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Class of 2004

Candace Bridgewater
Carol Chastain
Rebecca Morris
Thomas Parkinson
Cathy McPherson
Robert Weiss
Joan White

2004 Conference Review:

The NLN welcomed seven lymphedema patient participants to the Lymph Science Advocacy Program (LSAP) at the 6th NLN International Conference in Sparks/Reno, Nevada in October. The participants included: Candace Bridgewater, Orange Park, FL; Carol Chastain, Folsom, CA; Rebecca Morris, Arlington, MA; Tom Parkinson, DDS, Lakewood, WA; Cathy McPherson, Toronto, ON Canada; Robert Weiss, Northridge, CA; and Joan White, Roswell, GA.

The aim of LSAP is to engage and motivate patient advocates through a facilitated program focusing on the scientific sessions. The participants completed a rigorous application process and represented a range of interests in lymphatic issues and diverse geographic regions. The program was facilitated by Elda Railey of the Research Advocacy Network (http://www.researchadvocacy.org). Dr. Kathleen Francis served as a physician mentor to the group.

Beginning with a pre-conference workshop, the participants learned about the medical research system, how therapies are developed and how participants in clinical trials are protected. Dr. Francis presented an outstanding session on the current state of lymphedema research. In preparation for the workshop, the participants studied an online course for improving communication with researchers offered by the Research Advocacy Network, and reviewed articles to better understand evidence-based medicine and the relevance to patient-driven issues. Patients participated in the Plenary sessions attended Instructional session and actively communicated with numerous of the Key Lymphologist from around the world, and clearly there was mutual admiration.

Through LSAP and in cooperation with the ongoing work of patient advocates nationwide, the NLN is striving to gain a stronger commitment from the lymphedema community to address related issues through basic and clinical research. Program graduates will educate patients, families and caregivers, and possess the knowledge and skills needed to increase understanding of the research process through education on a local and national level to improve patient care.