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STARS Program

The IASLC STARS (Supportive Training for Advocates on Research and Science) Program began in 2019 as a collaboration between lung cancer patient research advocates and representatives from lung cancer advocacy organizations. STARS aims to train, develop, and nurture lung cancer patient research advocates (PRAs) for the lung cancer community. In STARS, the "patient" includes people in active lung cancer treatment, people cured of lung cancer, people living with lung cancer, and their loved ones.  

We believe this will increase the number of Patient Research Advocates (PRAs) equipped to provide the patient perspective for lung cancer research, and also provide accurate scientific translation for other people touched by lung cancer. 

STARS Program Goals

  • Build a supportive global network for lung cancer patient research advocates. 

  • Educate PRAs about lung cancer science and research. 

  • Model good methods for communicating about lung cancer science and research.  

  • Assist PRAs in identifying research advocacy opportunities.

Please note that STARS does NOT teach people to become patient advocates.  Research advocacy is the focus of the IASLC STARS Program. 

Which STARS Program is right for you?

IASLC offers opportunities for patient advocates depending on where they are in their patient advocacy journey. 


STARS consists of three programs that are designed for advocates at different levels of experience in patient advocacy and patient research advocacy: the PRA (Patient Research Advocate) Program, the Scholar Program, and the Alumni Program.  The table below compares the features of the PRA and Scholar programs (the two programs to which you might apply) to help applicants decide which program is more appropriate for them.  Advocates who successfully complete the PRA or Scholar program are automatically enrolled in the Alumni program. Click on a button below to learn more about each program. 

IASLC also offers Educational Awards (not a part of the STARS Program) that provide travel and housing expenses for relatively new patient advocates to attend the World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in person. 


Target Audience:

Demonstrated lung cancer patient advocate experience

Number of Participants:



All virtual

Program Duration:


Educational Activities

  • Online training modules

  • STARS videos

  • Virtual sessions with researchers, clinicians and STARS mentors

  • Virtual networking opportunities

Final Report


STARS Scholar Program

Target Audience:

Demonstrated lung cancer research advocate experience

Number of Participants:

Approximately 10


Mostly at World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC), some virtual sessions

Program Duration:


Educational Activities

  • Access to online training and videos from the STARS PRA program

  • In-person attendance at WCLC, including a full-day STARS Scholar workshop

  • Session debriefs with a researcher/clinician

  • Poster walk with a STARS mentor

  • Virtual and in-person networking

Final Report


STARS seeks participants who are comfortable speaking or writing publicly as part of their advocacy, and who can communicate effectively in verbal and written English. While STARS hopes to eventually become a truly international program, English is still the primary language of major international oncology conferences and publications. Our program meetings are conducted in English, and our current educational resources are almost entirely in English (we are working to add translations for our materials).

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