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Early this month, I was warmly received by Ambassador Ted Osius and Chargé d'Affaires Claire Pierangelo, Deputy Chief of Mission, at the US Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam as an Embassy Science Fellow (ESF) hosted by the Economics Section. The United States is currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of US-Vietnamese relations, with science, technology, and health cooperation highlighted as key elements of this celebration.
The Introduction to Cancer Program Planning and Implementation Research Workshop, co-organized by the National Cancer Institute, Center for Global Health (CGH), in collaboration with the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), and Instituto Nacional del Cancer (INC) of Argentina, was held in Buenos Aires, November 5 - 7, 2014. I was pleased to participate with DCCPS’s Dr. Cindy Vinson, in collaboration with Dr. Maria Viniegra from INC Argentina, in the development of the program and selection of international speakers. This Workshop was organized in the context of a memorandum of understanding signed by the INC Argentina and the US NCI to collaborate in common areas of interest. Implementation and dissemination research is one of the priorities areas identified by INC Argentina as it is essential to study the process of how to move research into practice to improve cancer screening, prevention and the continuum of care.
Research on implementation science addresses the level to which health interventions can fit within real-world public health and clinical service systems. The overall goal of the Introduction to Cancer Program Planning and Implementation Research Workshop was to train a critical mass of researchers, program managers, practitioners, and policy makers that can apply the knowledge gained on implementation and dissemination research to promote evidence-based interventions to reduce the cancer burden in the country and globally. Some of the specific objectives were to provide an overview of introductory concepts on implementation and dissemination research and cancer control planning and to encourage interdisciplinary networking among the participants and faculty. A thoroughly-developed and interactive program agenda that included lectures, case studies and group exercises, along with outstanding faculty from US institutions, Brazil and Argentina, and a highly engaged and selected group of attendees, were some of the key aspects for making this Workshop a highly successful event. CGH supported the travel of five trainees from institutions that are part of the Red de Institutos Nacionales de Cancer (RINC) in Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador with the long-term goal of moving forward implementation research and cancer control planning in those countries.
The INC Argentina is committed to make implementation research a priority in the country. Some of the plans include a specific call for applications for grants and research fellowships on implementation research and an assessment of the workshop impact by following-up with the attendees to assess workshop impact on their program work or research career.
Stimulating and strengthening cancer research networks and fostering sustainable research capacity through collaboration are goals of the Center for Global Health (CGH) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The United States – Latin America Cancer Research Network (US-LA CRN) convened its Annual Meeting, in coordination with the Ministry of Health of Chile, in Santiago, Chile this November, bringing together investigators from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and the United States to discuss the Network’s first multilateral clinical research study: Molecular Profiling of Breast Cancer (MPBC). The US-LA CRN has utilized a transdisciplinary and collaborative team science approach throughout the planning and implementation phases of the MPBC to achieve the study objectives of building clinical cancer research capacity in the region while increasing our understanding of breast cancer molecular subtypes in Latin American women.
Dr. Tom Gross, Deputy Director for Science, CGH and I led discussions on the interim analysis of data from more than 1,300 breast cancer patients, across 25 hospitals in Latin America, recruited since 2011. Short-term plans resulting from this meeting include, among others, the publication of a series of manuscripts describing the clinical cancer research network model, analysis and publication of the data collected to date for the MPBC study, and the planning of correlative studies. In addition, groundwork for the development of a second US-LA CRN study, focused on gastric cancer, was discussed.
Science is expanding at breakthrough speeds, and we are learning more and more about the disproportionate effects of cancer on different races and ethnicities. This is no different when it comes to prostate cancer. In the US, African-American men have the highest risk of developing prostate cancer. They are twice and five times as likely to die from the disease as Caucasians and Asian-Americans, respectively. Similar observations were made among African descent populations in the Caribbean, South America and the United Kingdom. In Africa, prostate cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer, with men from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) experiencing the highest rates of prostate cancer mortality in the world. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has projected an alarming 101% increase in the mortality rate for this disease in SSA over the next two decades.
To highlighted the importance of addressing prostate cancer in Black men, while building collaborations between scientists and advocates, the 3rd Biennial Science of Global Prostate Cancer Disparities in Black Men Conference was organized by three international NCI-supported cancer epidemiology consortia, namely the Trans-Atlantic Cancer Consortium, the African Caribbean Cancer Consortium and the Men of African Descent and Carcinoma of the Prostate Consortium, in Montego Bay, Jamaica on November 5th - 8th, 2014. The goal of this conference was to develop and maintain a global community of practice that will continue to address common challenges in eliminating prostate cancer disparities worldwide. Jamaica was chosen as the conference location due to the high burden of prostate cancer in this country.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Conference on Smoking or Health in Mumbai, India released the first-ever report on the global use and public health impact of smokeless tobacco: Smokeless Tobacco and Public Health: A Global Perspective.