Survivors Teaching Students launches in New Zealand

07 Oct 2021

WomenCan is excited to announce that Survivors Teaching Students® (STS), ANZGOG's ground-breaking education program, has launched in New Zealand.

Survivors Teaching Students® is a volunteer program that brings the faces and voices of ovarian and gynaecological cancer survivors and caregivers into the classrooms of health professional students to teach them about women’s experiences with the diseases and increase the likelihood of early diagnosis.

The New Zealand STS team presents via Zoom to the students from The University of OtagoThe STS team spoke with Dr Kathryn Forwood, Medical Director of Prevocational Education at Southern District Health Board, New Zealand, and House Doctors from Dunedin Hospital, on the launch of the program.

Dunedin Hospital’s House Doctors participated in the initial STS session in New Zealand, as part of their ongoing education through The University of Otago. The participants found the session incredibly valuable, especially in considering the non-medical effects of gynaecological cancer treatment for women and their whanau (family).

“The openness of the survivors presenting was powerful. I hope my group will use this experience to think wholistically when caring for their patients in the future.”

Dr Kathryn Forwood

The feedback received from the House Doctors highlighted their appreciation for the opportunity to hear the survivors’ stories.

“This presentation certainly made me consider the effects on those that survive ovarian cancer longer than the average mortality rate, and how this survival may well be with a much-reduced quality of life. I had thought that a diagnosis of ovarian cancer meant either mortality within five years or survival, and not thought further on what that survival would look like.”              

PGY1 doctor, University of Otago

Dr Forwood has been integral in working with ANZGOG to introduce the STS program to New Zealand. Her mother is an ovarian cancer survivor and a volunteer with Survivors Teaching Students in Queensland.

“Helping to get the STS program up and running in New Zealand has been a way to join my mum in advocating for women with gynaecological cancers.”

Dr Forwood

A small but passionate team of STS volunteers has assembled in New Zealand to bravely share their stories with the next generation of health professionals. Their aim is to raise awareness of gynaecological cancer symptoms and the importance of good health communication to improve life for women.

“ANZGOG is very pleased to be launching STS in New Zealand and giving students and junior doctors the same opportunity as Australia to benefit from hearing survivors and caregivers’ experiences of living with ovarian and gynaecological cancers firsthand.”

Dr Helen Gooden, STS National Manager

Want to get involved with Survivors Teaching Students?

The Survivors Teaching Students team would like to welcome new volunteers to join the New Zealand STS team.

If you would like to get involved or know anyone who is a gynaecological cancer survivor or caregiver that would like to volunteer, please contact bree.stevens@anzgog.org.au.

To find out more, click here.