Research Advocacy Training and Support (RATS)

RATS_icon-01Advocating for the advancement of research is crucial to finding new and better treatments for cancer patients. Colorectal cancer survivors, their caregivers and families are uniquely positioned to support cancer research in new and innovative ways.

Fight Colorectal Cancer’s RATS group works in partnership with both academic institutions and its many cancer partners to improve the ability of research advocates to effectively participate in the research process.


Meet our current RATS group!

About the Program:

The research advocacy training & support program provides the patient perspective; from the bench to bedside to the community. By working with leading research organizations, our RATS program:

  • Enhances research
  • Improves clinical research feasibility and first-hand knowledge of protocols’ impact on patients
  • Provides a perspective that can stimulate innovation and expand the scope of inquiry
  • Serves as an immediate reminder of the need for research focused on patient benefit and outcomes
  • Increases public understanding and support for research
  • Increases public trust through enhanced transparency and accountability
  • Breaks down barriers between the patient and the researcher—developing direct communication and relationships
  • Helps other advocates and patients understand research and the potential finding in hopes for a cure
  • Helps advocates and the public understand the need for continued funding for research
  • Qualifications to join RATS

RATS training is open to anyone who has been impacted by colorectal cancer (survivors, caregivers, and loved ones). This is a unique program focused on the interests and needs of colorectal cancer patients and advocates. The program is limited (based on available funding) but selects applicants who represent a diversity of backgrounds and interests. The program is a 12 month commitment.

Skills of the RATS:

All our research advocates will need to have or be willing to develop the skills listed:

  • Work in a team
  • Talk to people on the phone
  • Listen to what others say
  • Be comfortable speaking in front of groups
  • Travel overnight several times during the project
  • Like to work with different groups of people
  • Be able to work proficiently on a computer using programs such as Microsoft word, PDF documents, and PowerPoint
  • The goal of RATS

RATS engages and motivates participants to take action and be a part of the search for a cure for colon cancer. Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of basic science, as well as clinical and diagnostic research in colorectal cancer and related disease states.

Program Highlights:

  • Training and guidance on research topic areas
  • Introduction to the research process & system
  • Mentorship by senior research advocates
  • Mentorship by researchers who will provide scientific guidance
  • Opportunities to participate in discussion groups with expert in basic and clinical settings
  • Hands on guidance and training on how to review grants
  • Individual and group plans activities to engage the research

Sample Training Topics:

  • Biomarkers: Discovery and validation of biomarkers for the detection, prediction of response to therapy, prognosis, and progression of colorectal cancer.
  • Genetics: Understanding the genetics and epigenetics responsible for susceptibility, disease progression, and treatment outcomes for clinically significant colorectal cancer.
  • Survivorship: Studies on the impact of treatment, nutrition, metabolism, and exercise on the well-being of colorectal cancer patients and their families.
  • Therapy: Identification of new targets, pathways, and therapeutic modalities, including immunotherapy and mechanisms of resistance.
  • Tumor Biology and Immunology: Understanding prognosis and progression of colorectal cancer.

RATS Graduates:

After training is complete, RATS advocates serve on various review panels with organizations like:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • Cooperative Groups
  • Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs)
  • Local Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)
  • Data Safety Monitoring Boards (DSMBs)

RATS graduates are well versed, highly-skilled and caring persons who are lifelong learners and contributors to the research process. They are committed to promoting achievement within the research community from bench science to community participatory research programs.