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Exceptional Leadership in Patient Involvement in Cancer Research

Judy’s volunteer work over the past twelve years has evolved into supporting the patient voice in clinical trials research

The Canadian Cancer Research Alliance (CCRA) has honored members of the research community for their leadership and significant contributions to cancer research in Canada. This year, two new awards have been introduced recognizing exceptional leadership in patient involvement in cancer research.

Former cancer patient, Judy Needham, Chair of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) Patient Representative (formerly Lay Representative) Committee, has been named as the recipient of the Exceptional Leadership in Patient Involvement in Cancer Research. A breast cancer survivor, Judy is passionately committed to improving outcomes for individuals with cancer through the direct engagement of patients in the development of research clinical trial questions and protocols.

Judy’s volunteer work over the past twelve years has evolved into supporting the patient voice in clinical trials research and she has acknowledged that this recognition has been a bit overwhelming.

“My volunteer work has never been part of a larger plan and my background is not academic. I am the other side of the equation in the trial, the human participant, the patient. We bring a different perspective based on our experience and backgrounds that supplements scientific expertise,” she says. “Bringing the patient point of view to the development of cancer trials, ensures that the research questions we pursue reflect patient needs.”

“Judy has been instrumental in the development of the group’s patient engagement strategy that has redefined the role of lay members across our scientific committees,” says Janet Dancey, Director, Canadian Cancer Trials Group. “Her passionate leadership has supported the integration of the patient perspective into the clinical research process from initial concept through to the delivery of clinical trials results at CCTG.”

Before partnering with CCTG, Judy was a board member of the former BC chapter of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, championing the first Breast Cancer Navigation Map, a patient tool aimed at simplifying the breast cancer journey. Since 2012, Ms. Needham has been working with the Canadian Cancer Trials Group, as a Breast Disease Site Executive Committee member and now as the Lay Representative Committee Chair. 

The awards were presented at the 2017 Canadian Cancer Research Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.  For more information see the CNW release.

The Canadian Cancer Research Alliance (CCRA)

The Canadian Cancer Research Alliance (CCRA) is an alliance of organizations that collectively fund most of the cancer research conducted in Canada – research that will lead to better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, and improve patient and survivor outcomes. Over 30 members, including federal research funding programs/agencies, provincial research agencies, provincial cancer care agencies, cancer charities, and other voluntary associations, are part of the Alliance. Members are motivated by the belief that, through effective collaboration, Canadian cancer research funding organizations can maximize their collective impact on cancer control and accelerate discovery for the ultimate benefit of Canadians affected by cancer. The CCRA Executive Office is supported by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government to accelerate action on cancer control for all Canadians. For more information, please visit: