Claire Cohen – Member of the Month – December 2015

Claire Cohen – Information and Education Manager, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

Claire Cohen2I’m the Information and Education Manager at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. We’re the UK’s only dedicated charity working to support women and their families affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities as well as campaigning to raise awareness of prevention programmes. We also campaign to ensure women receive the best care and treatment. Our services include: an online forum, a national Freephone helpline 0808 802 8000, an Ask The Expert service, Support Groups across the UK, information on our website (jostrust.org.uk) and a diverse range of printed publications.

Women can reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer by attending cervical screening (smear tests) and girls can opt to have the HPV vaccination which helps to prevent cervical cancer. Good information forms the foundation of our work and we prioritise rigorous scoping, production and reviewing of all information produced in my department.

I joined Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust in 2009 and since then I have seen the charity grow in income and size both in terms of staff and resourcing. Information has played a vital role in our work and thus as the charity has developed my remit has expanded and changed considerably; I am currently responsible for the development of the charity’s health information as well as building the charity’s outreach programmes. I am part of the senior management team and I have two members of staff in my department (we’re a small but perfectly formed department!). My role is incredibly collaborative and I work across all our departments; Communications, Fundraising and Services teams, with external stakeholders including collaborating with other charities, public bodies, health care professionals and service users.

In 2010 the charity produced a leaflet, a poster and several online information pages on the website. Currently I manage: 24 printed information materials, two targeted educational films, over 80 pages of online health information related to cervical cancer, its causes, ways to prevent it and issues related to life after diagnosis of cancer. We also have a range of films which help to provide real life stories and provide insight into the cancer journey that accompany the peer reviewed content.

My team and I really enjoy the challenge of producing good information and we value collaboration with the Information Standard, PiF and other charities. Over the last few years, I have been on a number of PiF one day training events which have always been fantastic for sharing best practice and learning new skills from my peers.

I’m passionate about ensuring that all the information our department produces meets the needs of our key stakeholders and more importantly is easy to read and accurate. We have a fantastic patient feedback group, Jo’s Voices, and a team of impartial health care professionals who provide input and review as part of our production of health information. In my role I work with a range of evidence including statistical data. I really enjoy the scoping phase of information projects and I’m particularly interested in understanding more about the long term consequences of cancer and treatments (I’m working on three new surveys at the moment looking at the impact of cancer treatment). As a department we print and distribute over 180,000 printed information materials and have around 708,739 views on our information pages annually.

I also work with women affected by cervical cancer running an annual information day called Let’s Meet for those who have been through a diagnosis. We offer workshops on life after cancer, long term consequences of treatment and specialist workshops for partners supporting women with the disease. I’ve just finished work on a new guide for women recently diagnosed produced in response to service user and health care professional feedback.

Claire Cohen1An important part of my role is my engagement work with the general public to raise awareness of cervical cancer, ways to prevent the disease through vaccination and screening; I manage a number of health promotion events annually. I’m currently focusing on targeted initiatives trying to engage with hard to reach groups such as women from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities with low health literacy, and women who have learning disabilities. These groups are poorer attenders of cervical screening and at greater risk of health inequalities. Three targeted information products support this work: a short information film for women from BAME communities, a collaborative film resource produced in association with NHS England for women with learning disabilities and an easyread guide.

In my role, every day is different. I work strategically to help shape policy within the charity, on the front line working with members of the general public and behind the scenes to produce great information. Getting positive feedback about the information we produce and how it has helped someone make informed decisions about their health is just priceless. I couldn’t ask for a better job, unless of course, Jo’s were to open a remote office somewhere in the Caribbean!