Barbara Calhoun Assistant Professor of the Practice

Director of Patient Advocacy Outreach and Education; Director, Minor in Science and Patient Advocacy
Barbara Calhoun

Academic Interests:

My primary academic focus is to provide undergraduate students with comprehensive learning experiences in the areas of rare disease clinical research. Through patient medical record review, engaging with patient families and interacting with clinicians and researchers, students develop an indepth understanding of what it means to be diagnosed with a rare disease.  As co-director of the minor in science and patient advocacy, students learn to apply clinical research knowledge to attain the critical skills needed to advocate effectively for rare disease patients. This minor focuses on ways to collaborate with stakeholders such as researchers, clinicians, biotechnology companies and patients to bridge the gaps in knowledge exchange to heighten positive health outcomes.

As the Director of Advocacy, Education and Outreach, my overarching goal is to collaborate with external partners such as patient service organizations and  biotechnology experts to further advance curriculum for undergraduates. Through the integration of coursework and experiential learning followed by collaboration with biotechnology experts and their patient advocates, we are able to provide the optimal level of skill needed for our students to be effective patient advocates in their future careers.

Current Courses:

  • Clinical Research in Rare Neglected Neurological Diseases (BIOS 40450)
  • Patient Advocacy in the Community (Bios 40451)
  • Clinical Research in Rare Diseases (Bios 40565)


  • Director of Patient Advocacy Education and Outreach 2022-Present
  • Director, Minor in Science and Patient Advocacy 2021-Present
  • Assistant Professor of the Practice 2021-present
  • Concurrent Assistant Professional Specialist 2017-2021
  • Outreach Coordinator, Boler Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected  2014-Present
  • Research Nurse, Dr. Cindy Bergeman Lab 2012-2014
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner


  • Master of Science in Nursing, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Arizona State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing- University of Arizona

Selected Professional Activities and Honors:

  • Co-Founder of the Minor in Science and Patient Advocacy 2021
  • Undergraduate Curriculum Committee Member 2022- Present
  • New Course Development: Patient Advocacy in the Community BIOS 40451
  • Advisor, CRND-SURF students 2015-2021
  • Faculty Advisor, RareND Club 2015-Present