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Meet the Research Advocates

Research advocates at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center support our research efforts in many ways and for many reasons. Our advocates are cancer survivors, caregivers, and community members who are committed to making a difference. 

Janet Piper

janet piper

Prior to her breast cancer diagnosis 12 years ago, Janet was active in several health and cancer related volunteer activities for over 15 years, including serving as a committee member for the TJ Martell Foundation, an entertainment industry foundation for cancer research. Her breast cancer advocacy experience began in 2006 when she joined the Breast SPORE advocacy program and participated in the filming of a video by cancer survivors on clinical trials. Janet attends SPORE research and advocate meetings, serves as a Komen Advocate Reviewer, and in 2007 was a featured speaker at the VICC Breast Cancer Research Retreat. Janet also attended the 2007 ASCO meeting, the 2007 Breast Cancer Symposium, and is a graduate of the Research Advocacy Network “Focus on Research” training.


Number of years as a cancer survivor: 12

How many years have you been a VICC research advocate?  10

Why did you become a VICC research advocate?

To pay it forward. I wanted to learn and understand cancer research and be able to help others.

List any ways you are involved in the community, if any. (Ex: non-profit boards, volunteer work, committees, etc.)

  • Board member – The Bill Sattler Memorial Foundation for Aerospace Education
  • Secretary/Treasurer – Women in Aviation, Music City Chapter
  • Board member – EAA, Chapter 863
  • Volunteer of 25 years – TJ Martell Foundation
  • Volunteer – Young Eagles Program

List any ways you are involved in national organizations, if any. (Ex: grant reviewer for DoD, national advocacy, etc.)

  • Grant reviewer for DoD and Susan G. Komen Foundation
  • Fundraising and program assistance – TJ Martell Foundation for cancer research

List any presentations or poster sessions you have been involved in at scientific conferences.

  • Past Speaker – VICC Annual Retreat

Do you serve on any committees, advisory boards, etc. at VICC or VUMC?  

  • Serve as Research Advocate on the PCORI NRE grant with CRISS.

Do you have any relevant advocate trainings or certifications (Ex: Project LEAD)?

  • Project LEAD
  • Focus on Research