|Clinical Trial Peer Mentors from left to right: DBCC Board
Member Beth Selsor, Lorraine Gilson, Fa Field, and
DBCC Program Director Cathy Holloway.
The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) recently launched its Clinical Trials Initiative as a continuation of the state-wide Peer Mentor program that was started at DBCC in 2006. A Clinical Trial Peer Mentor Training Program was developed by Nanci Mayer-Mihalski, Chair of Research and Mentoring Committee and Board Member at DBCC, DBCC Program Director Cathy Holloway, and Kandie Dempsey, Director of Cancer Research at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center.
|Clinical Trial Peer Mentors from left to right: Patti Rossi, DBCC
Program Manager Lois Wilkinson, and Gail Lanouette.
Just two months later, DBCC trained its first group of Clinical Trial Peer Mentors which includes six survivors representing all three Delaware counties. According to Cathy Holloway, the Clinical Trial Peer Mentor Training Program “is designed to dispel myths and misconceptions associated with research and clinical trials. The goal of the program is not to tell breast cancer patients to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to clinical trials but to educate them about clinical trials and give them more information so they can make informed decisions.” Clinical Trial Peer Mentors are survivors who have attended peer mentor training, have participated in clinical trials, and have completed the comprehensive, in-depth Clinical Trial Peer Mentor Training. As the program expands, DBCC hopes to have three to five Clinical Trial Peer Mentors trained in each county.
|DBCC Program Manager Lois Wilkinson and Kelli Meoli.|
Clinical Trial Peer Mentors assist patients with deciphering details and complex paperwork associated with clinical trials, answer questions about how patients are protected and any other questions those considering clinical trials have. Above all, they share their own clinical trial experience. “I think one of the most important things people need to know is that a clinical trial is real medicine,” Beth explained. “I know something I was worried about was that I’d be given a placebo, but this medicine is real and it is going to help them. Health care professionals are just trying to figure out what the best treatment for people is.”