CGH Spotlight Blog
This blog features content and images to showcase the great work from the Center for Global Health.
Addressing global challenges such as cancer control requires partnerships and diplomacy. Following that vision, Ambassador of Peru to the United States, Luis Miguel Castilla, visited the Center for Global Health (CGH) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) a year ago with the objective of strengthening collaboration between US NCI and the Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Neoplasicas (INEN) of Peru and Ministry of Health of Peru. As part of this partnership, Ambassador Castilla convened a Roundtable dinner at the Peru Embassy to discuss “The need for creating and implementing comprehensive cancer control plans in the Latin America region” on April 5th. The aim of the Roundtable meeting was to discuss and determine how the Latin American Embassies in Washington DC working together with NCI could contribute to current efforts in cancer prevention and control in the region. Representatives of six Latin American countries attended the Roundtable hosted by the Peru Ambassador including the Ambassadors of Argentina, Mexico, and Chile, and Deputy Chief of Mission from Embassies of Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay. The group discussed ways of achieving more structured interactions between CGH and the Embassies’ staff and the role of Embassies as key facilitators of scientific and health cooperation. The importance of engaging partners from all sectors from government, civil society, academia to private sector in all aspects of cancer control planning and implementation was highlighted throughout the conversations. Leveraging the expats scientific community living in the US as a strategy to strengthen relations between countries was also mentioned. All of the roundtable’s participants agreed on the fact that science and health cooperation is a key tool to strengthen relationships among countries. This event builds on NCI's ongoing work to support country efforts to tackle cancer burden in the Latin America region such as the “Latin America Cancer Control Leadership Forum” that was held in Mexico on September 2015. The overall goal of the forum is to increase the capacity of countries to initiate or enhance cancer control planning and implementation through a multi-sectoral, evidence-based and regional approach.
One of the objectives of The Global Strategy of our Department of Health and Human Services is to advance health diplomacy. The increasing interconnectedness of our world requires that we at CGH, NCI engage in science diplomacy to fulfill our mission. Latin American countries and the US are coming together around a common interest through scientific collaboration: This collaborative regional approach around cancer control in the Americas is an important step towards the goal of improving cancer outcomes in the region.
Tata Memorial Center (TMC) is among India’s leading institutions for cancer research and treatment.
Since the NCI Center for Global Health (CGH) was established in 2011, it has partnered with TMC in several activities. These include workshops in clinical trials research design, training in molecular epidemiology and biostatistics, a workshop in scientific communication, and training of journalists on cancer research in the media. CGH has also provided support to scientists from TMC to visit NCI and work with NCI intramural scientists on data analysis and manuscript preparation. Further, NCI CGH works closely with the Center for Epidemiology at TMC to plan and coordinate activities related to epidemiological research in India, as well as partner in activities involving cancer registries. These partnerships are a valuable opportunity for NCI and TMC to leverage their respective expertise and research planning ideas for the benefit of cancer control in India.
We celebrate World Cancer Day every year on February 4th. This year the theme “We can. I can.” invites us to think not only about how we can work with one another to reduce the global burden of cancer, but how we as individuals can make a difference. Every day the staff at CGH work to establish and build upon programs that are aimed at improving the lives of people affected by cancer.
CGH works in tandem with partners from around the globe to advance cancer research, strengthen cancer control efforts, and build capacity through training. It is the staff, however, who has dedicated long hours and extraordinarily hard work that has brought about CGH’s success in these programs. Today we celebrate World Cancer Day with a handful of commemorative Events, but it is important that we keep the up the momentum and recognize that We Can make World Cancer Day every day.
Cervical cancer, the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, is the leading cause of cancer mortality among women aged 15-44, in the Republic of Botswana. In 2012, the incidence of cervical cancer in Botswana was 29.0 cases of every 100,000 women, with a mortality rate of 23.1 of every 100,000 women.
As a catalyst for reducing the global cancer burden through coordination, collaboration, and communication with a diverse range of international stakeholders, National Cancer Institute’s Center for Global Health supports global activities to advance global cancer research, build expertise, and leverage resources across nations to address the challenges of cancer and reduce cancer deaths worldwide. Towards these aims, NCI has partnered with Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, a global organization founded on public-private partnerships dedicated to saving women’s lives by advancing prevention, screening, and treatment for breast and cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
I recently had the pleasure of returning to Vietnam for a little over a week. The focus of this trip was my attendance and presentation at the 9th US-Vietnam Joint Committee Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation (JCM), held in Ho Chi Minh City by the Ministry of Science and Technology, and at a national cancer stakeholder meeting in Hanoi, held by the Ministry of Health. I also had the pleasure of reconnecting with several dear colleagues, and planning future collaborations at side meetings in both cities.
At the JCM I participated on the Health Working Group, representing the US National Cancer Institute (NCI). The discussion was vigorous and the Vietnamese delegation was very much interested and invested in each of the topics we raised. The meeting presented us with high-level buy-in for upcoming programs and meetings. I gave two brief talks - one on cancer control/research and another on tobacco. Other presenters discussed collaboration on the Global Health Security Agenda, non-communicable diseases writ large, coastal medicine, and global health diplomacy.
If a tree falls in the woods and no hears it, did it really happen? Rather, in India, if a peacock spreads its feathers and no one is around to see it, is its beauty lost on the world? These colloquial sayings deeply resonate with participants of NCI’s most recent Cancer Research in the Media: International Workshop for Scientific Journalism (CRiM), held last month in India. A partnership of the NCI Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL) and NCI Center for Global Health (CGH), CRiM is designed to educate reporters on accurate interpretation and reporting of scientific research. In response to needs and challenges raised by research organizations and journalists from select countries, CRiM bridges the gap between the scientific community and the public through educational workshops aimed at improving evidence-based scientific journalism.
In mid-October, CGH and OCPL hosted CRiM workshops in New Delhi and Mumbai, India, in collaboration with the Institute of Cytology and Prevention Oncology and the Public Health Foundation of India, and Tata Memorial Centre, respectively. CRiM convened journalists from a variety of media outlets in these regions, including the Hindustan Times; the Times of India; and the Indian Science Journal, with experts in air pollution, cervical cancer and HPV, clinical trials, and tobacco control. The workshops offered a unique, two-day opportunity for journalists and researchers to engage in discussions on barriers to effectively and accurately communicating health and scientific information to the public, and solutions for breaking down those barriers.
After nearly a year of effort, NIH and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE/EMBS) hosted the third iteration of the Healthcare Innovations and Point-of-Care Technologies Conference last week. IEEE is the world’s largest engineering professional association. Likewise, EMBS is the world’s largest international society of biomedical engineers.
More than 200 experts, across all sectors with a stake in the development and translation of point-of-care technologies in not only high-income countries, but also low- and middle-income countries, came together to share progress and discuss challenges in the field. A special technical session covering advances in detection, diagnosis, and treatment technologies for cervical cancer was included and featured:
More and more we see the complicated nature of cancer in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) made even more complex as it intertwines with other non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as heart disease. As the Center for Global Health (CGH) embarks on its fifth year, the need to address cancer as one piece in a puzzle of diseases is becoming increasingly apparent. To meet this challenge, CGH is developing new programs that look at cancer research, diagnosis, treatment, and control through the lens of NCDs.
Dr. Mahendra Naidoo, Fulbright Scholar with Johns Hopkins University, brings to CGH new approaches for public health – a cornerstone for research in NCDs. Born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, and formally trained in New Zealand and Australia with additional medical student training in the United States, thinking globally comes naturally to Mahendra. His talent for bringing innovation to LMIC communities comes from an unrelenting desire to continually improve on public health practices. His entrepreneurial spirit has led him to team with like-minded classmates to design and produce low-cost medical devices for LMIC markets. Mahendra continues to expand his reach, recently joining the U.S./New Zealand Working Group as part of the 2-year bilateral research program that contributes to high-level strategic discussions on non-communicable diseases.
In different ways, we all feel the growing burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). We have family members with cancer or heart disease; we ourselves may have diabetes or allergies. The World Health Organization tells us that NCDs kill 38M people a year and ¾ (28M) of those deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). As researchers, we feel compelled to address the NCD burden in places that need it the most - LMICs.
To assist researchers in embarking on this research, the NCI is launching the Regional Centers of Research Excellence (RCRE) program. It is our vision that this grant program will be launched in three phases: plan, build, and use. An RFA for P20 Planning Grants was released last week. The purpose of these two-year, $400K direct cost P20 planning grants is to facilitate the planning and design of RCREs for NCDs, including cancer, in LMICs.
The Office for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and the NCI’s Center for Global Health held a workshop entitled “Improving Chronic Disease in the Caribbean through Evidence-based Behavioral and Social Interventions”, which took place in Bridgetown, Barbados from July 21 to 24, 2015. The objectives of the workshop were to encourage the generation of research to more rapidly accelerate chronic disease prevention and management Additional objectives included bridging existing gaps in chronic disease etiology, prevention, screening, treatment, and health disparities in relation to race, socioeconomic status, religious background, and gender inequality. Other participating NIH ICs included National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Fogarty International Center and the Center for Scientific Review. Regional Caribbean partners included the Chronic Disease Research Centre (CDRC) of the University of West Indies at Cave Hill and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. John Boyce delivered a dynamic keynote in which he revealed plans for Barbados to tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Workshop program included presentations on US-Caribbean Health Disparities (Dr. Ian Hambleton, CDRC); Chronic Disease Surveillance in the Caribbean (Ms. Angela Rose, CDRC); Surveillance of NCDs in the Caribbean with Implications for CARICOM countries (Glennis Andall-Brereton, CARPHA); Cancer Control and Prevention in the Caribbean (Dr. Damali Martin, NCI); Community Engagement of Culturally Tailored Interventions (Ms. Dana Sampson, OBSSR); and Translation Research and Implementation Science for Chronic Disease Advancement (Uche Sampson, NHLBI). Additional sessions included a panel discussion on proper collection of data for epidemiology research, and break-out sessions on cervical cancer, physical activity, alcohol abuse and tobacco us, diet and nutrition, health literacy, treatment adherence, complementary medicine, diabetes and hypertension. Further presentations on US-Caribbean collaboration for cancer and diabetes research and on the NIH grant process were also covered on the second and third days of the workshop.