Eric Perakslis, PhD is a member of the KCA’s Board of Directors and currently works as a Rubinstein Fellow at Duke University.
We spoke with Eric about what motivated him to join our Board of Directors.
What motivated you to get involved with the Kidney Cancer Association?
What I first noticed about the KCA was the strong bond between the organization and the clinician practices that serve the community. Especially in the mid-2000s, the Chicago meetings were atypical in how closely the KCA board worked with doctors to host a premier scientific meeting. It was very patient centric – a lot of places talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. The KCA does, and that was what struck me as different. Everything I saw was very involved and very engaged at all levels as compared to other organizations.
How long have you worked with the KCA?
My trajectory with the KCA is probably a little different from the rest. I first became involved in the late 2000s – either in 2007 or 2008 – but had stopped participating in 2011 when I took an appointment with the FDA. During this time, I started off at the annual meeting as a patient advocate and eventually went on to serve on the scientific advisory committee and on the board.
Then, around spring of 2019, Paula Bowen asked if I would consider joining again as I had recently left the FDA. It was shortly after that I received a welcome letter and began participating again.
What is your favorite travel destination and why?
For work, I love the work I do in Africa with Doctors Without Borders. For family, St. Lucia because it is really an untouched island as compared to the rest of the Caribbean.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Sit down and play the guitar. Mostly I work in my free time, but when I’m not, I’m playing the guitar.
What is one thing most people do not know about you?
I test as a very high introvert. I’ve had a lot of big, public roles where I am speaking or giving lectures, but I still test as an introvert. I like what I do so I find energy for it, but I like my downtime as well.
What prompted/inspired you to go into the medical field?
I grew up wanting to be a scientist. By the time I was 6 or 7 years old, I had read every children’s science book in the library. For me the choice was science or medicine, and I leaned toward science. I’m more creative that way and a lot less disciplined.
Then, I lost my dad to cancer when I was 18 and he was just 42. There is a history of cancer in my family, and those kinds of formational events really helped shape and sharpen what I wanted to do.