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Diagnosed at a young age of 25 with stage III Myeloma in 1995, Yelak is a patient turned Myeloma research advocate and has been able to successfully integrate Myeloma into his life for almost a quarter of a century. Yelak is a member of the International Myeloma Foundation board of directors, ECOG’s patient advocate and myeloma committees, NCI’s Myeloma Steering Committee (MYSC), the NCI Council of Research Advocates (NCRA), various pharma patient leadership councils, and is active on twitter under the handle @NorthTxMsg.
He was a featured presenter at the 2015 and 2017 European Hematology Associate satellite symposiums on Relapsed and Refractory Myeloma, IMWG’s conference series on drug prices and access to therapies. Yelak regularly collaborates with NCCN, FDA, and AARC on various access disparity initiatives and publications. He speaks frequently at IMF patient and family seminars, a two-day educational emersion program for myeloma patients and their families, on the topic of “Living Well Successfully.”
His areas of advocacy interest include, patient education, clinical trial design, quality of life improvements, drug accessibility, minority engagement, access disparities and global capacity building of patient organizations. Yelak has a master’s degree in computer science and leads data and analytics initiatives for fortune 500 companies.