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Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education

by Global Oncology (GO)
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Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education
Improving Cancer Outcomes with Patient Education

The GO Cancer Education Materials (CEM) team is proud to announce it will be presenting this work at the Academic Design Management Conference of the Design Management Institute in Boston this July 28–29.  GO is honored to participate in this event whose purpose is to drive dramatic change as a result of partnerships across disciplines.

"Design for Social Impact" is a growing field, with research and education focused on the application of design skills, tools, and methods to contribute to the solutions of the most pressing social issues of our time – such as the disproportionate cancer burden in developing countries.  The successful use of CEM booklets with low-literate populations in need of cancer education is the perfect demonstration of a unique and effective collaboration of experts in medicine, public/global health and design, with the outcome of bettering lives and, possibly, saving lives.

The CEM team produced the attached paper for publication in design-focused journals.  The paper refers to "Patient Education Materials (PEM)", the project's original name.  The team, co-lead by GO volunteer and Harvard medical student, Laurie Schleimer, is developing an analogous paper for medical publications, as well.  Stay tuned!

More good news is that CEMs are being translated and refined for use in Botswana.  With your support, this work continues to grow and make a difference. Thank you!


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In January, medical student and GO volunteer, Laurie Schleimer, completed her Haiti Project Report and Recommendations (attached) for taking the GO Cancer Education Materials to the next stage. The Haiti pilot was a deep study, providing much learning as well as a protocol for implementing this work anywhere cancer education is lacking. In the Report, specific refinements were recommended. The GO team met in February to discuss changes to certain text and drawings which were finalized by the end of the month. Booklet revisions are expected to occur in March, in plenty of time for printing and preparing for subsequent pilots this coming summer. Targeted sites are in: Guatemala, Rwanda, Malawi, and possiby Vietnam.

GO is proud to announce that the Cancer Education Materials project was accepted for presentation at the Symposium for Global Cancer Research on April 8th in San Francisco – an event co-hosted by GO. Congratulations to all involved: team members, funders, supporters!

Abstract highlights below (complete abstract attached):

Objectives: 1) Develop patient education materials culturally and literacy appropriate for Haiti, 2) Assess the effectiveness of written materials for cancer patient education in a low-resource setting.

Methods: We collaborated with non-profit Global Oncology and The MEME Design to adapt their low-literacy educational booklet for Haiti. Feedback from staff at PIH-affiliated Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM) was incorporated into the pilot materials. Patients were presented the booklet by the Oncology social worker, and pre- and post-counseling tests were administered.

Results: Patients across all levels of education increased their score on the knowledge test. Patients felt reassured by the booklet, especially by information about side effects of chemotherapy and precautions to take during treatment. Patients wanted more information about what causes cancer and whether cure is possible. The materials enhanced patient-provider conversations and prompted patients to ask questions. Many patients wanted to use the materials to teach family and caregivers about cancer, so they can also be a tool to disseminate information beyond the patient-provider encounter.


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At GO, we continue to build upon the great work on our Cancer Education Materials (CEMs) accomplished last summer in Haiti under the leadership of GO volunteer and PIH employee, Laurie Schleimer. Laurie's efforts are now dedicated to analyses of data collected during the summer; in particular, the extent to which cancer patients improved their knowledge of the disease and its treatment. Interviews with Hatian patients have been transcribed and translated and will inform revisions to the Creole version of GO's CEMs, a process targeted to begin in the new year. GO extends its heartfelt thanks to Laurie for her dedication to pushing this wonderful work forward.

In the meantime, GO is expanding our work and our reach. Last month alone, The Global Cancer Project Map team presented the Map to audiences at the American Public Health Association's (APHA) annual meeting in Chicago, and at the International Conference of the African Organisation for Reseach and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) in Marrakech, Morocco. On a very exciting note, GO welcomes our first two employees to support the Map in the capacities of Project Manager and Project/Data Coordinator. The team heads into 2016 reaching out across the globe collecting cancer project data for inclusion in the Map. 

From within, we continue to develop our people and programs: 1) GO tumor boards with the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Malawi occur monthly, and the teachings are very well received by our physician partners at QECH; 2) The GO leadership also mentor GO volunteers through our internal mentorship program, which convened last Tuesday 12/1 with many in attendance; 3) In collaboration with CAMTech and the Massachusetts General Hospital, GO has organized a Hack-a-thon to be held on February 27 & 28 to imagine and create game-changing solutions in global cancer care. Did you know that GO's Global Cancer Project Map is an idea that emerged from a hack-a-thon?! Apply to participate in this unique event: 

Thank you, All, for your endless emotional, financial and creative support. With your help, we forge ahead, making a difference.

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A social worker in Haiti using CEMs with a patient
A social worker in Haiti using CEMs with a patient

Global Oncology's (GO) cancer education materials (CEMs) made it to Haiti this summer with Harvard medical student and GO volunteer, Laurie Schleimer. Almost 200 booklets were distributed in the first month, with more on the way to meet popular demand.

"It’s a good booklet," said one patient. "It's going to help people to know how to treat the disease and also how to live a better life with it. There are some patients that worry themselves a lot when they have side effects [from chemo]. Even if the patient can’t read, there are other people who can read to them, and the family will have this information too."

Research interviews and focus groups with patients in Haiti, conducted in collaboration between Ms. Schleimer with providers at the Partners in Health hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, have provided compelling feedback that will inform the next round of revisions.

Thanks to the wide support from our growing GO community, development of CEMs for Guatemala is also taking shape, based at our GO hub in Palo Alto. The current CEMs – designed to support adult chemotherapy – are in the process of being translated into Spanish. In addition, GO volunteers met with the Bass Center Family Advisory Council at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital to receive feedback from parents of children with cancer to help us understand how we can improve the education potential of the materials to reach the youngest patient cohort.

Many thanks to all of you for contributing to this work, both financially as well as with your advocacy, your time or your expertise. We look forward to sharing GO's progress with you in the coming months.

CEMs enrich interaction w/patients in a busy ward
CEMs enrich interaction w/patients in a busy ward

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Global Oncology (GO)

Location: Brookline, MA - USA
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Global Oncology
Brookline, MA United States
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