draft letter contributing members


RE: Open Educational Resources for Cancer (OERC)


It is a pleasure to invite your participation as a partner in a new educational initiative to address the crisis of rapidly growing rates of cancer in the developing world. The latest WHO report on Cancer estimates that global cancer rates could increase by 50% to 15 million by 2020 with a large proportion in countries with limited resources. Many such countries lack the human and material capacity within their hospitals and medical institutions to address this very critical challenge. Cancer control initiatives and available care remain quite limited in the developing world. OERC, an affiliate of The International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research (INCTR), has begun to address this global challenge by providing open web-based access to cancer educational materials contributed by leading cancer organizations, institutes and universities.

In May, 2007, INCTR, the iBarthi Foundation, Capital Technolgy and Information Systems (CTIS), National Cancer Institute and several universities first developed the concept of Open Education Resources for Cancer (OERC). Subsequent meetings with representatives of the Hewlett Foundation were followed up with a June 2008 Steering Committee meeting at ASCO in Chicago which was attended by principals of INCTR, NCI, iBharti Foundation, of ESMO, CaBIG, and other organizations. This meeting affirmed the need for and value of the establishment of an open web-based repository of oncology educational materials, freely available to medical educators and trainees in developing countries and elsewhere.

The purpose of OERC is to create and make available at no cost to the user a central access point for knowledge sharing in the realm of education for cancer control, diagnosis, treatment, care and prevention. This is directed at education of medical and nursing students, trainees, graduate physicians and nurses, as well as care givers and patients. This repository of educational materials would include lectures on Powerpoints and videos, cancer training curricula, clinical and translational research information to be gathered from contributing member universities, cancer centers, and research institutions. This expanded knowledge base is intended to increase the capacity for education of physicians and nurses in medical institutions hard pressed for resources to meet the challenges of cancer control and treatment of cancer patients even in the remote sites in the developing world.

In the first phase of this project, MERLOT, (Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and On-Line Teaching of the California State University System) will host an online repository of donor contributed, categorized cancer learning materials (clinical guides, courses, research summaries, etc.). Contributing partners and their organizations will maintain ownership of the submitted educational material. The MERLOT submission guidelines are attached and the Creative Commons policy will guide concerns about intellectual property.

The following attachments are provided to guide you in joining and contributing to this project:
1. Project concept summary
2. Creative Commons Policy on intellectual property(link?……)
3. Signature agreement form
4. Instructions for submitting educational materials to MERLOT(link to MERLOT)

You and your organization are invited to join this project. For more information please contact ___ at (web address). Your participation is essential and will contribute greatly to achievement of the educational goals of OERC.



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