National Program Director, OCRA’s Survivors Teaching Students
OCRA Research Advocate
Susan Leighton is a 24-year survivor of recurrent ovarian cancer and 8-year survivor of breast cancer. Susan began her journey in advocacy when she co-founded the Lilies of the Valley, a gynecologic cancer support and awareness group in Huntsville, Alabama. Susan serves as a research advocate on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.
Susan is the National Program Director of OCRA’s Survivors Teaching Students program. Under her guidance the program has expanded both nationally and internationally reaching approximately 13,000 students annually. Susan serves as a consumer member of the Programmatic Panel for the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program and as an NCI patient advocate reviewer. She has participated as a PCORI reviewer, an FDA Patient Representative for both ovarian cancer and cardiovascular-renal drugs, and as a member of the NCI Ovarian Cancer Task Force. She has participated in numerous scientific meetings and as a mentor for the AACR Survivor-Scientist Program. She served as an OCRA Advocate Leader carrying the voice of the ovarian cancer community to Capitol Hill and in 2010 testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense in support of the DoD OCRP. She spearheaded state legislation establishing the “Alabama Study Commission for Gynecologic Cancers and continues to assist in implementation of the commission’s recommendations. Susan serves as a patient advocate on several ongoing research projects providing the patient’s perspective.
She was honored by OCRA with the Cindy Melancon Survivor Spirit Award and recognized by CURE Magazine as an Ovarian Cancer Hero in recognition of her work on behalf of the ovarian cancer community.