to prepare for the Joining FORCEs conference scheduled for October.
FORCE outreach groups around the country took part in Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month programs this month. In addition, a number of events and workshops took place in the Washington, DC area including the Rally for Medical Research training and Hill Day, September 12-13, NCCN Oncology Policy Summit on addressing the changing paradigms in cancer care delivery on September 13, and Mid-Life and Older Women's Health Briefing hosted by the Women’s Congressional Policy Institute, also on September 13. The same day, Lisa Schlager attended the 7th Annual Blueprint for Breakthrough Forum: Research and Reimbursement in the Age of Precision Medicine.
On the opposite side of the country, our education and research staff—Kelly Owens, PhD and Piri Welcsh, PhD—represented FORCE at the 12th Biennial Ovarian Cancer Research Symposium, presented by the Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer and the American Association for Cancer Research, September 13-15 in Seattle, WA.
As a partner in the Triage Cancer Conferences, we participated in an event in Reno, NV on September 22. This conference series focuses on being an empowered patient/advocate, understanding and navigating health insurance, as well as cancer-related employment and financial issues.
Local volunteers represented FORCE with an exhibit and attended session at the annual Living Beyond Breast Cancer Conference in Philadelphia, September 28-30, and at many other educational and awareness events around the country.
With Congress back in session, we stepped up our advocacy efforts in September. This included visits to Capitol Hill and collaborative work around medical expense deductions, oral parity legislation, and the use of step therapy in Medicare Advantage plans. Visit the Newsflash section of our Advocacy webpage to read about these initiatives.
The month concluded on a high note as National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Week kicked off on September 30 and carried us into October.
October started with a bang as we continued commemoration of National HBOC Week and National Previvor Day. This, in addition to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, led to numerous events around the country which local volunteers graciously hosted and attended. On October 11, Lisa Schlager attended the Women Who Conquer Cancer (WWCC) program hosted by the Conquer Cancer Foundation in the Washington, DC area.
The FORCE staff and Board of Directors convened for joint meeting on October 18, which was followed by the 11th Annual Joining FORCEs Against Hereditary Cancer Conference, October 18-20 in San Diego, CA. With 750 attendees from around the U.S. and international locations, this was our largest conference to date. Feedback on the conference was overwhelmingly positive. Stay-tuned for details on the location and date of our next conference!
We were pleased to support the Triage Cancer Conference in Lewiston, ME on October 27. This was one of a series of free one-day events for cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, advocates, and oncology healthcare professionals providing valuable information about navigating cancer survivorship issues, from beyond diagnosis, into post-treatment survivorship.
Sue Friedman attended a meeting at the National Cancer Institute meeting in Washington, DC on October 29 to discuss next steps in a proposal for large study on the viability of salpingectomy vs. salpingo-oophorectomy for prevention of ovarian cancer. The next day, she participated in an advocacy meeting hosted by Foundation Medicine in Boston.
The month ended with Lisa Schlager participating in the first of a series of meetings hosted by the Personalized Medicine Coalition with the goal of developing a set of patient-centered principles to advance personalized medicine treatment strategies and outcomes research.