Articles by Cody Barnett, MPH, MRA Director of Communications & Patient Engagement


Denise Kellen is On a Mission to Advance Melanoma Prevention & Early Detection

By Cody Barnett, MPH, MRA Director of Communications & Patient Engagement | 23 February 2021 In Melanoma Stories

Growing up – from June until August – Denise Kellen and her family practically lived at Lido Beach on Long Island’s south shore. They’d swim, play on the surf, read, and sunbathe. Like clockwork she’d develop two to three severe sunburns that would leave her pale skin a fiery red before peeling away. If only Denise knew then what she knows now.

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Estimating Melanoma Risk by Examining Skin’s Mutational Burden

By Cody Barnett, MPH, MRA Director of Communications & Patient Engagement | 10 February 2021 In Prevention, Science

 We’ve known for decades that most melanomas – formed from the color-producing cells in our skin called melanocytes – are predominantly caused by UV-radiation-induced damage from the sun or indoor tanning devices. This damage is cumulative but is often invisible.

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Mary Jo Rogers: Research Will Get Us There

By Cody Barnett, MPH, MRA Director of Communications & Patient Engagement | 8 December 2020 In Melanoma Stories

With red hair and fair skin, Mary Jo Rogers has always known she was at high risk for melanoma, so she saw her dermatologist regularly. Despite knowing the risk, her 2011 diagnosis of Stage 3C melanoma still came as a big surprise.

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Gail: Stage 4 to NED (No Evidence of Disease) Through a Clinical Trial

By Cody Barnett, MPH, MRA Director of Communications & Patient Engagement | 10 November 2020 In Melanoma Stories

Gail was already on her way out the exam room door, following her annual physical, before she remembered to ask about a dry cough she’d had for about a week.  

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Amy Fights for Acral Melanoma to be Seen

By Cody Barnett, MPH, MRA Director of Communications & Patient Engagement | 28 October 2020 In Melanoma Stories

For patients diagnosed with acral melanoma today, Amy offers the following advice: “You aren’t alone. If you find a spot – any spot, really that looks different or concerns you – get it checked out. Advocate for a biopsy because doctors don’t always know what they are looking for when it comes to acral melanoma.”

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Take Life as it Comes

By Cody Barnett, MPH, MRA Director of Communications & Patient Engagement | 12 October 2020 In Melanoma Stories

At her local hospital, Karen was told she had both lung and brain cancer. She was in shock – she had been feeling great and was diligent about eating right and exercising. It wasn’t until she met MRA-funded investigator, Dr. Rizwan Haq at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that she learned that her tumors were actually caused by malignant, stage 4 melanoma. Following radiosurgery and combination immunotherapy, Karen’s melanoma is stable.

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Elizabeth McGowan & Outpedaling 'The Big C'

By Cody Barnett, MPH, MRA Director of Communications & Patient Engagement | 18 September 2020 In Melanoma Stories

To celebrate her fifth anniversary of being NED, Elizabeth McGowan set out on a 4,250- mile adventure across the United States, coined 'Heals on Wheels.' Now, 20-years later, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author shares insight into her journey with melanoma and her solo bicycle trek in her book: "Outpedaling ‘The Big C’: My Healing Cycle Across America."

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Integrative Medicine Answers the Question: ‘What Can I Do to Support My Treatment?’

By Cody Barnett, MPH, MRA Director of Communications & Patient Engagement | 24 August 2020 In Science, Treatment

When Dr. Gary Deng sits down with a new patient to discuss their goals and how integrative medicine can fit into their overall treatment plan, he likens his work to taking care of a plant. “With the right amount of water, sunshine, fertilizer, and soil – a plant will thrive. That’s what integrative medicine is looking to do, but with an entire person,” says Deng.

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Working to Take the Luck Out of Melanoma

By Cody Barnett, MPH, MRA Director of Communications & Patient Engagement | 16 August 2020 In Melanoma Stories

Ellen believes that research is the best tool we have to “take the luck” out of melanoma. She’s proud to be involved with an organization – and a cause – that is relentlessly moving forward in search of answers, new treatments, and ultimately a cure for melanoma. “I know that given the right support, research will get us there,” she says.

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For Melanoma Researcher Dr. Betina Yanez, It’s All About the Journey

By Cody Barnett, MPH, MRA Director of Communications & Patient Engagement | 27 July 2020 In Science

If you close your eyes and imagine what a melanoma researcher looks like, Dr. Betina Yanez is probably not what you imagine. That’s because Dr. Yanez, a health psychologist by training, isn’t your typical melanoma researcher. Instead of researching new treatment targets or experimental combination therapies, she focuses on patient experience and quality of life.

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About the Author
Cody Barnett, MPH, MRA Director of Communications & Patient Engagement


Cody Barnett, MPH serves as the Director of Communications & Patient Engagement at the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA). In this role, he works to develop and cultivate strategies, messages, and stories that propel MRA and its mission forward. In addition, he develops patient-friendly articles, tools, and resources that demystify new research advances and make them actionable. Cody is responsible for media relations, web and social marketing, publications and materials development, and organizational branding. He is committed to using the power of storytelling and patient-centered thinking to advance melanoma research and improve patient outcomes. 

Before joining the Melanoma Research Alliance, Cody served as Director of Communications at AIDS United, where he directed all internal, public, member, and online communications for the national HIV-focused organization. Previous to this, he managed digital communications for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s signature initiative, Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q).

Cody earned his Master of Public Health (MPH), concentrating in health policy, from The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health in 2013 and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from York College of Pennsylvania. 

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