Deborah Vollmer Dahlke, doctoral student in the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, was invited to participate in one of five working groups assembled to review specific areas and make recommendations at a National Cancer Institute (NCI) meeting Sept. 16-17, 2013, titled “Next Steps for Adolescent & Young Adult Oncology: A Scientific Update.”
The Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Process Review Group is a collaborative effort between the NCI and the Livestrong Foundation to research and report findings on how to improve the quality of life and the expected outcomes for adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer.
Dahlke will join the epidemiology working group chaired by Dr. Archie Bleyer and Dr. Ann Geiger to see where progress has been made in AYA oncology research and determine next steps toward improving outcomes for AYAs with cancer. They will examine past and current mortality rates for AYA cancers and any changes in the forms of cancer they face, as well as any new approaches to researching AYA cancers and their causes.
Over the next year, the working groups will participate in a series of monthly telephone conferences on various issues, culminating in a draft report submitted by the end of May 2013 and presented at the September meeting.
Current chair of the Cancer Alliance of Texas, Dahlke has a long history of research and practice with cancer survivors. As a technology entrepreneur, management consultant and strategic marketer, she has a passion for applying technology to support cancer and survivorship research.
Dahlke recently developed AYA Healthy Survivorship, an iPhone app for AYA cancer survivors, in collaboration with CTxCARES (Communities of Texas: Cancer*Activity*Research*Education* Support) project team directed by Regents Professor Marcia Ory, Ph.D. She also is collaborating on a research project directed by Yan Hong, Ph.D., associate professor, to create iCanFit, a mobile-enhanced application for older cancer survivors.
Dahlke is a director with the Texas Life Science Foundation (TLSF), the inventor of TLSF’s patent-pending Navi4Health bilingual case management software and a certified community health worker designing educational programs to promote cancer prevention and control within diverse populations.