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From Dr. Jack West


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The Best of Both Worlds: LUNGevity and GRACE Working Together

http://blog.lungevity.org/2011/03/01/th ... -together/

My name is Dr. Howard (Jack) West, and I’m a medical oncologist in Seattle, WA with a focus in lung cancer. Over the last several years, I’ve also served as the President & CEO of a non-profit organization called the Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education (GRACE), which is dedicated to the concept that patients and caregivers can help ensure that they receive the best cancer treatment possible and improve the overall quality of cancer treatment by being offered the most current information about what the medical experts consider to be the best therapies available.

The concept behind GRACE and its humble history trace back to a predecessor website called OncTalk that I started in 2006, but the highlights are that it has been focused on lung cancer, has grown to include several other medical experts, and that we now reach tens of thousands of people from over 130 countries every month. But my day job is as an oncologist, and GRACE remains a relatively small scale operation. We’ve been limited in our ability to produce new content because of our limited outreach and fundraising. And this has limited our ability to serve the lung cancer community as well as we would hope to.

Recognizing the potential for GRACE efforts to help a broader audience, coupled with the need for better educational offerings for the lung cancer community, LUNGevity CEO Andrea Stern Ferris reached out to me to discuss the potential value of a partnership between our organizations. We had a series of friendly, productive discussions of the potential value of a partnership.

I’ve actually been very familiar with LUNGevity since I first began working directly with the online lung cancer community more than 5 years ago. Before I started a separate website of OncTalk that became GRACE, I worked with the Lung Cancer Support Community here, run by Katie Brown, who has been a friend and one of the most dedicated and visible advocates in the lung cancer world for many years.

Even as I and other GRACE medical faculty have focused our efforts on providing timely and accessible medical perspective on the latest developments in lung cancer, I’ve recognized the great value of other organizations like LUNGevity, offering leadership and funding for cancer research, while the LCSC continues to provide a warm, supportive community.

And so, as Andrea and I reflected on the potential value of working together, we realized that we offer very complementary strengths: where GRACE provides timely information and commentary and an interactive forum with cancer professionals, LUNGevity supports both research opportunities and a supportive community for the patient community. As GRACE has struggled with limited resources and has needed to cut back on our programs, LUNGevity prioritizes these educational programs and is committed to both enabling them and in conveying this information to a wider audience that can benefit from this content.

Our new partnership will allow us to pool our talents and resources to provide an ongoing series of educational programs in the form of written blog post summaries of the latest developments in lung cancer, a collection of audio and video podcasts available at no cost, case discussions with an array of lung cancer experts, and some larger multi-faculty webinar conferences, including a post-ASCO review and a November conference in recognition of Lung Cancer Awareness Month that can also provide a review of highlights for the year. Importantly, LUNGevity will be offering an “Ask the Experts” service in addition to enabling more faculty support for the GRACE discussion forum.

Our organizations share a common goal of ensuring that patients have the opportunity to know and receive the best care possible for lung cancer today, while also accelerating the pace of progress in coming years. I look forward to a collaboration that will strengthen the lung cancer community.

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Hi Dr West,

I recently recalled an event in LCSC, in my past of meeting the Actor/Director Mr Richard Attenborough,he is a patron of a charity for Muscular Dystrophy,and had come to my grandfather's local pub to pick up a cheque from the Gartcraig Inn whose patrons had contributed most to his charity in all of the UK.It was my priviledge to spend some time in his jovial company.Why should I mention this to you?.Can you imagine a dreary cold night in a November Glasgow in a non-descript Pub,how many people with his wealth would even contemplate such a visit given so many pleasant alternatives available to them.

What is a hero?,I recently listened to a debate recently whose premise was "There are no heroes anymore" Well since my dx of lung cancer over two years ago,I would say,I did meet some health professionals,whom I expected to be served better by,but conversely I got to meet my Oncologist Dr Lumsden,LUNGevity,Katie B,et al,and Dr West of Cancergrace and his team,thank you for your efforts in every aspect of the work that you do and just know,that I appreciate everything you are doing to beat the scourge of Lung Cancer.

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