I am a Stage IV colorectal cancer patient (MSS, BRAF-mutated) who has been connected with COLONTOWN for about five years.
After participating as a regular member, I attended a workshop in October 2018 to become an “Empowered Patient Leader” in COLONTOWN. I helped build and lead our nine neighborhoods that are focused on clinical trials. We have 1,800+ in our MSS TRIALS neighborhood, and smaller numbers in others (MSI, RAS, BRAF, HER2+, CHEK2, Anal, CAR-T, and NIH). In this role I oversee discussions about clinical trials and treatment options, and act as a liaison between members and several top CRC oncologists to help answer patients’ questions.
In the spring of 2020, I worked to facilitate the transition of COLONTOWN to a member-led model as PALTOWN expands. I am now the Director of Clinical Trials Programming for PALTOWN, coordinating our expanding portfolio of education, training, and conversation around clinical trials. I also lead PALTOWN’s Clinical Trials Navigator program, which trains community members to help fellow patients learn about clinical trials and navigate the process of making decisions and enrolling in those trials. My day job is Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Climate Change Studies Program at The University of Montana in Missoula, MT.