The American Cancer Society recently selected Ellen Parks, RN, OCN, CBCN, to serve as a research stakeholder. As a stakeholder, Parks will be on the Peer Review Committee where she will join scientists, physicians, and cancer experts as they review research grant proposals and help determine those that will make the greatest impact on cancer.
“I am so honored and grateful for the opportunity to be a research stakeholder,” said Parks, who has been an oncology nurse at Duke Cancer Institute since 2007 and is the team lead for Breast and Gynecological Cancer patients at Duke’s Oncology Treatment Center. “I take this responsibility with the utmost importance and hope to represent the thousands of cancer patients I have cared for during the past 30 years as an oncology nurse.”
The society receives 1,600 to 1,800 grant proposals each year. After each proposal is reviewed the society responds to each submission. The funding available means that only 20 percent of the research proposals submitted will actually be approved. There are currently 44 active grants in North Carolina totaling more than $21 million. Of those, 41 are being conducted at institutions in the Triangle area.
In addition to her professional ties to cancer as an oncology nurse, Parks has been a dedicated volunteer for the society nearly 30 years. She became a volunteer because she wanted to do more than just care for her patients, she needed to do something about cancer. Through the years she has utilized her knowledge of Society resources as she cared for her patients.
“This distinguished appointment really completes the circle for me in my American Cancer Society experience. In my nearly 25 years of volunteering with the society, I have served in every role imaginable, from collecting quarters on the street corner for my Relay For Life team, to now having input in this jaw-dropping, amazing process on awarding research grants,” said Parks. “Seeing the incredible stewardship and the impact the money makes to save more lives makes me want to go and collect more quarters!”
From 1988 to 2007, Parks held a variety of leadership positions with the Illinois Division of the society. Since moving to North Carolina, she has served as the chair of the Durham Volunteer Leadership Council, Relay For Life Team Captain, and promoting society programs and services. Parks was responsible for developing a task force and then implementing the Road to Recovery program in the Triangle area. She was the recipient of the 2010 National Lane Adams Quality of Life Award for going above and beyond her duties as a nurse clinician. Parks currently serves as a co-chair of the Triangle Leadership Council.
Bruce Roberts, senior market manager for the society in the Raleigh area, works with Parks and the Leadership Council. “Ellen has been instrumental to the success of the society in the Triangle area,” he shares. “Her unwavering dedication to eliminating cancer inspires and transforms all those who have the pleasure of knowing and working with her. She is a perfect fit for the Peer Review Committee and we are all very proud of her.”