Debbie Charles Chisholm
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Debbie Charles Chisholm

I researched a lot after my mom was diagnosed with cancer and again after I was diagnosed. I wanted to use that knowledge to help find a way to end this disease. I was first involved as a mentor for new patients, but then joined Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates when it was created in 2011. Through advocacy I see a way to help get more funds for vital research and to make sure the patient’s voice is considered in research.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 41. My mother and grandmother both died of breast cancer, so I had kind of expected I might get it even though I do not have a BRCA mutation. Fortunately, my mom’s nurses had urged me to start early with mammograms which is how mine was caught.

I am a graduate of NBCC’s Project LEAD program and have been a consumer reviewer multiple times with the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for the Breast Cancer Research Program. I am especially interested in helping with grant reviews. I also received an Alamo Foundation grant to attend the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in 2015, which gave me the opportunity to help present a poster on GBCA and to learn a great deal from the presentations. 

I am the managing editor at Devex, a media platform for the global development community. I previously worked as a Reuters correspondent for about 24 years with postings on four continents covering everything from the White House to wars to the Olympics. I also worked as a consultant at the Wolrd Bank and an editor at the State Department. My undergraduate degree is in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and I did my graduate work in Latin American politics at two Argentine universities.

Four-part series on living with breast cancer for Reuters:

On Huffpost Why I Wrote About My Breast Cancer  November 17, 2011

American Association for Cancer Research, 2015 Annual Meeting – The Role of Patient Advocates in Breast Cancer Research at Georgetown-Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (poster)

San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, 2015 – Patient Advocates as Partners in Breast Cancer Research at Georgetown-Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (poster)

American Association for Cancer Research, 2016 Annual Meeting – Energizing and Educating to Bridge the Scientist-Patient Advocate Gap (poster)

I am a member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) and am a mentor with Survivors Offering Support at Georgetown, which pairs mentors with newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.

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