Meet a Stakeholder: Kathleen Iattarelli

Kathleen Iattarelli

Member of Dr. Elizabeth Burnside’s Patient Advisory Committee since 2016

What is one thing you really like about being a member of a patient advisory committee?

I’m impressed by how receptive the Burnside research team is to our input as PAC members. The team leaders really listen to our ideas and respond with respect and with suggestions for how they might address our concerns. It’s a very welcoming environment where we all listen to each other and that makes us all feel that we have an opportunity to contribute. It’s very rewarding getting to know and work with this terrific group of women.

What is one interesting experience you had at a patient advisory committee meeting or a time when you thought the patient input really helped the research team?

There have been so many, it’s difficult to choose just one! All of us are really engaged in the process and the meetings just fly by. We all have a lot to say about the materials we have a chance to review.

For instance, we reviewed a worksheet designed to help patients make a decision on whether or not to have a mammogram. There were three categories listed for patients to list points related to the decision. PAC members felt that one of the categories was unnecessary and wouldn’t really help us make a decision.

The research team listened to that input and decided to simplify the worksheet by removing that category. I think we all felt that was a productive process. So this really does feel like a collaborative effort and that makes the experience even more rewarding!

How has being part of a patient advisory committee affected your attitude about research?

I’ve always had an interest in research and being a PAC member has given me an inside look into the process and the tremendous effort that’s being made to come up with materials that really help patients make important, potentially life altering decisions. This has been a wonderful opportunity to make a contribution, however small it might be.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that people might be surprised to learn!

It might be surprising to people that I started weight training at the age of 60. It gives me hope that it’s never too late to make changes for the better!


Each month, WINRS interviews a community or patient advisor about their experiences on an advisory board or committee. Know someone on one of your advisory boards who might want to be interviewed? Email