Projects and partnerships

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Counterpart aims to make the service accessible and relevant to women from all walks of life. As such, from time to time, Counterpart contributes to, or conducts, special projects and programs. These projects are often in collaboration with other cancer services and hospitals, and reach out to groups that are marginalised or whose needs are difficult to meet as part of the mainstream health and supportive care system.

If you are looking for assistance finding participants for a study relevant to women with cancer, please get in touch. We can share information about current projects in our monthly e-newsletter or on social media.

We can also assist you to source specific consumers for projects and studies, including working groups.

Find out more about research opportunities, or email [email protected] for more information on projects and partnerships.

Current projects

Analysis of the benefits of peer support for Counterpart service users
Deakin University psychology students are in the process of interviewing women who have received peer support from a Counterpart Peer Support Volunteer. They are asking about their experiences, to analyse the benefits of peer support to women who use our service, and to identify how we can improve.

Extension of myCarePlan to women with endometrial cancer
As part of a broader project being conducted by the Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, Counterpart – including two women who have used Counterpart services – have been involved with a project to extend myCarePlan to women with endometrial cancer. These plans enable people to create a personalised survivorship care plan to give a better understanding of life after treatment.

Some past projects

Counterpart peer support evaluation
Master of Social Work students at Melbourne University completed a complex exploratory study of our processes around talking with women: how we collect and record information and how it helps us better recognise who is using Counterpart and where gaps exist. This project will assist us in improving our processes to make sure we are making our services accessible to Victorian women with cancer.

Signpost project — finding your way with metastatic breast cancer
Counterpart partnered with Cancer Council Victoria, McGrath Foundation, Breast Cancer Network Australia and Think Pink on a project convened by University of Melbourne. This project sought to identify the information needs of people with metastatic breast cancer and provide tangible and accessible ways of finding the information people were looking for. Read about the Signpost resource.

Counterpart Navigator evaluation
Psychology students from Deakin University undertook an evaluation of the Counterpart Navigator in 2019. They assessed satisfaction with the updated Counterpart Navigator app, along with awareness and referral patterns in health professionals working with breast and gynaecological cancers. They made recommendations for content, maintenance, promotion and future evaluations.

Connecting and Supporting Rural and Regional Women with Cancer
Counterpart partnered with Barwon South Western Region Integrated Cancer Service and Grampians Integrated Cancer Service on a pilot project to improve understanding of the support and information needs of women affected by cancer in rural and regional Victoria. The project, which ran from 2015–2016, was funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Cancer Strategy Unit. View the Connecting and Supporting Rural and Regional Women with Cancer report for an outline of the aims, methodology and findings of the project, and recommendations.

Victorian Cancer Survivorship Project
Counterpart was a partner in a two year project funded by the Victorian Department of Health as part of the Victorian Cancer Survivorship Program. The project, which ran from December 2011 until November 2013, was undertaken in collaboration with the Breast Service of the Royal Melbourne and Royal Women’s Hospitals, Western Health and the Inner North West Melbourne Medicare Local.

The goal of the project was to develop, implement and evaluate a model of survivorship care as part of the government funded Victorian Cancer Survivorship Program. The twin objectives were to improve the quality of care for women completing treatment for early breast cancer at the Royal Melbourne and Royal Women’s Breast Service and Western Health Breast Service, while reducing the intensity of hospital-based care to create greater capacity for new patients.

This ‘codesign’ project successfully incorporated women’s voices and has been extended to other treatment centres and tumour streams. It has provided key learnings to the sector and several conference presentations have helped to circulate the findings more broadly.

Information and support for women from culturally and linguistically diverse groups
In 2012, Cancer Australia called for submissions to their “Supporting People with Cancer Grant Initiative Program”. BreaCan, in collaboration with Western Health, successfully secured funds from this initiative to increase information and support for women from culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

Focusing on the information and support needs for Vietnamese women with a breast or gynaecological cancer, the project aimed to create a comprehensive best practice community model of information and support that could be implemented with other minority groups.

Key outcomes of the project included:

  • Developing and integrating sustainable approaches for engaging diverse groups, commencing with Vietnamese women in the Western Health community.
  • Building and strengthening linkages for women affected by breast and gynaecological cancers within the Victorian Vietnamese community to develop culturally appropriate quality information and support resources, including mechanisms for improved access to community support.
  • Developing a best practice culturally appropriate community service model that engages consumers, the acute sector and the local diverse community to respond to local needs.
  • Drawing on the best practice community-based model to translate to other cultural groups.

View the resources developed from this project.