Paul Gater—an 8.5-year myeloma patient and a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Support Group—was nominated by the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) in May 2021 and is currently serving as a consumer reviewer for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). Paul recently participated in the evaluation of research applications submitted to the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP).
“As a consumer reviewer, Paul was a full voting member (along with prominent scientists) at meetings to help determine how the $130 million appropriated by Congress for Fiscal Year 2022 will be spent on peer-reviewed cancer research,” states the CDMRP-PRCRP in a recent press release.
On serving as the IMF-chosen consumer reviewer for this year’s program, Paul said: “This was a wonderful opportunity to be a voice for the multiple myeloma patient community in reviewing applications for research funding. I’m grateful to the IMF for nominating me to be part of this important review process.”
Paul shared his experience during the application and nomination process with the IMF: “I applied to be the IMF representative on this review panel by replying to a call for volunteers in the IMF’s e-newsletter in early 2021. I was screened and nominated by the IMF and screened by an agency on behalf of CDMRP in May 2021. I was added to their panel of consumer reviewers, but I wasn’t called to be a reviewer in 2021. In August of this year, I was invited to be a reviewer; the panel meeting to review proposals was held in the second week of October.”
When asked how his relationship with the IMF started, Paul recounts: “I’ve been a myeloma patient since 2014 and this is my 8th year since my stem cell transplant. I was introduced to the SF Bay Area Support Group by a friend who also had myeloma. I started attending meetings, probably about 3-4 months after my diagnosis in 2014. Back then, we met in-person and the monthly meetings rotated around four sites in the Bay Area. I attended 2-3 times a year and helped our group leader Jack Aiello with tidying up our roster and have facilitated one meeting during our Zoom phase. We’re still meeting virtually.”
“My friend also made me aware that the IMF is a great source of information and support for myeloma patients and caregivers. I make annual donations to the IMF and have listened to many IMF webinars and short videos over the last 8 years. I have also subscribed to the IMF weekly newsletter (Myeloma Minute). Dr. Durie’s blog is a must-read!” Paul added.
How does a patient volunteer go through the application process to become a consumer reviewer for the IMF?
The application process includes filling out an application, receiving a nomination letter from the IMF, and doing an interview with the CDMRP staff. Throughout the process, chosen consumer reviewers are given a voice and speak on behalf of myeloma patients to ensure that deserving research proposals containing items that are most important to the myeloma community are selected for funding.
If you or a loved one is interested in applying as a consumer reviewer, please reach out to [email protected].