CGH Spotlight Blog
This blog features content and images to showcase the great work from the Center for Global Health.
Born in Iran, raised in the United Arab Emirates, and educated in Boston, I have experienced very diverse cultures and global settings. I am grateful for the opportunity provided by Center for Global Health at the National Cancer Institute to explore ways to expand cancer research globally, particularly in the broader Middle East.
During my stay at NCI I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a variety of experts, including Dr. Marie Ricciardone who works with a network of partners in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. I recently asked her to draw on her experiences in the region for advice about the challenges and opportunities ahead as I advance my own career as a researcher in the MENA region.
This week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is observing the 17th annual National Women’s Health Week. The goal of the National Women's Health Week is to empower women to make their health a priority. The week also serves as a time to help women understand what steps they can take to improve their health. The 17th annual National Women’s Health Week kicked off on Mother’s Day, May 8, and is celebrated through May 14, 2016.
In celebration, the NCI Center for Global Health held a seminar on the Knowledge Summaries for Comprehensive Breast Cancer Control: Pathways for Advanced Cancer Planning. The seminar was presented by Dr. Andre M. Ilbawi, the medical officer for Cancer Control, at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, and Dr. Jo Anne Zujewski, Senior Advisor for Women’s Cancers, Center for Global Health, NCI.
Take Your Child to Work Day had all of CGH saying “Healthy Kids; Healthy World!" CGH staff and K-5th grade students learned about healthy choices, linked together get well wishes, and even got in some hands-on time working around the globe.
On April 28th CGH joined several NCI offices at the Shady Grove campus to celebrate Take Your Child to Work Day 2016. Volunteers hosted three activity stations, each offering creative fun with a message: With healthy kids, we can create a healthier world.
With another passing year, we can celebrate yet another successful Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research. The event was developed with a special focus on innovative and low-cost technologies in global cancer control, and brought inspiring keynote speakers such as John Seffrin, Former CEO of the American Cancer Society, and Tom Bollyky, Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations. John Seffrin shared insights on what it will take to bring cancer under control this century. Specifically, he highlighting the need for continued resources, collaboration and policy change to facilitate improved access to cancer care, effective prevention strategies, and conduct innovative research. Tom Bollyky carried this discussion forward by presenting poignant data on the growing burden of cancer globally, and made a strong case to increase investments in cancer control, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
The two panels that followed these keynotes highlighted the role of technology and data in improving cancer care all along the continuum of cancer care: from prevention, screening, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, through palliative care. Our panelists shared their successes and challenges of serving and researching in low-resource settings, discussed the role of molecular diagnostics, and reflected on effective therapies and approaches in cancer care. The poster session included demonstrations of low-cost technologies and innovations, highlighting the potential of innovative thinking, user-friendly designs, and technologies to save lives, even in low-resource settings. In the afternoon, we heard from four dedicated low- and middle-income country researchers who are actively conducting cancer control research in Myanmar, Tanzania, Guatemala, and Malawi.
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.