CancerConnect participates in National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant

For Immediate Release September 14, 2011

CancerConnect participates in National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant

Goal of grant is to develop tools that can help cancer patients find others sharing similar experiences.

September 14, 2011 – Sun Valley, ID/ Seattle, WA – a leading online community and social network for cancer patents, will participate in a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to facilitate peer health mentoring. The grant was recently awarded to researchers Andrea Civan Hartzler, PhD, Wanda Pratt, PhD, and David McDonald, PhD, at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA.  

Dubbed the “Matchmaking Project”, Hartzler, Pratt, and McDonald hope to demonstrate that through the experience of serious illness, such as cancer, patients develop substantial knowledge about managing their personal health. Considerable value is found when experienced patients (“mentors”) share their expertise with individuals who are facing a similar situation for the first time (“mentees”).  Peer health communities (such as CancerConnect) offer a broad base of such “patient expertise” (Civan & Pratt, 2011), yet patients often miss out on this valuable resource because of the significant challenge of uncovering suitable mentors with relevant expertise.  Communities require users to manually forge these mentoring connections on their own. The researchers will develop multiple tools to streamline this matchmaking process and make it more efficient for community participants.  The CancerConnect community will serve as the Community for the Project.

“We are delighted that CancerConnect members will be invited to participate in this research,” said Alana Brody, VP of Social Media for CancerConnect. “These tools will continue to add value to the Community and make it even more useful.”

CancerConnect will collaborate with the University of Washington researchers to recruit study participants for access to community data and for online design and integration.  CancerConnect features a growing online community of cancer patients, and their families, friends, and caregivers This integrated community of over 4,000 members incorporates a growing number of private label versions for local implementations at major cancer centers.

CancerConnect is a fully functional online community and social network that encourages people with cancer and those who care for them to share information, inspiration, hope, and support.  CancerConnect combines best-of-class content and news with this online community to enable cancer patients and their caregivers to communicate with each other in a confidential and secure environment. 

Owned by OMNI Health Media, CancerConnect has been a leader in providing cancer patients and their families with timely accurate information since 1995. Visitors to CancerConnect have access to comprehensive, current information on all aspects of the management of cancer and the added value of connecting with other patients who share their specific disease, such as breast, colon, prostate, and lung cancer. Disease-specific groups as well as groups focused on care giving, health and wellness, and nutrition all exist to provide support for anyone affected by a diagnosis of cancer. Members of CancerConnect can access information, ask questions, share experiences, and connect with others who share their issues—all at a single destination. They can also participate in communities with broader concerns like nutrition and spirituality.

CancerConnect is used by hospitals and cancer clinics to enhance their websites and allow cancer patients to be part of an online community without leaving the providers’ website. OMNI Health Media manages the CancerConnect communities for Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and many other leading cancer centers and private clinics. Moreover through partnerships with the National Patient Advocate Foundation, The Prostate Cancer Foundation, The National Pancreas Foundation, The Lymphoma Research Foundation and other advocacy organizations, CancerConnect provides a best of class fully moderated social media experience.


  • Hartzler, A., & Pratt, W. (2011). Managing the Personal Side of Health: How Patient Expertise Differs from the Expertise of Clinicians. Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) 13(3), e62.