Rise Above It (RAI) was a proud sponsor the Critical Mass 2013 Annual Conference.
Included below is an update from Critical Mass CEO, Heidi Adams:
Connecting the Dots 2013 is over, but I want to take the time to thank you for making Cleveland a memorable experience. As we welcomed old friends and met new ones, it was a great reminder that, together, we have the ability to shape and redefine the way forward for the young adult cancer community.
There were many “firsts” at this meeting, showing the vibrancy and progress in the AYA (adolescent and young adult) movement. In an exciting pre-conference gathering, representatives from most of the NCI cooperative groups came together at the invitation of Critical Mass and the AYA Committees of SWOG and COG for the first-ever intergroup meeting to discuss AYA research priorities and avenues for intergroup collaboration.
Kicking off the conference, representatives from the Institute of Medicine and the National Cancer Institute reported out on their milestone AYA meetings from earlier this year, giving us a first look at how policy and research priorities are shaping up moving forward.
Diem Brown's inspiring keynote reminded us why we were all there: both in outlining the challenges unique to young people with cancer, and in embodying their spirit in meeting those challenges.
We had a stellar pool of abstract submissions, with an afternoon of robust oral presentations and the first AYA research awards, given by the Steven G. AYA Cancer Fund. And we were proud to host the awarding of the first National Center of Excellence designations by Change It Back.
We took a candid look at some of the obstacles and solutions for developing AYA programs. And, finally, we explored the impact of the Affordable Care Act on young adults, with an up-to-the-minute presentation from Joanna Morales of Triage Cancer and an interactive case study exercise to help attendees put newfound knowledge into practice.
We’ll be posting many of the presentations on the Critical Mass website in days to come. In the meantime, check out my recent blog post at triagecancer.com, where I wrote about Critical Mass’ big vision for a shared patient resource platform, a National Young Adult Cancer Registry, and the need for us to walk forward together as a community to achieve it. Your commitment to our shared vision and the important work that each of you do every day will significantly improve the lives of adolescents and young adults (AYAs) now, and for years to come.
So, as we head into this Thanksgiving Day holiday, know that I am thankful for all of you, for the work we have done to reach this point, and for the possibilities of where we will go in the future.