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Jessie Gruman Memorial Fund to Advance Patient Engagement Through New Center at the George Washington University Cancer Institute


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After over 20 years under the remarkable leadership of the late Jessie Gruman, the Center for Advancing Health (CFAH) is ending operations at the end of 2014.

Since its founding in 1992, CFAH has aimed to increase people's engagement in their health and health care by promoting greater understanding of the role of behavior on health. While advances in medical knowledge have been responsible for steady increases in the length and quality of life of Americans, the potential of health care to improve individual and population health in the future rests increasingly in the hands of individuals. Whether we are sick or well, we will not benefit from the expertise of health professionals and the technologies they deploy unless we participate actively and knowledgably in our own care.

CFAH has produced research reports and white papers that define patient engagement and offer guidance to policy makers and health care stakeholders to support the active participation of patients and caregivers. Through the Health Behavior News Service (HBNS), CFAH has released thousands of news stories covering the latest peer-reviewed research and evidence reviews on health behavior to journalists and the public worldwide. The Prepared Patient® blog has shared the insights of clinicians, health care leaders, patients, and caregivers through almost 900 posts since 2010. And Be a Prepared Patient resources that help people find good health care and make the most of it have reached hundreds of thousands of online visitors. These CFAH reports, news stories, blog posts, and resources – as they have been since CFAH's inception – will remain available to the public on our website until January 2020.

Over the summer and fall of this year, the staff and board of trustees of CFAH held discussions and reviewed proposals from several notable nonprofits that were interested in receiving and building on the intellectual property assets of CFAH. Intellectual assets include the online archive described above and the Prepared Patient trademark. To expand on the CFAH body of work and enrich the growing interest in the field of patient engagement, the CFAH board of trustees has selected a proposal from George Washington University to establish the Center for Patient Engagement at the GW Cancer Institute. In addition, due to generous contributions to the Jessie Gruman Memorial Fund, CFAH is able to make a sizable financial donation to the GW Cancer Institute. 

"We are excited to launch the Center for Patient Engagement at the GW Cancer Institute. This would not be possible without initial funding from the Jessie Gruman Memorial Fund of the Center for Advancing Health," said Mandi Pratt-Chapman, MA, director for the institute. "This gift will expand our focus on patient-centered care to create informed, engaged patients and advocate for supportive health care systems."

The board and staff of the Center for Advancing Health are deeply grateful to many people for their contributions to CFAH since its founding.


M. Chris Gibbons, MD, MPH
Chair, Board of Trustees
Center for Advancing Health

About the GW Cancer Institute:
The GW Cancer Institute, housed within the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, integrates and coordinates a broad spectrum of cancer-related activities across the GW campus and among its affiliated partners. The vision of the GW Cancer Institute is to set the standard for patient-centered care and eliminate cancer health disparities. The mission of the GW Cancer Institute is to ensure access to quality, patient-centered care across the cancer continuum through community engagement, patient and family empowerment, health care professional education, policy advocacy, and collaborative multi-disciplinary research.

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