American Lung Association LUNG FORCE Heroes and Volunteers Advise Defense Department Lung Cancer Research Program

LUNG FORCE Heroes Participate in Scientific Peer Review of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs’ Lung Cancer Research Program for the Department of Defense

Lung cancer survivors and American Lung Association volunteers Denise Zimmerman of Maine Line, PA; Renee Dietchman of Merriam, KS; and Rachael Malmberg of Mound, MN; acted as consumer advocates using their experience and personal journey with lung cancer to participate in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs’ (CDMRP), Lung Cancer Research Program (LCRP).

Zimmerman, Dietchman and Malmberg (a three time consumer reviewer), were all nominated for participation in the program by the American Lung Association and as consumer reviewers, were full voting members (along with prominent scientists) in the evaluation of research applications submitted to the LCRP. They attended meetings to determine how the $14 million appropriated by Congress for Fiscal Year 2020 will be spent on lung cancer research.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in both men and women in the U.S. The American Lung Association launched its LUNG FORCE initiative in 2014 to raise awareness of lung cancer, find new treatment options and better methods of early detection. LUNG FORCE Heroes work with the Lung Association on lung cancer awareness and fundraising activities and share their stories to inspire everyone to take action to confront this disease that kills one American about every three and half minutes.
LCRP consumer reviewers are asked to represent the collective view of patients by preparing comments on the impact of the research on issues such as diagnosis, treatment, and the quality of life.

Consumer Advocate/Reviewer Perspectives:

“Serving on the panel was a powerful juncture in my lung cancer journey. Working with researchers and scientists who valued my input in evaluating scientific innovations for diagnosis, treating, and preventing lung cancer was coming full circle for me. As a lung cancer survivor, I am a patient of innovation, and to have the opportunity to communicate my experiences to benefit others is an honor,” said LUNG FORCE Hero Denise Zimmerman. “I am also thankful to the Lung Association for my nomination and their continued leadership in creating impactful pathways that allow me to share my voice in order to raise awareness and help defeat lung cancer.”

“It was a privilege and an honor to serve with the CDMRP Lung Cancer Research Program. It was exciting to read the proposals, hear from the scientists and researchers, and see many of the potential research and treatment options that are in process. I believe this group will make a major impact on the number one cancer killer in men and women,” said LUNG FORCE Hero Renee Dietchman.

Consumer advocates and scientists have worked together in this unique partnership to evaluate the scientific merit of research applications since FY09. Colonel Stephen J. Dalal, Director of the CDRMP, expressed his appreciation for the consumer advocate’s perspective during the scientific review sessions. “Consumer advocates are an integral part of the CDMRP’s scientific review process. They provide a key ingredient to the review process, the patient’s perspective, which is real and urgent. The collaboration of Consumer advocates alongside the scientists’ subject expertise is a truly unique collaboration that is difficult to find in most medical research programs.”

Scientists applying propose to support and integrate research from multiple disciplines for risk assessment, prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment for the control and cure of lung cancer. The LCRP fills important gaps not addressed by other funding agencies by supporting groundbreaking, high-risk, high-gain research while encouraging out-of-the box thinking.

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

For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung cancer or lung health, or with LUNG FORCE Heroes on their personal journey with lung cancer, contact Valerie Gleason at [email protected] or 717-971-1123.

For more information, contact:

Valerie Gleason
[email protected]

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