Hydrocephalus Advocate Joins Scientific Peer Review of Research Applications for the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program

Patient Advocate nominated by the Hydrocephalus Association serves on the latest review of research applications.

Peer review advocate Barrett O’Connor recently participated in the evaluation of research applications submitted to the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) sponsored by the Department of Defense (DOD). Ms. O’Connor was nominated for participation in the program by the Hydrocephalus Association located in Bethesda, MD. As a consumer reviewer, she was a full voting member, along with prominent scientists, at meetings to help determine how the $247.5M for Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) will be spent for the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program and its 41 topic areas of research.

Consumer reviewers are asked to represent the collective view of PRMRP survivors and patients, family members, and persons at risk for the condition/disease when they prepare comments on the impact of the research on issues such as disease prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life after treatment. Commenting on serving as a consumer reviewer, Ms. O’Connor said, “I am thrilled that hydrocephalus is listed as a condition under the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program and to have the opportunity to represent the hydrocephalus community in the peer review medical research process. I am filled with hope and optimism for the future and the possibility of great medical breakthroughs coming out of this process.”

Consumer advocates and scientists have worked together in this unique partnership to evaluate the scientific merit of PRMRP research applications since 1999. To date, over 180 consumer reviewers have served on Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program panels alongside scientists in the review process. Colonel Wanda L. Salzer, M.D., Director of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), expressed her appreciation for the perspectives of the consumer advocates in the scientific review sessions. “The Consumer Reviewers on each panel are instrumental in helping the scientists understand the patient’s perspective and provide valuable insight into the potential impact of the proposed project. They bring with them a sense of urgency and remind all of the human element involved in medical research.”

There was approximately eleven hundred (1,100) research applications reviewed for PRMRP 2015 fiscal year funds. Scientists applying propose to conduct innovative research aimed at addressing pressing needs of research in one of PRMRP 41 program areas. The DOD CDMRP PRMRP fills important gaps not addressed by other funding agencies by supporting groundbreaking, high-risk, high-gain research while encouraging out-of-the-box thinking.

More information about the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program is available at the Website: https://cdmrp.army.mil. More information about hydrocephalus is available at the Hydrocephalus Association Website: https://www.hydroassoc.org.