Research Advocacy

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

Research advocates serve as members to Fight CRC’s Research Advocacy Training and Support (RATS) program. They work in partnership with both academic institutions and our many cancer partners to improve the ability of research advocates to effectively participate in the research process.

The Goal of RATS

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

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 people who are lifelong learners and contributors to the research process. They’re committed to promoting achievement within the research community from bench science to community participatory research programs.

About the Program

The Research Advocacy Training and Support program provides the patient perspective, from the bench to the bedside to the community. By working with leading research organizations, our RATS program:

  • Enhances research
  • Improves clinical research feasibility and first-hand knowledge of protocol impacts 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 findings in hopes for a cure
  • Helps advocates and the public understand the need for continued funding for research


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 we select applicants who represent a diversity of backgrounds and interests. The program is a 12 month commitment.


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

  • Work in a team with flexibility to work with different groups of people
  • Communicate effectively and listen actively
  • Be comfortable speaking in front of groups of people
  • Travel overnight several times during the project
  • Computer proficiency using programs such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and PDF documents

Program Highlights

  • Introduction to the research process with training and guidance on research topic areas
  • Mentorship by research advocates, researchers and experts in the field
  • Opportunities to participate in discussion groups with experts in both basic and clinical settings
  • Hands on guidance and training on how to review grants
  • Individual and group activities to encourage critical thinking and engage in research