With generous support from the San Francisco Foundation, the CARE (Cancer Awareness Resources and Education) program was initiated in 2002 to provide education and psychosocial support to cancer patients who receive their medical care at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH). Crucial support from UCSF’s Department of Medicine http://sfgh.medicine.ucsf.edu/, through the Hematology/Oncology Division and the Center for Vulnerable Populations http://www.cvp-sf.com/ helps sustain CARE.
CARE offers series of eight to twelve-week classes in English, Spanish, and Cantonese. We provide dinner, taxi vouchers, and childcare reimbursements, when necessary. The program includes relaxation and goal setting exercises in each group session. We have a fabulous collection of guest speakers addressing topics such as What is cancer?, nutrition, complementary/alternative medicine, stress reduction, symptom management, and more. CARE staff call participants each week to remind them of upcoming group meeting, conduct and informal ‘check-in’ and make referrals, when appropriate.
By furnishing participants with comprehensive cancer-related education, as well as teaching self-care skills, the program enhances patients’ understanding of their diagnosis and encourages them to gain a sense of control over their lives.
The CARE group facilitators are experienced professionals with backgrounds in health education, community organizing, social work, and social psychology. The groups are co-facilitated by UCSF medical students. A prestigious Advisory Board provides valuable guidance and support for the program.
The CARE program has received numerous honors and awards including the American Cancer Society’s Lane Adams Quality of Life Award, American Medical Association Award for Innovations in Patient-Centered Communication, and the National Grand Prize for Excellence in Patient Education from California Pacific Medical Center.