The Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, Rachel Murphy-Banks, has received the advocacy-focused scholarship to attend the 2015 Critical Mass Annual Conference. The LiveStrong Foundation scholarship supports new members to the AYA oncology field who have big plans to make real change in the lives of adolescents and young adults affected by cancer.
Rachel, who started at Tufts MC as a volunteer in January shared her insights from the ethnographic study she conducted while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Relations entitled, The Oft Overlooked: Resiliency and agentic acts within the emerging adult cancer survivor community on the AYA Program’s blog. Since then she has worked on our educational initiative presentations and contributes to our social media outlets including our Facebook pageand Instagram account.
Attending the Critical Mass conference offers a wonderful opportunity to network and discuss the latest developments in AYA oncology as it brings together patient advocates, clinicians, researchers and government representatives. Critical Mass evolved from the LiveStrong Foundation and became an independent organization fully named Critical Mass: The Young Adult Cancer Alliance in 2012.
Critical Mass recently launched Mission Control, a young adult cancer resource database which links individuals to organizations online and in their geographic location.
This year the conference will tackle the proverbial elephants in the room. Over three days in November AYA stakeholders will converge on Chicago to discuss and create mini toolkits for addressing topics such as family building and sex, sexuality and sexual health. Speakers will include AYA cancer survivors Nick Grudin, Director of Media Partnerships for Facebook and founder of The SAMFund, Samantha Watson, as well as Dr. Anne Katz who has written numerous books on the sexual changes that can accompany cancer. The conference will host the hub, space dedicated to sharing the work taking place at different institutions; the AYA Program will be featured!
For those unable to attend the conference, Rachel will share her insights and tips when she returns, so stayed tuned to the AYA program blog!