The Quaich Inc. has recently wrapped up a two and a half year project with the New Brunswick Breast and Women’s Cancer Partnership. Excerpts from the report below highlight key facets of this project, in which The Quaich was involved with project coordination, partnership development, facilitation, research, report writing, event planning and evaluation.
Between October 2010 and March 2013, the New Brunswick Breast and Women’s Cancer Partnership (NBBWCP) received funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to expand its breast cancer organization to include gynecological cancers (ovarian, cervical and uterine). The purpose of this project, ‘Integration of Breast and Women’s Cancers: Implementing a Bilingual Model across New Brunswick Communities,’ was to reach into New Brunswick communities so that every woman at risk of or diagnosed with breast or gynecological cancer in the province knew how to access information and support. A key element of the project was to create a bilingual organizational model, based on community capacity building, which could be adapted by other organizations across Canada attempting to reach populations that are traditionally underserved due to their language, location or culture.
The NBBWCP serves as a touchstone for women at risk of or diagnosed with breast, ovarian, cervical or uterine cancer. Its mission is "to empower women with breast and gynecological cancers to enhance their quality of life through provision of accessible information and support as required through the cancer journey."
NBBWCP took action on improving women's health and access to quality information and support. A team of NBBWCP volunteers collaborated with health care professionals, educators and survivors to create resource materials, including a bilingual Gynecological Cancer Information Guide – the first document of its kind in Canada. The Guide is distributed to women by their health care provider at the time of diagnosis. The launch of an interactive, bilingual website allows NBBWCP to reach more people, regardless of geographic boundaries.
In order to ensure the sustainability of optimal education, awareness and support, NBBWCP launched the Community Contacts program, in which volunteer peer navigators (representing all regions of the province) receive training to support women at risk or diagnosed with breast or a gynecological cancer. Each Community Contact receives guidance from health care system workers involved in NBBWCP as Regional Representatives. A newly created Facilitator’s Guide contributes to ongoing training for this network which links women to provincial and local support services and resources.
A well-attended Aboriginal Engagement Session was a major step in defining NBBWCP’s Aboriginal outreach plan. Highlights from the two day event include a greater understanding of the social, personal, medical, financial, environmental, cultural, and information dissemination challenges faced by Aboriginal women in New Brunswick, the gaps in service provision and potential strategies to improve support and commitment to continue this relationship to provide support to Aboriginal women.
Throughout this project, NBBWCP has acquired substantial experience to share about partnership development, organizational change and public uptake of a new direction towards supporting and educating those affected by women’s cancers. NBBWCP’s bilingual partnership model is adaptable and could benefit other networks across the country that seek to effectively serve a larger population by focusing on linguistically, culturally and geographically underserved groups.
For more information, visit: www.nbbwcp-pcscfnb.ca