UH Cancer Center researcher is elected to serve on NCI steering committee

Erin Bantum

Erin Bantum, PhD, a researcher at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center, has been elected to serve a three-year term beginning October 1, 2020, on the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Symptom Management and Quality of Life Steering Committee (SxQOLSC). The committee, which was established in 2006, addresses the design, prioritization and evaluation of concepts used in clinical trials to positively impact the symptoms and side effects of cancer and cancer treatment.

Members of the SxQOLSC include representatives from the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) sites, researchers throughout the National Institutes of Health, community oncologists, biostatisticians, patient advocates and NCI staff. As a committee member, Bantum will participate in decision-making activities through monthly webinars and in-person meetings.

NCI steering committees determine the direction of 71 NCI-designated research institutions throughout the nation, including the UH Cancer Center. The SxQOLSC decides on the types of clinical trials that are offered. Bantum’s membership on this committee provides a voice for Hawaiʻi in selecting clinical trials that will benefit our community. “Members take their experiences and learnings about what is important in their communities to their role on the committee, helping to bring the best care back to the people they serve,” said Bantum.

Bantum is a clinical health psychologist, whose research focuses on cancer survivorship. She is interested in better understanding factors related to adjustment to diagnosis and treatment. Some of her recent research endeavors include the impact of hula for cancer survivors and the role of mindfulness meditation in positively impacting anxiety and cancer-related neuropathy for cancer survivors.

“I am grateful to have been nominated through our NCORP and elected by my colleagues nationally to join the committee. I look forward to bringing what I have learned from countless cancer survivors within our community to set priorities around trials that can bring increased well-being and livelihood to those who have experienced cancer,” said Bantum.

Bantum is one of two UH Cancer Center faculty members who currently serve on NCI steering committees. The other is Jared Acoba, MD, who is a member of the Gastrointestinal Steering Committee..