The first Woman to Woman program was founded in 2004 at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City by ovarian cancer survivor Valerie Goldfein in collaboration with the Mount Sinai Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and the Mount Sinai Department of Social Work. Valerie’s goal in starting the program was to alleviate some of the fear and loneliness she experienced at the time of her diagnosis with ovarian cancer. OCRA (then OCRF) was an early funder of the Woman to Woman program at Mount Sinai.
OCRA realized that women all over the country could benefit from Woman to Woman programs, and that the program model could be replicated in other hospitals and communities. In 2011, with Mt. Sinai’s blessing, and with significant financial support from corporate champion QVC, OCRA began to expand the program across the country. QVC’s support facilitated the growth of the program to more than a dozen additional sites.
OCRA has now funded 40 Woman to Woman programs across the country, expanding to new sites every year (click here for a full listing of Woman to Woman grantees). In 2018, OCRA launched a “virtual” program, which allows newly diagnosed women to connect with a Woman to Woman mentor regardless of their geographic location.
“I am so grateful to have been part of the Woman to Woman program, you helped me get through it more than you can imagine!”
– Patient, NewYork-Presbysterian Hospital Program
“Volunteering with Woman to Woman has not only given me more confidence and strength it has also given me a greater sense of purpose. I knew very early in the volunteer experience that my own fears about the potential outcome of an ovarian cancer diagnosis would be heightened. But mentoring women in treatment has changed and enriched my life mostly because of the wonderful people, both women in treatment and volunteers, who have come into my life and captured my heart.”
– Robin Findling – Volunteer, Mt. Sinai Hospital Program
“Seeing survivor volunteers provide unique, one to one support to their fearful, newly diagnosed peers is rewarding for everyone associated with Woman to Woman. Women in treatment feel hopeful they too will have a positive outcome and receive information and support only women who have had a similar experience can provide. Survivors receive support from each other and have an opportunity to give meaning to their own gynecologic oncology journey.”
– Arden Moulton – Founding Program Coordinator, Mt. Sinai Hospital
“Being part of Woman to Woman has been such an overwhelming privilege. Getting to know the other survivor volunteers and sharing each other’s experiences of ovarian cancer binds us into a sisterhood of strength and understanding. That understanding of how each of us dealt with our diagnosis helps us to support our patients. No matter where we came from, or how we got here, we are working together to add strength, hope, and comfort to other women facing this disease.”
– Mentor, New York-Presbysterian Hospital Program
“This program excites me really more than anything. This is the first step, through Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, that we’ve actually been able to address the psychosocial needs of patients and their families. I’m tremendously optimistic for the future as I see how this program helps patients and their families. Peer to peer support is the key to improving patients’ quality of life. I’ve already seen it and I’m thrilled to see it on a national level.
– Sharyn N. Lewin, M.D., Gynecological Surgical Oncologist, New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center
Need peer support? Find a program near you, or connect virtually.
Interested in applying for a grant to bring Woman to Woman to your area? Read our guidelines, and find out how to apply.