Jane Reese-Coulbourne, advocate, consultant, industry executive, dies at 63

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Jane Reese-Coulbourne, 63, a cancer patient advocate who moved into industry and science policy roles died of cancer on April 23.

Reese-Coulbourne was being treated at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.

Reese-Coulbourne, a chemical engineer and a business consultant, was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer in her thirties. While being treated on protocol at NCI, she took part in forming the National Breast Cancer Coalition and its effort to gather 2.5 million signatures on a petition for a National Action Plan on Breast Cancer.

Reese-Coulbourne joined the NBCC staff, working for the advocacy group as an executive vice president between 1991 and 1998. She left for a job at NCI, where she worked as a consultant for five years.

Later, she worked with industry on expanded access issues, starting with helping set up access to the AstraZeneca drug Iressa before its approval by FDA. Later, she served as board chair of the Lung Cancer Alliance. Reese-Coulbourne’s parents died of lung cancer.

For six years starting in 2010, Reese-Coulbourne served as executive director of the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the Food and Drug Administration. At the foundation, she oversaw the start-up of a partnership funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, working with WHO, FDA, EMA, and the Innovation in Medical Evidence Development and Surveillance program to support the development of a Big Data methods research agenda.

Reese-Coulbourne was also a member of the NYU Langone Medical Center Working Group on Compassionate Use and Pre-Approval Access.

At the time of her death, Reese-Coulbourne was the executive director of the Hearing Industries Association. “Innovation, patient advocacy and the importance of aligning critical stakeholder groups attracted me to this opportunity,” Reese-Coulbourne said in a statement, when she accepted that job.

Reese-Coulbourne is survived by husband Bill Coulbourne, step-daughter Kelly, step-son Mark, daughter-in-law Jennifer Fitzgerald, and step-grand-daughter, Ashley. She is also survived by brothers, Jim and sister-in-law Jan Reese of Pennington, NJ and John and sister-in-law Arlene Reese of Huntersville, NC, and nieces Jenny and husband David, and Tara and nephews Brett, John Reese Jr., Danny and five grand nieces and nephews Michaela, Reese, Olivia, Charlotte and Ben.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made in honor of Jane Reese-Coulbourne to: Rapid Autopsy Program Fund—Dr. Jody Hooper c/o Robert Kahl Department of Pathology Johns Hopkins Medicine 600 N. Wolfe Street, Carnegie 424 Baltimore, MD 21287-6417, or http://pathology.jhu.edu/RapidAutopsy/donate.cfm.

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