NCI's CIS will join the International Cancer Information Service Group (ICISG) and International Union Against Cancer (UICC) to host a full-day workshop this summer to help other nations, including some developing countries, learn "How to Start a CIS."
The workshop will take place July 8, a day before UICC's World Cancer Congress 2006 meeting starts in Washington, D.C. Ten years ago at UICC's annual meeting in Australia, NCI and leaders from several other nations formed ICISG to foster development of high-quality cancer information services and resources on all aspects of cancer for those concerned with or affected by cancer throughout the world. In addition to the pre-Congress workshop, ICISG is also contributing to several workshops and a plenary session on CIS programs at UICC's July meeting.
ICISG has grown exponentially over the past decade and now comprises 44 member organizations and 30 countries, which includes several developing nations - such as Bangladesh, India, and South Africa - which are all striving, with ICISG's assistance, to develop full-fledged CIS programs to help their citizens.
"I want to thank the leadership of UICC, which has been very supportive of ICISG in this important endeavor," said Mary Anne Bright, director of NCI's CIS. ICISG and UICC signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize the partnership toward the goal of establishing CIS programs worldwide, she explained.
At the upcoming workshop, ICISG will bring in 25 representatives from various countries, including some with scholarship assistance from UICC, who are interested in starting a CIS or enhancing an existing program. Topics to be covered include a basic needs assessment, scope of services, strategic plan, staffing, and financing a CIS. ICISG is also developing a comprehensive toolbox for workshop participants that provides examples of training plans, phone call record forms, data collection tools, training modules, and other items to get a CIS up and running. After the workshop, ICISG faculty will be available for individual consultations to provide technical assistance to the workshop participants. The toolbox will also be available on ICISG's Web site.
"Involvement of NCI's CIS with ICISG and UICC is part of our commitment, along with all other NCI divisions and offices, to help address the global burden of cancer," Ms. Bright noted. At 30 years old, NCI's CIS was the first cancer information program developed in the world, she added. "We remain unique - as part of an internationally preeminent cancer research institute - in our experience and knowledge about successfully communicating with cancer patients, health professionals, and others with a keen interest in cancer."
Over the years, NCI's CIS worked directly with a number of nations to share its expertise and resources to help them start successful CIS programs, Ms. Bright pointed out. Most recently, under an agreement signed by NIH and the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, the Italian NIH, NCI's CIS and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) have partnered with the Italian CIS to cosponsor a series of three workshops on the role of CIS programs in emerging issues, such as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), clinical trials, and cancer survivorship.
The first full-day workshop in Rome last December focused on increasing awareness about the use of CAM by cancer patients. "Afterwards, we authorized the Italian CIS to translate and distribute a patient brochure on CAM developed by NCI and NCCAM," Ms. Bright said. In addition, the Italian CIS has developed Italian translations of the "What You Need to Know…" series of booklets from NCI's CIS.
"The mission of NCI's CIS is to educate people about cancer prevention, risk factors, early detection, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and research and is an essential part of NCI's cancer prevention and control efforts at home and abroad," Ms. Bright commented.
By Bill Robinson