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PPD Heroes advocate for clinical research to improve patient health

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD) announced the kickoff of its 2017 educational campaign to raise awareness about the life-changing impact of clinical research, featuring a team of PPD Heroes who share their personal stories to inspire hope.

PPD Heroes are extraordinary people who have overcome illness with medical treatments developed through clinical research. They help raise awareness about the importance of increasing participation in clinical trials by both patients and physicians alike to advance the development of next-generation therapies.

The PPD Heroes will share their motivating stories at a number of events this year to support organizations that, like PPD, are committed to improving health and saving lives. This spring, the PPD Heroes and a large contingent of PPD employees will participate in two North Carolina events: the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of New Hanover County in Wilmington on April 28 and 29, and the Susan G. Komen Triangle Race for the Cure in RTP on May 6.

“PPD Heroes remind us of the remarkable progress we’ve made in developing treatments for many diseases and health conditions, yet there is much still to accomplish,” said Ed Murray, executive vice president and chief human resources officer of PPD. “The more than 19,000 professionals of PPD find inspiration in the PPD Heroes’ stories as we pursue our mission of delivering life-changing therapies in close collaboration with our clients. We hope the PPD Heroes will inspire countless people to get involved and support clinical research.”

Introducing our PPD Heroes:

  • Teresa Dunlap, an executive director of project management for PPD, who has worked for more than 20 years on clinical trials. In 2012, she was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. Now at five years following treatment, she is well past the three-year mark post-treatment, beyond the danger zone for a recurrence.
  • Angela Esquivel, a PPD senior manager focused on patient safety, who was diagnosed with ductile carcinoma in situ at the age of 30. She has no family history of breast cancer. As a 15-year cancer survivor and PPD employee, she frequently works on breast cancer clinical trials, which she specifically seeks out because her personal experience enables her to closely relate to the patients. She is a passionate advocate of cancer education.
  • Denise Fowler, a senior director in oncology at PPD, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2000, despite having no family history of the disease. Following surgery and chemotherapy, she has been cancer-free for more than 15 years. As a survivor, she devotes much of her energy and attention to helping increase awareness of ovarian cancer and the value of clinical research.
  • Kirk Smith, owner of a graphic design and web firm in Athens, Georgia, who, though a nonsmoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013. His diagnosis was stage IIIb lung cancer with an ALK+ mutation, an extremely rare genetic mutation that has a five-year survival rate of just 5 percent. He credits clinical research for the development of innovative new treatments that have been effective for him and allowed him to continue his demanding routines as a competitive runner.
  • Wendy Chioji, who was diagnosed with—and beat—stage II breast cancer in 2001. More recently, she has participated in three trials in her latest battle against recurrent thymic carcinoma, an extremely rare, fast-growing cancer of the thymus gland. The third trial, which she started 14 months ago, has proven to be very encouraging for her treatment.

Now in its eighth year, the PPD Heroes campaign is part of PPD’s ongoing efforts to help increase understanding of the importance of participation in clinical trials, with a clear focus on patients, physicians and patient-focused organizations.

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