Community Research Ambassadors

In 2021, Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) launched a new pilot program called Community REsearch Ambassadors Together Ending Cancer (CREATE).

Through CREATE, we partner our scientists with cancer survivors and care partners ('Community Research Ambassadors') with lived experience related to the cancer being studied. By having Community Research Ambassadors at the table influencing our research activities, we aim to make our research more patient- and community-centered and to give survivors and care partners an opportunity to positively impact cancer research.

During the pilot year of CREATE, our Community Research Ambassadors and scientists are working together to educate the public about cancer research, while sharing important findings from our scientists’ research. They are co-creating information that can be shared online and on social media – including videos—and they will be hosting community events to talk with the public about cancer research.

Our CREATE teams and their projects

During our first year, we have four CREATE teams, each comprised of two Community Research Ambassadors collaborating with a lab scientist and a clinician-scientist.

Team 1

Research Focus: Breast Cancer Estrogen Therapy

  • Laura, Community Research Ambassador
  • Marcy, Community Research Ambassador
  • Todd, Lab Scientist
  • Gary, Clinician Scientist

Gary Schwarz and Todd Miller have researched approaches to using estrogen therapy to treat metastatic breast cancer. Read our Breast Cancer Estrogen Therapy Research Summary (PDF)

Team 2

Research Focus: Breast Cancer Surgery

  • David, Community Research Ambassador
  • Jen, Community Research Ambassador
  • Keith, Lab Scientist
  • Rick, Clinician Scientist

Keith Paulsen and Rick Barth invented the Breast Cancer Locator™, a 3D-printed form made for patients who need breast lumpectomy surgery. Read our Avoiding Repeat Lumpectomies with Personalized Precision Breast Cancer Surgery Research Summary (PDF)

Team 3

Research Focus: Colorectal Cancer

  • Tawnya, Community Research Ambassador
  • Terry, Community Research Ambassador
  • Saeed, Lab Scientist
  • Arief, Clinician Scientist

Saeed Hassanpour and Arief Suriawinata have developed technology to classify different types of colon polyps removed during colonoscopies. Read our AI Technology Goes Deeper for a Clearer View Research Summary (PDF)

Team 4

Research Focus: Melanoma

  • Lorie, Community Research Ambassador
  • Sarah, Community Research Ambassador
  • Mary Jo, Lab Scientist
  • Keisuke, Clinician Scientist

Mary Jo Turk and Keisuke Shirai conduct research looking at ways to promote long-term immunity in melanoma survivors. Read our Can vitiligo help prevent melanoma from coming back? Research Summary (PDF)

I'm interested in being a Community Research Ambassador. What do I do?

We hope to grow the Community Research Ambassador program after our pilot ends in 2022. To let us know you're interested in the meantime, please send an email to NCCC.Community.Outreach@dartmouth.edu.