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GW Cancer Institute Receives Gift to Advance Patient Engagement through New Center

WASHINGTON (Dec. 17, 2014) — The George Washington University (GW) Cancer Institute has received a $150,000 memorial gift from the Center for Advancing Health (CFAH) to support a new patient engagement center.

After more than 20 years of remarkable leadership from the late Jessie Gruman, CFAH is ending operations. Prior to its closing, CFAH reviewed proposals from many notable nonprofits to build upon the CFAH body of work and enrich the growing interest in patient engagement. The CFAH board of trustees selected the proposal from the GW Cancer Institute, housed within the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, to establish the Center for Patient Engagement. In addition to the memorial gift, the GW Cancer Institute will receive numerous intellectual assets from CFAH.

"We are excited to launch the Center for Patient Engagement at the GW Cancer Institute. This would not be possible without initial funding from the Jessie Gruman Memorial Fund of the Center for Advancing Health," said Mandi Pratt-Chapman, MA, director of the GW Cancer Institute. "This gift will expand our focus on patient-centered care to create informed, engaged patients, and advocate for supportive health care systems."

Since its founding in 1992, CFAH has aimed to increase people's engagement in their health and health care by promoting greater understanding of the role of behavior on health. While advances in medical knowledge have been responsible for steady increases in the length and quality of life of Americans, the potential of health care to improve individual and population health in the future rests increasingly in the hands of individuals. To this end, CFAH has produced research reports and white papers that define patient engagement and offer guidance to policy makers and health care stakeholders to support the active participation of patients and caregivers. CFAH has released thousands of news stories covering the latest peer-reviewed research and evidence reviews on health behavior to journalists and the public worldwide. The Prepared Patient® blog has shared the insights of clinicians, health care leaders, patients, and caregivers through almost 900 posts since 2010. And Be a Prepared Patient® resources that help people find good health care and make the most of it have reached hundreds of thousands of online visitors.

“On behalf of the staff and board of directors for the Center for Advancing Health (CFAH), we are deeply honored that the GW Cancer Institute will be launching a new Center for Patient Engagement with a contribution from the Jessie Gruman Memorial Fund of CFAH,” said M. Chris Gibbons, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the Board of Trustees for the CFAH. “This new center will build on assets of CFAH to advance the field of patient engagement and to help people actively participate in their health and health care in order to live for as long and as well as they can.” 

The new Center for Patient Engagement at the GW Cancer Institute will expand on the shared mission of CFAH and the GW Cancer Institute to empower patients and advocate for quality care. The bequest will provide resources to expand the institute’s focus on patient-centered care, specifically to:

  • Promote and disseminate Be a Prepared Patient® materials, the AfterShock app and CFAH resources to patients, public health practitioners, and health care professionals through webinars and the GW Cancer Institute’s new resource repository
  • Develop new resources that translate patient-centered outcomes research to create informed, engaged patients
  • Advocate for a more patient-centered health care system by voicing the patient perspective in policy forums

This bequest honors the legacy of Jessie Gruman by sustaining her life’s work to help patients make informed choices about their health and health care and to ensure the patient voice remains prominent in health care practice and policymaking.

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About the GW Cancer Institute:
The GW Cancer Institute, housed within the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, integrates and coordinates a broad spectrum of cancer-related activities across the GW campus and among its affiliated partners. The vision of the GW Cancer Institute is to set the standard for patient-centered care and eliminate cancer health disparities. The mission of the GW Cancer Institute is to ensure access to quality, patient-centered care across the cancer continuum through community engagement, patient and family empowerment, health care professional education, policy advocacy, and collaborative multi-disciplinary research. smhs.gwu.edu/gwci/

About the Jessie Gruman Memorial Fund of the Center for Advancing Health (CFAH):
Jessie Gruman, Ph.D. was founder and president of CFAH, a nonpartisan, Washington-based research institute, from 1992 until her death in 2014. Jessie drew on her own experience of treatment for five cancer diagnoses, interviews with patients and caregivers, surveys and peer-reviewed research to describe and advocate for policies and practices to overcome the challenges people face in finding good care and getting the most from it. Since its founding, CFAH has aimed to increase people's engagement in their health and health care by promoting greater understanding of the role of behavior on health. www.cfah.org