Who are the members of the Public Interest Group on Cancer Research?

This group currently includes 12 public members affected by cancer, in addition to three investigators (Drs. Holly Etchegary, Cindy Whitten, and Sevtap Savas). We thank the previous members in 2021, Dr. Teri Stuckless, Dr. Farah McCrate, Rebecca Roome, Doug Smith, and two public members, for their contributions!

Sevtap Savas, PhD

Dr. Sevtap Savas (Investigator): Dr. Savas is a molecular geneticist by training. During her graduate studies, she did work on Mendelian diseases, such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and Usher Syndromes. Since 2002, her research is fully focused on cancer. Her current cancer research interest are: medical, social, and patient-reported outcomes in cancer and their genetic, socio-demographic, and disease-related predictors. In addition, she leads large-scale genomic sequencings to help identify biomarkers in cancer. She is increasingly involved in patient-oriented research and public engagement, thanks to many wonderful public and patient partners, colleagues, and funding by the Office of Public Engagement at Memorial. Together with other dedicated individuals in the province, she advocates in order to improve the conditions and experiences of cancer patients and families. She is the lead for the Public Interest Group on Cancer Research since its inception (2021), a member of the TFRI’s Marathon of Hope Atlantic Cancer Consortium, the lead organizer of the Public Conference on Cancer (2022), and the current chair of CAPO’s Advocacy Committee.

Dr. Etchegary

Dr. Holly Etchegary (Investigator): Dr. Holly Etchegary, PhD  is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University. She is an applied health services researcher and social scientist whose research program revolves around the psychosocial impacts of genetic conditions, health decision making and the health system and clinical management of cancer, including inherited cancers. A social scientist by training (Social/Health Psychology), she has content expertise in public attitude research and methods and has conducted numerous studies on general public and patient perceptions of genetics and genomics. She is a founding member of the Public Interest Group on Cancer in NL. Since its inception in 2014, she is the Academic Patient Engagement lead for NL’s CIHR SPOR Support Unit and sits on CIHR’s national patient engagement working group. She has expertise in patient-oriented research methods, patient engagement, and mixed methods for health research generally. Many of her research projects include patient and family members as partners and she teaches the only graduate level course on patient engagement in health research in Canada. 

Dr. Whitten

Dr. Cindy Whitten (Investigator): Dr. Cindy Whitten, Ph.D., M.Sc., is a Clinical Research Scientist and Manager of Applied Health Research in Eastern Health. She is also a sessional Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Memorial University. Her research interests include: access to health care for marginalized populations, infectious disease transmissibility in institutions, mental health and addictions, the use of segregation in acute care settings, correctional health care, and correlations between diagnosis and mental health. Dr. Whitten values patient-centered research while encompassing the ideologies of lived experience. She has a vast background in both qualitative and quantitative research  methodologies and values collaborative research which aims to improve patient outcomes and increase healthcare sustainability.

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