CARRA members are included in NCI activities at the request of NCI staff members, putting the decision to involve advocates in the hands of NCI scientific, programmatic, and communications staff.  This also ensures CARRA members that their participation is welcomed.  The level of NCI staff requests for CARRA member particpation is an ongoing confirmation of the value-added contributions CARRA members make to Institute activities. If their contributions were not valuable, Institute staff would not continue to request their involvement.

The lead NCI staff person for a specific activity involving CARRA members is designated Activity Contact. CARRA members must have an Activity Contact for each activity in which they participate.

Matching Institute project or activity needs to one or more CARRA members begins with what the CARRA program calls a "CARRA Request".

The following steps outline the process from a CARRA Request to the selection of one or more CARRA member(s) who will actually participate in the activity:

  1. The Activity Contact completes a CARRA Request (request for advocate participation) to Office of Advocacy Relations (OAR) staff. To ensure advocate availability, especially if travel is involved, requires requests at least 4 to 12 weeks prior to the activity date.

  2. OAR staff may arrange for a consultation with the Activity Contact. The consultation may be by phone, by email, or in person. It will typically take from 5 to 15 minutes.

  3. The Office of Advocacy Relations staff generates a list of CARRA members who match the activity requirements, within 72 hours of receiving the initial request. At least three names are provided for every CARRA participant needed, plus biographies for each of the recommended CARRA members.

  4. The Activity Contact uses the list generated by the OAR to make an initial call to the CARRA members listed, to assess their availability for the activity. Assistance with this initial conversation is available from the CARRA Coordinator.

  5. The Activity Contact selects and invites the CARRA member(s) whose experience and skills best match the needs of the activity, and who are available at the necessary time(s).

  6. The Activity Contact informs the Office of Advocacy Relations about which CARRA member(s) will be participating and, if necessary, requests a CARRA mentor.

The CARRA Online Request Form and more detailed information about making a request are located at Request CARRA Participation - Research or Related Activity.