Cynthia Cadieux, PhD, RDN, is Associate Dean for Educational Assessment and Evaluation for the EVMS School of Health Professions and Associate Professor of Health Professions, not to mention the school’s go-to expert for all things nutrition. 

If that wasn’t enough, Dr. Cadieux recently lent her expertise to the evaluation of research applications submitted to the Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program sponsored by the Department of Defense. 

Dr. Cadieux was nominated to participate in the program by the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. As a consumer reviewer, she was a full voting member, alongside prominent scientists, at meetings that helped determine how to spend the $330 million that Congress appropriated in fiscal year 2018 for the DoD’s peer-reviewed medical research. 

Consumer reviewers represent the collective view of patients by preparing comments on the impact of the research on diagnosis, treatment and quality of life. 

“It was an honor to represent the voice of the patient on important healthcare issues as we considered proposals for funding,” Dr. Cadieux says. 

Since 1999, consumer advocates and scientists have collaborated to evaluate the scientific merit of these research applications. 

“Consumer advocates are an integral part of this review process,” says Col. Stephen Dalal, Director of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. “They provide a key ingredient to the process, the patient perspective, which is real and urgent.” He added that collaborations between consumer advocates and scientists are rare in medical research programs. 

Proposals presented to the DoD-sponsored research program have the potential to enhance disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment across a wide range of disciplines.