Cancer Collaborative receives OHSU grant

Mari Montesano

Social worker Mari Montesano will use funding to improve virtual access to care


The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Community Partnership Program awarded the CMH-OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative a grant to improve virtual access to care for patients. Social worker Mari Montesano, LCSW, “made the grant happen,” says Chris Laman, director of the Cancer Center.

The funding will cover a virtual care platform for cancer patients and caregivers in order to provide online peer support, education classes/materials and programs such as yoga and art therapy. During the pandemic, cancer patients, especially, have experienced loneliness and isolation. Montesano has worked to make virtual classes and care options available to them.

“Over the past eight months, we have seen the impact COVID-19 has had on our patients and community,” says Amrita Desai, MD, CMH medical oncologist. “Living with cancer and its treatment is stressful and at times, overwhelming. The COVID-19 pandemic has added another level of uncertainty, emotional stress and fear, leaving them feeling more isolated and vulnerable.

“This grant will help us provide connection and support to patients and family members in the comfort of their home.”

To date, the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Community Partnership Program has invested more than $3.8 million in over 140 projects in Oregon since 2014. The latest round of funding, totaling $204,018, supports 14 new projects addressing COVID-19 related needs across the state. Click here to read the media announcement about the latest projects.

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