History of the Alliance

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance was founded by five independent ovarian cancer organizations: CONVERSATIONS! The International Newsletter for Those Fighting Ovarian Cancer (Texas); National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (Florida); Ovar’Coming Together (Indiana); Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Greater Washington (Washington, D.C.); and SHARE: Self-Help for Women with Breast or Ovarian Cancer (New York). Independently each of these organizations has made a significant contribution to the ovarian cancer movement.

In the five years before the Alliance formed, the energy and commitment of the founding leaders fueled important efforts around ovarian cancer issues in various parts of the country. Although some of these activists had begun to communicate with each other, few had met until the spring of 1997, when two seminal events occurred: a two-day stakeholders meeting convened by the Department of Defense to launch its Ovarian Cancer Research Program and a town hall meeting convened by the Indianapolis-based Ovar’Coming Together.  These events prompted the survivor community to organize a coordinated national effort.

In September 1997, leaders from these five ovarian cancer groups joined forces to form the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. Their primary goal was to establish a coordinated national effort to place ovarian cancer education, policy and research issues prominently on the agendas of national policy-makers and women’s health care leaders.

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance’s (OCNA)mission is to advance the interest of women with ovarian cancer. OCNA works to unite individuals and organizations in a national movement. Since its inception, the Alliance has been the face and voice of a national network of ovarian cancer survivors and activists dedicated to finding an effective diagnostic test, reliable treatment and a cure. OCNA is the only national advocacy organization focused exclusively on legislative issues of importance to the ovarian cancer community. These issues include ensuring adequate and sustained federal funding for ovarian cancer research and education and awareness programs.

Some of our initiatives include Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives®, in which survivors speak to health professional students about ovarian cancer symptoms and risk factors to help them gain perspective on the real life experiences and emotions of survivors. The Alliance provides an online forum, Inspire, for people dealing with ovarian cancer to connect with others facing the same issues, and hosts the longest running National Conference for ovarian cancer survivors, researchers and caregivers. In addition, the Alliance provides a clinical trials matching service, powered by EmergingMed, to help women locate clinical trials being conducted in the United States. The Partner Member program was established to bring together independent advocacy and service organizations who work with the ovarian cancer community to create a unified national ovarian cancer message.