The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs' (CDMRP), Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) consumer advocate, Suzette Ison, recently participated in the evaluation of research applications submitted to the PRMRP. Suzette was nominated for participation in the program by The Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation. As a consumer reviewer, she was a full voting member, along with prominent scientists, at meetings to help determine how the $360 million appropriated by Congress for Fiscal Year 2020 will be spent on PRMRP research.
Consumer Reviewers are asked to represent the collective view of patients by preparing comments on the impact of the research on issues such as diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life. When commenting on serving as a consumer reviewer, Suzette Ison said that, "Volunteering and advocating for our community are my coping skills. This is my third year participating in the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program. I believe there is a desperate need out there for an extra-ordinary effort with compassion, kindness and support for our Myotonic Dystrophy Community. I will advocate for our community as long as I live."
Consumer advocates and scientists have worked together in this unique partnership to evaluate the scientific merit of research applications since FY99. Colonel Stephen J. Dalal, Director of the CDMRP, expressed his appreciation for the consumer advocate's perspective during the scientific review sessions. "Consumer advocates are an integral part of the CDMRP's scientific review process. They provide a key ingredient to the review process, the patient's perspective, which is real and urgent. The collaboration of Consumer advocates alongside the scientists' subject matter expertise is a truly unique collaboration that is difficult to find in most medical research programs."
The Mission of the PRMRP is to encourage, identify, select, and manage medical research projects of clear scientific merit and direct relevance to military health. The PRMRP fills important gaps not addressed by other funding agencies by supporting groundbreaking, high-risk, high-gain research while encouraging out-of-the-box thinking, to improve the health, care, and well-being of all Service Members, Veterans, and the American Public.