Supporting patients on their journeys to advocacy through research involvement.
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The past decade’s lung cancer research milestones might not be as numerous if it were not for the patients who, through knowledgeable interactions with lung cancer researchers and patient advocacy organizations, influenced clinical care and the science that shapes it. These Patient Research Advocates (PRAs) differ from Patient Advocates in that research advocates bring the patient voice to research-related efforts. The IASLC Supportive Training for Advocates on Research & Science (STARS) program aims to increase the number of PRAs equipped to provide accurate scientific translation in their online or real-life groups for patients with lung cancer and their caregivers and to provide the patient perspective for lung cancer research and policy. STARS is not intended to help patients or caregivers learn how to become patient advocates or share their personal lung cancer story.

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Through STARS, prospective PRAs are educated about how to read and interpret research articles and presentations, and they are trained to communicate effectively with both the research and patient communities. STARS participants are paired with experienced PRAs, who call on decades of collective experience to demonstrate best communication practices and facilitate learning. The mentors also will connect the participants with IASLC members and other advocacy professionals at the IASLC World Congress on Lung Cancer. 

2020 - 2021 Timeline

STARS timeline


No. At this time, the 2020 WCLC and 2020 STARS Program will be fully virtual.

No. At this time, the 2020 WCLC and 2020 STARS Program will be fully virtual.

No. At this time, the 2020 WCLC and 2020 STARS Program will be fully virtual.

Please contact [email protected] if you have concerns about your participation in the program. Your personal health is our top priority.

Yes. If you previously participated in STARS as a PRA or Mentor, you can apply again. You may participate as a PRA for two years; after that, you must apply as a Mentor. If you feel as though you are not ready to apply as a Mentor, you can continue to participate in the STARS Alumni Program.

Yes. Each STARS applicant (whether PRA or Mentor) must upload a file that shows an advocacy communication they created. An ACCEPTABLE example of advocacy communications that comply with these requirements:

  • Contains content YOU created: a video of a presentation, text of a speech, image of a poster, picture of a newspaper article, screencap of a blog post, or something similar that accurately represents the applicant’s verbal, written, or graphic communication capabilities.
  • Shows ORIGINAL content created by the applicant. DO NOT submit postings you shared of content created by others (e.g., retweets, Instagram images, Facebook shares) -- we want to see how YOU communicate.
  • If content is posted online, provide a screen cap image instead of text copied into Word or another application, with the URL visible in the image. DO NOT submit links to online content unless all the content on the page was generated solely to you.
  • Includes evidence of when and where the content was published, delivered, or performed -- we have to be able to verify your submission.
  • Is in a commonly available file format (pdf, jpg, png, mp4, mp4, mov, MS Word) and less than 2 Mb in size.
  • Is either in English or accompanied by a faithful English translation.
  • DO NOT submit an image of the applicant at an event, meeting, or gathering -- this does not give us a sense of your communications skills.
  • DO NOT submit content posted in private groups or websites that require a login, or that reveals identity, medical details, or personal information of others.
  • DO NOT submit content that does not publicly identify you as the author -- your advocacy communications must be public.
  • DO NOT submit content that does not include educational information about lung cancer. Emotional support content is important but is not part of research advocacy.

Yes. STARS applicants (whether PRA or Mentor) must provide a reference from an established lung cancer research advocate, researcher, or clinician familiar with your work. Be sure to request the reference as soon as you know you will apply. An ACCEPTABLE letter of recommendation complies with these requirements:

  • IS written by a cancer medical professional, established patient research advocate, or an advocacy organization.
  • DOES include the author’s credentials, organization, and contact info
  • DOES include the author’s organizational letterhead at the top of the page (if available)
  • DOES describe the author’s perception of the applicant’s advocacy and/or research advocacy activities
  • DOES describe the author’s assessment of the applicant’s current understanding of lung cancer, science, and research
  • DOES describe the author’s relationship and interactions with the applicant
  • DOES include information that allows us to verify author’s credentials
  • DOES NOT summarize the applicant’s medical condition

Some applicants may come from countries that do not yet have active lung cancer advocacy organizations or may not have contact with experienced research advocates or advocacy organizations. These advocates should consider applying for the IASLC Patient Advocate Travel Award rather than STARS. Travel award recipients will receive monetary support to cover airfare and lodging to enable attendance at WCLC, assistance in navigating the conference, and the opportunity to meet experienced patient advocates.

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PRA Application Materials

Research advocates bring the patient voice to research-related efforts. The STARS program aims to elevate patient advocates into patient research advocates.

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Mentor Application Materials

Mentors are vital to the experience of the STARS participants. Through mentoring, comes a much greater comfort level with the science of oncology.

Stars Alumni

STARS Alumni

Although disrupted by COVID-19, our inaugural group has been active via email and teleconference and have formed lasting connections.

Heartfelt Thanks for Our Partners

STARS was developed by the IASLC in collaboration with lung cancer research advocates and patient advocacy nonprofits. We proudly recognize the following contributing organizations:
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We Are Also Grateful for Our 2020 Sponsors