Pratt Foundation Forms Cancer Partnership
Thursday, 20th July 2006 at 1:07 pm
Whether it is a corporate partnership or a private donation, the power of personal experience still plays an enormous role in Australia’s philanthropic deeds as the latest Pratt Foundation initiative reveals.
The Pratt Foundation and Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has announced a $1.4million partnership to establish Australia’s first program to show the importance of supporting the psychological needs of people with cancer and their families.
The program will also develop services to build and minimise the psychological impact of cancer and its treatment.
The partnership’s centre-piece program, named Harnessing Inner Strength, was launched by The Pratt Foundation Chairman, Heloise Waislitz, the daughter of Richard and Jeanne Pratt who revealed her own battle with cancer six years ago.
Heloise told the gathering that this new partnership was within the Foundation’s guidelines of supporting mental health initiatives.
In her own case she explained that while she received the very best of medical care and technological advances during her cancer treatment, it was a cold and mentally tough environment.
The Chair of the Board of Directors of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Dr Heather Wellington, says The Pratt Foundation’s support for such an important program would augment the multi-disciplinary, holistic model of care that Peter Mac fosters.
Heloise Waislitz says The Pratt Foundation feels very passionate about supporting this initiative because of its potential to benefit many patients on a new level.
Under the five-year partnership, Peter Mac will establish a clinical and research team headed by Professor Sanchia Aranda. The team will collaborate closely with all supportive care services across Peter Mac and with external stakeholders to ensure developments in the area are sustainable.
Professor Aranda says while cancer patients have access to a full range of oncology services in Victoria, and receive world-class medical care, greater focus is needed on the psychosocial facets of a cancer journey.
She says there is growing evidence that appropriate and earlier psychosocial intervention for cancer patients can greatly impact quality of life and treatment outcomes
Over the next five years, with The Pratt Foundation support, Harnessing Inner Strength will:
1. Improve clinical recognition of psychosocial distress
2. Improve access to psychological support services
3. Develop evidence based psychological programs
4. Create a patient communication skills program for all clinical staff
5. Integrate applied research & evidence-based practice
6. Provide complementary physical facilities including a Patient Drop-In Centre
A Steering Committee has been appointed, with membership from the medical and philanthropic fields. This group will oversee the program’s development, communication and outreach strategies over the next three years. A consumer reference group has also been established to ensure service development is driven by the needs of people with cancer.