Survivors Teaching Students LogoSurvivors Teaching Students® is a ground-breaking volunteer program that brings ovarian and other gynaecological cancer survivors and caregivers into the classrooms of health professional students to teach them about women’s experiences with the diseases.

Expression of Interest Application

What is STS?

Survivors Teaching Students (STS) was developed by the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance in the United States in 2002 and has since been adapted for Canada and the UK. ANZGOG is pleased to be leading the program in Australia and New Zealand.

Survivors and caregivers are in a unique position to help students understand the lived experience of a gynaecological cancer, including the emotional impact. Our goal is to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian and gynaecological cancers amongst the next generation of health professionals, so the diseases are detected without delay. The program also provides opportunities for students to learn about the importance of good health communication and compassionate care.

Over 1000 volunteers around the world can personally attest to the fact that it is one of the most empowering things a survivor or caregiver can do.

How does it work?

STS brings ovarian and other gynaecological cancer survivors and caregivers into classrooms of health professional students across Australia and New Zealand to share their experiences of symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, and provide key information on the diseases.

Each STS presentation is approximately one hour in duration, delivered free of charge to students as part of their tertiary studies. Presentations may be delivered online or in-person, where feasible. Up to three survivors or caregivers share their story during a presentation, with time allowed at the end for an interactive Q&A session with the students.

What are the benefits?

The program provides a critical opportunity to teach future medical, nursing, and health professionals about the importance of detecting and diagnosing ovarian and other gynaecological cancers without delay. It provides valuable “real life” experiences to assist in developing communication skills in sensitive topics, and also highlights the importance of research and clinical trials to develop new treatments and improve outcomes for women diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer.

“What we learn through textbooks and lectures can never truly capture the essence of the illness experience and hearing from the women themselves provided great insight into how this disease affected their day-to-day life.

Each woman’s story was filled with learning points, whether it was the recognition of their symptoms, their relationship with their medical team or their experience with their treatment, which helped add to our limited knowledge.

The STS program enabled me to appreciate the nuances of every woman’s story and will continue to serve as a reminder that my patient is so much more complex than the half page note detailing their medical history.”

Shiva Sridhar, a medical student at Monash University

Hundreds of women across the world speak to medical, nursing and health professional students as volunteers with Survivors Teaching Students. Like them, you may find that sharing your story not only makes an impact on other women’s lives but is an incredibly rewarding experience for you.

“STS is an incredible program that benefits both the students and the speakers. The women and caregivers are given a public forum for catharsis, they form bonds and learn that although their own experience is unique, there are other women who understand. The process is empowering and fulfilling, giving a forum for our powerful message. We want the ovarian cancer message to spread and to stay with people.”

STS volunteer, QLD

“STS is much more than an education/awareness program for medical and nursing students. It is also a space where women and their families can feel like they are contributing to something bigger than themselves, where their experience of living with ovarian cancer can be put to good use. One health professional with a good understanding of ovarian cancer has the potential to benefit hundreds, if not thousands of ovarian cancer patients over the years of their career, both directly and by informing the practices within their workplaces.”

STS volunteer, NSW

How do I join the program?

We are always on the lookout for more dedicated volunteers to join the STS team.

Please fill in this form to express your interest in:

  • Becoming a Survivors Teaching Students volunteer
  • Introducing the Survivors Teaching Students program at your tertiary institution.
Expression of Interest Application

For further information about the program, please email ANZGOG Volunteer Coordinator, Aimhirgin Byrne at

Please check the Google Calendar for upcoming STS presentations and training sessions.

How is STS funded?

WomenCan fundraises to support ANZGOG’s research programs and education initiatives, including Survivors Teaching Students. Survivors Teaching Students receives partial funding through WomenCan Team Teal, an Australasian fundraising campaign conducted by the harness racing community held February – March every year.


The Survivors Teaching Students program is under license to ANZGOG from the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance in the USA.