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About the NCI Council of Research Advocates

The Office of Advocacy Relations (OAR) manages the NCI Council of Research Advocates (NCRA), the only federal advisory committee comprised solely of advocate leaders at NCI. NCRA  convenes around broad cancer research issues and provides the Director with advice and strategic insights from the community's perspective.

NCRA members are selected for their expert knowledge of cancer research and policy, as well as their ability to represent a broad patient perspective.

Prior NCRA meeting agendas and summaries can be found through the NCI Division of Extramural Activities.

Chair

Annie Ellis
2024
Research Advocate
Gynecologic Cancer Steering Committee
Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance
New York, New York

Members

Melinda Bachini
2024
Advocacy Coordinator
Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation
Herriman, Montana
 
Yelak S. Biru
2023
CEO
International Myeloma Foundation
North Hollywood, California
 
Victoria Buenger, Ph.D.
2025
Clinical Professor
Department of Management
Mays School of Business
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas
 
Melissa F. Buffalo
2025
Chief Executive Officer
American Indian Cancer Foundation
Minneapolis, Minnesota
 
Marty Chakoian *
2026
Board Chair
Executive Committee
ZERO and Us TOO Prostate Cancer
Seattle, Washington
 
Nathaniel Ferre *
2026
Program Administrator
Community Health Educator
Huntsman Cancer Institute
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
 
Joya Delgado Harris, M.P.H. *
2026
Executive Director
CEO Roundtable on Cancer
Morrisville, North Carolina
 
Brittany Avin McKelvey, Ph.D. *
2026
Science Policy Analyst
Friends of Cancer Research
Washington, D.C.
 
Robert Riter *
2026
Patient Advocate
Physical Sciences Oncology Center
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York
 
Kristen C. Santiago
2023
Senior Director
Public Policy Initiatives
LUNGevity
Bethesda, Maryland
 
Jacqueline D. Smith
2024
Director of Patient Advocacy
Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Boston, Massachusetts
 
Kevin J. Stemberger
2024
Research Advocate
Co-Founder and Partner
Noble Capital Partners, LLC
Farmington Hills, Michigan
 
Nicole E. Willmarth, Ph.D.
2023
Chief Mission Officer
American Brain Tumor Association
Chicago, Illinois

* Pending Appointment

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