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IDEA Program Enables Early Career International Oncologists to Experience ASCO Annual Meeting

Jun 29, 2010

June 2010: The ASCO Cancer Foundation®International Development and Education Award (IDEA) program has provided 21 non-U.S. oncologists with the opportunity to travel to the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting. Designed to improve global oncology care by supporting early-career oncologists practicing in countries with limited resources, the program provides a monetary award that covers expenses associated with attending the Meeting. It includes complimentary Meeting registration and admission to a ticketed Meeting session. Eligible recipients also receive 3 years of complimentary ASCO membership, which includes a subscription to the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO).

“The opportunity to represent my country and to make a difference in oncology is very exciting, and participating in the IDEA program will be the experience of a lifetime,” 2010 IDEA recipient Luiz Henrique de Lima Araújo, MD, said. “[It will] help me work to optimize cancer care in Brazil.”

2010 IDEA recipient Motasem Al-Hanaqta, MD, also expects to use the award experience to improve cancer care in his home country, Jordan. “I am hoping to get the maximum benefit possible from this award, and translate it into reality in my career to serve my beloved country and inspire my ambitious colleagues,” he said.

“I will have the opportunity to increase my professional knowledge and improve my community practice, to support the clinical trials system and the need for increased clinical and transnational research, and to exchange ideas with my colleagues in nationwide meetings,” said Vuong Duong, MD, a 2010 recipient from Vietnam.

“Treating patients with cancer requires more than good medical expertise; it requires good management and efficient operations as well. I hope to learn how multidisciplinary team members cooperate to provide the most effective treatment to patients in a leading cancer center,” said 2010 recipient Suthinee Ithimakin, MD, of Thailand. “This will be beneficial for me and Siriraj Hospital [Dr. Ithimakin’s institution] in improving the quality of our teams, our practice, and our infrastructure development.”

The program allows participants who practice or conduct research outside of the United States to expand their current knowledge and share their learning experiences from the Meeting with colleagues in their home countries. Since its inception in 2002, the program has enabled 161 medical professionals—representing 40 countries—to participate in the Meeting.

“This educational experience will allow me to share new insights and research results with my colleagues and to facilitate changes and improvements to the practices and research infrastructures in my home country. It will definitely broaden the horizon for Nepal,” 2010 IDEA recipient Ganesh Dangal, MBBS, MD, said.

Krishna Sagar Sharma, MD, MBBS, hopes to take knowledge from the ASCO Annual Meeting and use it to improve the care of pediatric patients in Nepal, particularly as mortality from infectious diseases is decreasing. “As an IDEA recipient, I hope I can introduce modern facilities to cure pediatric cancer,” Dr. Sharma said.

2010 recipient Senem Demirci , MD, intends to present scientific and educational information from the ASCO Annual Meeting to colleagues in Turkey.

Award recipients are paired with a mentor from a team of volunteer ASCO leaders. Mentors help enhance the Meeting experience for recipients and provide advice about career development. After the Meeting has ended, each recipient is given the opportunity to spend several days visiting his or her mentor’s institution. This educational experience allows recipients to share new insights and research results with their colleagues and to facilitate changes and improvements to the practices and research infrastructures in their home countries.

“I will be able to observe the treatment practices at a reputable oncology center so that I can have an idea of where we stand in India and realize what we need to improve back home,” said 2010 recipient Haresh Kunhiparambath, MBBS, MD, DNB.

“In special fields of interest, like mine in soft tissue and bone sarcoma, having a mentor who can provide advice in a difficult case can help my decision-making,” 2010 IDEA recipient Chanida Vinayanuwattikun, MD, of Thailand, said.

2010 IDEA recipient Mustafa S. El-Sherify, MD, an Egyptian radiation oncologist currently working in Kuwait, has a special interest in applying the principles of personalized medicine to cancer care in his country, an area which he hopes to explore further at the ASCO Annual Meeting. “I hope that I can find a way to apply worldwide recommendations to the patients who need expensive treatment in my country — specifically, who gets a major benefit from such treatment,” he said.

Beyond the formal education and mentoring components, the IDEA program provides a valuable opportunity for oncologists around the world to build relationships and share new ideas.

“Being in touch with oncologists and experts from different countries and subspecialties facing diverse problems makes it possible to share experiences. We could be able to recognize similar problems and together find better solutions,” 2010 recipient Clarissa Baldotto, MD, of Brazil, explained.

“There is a Chinese saying: Stones from other hills may serve to polish the jade of this one,” 2010 IDEA recipient Song Dong, PhD, of China. “Oncologists from different countries have special perspectives, and have the opportunity to find inspiration from each other.”

The application period for the 2011 IDEA program will open in September 2010. Visit www.ascocancerfoundation.org/idea for award criteria and application information. Questions can be sent by e-mail to idea@asco.org.

2010 International Development and Education Award Recipients

Motasem Al-Hanaqta, MD
King Hussein Medical Center, Royal Medical Services

Clarissa Baldotto, MD
Brazilian National Cancer Institute (INCA)

Yanin Chávarri Guerra, MD
National Institute of Medical Sciences & Nutrition Salvador Zubirán

Ganesh Dangal, MBBS, MD
Kathmandu Model Hospital

Luiz Henrique de Lima Araújo, MD
Brazilian National Cancer Institute (INCA)

Senem Demirci, MD
Ege University Faculty of Medicine

Song Dong, PhD
Guangdong Lung Cancer Institute, Guangdong General Hospital

Vuong Ngoc Duong, MD
Nuclear Medicine and Oncology Center, Bach Mai Hospital

Mustafa S. El-Sherify, MD
Kuwait Cancer Control Center

Nikhil Ghadyalpatil, MD, DM
Yashoda Hospital

Suthinee Ithimakin, MD
Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital

Mustapha Jamda, MBBS, MPH
University of Abuja, College of Health Sciences

Nehal Khanna, MD
Tata Memorial Hospital

Haresh Kunhiparambath, MBBS, MD, DNB
All India Institute of Medical Sciences

Iwona Lugowska, MD, PhD
Institute of Mother and Child

Ilya Pokataev, MD
Russian Cancer Research Center

Mudasiru Salami, MBBS, MRCS, FWACS
University College Hospital, Department of Surgery

Krishna Sagar Sharma, MD, MBBS
B.P. Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital

Amelia Szymanowska-Narloch, MD, PhD
Medical University of Gdansk

Chanida Vinayanuwattikun, MD
King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Department of Medicine

Xin-Rong Yang, MD, PhD
Zhongshan Hospital of Fudan University, Liver Cancer Institute

A version of this article appeared in 2010 ASCO Daily News.

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