Elizabeth Cahn, PhD, is a member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Breast Cancer Advocacy Group and the Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research Advocacy Council (Springfield, MA). She is a breast cancer survivor and BRCA1 mutation carrier, and has been a caregiver for family members with cancer and traumatic brain injury. She has extensive experience with clinical trial participation, informed consent, family decision-making, guardianship, complicated treatment decisions in collaborative treatment settings, and palliative care.
Dr. Cahn has been involved in cancer research advocacy since 2007. She has been a patient advocate on many breast cancer research proposals and projects as well as a speaker on topics such as the patient experience of cancer treatment, oncology clinical trial participation, return of genetic results to patients, and research advocacy.
Dr. Cahn is employed as Program Director at Cancer Connection, a community-based non-profit in Northampton, MA, that provides support services for individuals with all types of cancer as well as their caregivers and families. Prior to this, she worked in the fields of architecture and planning, in higher education, and in community outreach related to women’s health and public safety.
Dr. Cahn has undergraduate degrees in Fine Arts and Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. She later earned master’s degrees in Architectural History, Theory, and Criticism from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in Art Therapy from Seton Hill College. In 2014 she completed a PhD in Regional Planning at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she also earned a Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies. She lives in Amherst, MA, where she is a member of the Human Rights Commission.