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Neuro-oncologist Advocates for Brain Tumor Community at Head to the Hill

Published on March 27, 2023 in Advocate, Stories

A group of four individuals, three men and one woman, stand outside a representative's office at Head to the Hill 2018.

After three years of attending Head to the Hill virtually due to the pandemic, neuro-oncologist Dr. Nicholas Blondin is counting down the days to the event’s return in person to Capitol Hill this May 8-9.

As a neuro-oncologist and the lead principal investigator of GBM AGILE at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital, Dr. Blondin sees patients affected by brain tumors and is involved in clinical trial efforts to advance research. Participation in Head to the Hill allows him to support his patients in a completely different way.

“I think the reason I have participated and look forward to participating here again is that, for me, it’s fun to do it,” said Dr. Blondin. “There is added value to having physicians or other health care providers be a part of this event because we see how brain tumors impact people across the breadth of the condition. When this is your profession and your calling, it feels good to be able to help in a different capacity than you normally do.”

When a fellow doctor first suggested attending Head to the Hill, Dr. Blondin registered with the aim of working toward better treatments for his patients. After a day of training, he connected with members of his Connecticut delegation and supported them in meetings with policymakers on the second day. 

Dr. Blondin, third from the right, with Senator Richard Blumenthal and other NBTS delegates from Connecticut

“The goal of the day is for the patients or caregivers to tell their stories, and I was there to be supportive,” Dr. Blondin explained. “It just sends a stronger message that everyone is invested in this cause, and it’s important enough for the doctor to come and say, ‘Getting funding for this research is important, and recognizing that brain tumors have a huge unmet need is important. What can we do to try to increase the priority for this?’”

Head to the Hill’s emphasis on sharing the urgent, unmet needs of the brain tumor community on Capitol Hill sets it apart for health care professionals like Dr. Blondin, who are asked to participate in advocacy days throughout the year. 

“Other doctor advocacy days have more of a trade group focus generally,” Dr. Blondin said. “Each group has its specific focus. For example, we need Medicare to be able to do ‘X’ or change [a] regulation for this reason. It’s not for patient advocacy, whereas Head to the Hill is. That’s why I want to participate.”

Register for Head to the Hill

Join advocates like Dr. Blondin from across the U.S. to share the unique needs of the brain tumor community with members of Congress at Head to the Hill on May 8-9, 2023. 

“In my opinion, NBTS is really the most significant national organization involved with the brain tumor community,” Dr. Blondin said. “There’s no other organization that has really focused on advocacy efforts like NBTS has.”

Sign up today to ensure your voice is heard on Capitol Hill. 

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