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Fall 2008 Understanding NCI: Toll-Free Teleconference Series Schedule


Check back soon for the Spring 2009 Understanding NCI Toll-Free Teleconference Series!


Previous Calls

Thursday, January 8, 2009 from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) Update Teleconference

The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Office of Advocacy Relations invites representatives from all pediatric cancer or leukemia organizations to learn about new findings from the NCI TARGET program on pediatric high-risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).  Brief presentations from principal investigators from NCI, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the Children’s Oncology Group, are followed by an open question and answer session.

Toll-Free Playback available through February 9, 2009 at 1-866-357-4215.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Transforming Translation: Implementation of the Translational Research Working Group (TRWG) Report

This webinar featured Dr. Lynn Matrisian, TRWG Co-Chair and Special Assistant to the NCI Director, discussing the new NCI initiatives to foster translational research with Ms. Gwen Darien, editor-in-chief of CR magazine and Director of the Survivor and Patient Advocacy Program at the American Association for Cancer Research. A question-and-answer session followed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. (ET)
CIS Partnership Program Update

This call addressed the National Cancer Institute (NCI) decision not to renew the contract for the Cancer Information Service (CIS) Partnership Program once it expires in January, 2010. Featured speakers were: Ms. Lenora Johnson, Director of NCI’s Office of Communications and Education (OCE), Ms. Mary Anne Bright, Associate Director, Office of Public Information and Resource Management, OCE, and Ms. Madeline La Porta, Associate Director, Office of Partnerships and Dissemination Initiatives, OCE.

Additional Questions or Comments?  Email

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. (ET)
P.L.A.N.E.T.: 5-Step Guide to Cancer Control Planning and Programming

Ms. Cynthia Vinson, Dissemination and Diffusion Coordinator in NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Sona Thakkar, Public Health Advisor in the Office of Partnership and Dissemination Initiatives in NCI’s Office of Communications and Education, and Josephine Crisostomo, Project Director for PLANET MassCONECT at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute discussed the features of the Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. website and then participated in a question and answer session.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. (ET)
Advocates in Research Working Group Public Comment

PowerPoint Slide Presentation
Text-only Version

NCI wants to hear from all segments of the advocacy community about the best way to involve advocates in research. This is an opportunity to provide public comment on the work of the Advocates in Research Working Group (ARWG). The NCI Director asked the ARWG to provide recommendations on the most effective ways to consistently involve advocates in NCI activities.

To provide public comment at any time please email

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. (ET)
NCI's Cancer Information Service: Reaching the Community with Evidence-Based Resources

Ms. Mary Anne Bright, Associate Director of NCI's Office of Public Information and Resource Management in the Office of Communications and Education, Ms. Lenora Johnson, Director of the Office of Communications and Education, and Ms. Carolyn Messner, Director of Education & Training at CancerCare, discussed the Cancer Information Service (CIS).

Thursday, September 11, 2008 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., ET
NCI’s New Funded Research Portfolio Web Site

This is an opportunity to explore funding information about research grant and contract awards made by NCI as well as intramural research funding.  This Web site provides access to various NCI budget reports associated with research funding by research categories. It also provides search capability in various ways including a text search of the project abstract and a search of the NIH research categories that are assigned to the projects. The webinar featured Ms. Lisa A. Krueger from NCI's Research Analysis and Evaluation Branch in the Division of Extramural Activities.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., ET
Update for the Advocacy Community from the NCI Director

Dr. John E. Niederhuber, NCI Director, and Mr. Doug Ulman, Chair of NCI Director’s Consumer Liaison Group, provided an update on recent NCI activities for the advocacy community and answered questions from callers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., ET
Global Breast Cancer Clinical Trial,
ALTTO, to Treat Aggressive Form of Disease

Dr. Edith Perez, ALTTO Principal Investigator and an oncologist in the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fl.; Dr. Jo Anne Zujewski, Senior Investigator in the NCI Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program; and Ms. Judy Perotti, member of the NCCTG Patient Advocacy Committee and NCCTG Breast Steering Committee discussed the ALTTO study.  ALTTO is a global effort in which 8,000 participants in 50 countries across six continents will participate in a clinical trial that aims to test the effectiveness of two agents (trastuzumab and lapatinib) for the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer. ALTTO will yield the first comparison of these two drugs in the earliest, most treatable stages of breast cancer.  A question and answer session for participants followed.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., EST
Addressing the Complexities of Cancer Health Disparities: NCI's Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities

The featured speakers was Dr. Sanya Springfield, Director of NCI's Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities; Mrs. Mattie Woods, Executive Director, Centers for Healthy Hearts and Souls; and Ms. Mary Jackson Scroggins, Co-Founder and President, In My Sister's Care. A question and answer session for participants followed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., EST
Understanding the Role of NCI's Clinical Trials Advisory Committee

Dr. Sheila Prindiville, Director, Coordinating Center for Clinical Trials, Ms. Susan Leigh, Advocate Member, CTAC; Col. (Ret.) Jim Williams, Advocate Member, CTAC; and Ms. Paula Kim, Advocate Member, Gastrointestinal Steering Committee discussed how recommendations from the Clinical Trials Working Group resulted in the creation of NCI's Coordinating Center for Clinical Trials. A question and answer session followed.

Thursday, April 10, 2008, from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m., EST
Clinical Trials in Your Community: NCI's Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOPs)

Dr. Lori Minasian, Chief, Community Oncology and Preventive Trials Research Group, Division of Cancer Prevention, NCI; Dr. John Kugler, Principal Investigator, Illinois Oncology Research Association CCOP, Illinois CancerCare; and Ms. Laura Matus, Volunteer Coordinator, Illinois CancerCare spoke about clinical trials in the community setting. A question and answer session for participants followed.

Thursday, March 20, 2008, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., EST
Global Burden of Cancer: Partnerships and Progress

The featured speakers were: Dr. Joe Harford, Director of NCI's Office of International Affairs (OIA) and advocate Debra Kirkland who spoke about her global collaborations funded by the Komen for the Cure. A question and answer session for participants followed. To learn more about OIA, visit

Thursday, February 28, from 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., EST
Webinar: Tools to Guide Efforts to Reduce Colorectal Cancer Deaths

The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Office of Advocacy Relations hosted a webinar on a set of decision support tools developed through NCI funding that can be used to guide evidence-based policies/guidelines and cancer control planning to decrease colorectal cancer deaths through optimal use of cancer control interventions (i.e. screening, treatment, and risk factor modification).

For the first half of the webinar, presenters gave an overview of CISNET. They presented examples of current applications including a cost-effectiveness analysis for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) on the new technology of a DNA stool test for colorectal cancer screening and a new interactive Web site for modeling the impact of reducing risk factors, increasing screening, and chemotherapy dissemination on US mortality through 2020. In the second half of the call, callers were invited to ask questions about how these tools might be applied to issues of specific interest (e.g., cancer control planning in a geographic area, cost-effective screening strategies).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (EST)
Cancer Survivorship Research: A Dialogue with Advocates, Survivors, and Caregivers

Dr. Julia Rowland, Director, NCI Office of Cancer Survivorship (OCS) discussed how OCS conducts and supports research that both examines and addresses the long and short-term physical, psychological, social, and economic effects of cancer and its treatment among pediatric and adult survivors of cancer and their families.

For More Information:

Thursday, November 8, 2007 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (EST)
From Bench to Bedside: Research at NCI-Frederick, Maryland

Dr. Craig W. Reynolds, Associate Director, NCI-Frederick, and Director, Office of Scientific Operations discussed cancer research at NCI Frederick.

For More Information:

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Cancer Risk Reduction: A Report From the President's Cancer Panel (PCP)

PCP member Dr. Margaret Kripke, senior program officer from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Dr. Dwayne Proctor, and president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Mr. Matt Myers, highlighted issues of cancer risk reduction as they relate to physical activity, obesity, nutrition, tobacco use, and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. A question and answer session followed.

For More Information about the President's Cancer Panel:

To View the full report:
To View the Executive Summary:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Annual Update for the Advocacy Community from NCI Director

On Wednesday, September 12, 2007, Dr. John E. Niederhuber, Director of the National Cancer Institute, provided an update to the advocacy community on the current budget and promising research programs at NCI. Dr. Niederhuber also discussed the challenges that NCI and communities face in their attempts to overcome this devastating disease and stressed the importance of research into all types of cancer. Following Dr. Niederhuber's presentation, advocate and Chair of NCI's Director Consumer Liaison Group, Mr. Doug Ulman, provided advocates with information on how and why they should become involved in the work at NCI. Presentations were followed by a question and answer session which raised questions on a variety of issues from funding to future trends in cancer.

For more information about NCI Director Dr. John E. Niederhuber, please visit the Director's Corner at

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (ET)
NCI Cancer Centers Program

On Tuesday, June 5, 2007, Dr. Linda Weiss, Chief of NCI's Cancer Centers Branch discussed the structure and mission of NCI designated cancer centers. Dr. Weiss' presentation was followed by two advocates' perspectives of the cancer centers. Consumer Advocates in Research and Related Activities (CARRA) members, Ms. Francine Huckaby, Program Director at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas; and Mr. Buddy Leo, founding member of the Patient Advocacy and Survivorship Committee at Thomas Jefferson University's Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, provided a broad-based assessment and personal perspective of the centers. Presentations were followed by a question and answer session which raised questions on a variety of issues from whether the centers provide post cancer treatment care to whether they study the cause of cancer rather than just focusing on treatment.

For more information about NCI Cancer Centers Program, please visit

Thursday, May 17, 2007 from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (ET)
NCI's Intramural Clinical Trials Program: A National Resource for Patients

On Thursday, May 17, 2007, Dr. Lee J. Helman, Scientific Director for Clinical Research of NCI's Center for Cancer Research provided callers with information about clinical trials at NCI. Dr. Helman discussed the advantages of participating in a clinical trial as well as providing several resources to find out about eligibility for specific trials. Advocate Mr. Manny Hamelburg, Co-founder and former Executive Director of the Massachusetts Prostate Cancer Coalition, then went on to discuss his personal experience of participating in a clinical trial for prostate cancer in the early 1990's. After the presentations, there was a question and answer session which raised many questions on a variety of issues from prostate cancer treatment to whether funds are provided for family members to travel with the patient receiving treatment on a research protocol at NCI.

For more information about clinical trials at NCI's Center for Cancer Research, please visit or call NCI's Clinical Trials Referral Office at 1-888-NCI-1937.

For general information about NCI's Center for Research, please visit

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Resources for Understanding Cancer Risk

On Tuesday, April 24, 2007 Ms. Felicia Solomon, Public Health Advisor, Office of Education and Special Initiatives, started the teleconference by discussing NCI's educational Understanding Cancer Risk website. Ms. Solomon discussed how patients and the public can use the site and some of the research that went into its development. Dr. Mitchell Gail, Chief, Senior Investigator, Biostatistics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, then went on to discuss additional information about understanding absolute risk for cancer (compared to relative risk) and the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool. The call ended with a question and answer session with callers.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. (ET)
How the Patient Navigator Program Helps Cancer Patients

Patient Navigator Research Program

On Wednesday, March 7, 2007 the Program Director of the Patient Navigator Research Program (PNRP) at NCI's Center to Reduce Health Disparities, Dr. Roland Garcia, explained NCI's PNRP and how it can help cancer patients. Dr. Garcia also discussed the research hypothesis of the PNRP: patient navigation's ability to reduce or eliminate access barriers, improve timely diagnosis, improve the quality of treatment, and improve overall satisfaction of the healthcare system experience. In addition, Dr. Beth Calhoun, Co-principal Investigator for the Patient Navigator Research Program in Chicago, described the population she works with in Chicago, as well as the grant structure of the Patient Navigator Research Program, and how best to access community health networks. Advocate Ms. Phyllis Ferguson-Collum, Patient Navigator Social Worker for the American Cancer Society, discussed her experience working with the Patient Navigation Program in Chicago, explaining how she advocates for the patients and keeps them connected with their primary doctors in order to increase the number of patients who keep their follow-up appointments. Callers asked questions regarding to how the Patient Navigator Research Program was established and how to best serve populations in poor, underserved areas.

For more information please visit

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. (ET)
The NCI Bypass Budget & Strategic Plan: The Importance of Science Planning

The Director of NCI's Office of Science Planning and Assessment (OSPA), Ms. Cherie Nichols, discussed the importance of science planning to the patient advocate community. Ms. Nichols also explained NCI's science planning process and how advocates have been involved in the planning process, as well as implementation of plans. In addition, Ms. Nichols described NCI's Bypass Budget and Strategic Plan, and how they are related. Advocate Ms. Liz Thompson, Director of Research and Scientific Affairs of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), discussed how she worked with NCI to develop a map to identify and outline research priorities for PanCAN and how this implementation tool is still being used. Callers asked questions regarding funding and the budget process.

For more information please visit