LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (September 18, 2017) – A $50,000 grant from the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA) will allow the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to expand its support services to women with gynecological cancers.

The one-time grant provides resources to bring OCRFA’s Woman to Woman support program to the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. The program pairs newly diagnosed patients with specially trained survivor volunteers who provide one-on-one support and mentoring.

A portion of the grant also will provide direct support to patients in the form of assistance with food, short-term housing, transportation and other basic needs.

“The Woman to Woman program will give our patients with ovarian, cervical, endometrial and other gynecologic cancers the chance to connect with fellow survivors who have lived through the same type of experience. This level of emotional support is vitally important for our patients as they struggle with a new cancer diagnosis and come to terms with its possible implications for their future,” said Shayna Fendley, a licensed clinical social worker and program coordinator for the grant.

Woman to Woman volunteers are carefully matched to new patients based on cancer type, age, language and culture, patient preferences, and other factors. Training and support materials are provided by OCRFA and teach skills such as active listening, communication skills and how to address cultural differences. There are about 30 sites across the country with Woman to Woman programs.