American Lung Association Advisory Group Participants Advise Defense Department Research Program

Lung Champions Participate in Scientific Peer Review of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs’ Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program for the Department of Defense

Asthma patients, American Lung Association Advisory Group participants and Lung Champions Michele A. DaSilva of Stanhope, New Jersey, and Renee Robinson of Atlanta, Georgia, recently acted as consumer advocates using their experience and personal journey with lung disease to participate in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs’ (CDMRP) Peer Reviewed Medical Research program (PRMRP). 

DaSilva and Robinson were nominated for participation in the program by the American Lung Association. As consumer reviewers, they were full voting members (along with prominent scientists) to help determine how the $360 million appropriated by Congress for Fiscal Year 2020 will be used on PRMRP research.

PRMRP reviewers are asked to represent the collective view of patients by preparing comments on the impact of research on issues such as diagnosis, treatment and quality of life. 

There are millions of Americans with or at risk for lung disease. In 2018, it was estimated that 16.4 million adults had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 24.8 million Americans currently had asthma, including 6.2 million children. The American Lung Association’s mission is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. American Lung Association Advisory group participants are engaged in the Lung Association’s research programs, advocacy initiatives and educational efforts. As volunteers they work with the Lung Association to raise awareness on lung disease, fundraise and share their stories to inspire everyone to take action against lung disease.

Consumer Advocate/Reviewer Perspectives on participating in the Department of Defense CDMRP PRMRP:

“As an asthma patient and respiratory therapist, it was an honor to participate in the PRMRP consumer review program. To join the collective decision-making process and share patient perspectives in collaboration with scientists is an impactful and patient forward approach. I am excited and hopeful for the outcomes that this type of consumer reviewer collaboration can bring to future research efforts,” said Da Silva.

“I am thankful for the American Lung Association’s work and their nomination for me to serve on the DOD peer review panel as it was a reassuring and inspirational endeavor. Having had asthma as a child that I thought I had outgrown, until I spent a year and a half in and out of the hospital with double pneumonia before being diagnosed with adult onset asthma, it was a privilege to participate in this government program that takes patient voices into account. Working in collaboration with such brilliant minds and reviewing the research that is being done for lung health and COVID-19 gives me hope for myself and others as well as peace of mind for the future,” said Robinson.

Consumer advocates and scientists have worked together in this unique partnership to evaluate the scientific merit of research applications since FY99. Colonel Sarah B. Goldman, director of the CDMRP, expressed her appreciation for the consumer advocates’ hard work. “Integrating consumer perspectives into our decision-making process brings energy and focus to our research programs. Patients, caregivers, family members, and advocates help us keep our efforts centered around what is truly important to those impacted. We very much value this critical input from our consumers who help ensure that CDMRP’s work remains critical and relevant,” she said.

The mission of the PRMRP is to encourage, identify, select and manage medical research projects of clear scientific merit and direct relevance to military health. The PRMRP fills important gaps not addressed by other funding agencies by supporting groundbreaking, high-risk, high-gain research while encouraging out- of-the-box thinking, to improve the health, care and well-being of all service members, veterans, and the American public.

More information about the CDMRP’s PRMRP is available at the website:

The views expressed in this news release are those of the author and may not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Cook
[email protected]

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