History

Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA) is the oldest and largest ovarian cancer charity in the world. Incorporated in 1994, OCRA has raised over $100 million in our quest to end ovarian cancer. As the largest private funder of ovarian cancer research, OCRA is also the only ovarian cancer-dedicated voice on Capitol Hill continuously advocating for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal research funding provided by the National Cancer Institute and Department of Defense, as well as for related health policies that will benefit women.

OCRA believes in a 360 degree approach in our efforts to eradicate ovarian cancer, so in addition to our research and advocacy, we also educate healthcare providers to ensure the earliest diagnosis possible through Survivors Teaching Students®; support patients with a peer-matching program in hospitals and online (Woman to Woman); convene the oldest and largest annual Ovarian Cancer National Conference®; train interested individuals to become effective advocates at both the state and federal level through the Advocate Leaders program; and unite grassroots ovarian cancer organizations through membership in our Community Partners.

Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA) was created as Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA) in January, 2016, when Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) and Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) combined forces into one full-spectrum organization for research, funding, advocacy, and patient support.

To understand the power of OCRA, read on to learn the history of OCRF and OCNA.

Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) grew out of Ann Schreiber’s personal experience with ovarian cancer, as she envisioned a world free of this devastating disease. Determined to make a difference, her husband, Sol, asked her physician, Dr. Carmel Cohen, about supporting ovarian cancer research at Mt. Sinai Hospital (where Ann was being treated). Dr. Cohen urged Sol to “think bigger” and fund research beyond Mt. Sinai as a faster route to ending the disease. In 1994, this vision was realized in OCRF, as a national organization to combat not only the disease, but also the isolation and fear ovarian cancer patients and their families so often feel. A few years later, Liz Tilberis, then editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, joined OCRF while battling ovarian cancer, and stepped up to serve as OCRF’s first president, propelling the organization to a national platform.

In 1997, the leaders of five ovarian cancer organizations formed Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) to serve women with ovarian cancer by providing support, resources and education. These groups were: CONVERSATIONS! The International Newsletter for Those Fighting Ovarian Cancer (Texas); National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (Florida); Ovar’coming (Indiana); Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Greater Washington (Washington, D.C.); and SHARE: Self-Help for Women with Breast or Ovarian Cancer (New York). OCNA became the leading ovarian cancer advocacy organization for federal research funding and related patient advocacy issues.

Read more about OCNA’s first Executive Director, Ann Kolker.
View OCNA’s Past President Emerita.