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Springtime Brings New Opportunities for Engaging the Global Cancer Research Community

, by CGH Staff

Spring has sprung at CGH, and the Center has been busy participating in a variety of global health activities. Last month, CGH and the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center co-sponsored the 7th Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research: Translation & Implementation for Impact in Global Cancer Research, a satellite meeting held in conjunction with the 10th Annual Consortium of University on Global Health (CUGH), which focused on current opportunities and facilitating discussions on future directions.

At the 7th Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research: Translation & Implementation for Impact in Global Cancer Research, Sudha Sivaram gives a presentation on Global Research Training Grants at NIH.

The symposium kicked off with a pre-Satellite Breakfast & Workshop for new global cancer investigators facilitated by CGH’s Dr. Sudha Sivaram, ushering in a day of interactive presentations and discussions. The workshop outlined funding opportunities available at NCI across the career spectrum from pre- to post-doctoral and early career levels. Session participants noted the value of these opportunities and emphasized more support for research training in global settings for U.S. citizens as well as non-U.S. citizens who study and work at U.S. institutions. Emphasis was placed on training researchers in LMICs so that U.S.-LMIC research collaborations can be strengthened. The parallels between global and U.S. cancer disparities were highlighted, and there was consensus that global cancer research training can equip U.S. scientists with the tools to address these disparities everywhere. The robust conversations among participants made it clear this topic is one that many would welcome continuing at the 2020 symposium.

The Annual Symposium featured opening remarks by Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade, Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor; Director, Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics; and Associate Dean, Global Health at The University of Chicago, and a very special keynote speaker Dr. Patricia García, Former Health Minister, Peru and Professor, School of Public Health at Cayetano Heredia University. The sessions offered a range of topics, from implementation of cancer control activities to palliative care and cancer disparities. Of particular interest to many was the Social Determinants of Health session, which delved into the factors that impact health care delivery and access to health care. The plenary on Healthcare of Refugees: A Worldwide Crisis was another engaging session that emphasized smart investments for allocating resources and helping refugees integrate into existing national health programs.

CGH’s Lead Public Health Analyst, Kalina Duncan, and Cancer Research Training Award Fellow, Vicent Butera, share their experience at CUGH and the Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research:

Kalina Duncan presents results from the 2018 NCI/ASCO Global Oncology Survey of NCI-Designated Cancer Centers. 

“I was pleased to have this opportunity to present a survey CGH conducted in partnership with ASCO’s Academic Global Oncology Task Force, with NCI Designated Cancer Centers (NDCCs), to learn more about their non-NIH-funded Global Oncology research and training projects and programs. This survey augments the already existing NCI research portfolio on funded research with international collaborators and paints a picture of investment in global oncology from the majority of NCI-Designated Cancer Centers. The aims of the research are to: 1) describe, in a centralized resource, the non-NIH-funded global oncology activities led by NDCCs; 2) identify areas where NDCCs are working in order to promote research partnerships and coordination, as well as potential areas for increased collaboration; and 3) use the results to convene and coordinate NDCCs around global oncology opportunities and activities. CGH is excited for the release of this report, expected in early Summer 2019.” - Kalina Duncan

“This was my first time attending, and I found it quite enlightening in several ways. Given that I didn’t have to give a presentation, I spent my time attending sessions I found were of particular interest to me at both the Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research and CUGH. In the preceding three days of the conference, I attended several lectures and greatly enjoyed the poster presentation talks, keynote speakers, and different networking opportunities that were available throughout the conference. My overall experience was excellent, and I would highly recommend that, when possible, all fellows are given an opportunity to attend CUGH and future Symposiums on Global Cancer Research.” - Vicent Butera

CGH wrapped up March with an AACR sponsored panel session titled: NCI Supported Point-of-Care Technology Research for Global Oncology: Driving cutting-edge technological advances while opening new possibilities for patient care globally and in domestic cancer health disparities populations. The panel featured translational, commercially-driven, state-of-the-art technology research supported by NCI that have a potential to revolutionize cancer control in low-resource settings globally. Dr. Lisa Stevens, CGH Deputy Director, chaired the session as speakers Drs. Paul C. Pearlman (CGH); Nimmi Ramanujam, (Duke University); Marc Porter (University of Utah); Cesar Castro (Harvard Medical School); and Ms. Sonia Parra (Rice University) highlighted domestic applications, stressing potential dividends in addressing domestic cancer health disparities targets.

Engaging with the global cancer community is an essential step in advancing science and elevating future cancer researchers, and CGH is looking forward to many exciting, new activities to continue doing so in the months ahead.

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