New Woman to Woman Programs
Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance is proud to announce the funding of seven new Woman to Woman sites in 2016:
- Greenville Health System in Greenville, South Carolina
- Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, New York
- Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois
- University of Miami in Miami, Florida
- Western New York Ovarian Cancer Project in Buffalo, New York
- Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance in New Berlin, Wisconsin
This year, in an effort to reach even more women in need of support, OCRFA has expanded the Woman to Woman program model to community-based organizations, which have the ability to partner with multiple hospitals in their area. Western NY Ovarian Cancer Project and Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance will pilot this exciting new model.
We now have 29 sites across the country! If you or someone you know would like to apply for either a hospital based grant or a community based organization grant, you can learn more here.
2016 Woman to Woman Researcher
The second annual Woman to Woman Researcher is Alexandra Snyder Charen, M.D., a medical oncologist and translational researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, one of our new Woman to Woman sites! She is a 2016 OCRFA Liz Tilberis Early Career Award grantee.
OCRFA: Tell us about yourself.
Dr. Snyder Charen: I am a native New Yorker. I have a family, including my husband who is a nephrologist, and two daughters, age 7 and 4.
OCRFA: Did you always want to be a doctor?
ASC: Yes. Ever since I was a young girl, I gravitated toward caring for others. I had no family members who were physicians, but I always admired my pediatrician.
OCRFA: What motivated you to focus on ovarian cancer research?
ASC: I love taking care of women, and this is clearly an area of unmet need with potential for improvement. Luckily, OCRFA is improving this by funding critical research, and funding the next generation of leaders in the field.
OCRFA: Tell us about your OCRFA-funded research project.
ASC: I study the question of how we can make the immune system recognize and attack ovarian cancers. I use human tissues, generously donated by patients who consent to biospecimen research, and mouse models to address this question. In certain other diseases, drugs that mobilize the immune system to attack cancers have been very effective, but less so in ovarian cancer. My goal is to figure out how to use immune modifying therapies in our disease.
OCRFA: What do you like best about your career as a doctor?
ASC: The relationships with my patients, and my colleagues, whom I respect and admire so much.
OCRFA: What does it mean to you to have Woman to Woman at MSKCC?
ASC: I think the experience of undergoing treatment, and of uncertainties about the future are phenomena that physicians can’t fully understand unless they’ve been through them. The support, hope, encouragement, knowledge and camaraderie that can come from Woman to Woman are all so important. I’m so thrilled we’re developing a program here at Memorial Sloan Kettering!
To learn more about Dr. Snyder Charen and her work with OCRFA, you can visit her page here.
On The Hill with Chad Ramsey
Through the Woman to Woman Connection newsletter, we aim to keep you updated not just with Woman to Woman news and OCRFA program highlights, but to keep you informed on all aspects of OCRFA’s mission. OCRFA plays an important role in advocating for increased federal research and awareness dollars and furthers policies that give women access to the services they need. Chad Ramsey, OCRFA’s Vice President of Policy, is always working for patients, survivors, and their families in Washington, DC so we wanted to include a recurring piece in every newsletter completely devoted to policy and advocacy updates.
In September, OCRFA held a Congressional Briefing to discuss the Institute of Medicine’s report, Ovarian Cancers: Evolving Paradigms in Research and Care. The briefing, attended by advocates and congressional staff, including members of the Ovarian Cancer Caucus, highlighted the needs in ovarian cancer research and patient care today. Speakers included survivor and advocate Mary Scroggins, and gynecologic oncologist Dr. Carol Brown. Dr. Brown addressed the rapid decline in participation in ovarian cancer clinical trials, and stressed the need for groups to come together to address this problem.
The Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee has been discussing possible FDA (Food and Drug Administration) oversight of laboratory developed tests (LDTs). LDTs, which are designed, created, and used in a single lab, can be a great resource for many patients, but safety concerns are an issue because the FDA hasn’t exercised its right to regulate these tests. Lack of regulation can lead to ineffective or even potentially dangerous tests being sold. The question now is whether or not to invite FDA regulation into these labs, which comes with added costs and time commitments, but also may safeguard the public. OCRFA is watching this issue closely.
Merger and Website Update: A lot has been going on this past year! As many of you know, in January of this year, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) and Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) merged to form Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA). Now united, OCRFA is the largest global organization dedicated to advancing ovarian cancer research while supporting women and their families. Last month launched our new website: ocrfa.org. Here you can learn about the research we fund, the programs we offer, fun events you can participate in such as Ovarian Cycle, and a whole lot more.
ROCA Test: Earlier this year, an editorial written by OCRFA, and published in the journal American Family Physician, prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review the ROCA (Risk of Ovarian Cancer Algorithm) test, which had been marketed directly to patients in 47 states. The FDA, in turn, released their own statement recommending against ovarian cancer screening tests due to the lack of evidence that they are effective in increasing one’s chance of survival.
Survivors Teaching Students®: Survivors Teaching Students (STS) is a program that offers ovarian cancer survivors a chance to tell their story and relay facts about the disease to medical students, nursing students, and physician assistant students across the country. STS operates in 250 schools across the country, and is always looking for new volunteers! If you would like to learn more about Survivors Teaching Students, please visit our website.
Stay in Touch!
We love hearing from Woman to Woman participants (patients and mentors!) about how the program is making an impact on their lives. We invite you to drop us a line, tell us a story, and share your thoughts! Email Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to learn more and receive updates from Woman to Woman you can join our mailing list!