CARRA Stories put a human face on the text and data describing the benefits of involving CARRA members in research and related activities at NCI and NIH.

Within the strictly observed bounds of confidentiality and other research-related guidelines, the CARRA program is collecting a library of CARRA Stories from both CARRA members and Institute staff. Of necessity, some of the names or titles of individuals will be generalized for web publication - but the CARRA program staff is taking great care to be sure that their words are exactly as they have spoken or written them. All stories will only appear with the express permission of their authors.

Below are sample stories as examples of experiences to highlight. The composite comments here are similar to those heard over the years.

(Please note: If you are a CARRA member or Institute staff member and would like to submit a CARRA story, please see Do You Have a CARRA Story to Share? or Contact Us.)

Sample CARRA Stories: CARRA Members

Example: Science Activity Story
"Health disparities research is very important, so I was very pleased to be asked to participate in a peer review of several research proposals in that category. During the review session, I was able to point out several instances where the practicalities of people's lives and long-standing beliefs in the community would impact the study design of many of the proposals we reviewed. The other reviewers not only treated me as a colleague, but also thanked me for helping to ensure that the reviews we submitted included a realistic sense of feasibility. Preparing for the review had been a lot of work, but I felt very gratified that I made a concrete contribution to research progress that day."
- Lonnie P., a CARRA Member

Example: Communications Activity Story
"As a cancer survivor, I truly understand how both patients and their caretakers struggle with nutritional issues during cancer treatment. When I was asked to help review a new NCI publication on that topic, I was glad to help. I especially appreciated the chance to give some feedback while the publication was still in development and could be revised. The writers had done a very good job. I was able to give comments and suggestions, though, which modified the information in slight but important ways for the people who would most need to read this publication. The staff was appreciative, and confirmed that I had made a difference. The result was a publication I wish had been available when I was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation; and a publication which I was so pleased to have been a part of and provide for others."
- Joseph C., a CARRA Member

Sample CARRA Stories: Institute Staff

Example: Peer Review Activity Story
"I was skeptical at first about involving a non-scientist in my upcoming peer review session, but a colleague has had positive experiences and recommended that I try this new aspect. Dealing with the CARRA program staff was easy - much easier than locating my other expert reviewers! They were able to provide me with several names of pre-screened people who had perspectives on the kinds of cancer the review group would be considering in this batch of proposals. After phone calls and schedule checks, Troy was invited to participate in the review. He was diligent about his preparation, and contacted me twice to clarify important points. On the review day, his contributions made me understand why CARRA participation is described as "value-added". His comments were limited but very targeted, and his patient expertise ended up being a very important part of our reviews. I'll certainly be contacting the CARRA staff for my next reviews."
- Dr. B., an NCI Staff Member

Example: Technology Communications Activity Story
"We knew we would be involving advocacy communities near the end of our project, when we introduced it to the public. Because the project involves very technical aspects, though, we hadn't considered involving non-scientists in the early stages. The CARRA staff listened carefully to our needs, and was able to provide us with the names of several CARRA members who would be able to advise us on how the project would ultimately relate to patients in clinical studies. We ended up selecting three CARRA members. Our project has been very positively affected, and we're very glad we received input from people with patient expertise. The CARRA members have all been patients in clinical studies, and were able to give us insights which helped us make critical adjustments early on. Our ultimate product will end up serving cancer patients more effectively. We're glad CARRA members were on our team!"
- Dr. L., an NCI Staff Member