How did the Army of Women get started?
Dr. Susan Love, like many members of the breast cancer community, was frustrated by the slow advancements in learning what causes breast cancer and how to prevent it. In order to learn more about the causes, prevention, and treatment of cancer, researchers need to work with volunteers to explore possible solutions. Scientists, however, told Dr. Love that they did not know how to find the women who would be interested in taking part in the studies that were needed to end this disease. Without people to participate in studies, new and innovative research solutions are impossible.
Dr. Love realized that women and men want to help find breast cancer solutions and are willing to participate in studies—they just didn’t know that they were needed! From this, the idea was born of an Army of Women, ready to serve science.
Why did the Avon Foundation for Women provide seed funding for this initiative?
The Avon Foundation for Women is one of the largest private funders of breast cancer research. As a result, they understood how difficult it can be for researchers to find volunteers for research studies. They recognized the need for the Army of Women and provided a grant to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation to make it happen.
Why is it called an Army of Women?
Is the Army of Women a tissue bank?
How does the Army of Women work and how do I apply to utilize it for recruitment?
Interested women and men register on the Army of Women website. Signup is easy: members are asked to provide basic information such as name, age, ethnicity, and city of residence.
All researchers interested in using the Army of Women as a recruitment resource must register with the Army of Women and submit a project proposal. We accept applications for letters of support and recruitment requests for funded studies.
The Foundation research team reviews letter of support requests and, if approved, provides a letter and cost sheet for your funding application.
The Foundation research team and members of our external Scientific Advisory Committee – comprised of researchers, clinicians, and advocates – review each recruitment request, ensuring the project is feasible for the Army of Women and is ethical and safe in its design. Researchers whose studies are approved work with the Foundation research team to create content for our Army of Women study eblasts and website. Before we open recruitment for your study, we require documentation of your IRB’s approval of all materials.
When we open recruitment for your study, volunteers can self-select to participate through our eblast or directly on our Army of Women website. We want to ensure that investigators are connected with good candidates for their study. To facilitate this goal, we have all interested participants go through an initial online screening process. Participants who self-select and are deemed appropriate are then connected with the research team. We will work with you to determine the best format for connecting you with eligible volunteers.
Army of Women volunteers who RSVP for a study will agree to have their contact information shared with the researcher for the sole purpose of screening and scheduling. Researchers agree not to share volunteer contact information or biologic samples with third parties or use the samples for purposes other than those outlined in the protocol for which the Army of Women volunteer consented and the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee approved.
Can for-profit companies have access to the Army of Women?
What is the IRB approval policy?
The Army of Women requires researchers to agree to follow the provisions of the “Common Rule” (45CFR46) federal human subjects regulations and obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval before receiving biological samples or access to the Army of Women for their research. While these regulations currently do not apply to institutions that do not receive federal support, the Army of Women policy requires all researchers utilizing the Army of Women to follow the Common Rule.
Researchers will be required to obtain the appropriate IRB approval from their institution’s IRB prior to recruitment.
If the researcher does not have an established IRB at his or her institution/organization, the researcher should use a central IRB. Alternatively, a researcher may use the services of the AAHRPP. For an accredited list of IRBs see AAHRPP’s accredited organizations.
All researchers should be aware of how the federal human subjects’ regulations apply to the use of human biological samples. If you are unfamiliar with the IRB approval process and would like guidance on how to proceed, please contact the Army of Women staff.