PRESS RELEASE: 4th Annual Advocacy for Cancer Patients

For Immediate Release: Medical/Health Submission
Contact: Kyle Marksteiner, 575-706-2324
August 28, 2014

Genetic Testing Will Be Key Element
During Upcoming Cancer Patients Seminar

The scientific, ethical and legal issues surrounding genetic testing will be a primary discussion point at the upcoming 4th Annual Advocacy for Cancer Patients Seminar to be held October 23 at the New Mexico Bar Center in Albuquerque.

The seminar is meant to be both an awareness campaign for the public and a fundraiser in support of the Shannon J. Shaw Memorial Cancer Fund at the University of New Mexico Cancer Center. The public is encouraged to attend, but the presentations will also be offered as Continuing Legal Education (CLE) and Continuing Medical Education (CME) classes.

Highlights from this year’s seminar will include a presentation by Lori Ballinger, titled “Privacy issues in genetic research, sharing the information learned from genetic testing.”

Ballinger is a genetic counselor with 30 years of experience in the field across many aspects of human genetics and disease. In addition to her current position of Senior Genetic Counselor at the University of New Mexico Cancer Research and Treatment Center, she is a lecturer for the Department of Internal Medicine and is an ad hoc instructor for the School of Medicineas well as the UNM School of Nursing.

“Ms. Ballinger has worked in genetics and research across the spectrum of the human lifespan,” noted event host Jeff Diamond. “Genetics research is the most critical medical research topic going on right now, and this seminar is the ideal place to examine the topic from a legal, medical and ethical point of view.”

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham, representing New Mexico’s First District, will address what Congress can do to address economic disparities in public and private facilities.

“We’re all thrilled to have an attorney and representative of Michelle Lujan-Grisham’s caliber participating at our summit,” Diamond added. “Our battle against cancer needs to be fought on all fronts, from genetic research to the political arena.”

Additional presenters will include:

• Dr. Darrel Dinwiddie, who will discuss incidental findings in genome sequencing;
• Dr. Tom Cushing, whose discussion will evaluate the legal issues of direct to consumer genetic testing;
• Steven R. Ballinger, Esq., who will discuss legal protections in genetic testing;
• Dr. Barbara McAneny, who will talk about economic issues and governmental regulations facing private practices during clinical trials;
• Dr. Ila Pillalamarri, who will cover the basics of low level ionizing radiation effects;
• Director Terri Stewart, who will discuss access to clinical trials.

Jeff and Evy Diamond’s son, Shannon J. Shaw, died from malignant melanoma on Aug. 31, 2009. He was the supervising petroleum engineer for the Bureau of Land Management in Santa Fe and received treatment at UNM Cancer Center. A website telling Shannon’s story and providing more information about the Shannon J. Shaw Memorial Cancer Fund has been set up at www.listentoyourmom.org.

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