With support from the Entertainment Industry Foundation
Since 2002, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance has been working to save the lives of women by helping health care practitioners learn to diagnose ovarian cancer earlier.
Through the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance’s innovative educational program, Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives®, future health professionals — physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and physician assistants — increase their understanding of ovarian cancer symptoms and risk factors so that they will be able to diagnose the disease when it is in its earlier, most treatable stages.
Survivors Teaching Students® brings ovarian cancer survivors into health professionals’ classrooms to share their stories and key information about the disease. The program has grown to include 92 medical schools around the country as well as 45 nurse practitioner, nursing and physician assistant training programs and schools.
During each free one-hour presentation:
- Several ovarian cancer survivors, many of whom were diagnosed at an advanced stage, put a face and voice to the disease and tell their stories to illustrate the difficulty of early diagnosis and the resulting extended and recurring treatment.
- Students gain insights into listening to patient concerns and become sensitized to the psychosocial aspects of ovarian cancer as well as the need for early detection.
- Survivors and students directly interact to enhance the students’ learning.
- Students are surveyed to assess their understanding of the disease and the presentation’s value.
Reaching Health Professional Students
Betty Reiser, a long-term survivor of ovarian cancer, created the program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)—New Jersey Medical School in 2002. She served as National Director for seven years.
In recognition of the vital role of other health professionals who work in partnership with physicians in delivering primary care, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance has helped the program expand into additional medical education programs and residencies in many states.
Through the New York State Department of Health, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance also expanded the Survivors Teaching Students program to nurse practitioner, nursing, and physician assistant programs beginning in 2005.
National Program Director Susan Leighton works with the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance to continue reaching out to health professional schools, with help from Partner Member organizations and volunteers across the country.
The students’ reactions and written evaluations have been extremely positive and reinforce the efforts of and ovarian cancer advocates throughout the country.
Implementing the Program
To learn more about bringing the Survivors Teaching Students® program to your local health professional school, please contact the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance at (202) 331-1332 or email Susan Leighton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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