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The Wellness Community Announces National Cancer Survivorship Research & Training Institute in Philadelphia
Date:10/20/2008

Thought Leaders Converge for Summit on Psychosocial Support Initiatives

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Wellness Community (TWC), the nation's leader in providing empowering support and educational programs for people with cancer and their loved ones, announced plans today for a brand new national Cancer Survivorship Research & Training Institute, to open in Philadelphia in 2009. The announcement comes during The Wellness Community's two-day Thought Leader Summit in Philadelphia, which is designed to develop recommendations based on the November 2007 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report that calls for integrating social and psychological support services for cancer patients into community-based clinical practice.

"The new Cancer Survivorship Research & Training Institute will examine the critical role of social and emotional support for people affected by cancer and will study the distinctive needs of survivors and caregivers," said Kim Thiboldeaux, President & CEO of The Wellness Community, based in Washington, D.C. "The Institute will be a vibrant resource and destination for the cancer community at large -- a place to conduct peer-reviewed research, sponsor patient and caregiver forums, host retreats, and direct state-of-the-art training programs for health care professionals. With more than 12 million cancer survivors in the United States and an estimated 1.4 million new cases in 2008, the demand for care that addresses quality of life issues continues to grow."

The Wellness Community has identified several potential sites in Philadelphia to serve as the home of the new Research & Training Institute. Designs for the building itself are in progress and the final site will be determined over the next few months.

National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) of Jenkintown, PA is contributing a lead gift of $1.7 million in a matching grant to establish a new National Breast Cancer Survey, Registry, and Index to connect those dealing with, and recovering from breast cancer across the country. The ultimate goal of the Research & Training Institute's inaugural project will be to recommend strategies to create a seamless continuity of services throughout the course of treatment and afterward to overcome barriers that physicians experience in referring cancer patients to support programs and services.

"I am proud that Philadelphia was selected to be the site of this national cancer resource," said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, who is slated to speak at the luncheon announcing the new Cancer Survivorship Research & Training Institute. "Our city has been a destination for cancer research and treatment and now we will also be a leader in providing models of effective social support services so vital to enabling people with cancer to live a better quality of life."

"Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs" published by the Institute of Medicine, [http://www.iom.edu/CMS/3809/34252/47228.aspx] sets a clear mandate for community-based support as an essential element of quality health care for cancer patients and their families. Recognized in the report as a leading organization in the delivery of quality psychosocial and survivorship care, The Wellness Community will address the goals outlined in the IOM's landmark report with evidence-based rigor, and set the standard of excellence for community-based organizations.

"Although laboratory research has been at the forefront of innovative psychosocial interventions for people with cancer, there are no large-scale delivery mechanisms for disseminating these types of research findings into the community," said Mitch Golant, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Research and Training for The Wellness Community. "This Research & Training Institute will help bridge the gap."

Participants in The Wellness Community's Thought Leader Summit, October 20-21 in Philadelphia, include experts in health care economics, psychosocial oncology, government, the pharmaceutical industry, insurers, health care providers, and patient advocacy groups. Participants will address goals including:

-- Identifying patients with the greatest psychological needs through

consistent screening;

-- Developing and implementing care plans that link patients with available

psychosocial resources available in the community;

-- Identifying systems that support managing the illness;

-- Integrating and coordinating psychosocial care with biomedical care; and

-- Providing follow-up care in order to monitor the effectiveness of these

support services.

ABOUT THE WELLNESS COMMUNITY

Founded in 1982, The Wellness Community is an international non-profit organization dedicated to providing free support, education and hope to people with cancer and their loved ones. Through participation in professionally-led support groups, educational workshops, nutrition and exercise programs, and stress-reduction classes, people affected by cancer learn vital skills that enable them to regain control, reduce isolation and restore hope regardless of the stage of their disease. The Wellness Community provides such programs, free of charge at more than 100 locations worldwide including 24 U.S. based and 2 international centers with 73 satellite and off-site programs and online at http://www.thewellnesscommunity.org.


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SOURCE The Wellness Community
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