CEO Update March 2019

Society News & Updates from Mary Eiken, IGCS CEO

March 2019

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Grants $12 million for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa

It has recently been announced that USAID, in partnership with the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, will provide $12 million to fund two large projects to reduce cervical cancer in Malawi and Mozambique from March 2019 – September 2021.

One of the projects receiving $5.1 million is a consortium between The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo (Mozambique) to integrate existing screening and treatment technologies with voluntary family planning programs, while testing the feasibility and efficacy of innovative diagnostic tests for HPV. Kathleen Schmeler, MD is the PI for the grant.

While the project is multifaceted, IGCS is a partner organization as Maputo Central Hospital in Mozambique is one of the first training sites enrolled in the IGCS Global Curriculum and Mentorship Program. Currently with three fellows in their second year of training, Kathleen serves as one of the IGCS international mentors for the program along with five gynecologic oncologists from Brazil (Georgia Fontes-Cintra, André Lopes, Renato Moretti, Mila Salcedo, Marcelo Viera). The international mentors travel to Mozambique multiple times per year to provide hands-on surgical training. Patients diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer as part of this grant will be able to access gynecologic oncology care thanks to the IGCS program in Mozambique.

We are thrilled for the IGCS to serve as a partner in this USAID/NASEM funded work to reduce the global burden of cervical cancer.

Revised FIGO Staging for Carcinoma of the Cervix Uteri

FIGO has recently published revised staging of carcinoma of the cervix uteri, allowing incorporation of imaging and/or pathological findings, and clinical assessment of tumor size and disease. Care was taken to ensure staging is applicable to all resource areas. You will recall, IGCS reached out to many of our members and strategic alliance partners for feedback and input. Subsequently, IGCS was represented at a meeting hosted by FIGO. We are pleased with the updated guidelines and glad for the opportunity to represent our global membership. We look forward to providing feedback in upcoming FIGO projects including revisions to vulvar and endometrial cancer staging guidelines.

World Health Organization Initiative for the Elimination of Cervical Cancer

IGCS continues to work with the World Health Organization to collaborate in response to a call to action made by the Director-General, Dr. Tedros, in May 2018 for the Elimination of Cervical Cancer. Seven Working Groups have been formed under the WHO-led Secretariat to accelerate work on the various elements of this initiative with IGCS remaining very involved.  Please see the IGCS statement committing our support of the WHO Initiative for the Elimination of Cervical Cancer, which has been endorsed by IGCS’s Strategic Alliance Partner organizations.

2019 Shingo Fujii Young Doctors Summit Travel Grant

Following the legacy of Dr. Shingo Fujii, IGCS will again provide funding to IGCS Members from low and lower-middle income countries to offset travel costs to attend the IGCS Global Meeting in Rio de Janeiro. Applications are currently being accepted through March 27, 2019.

At the Annual Global Meeting in Rio 2019, early career professionals and those selected to be Shingo Fujii Young Doctors Summit Grant Recipients are invited to attend one of two sessions listed below on Thursday, September 19th. A special reception for young doctors will be held that evening to allow early career professionals an opportunity to network and socialize.

  • Learning from the Experts: IGCS 2019 Surgical Course
  • Clinical Application of Molecular Genetics to the Classification and Staging of Endometrial Cancer: A Multidisciplinary and Interactive Course

New Content in the IGCS Education Portal

Over 80 recorded presentations from IGCS Kyoto 2018 are currently being added to the online Education Library. Members have continual access to presentations going back as far as 2014 sorted by topic.

Recently added is access to over 1,200 surgical videos now available to IGCS members through our partnership with AAGL in their online platform, SurgeryU. Our education team will be adding videos to SurgeryU on a special IGCS channel over the course of the coming weeks.

Submit your Abstract for IGCS 2019 by April 1st

Original abstracts are an important part of the IGCS program and a significant contribution to the success of our meeting. When you share your work at the IGCS Annual Global Meeting, your research is exposed to the largest gathered international audience of specialists dedicated to women’s cancer care.

Please review the abstract topics and submit your work by April 1st for consideration by the Scientific Program Committee. They have added many new additional oral opportunities for presentation at the meeting this year.

Welcome, Thailand!

Thai Gynecologic Cancer Society (TGCS) joins the IGCS Strategic Alliance Partnership

As we come to the end of 2017, please join me in welcoming the Thai Gynecologic Cancer Society (TGCS) as a new Strategic Alliance Partner of the IGCS.

The Thai Gynecological Cancer Society was founded with the mission, “To Better the Health of Thai Women with Reproductive Cancer.” Their focus on patient care, education and disseminating information to their members and to the public is perfectly aligned with the IGCS mission.

Thailand is a Southeast Asian country, located at the center of the Indochinese peninsula. Thailand is the world’s 50th-largest country. It is the 20th-most-populous country in the world, with about 69 million people. TGCS is in Thailand’s capitol, Bangkok.

Dr. Michael Quinn said that “the leadership and strategic thinking of Professor Sarikapan Wilailak, President of the TGCS, and the other leaders in the Society is truly what made this happen.” He continued that “Thailand has been a long-standing partner and friend to IGCS going as far back as 2008 when IGCS was fortunate to have our biennial meeting in the beautiful city of Bangkok. It is truly an honor and privilege to welcome Thailand, and we look forward to engaging with them to help fulfill their strategic goals in the coming years.”

We are excited about the many opportunities provided with our new partnership with Thailand.

I wish each of you a happy and healthy New Year. We look forward to the opportunities and relationships 2018 will bring as we continue working to unite the globe in the fight against gynecologic cancers.

Sincerely,

Mary Eiken, RN, MS
IGCS CEO

Welcome, PARSGO!

IGCS Welcomes the Pan-Arabian Research Society of Gynecological Oncology as a Strategic Alliance Partner

The Pan-Arabian Research Society of Gynecological Oncology (PARSGO) is the newest IGCS Strategic Alliance Partner. PARSGO includes sixty-one members with a professional interest in the prevention, treatment, and research of gynecological cancers from centers across the Arab world. We were fortunate to have a signing ceremony immediately following the IGCS Council meeting in Vienna, Austria, where a portion of the IGCS Council was present for the occasion.

This is the first Strategic Alliance Partnership that includes a multi-country membership in areas where IGCS has typically had a low penetration. PARSGO members are from centers within the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Oman, UAE, Palestine, Qatar, Yemen, Saudi, Egypt, Iraq, Djibouti, Somalia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya and Comoro Islands. Members also include gynecologic oncology professionals of Arabic heritage who practice in other parts of the world but are committed to the PARSGO mission.

PARSGO was established only a year ago on Oct. 30, 2016. As a new society, IGCS is looking forward to assisting PARSGO with their primary goals. As a non-political and not-for-profit association, PARSGO’s mission is to promote the health and well-being of women with gynecological cancers, to promote and facilitate collaborative research and to achieve high standards of professional care in gynecologic oncology.

Gynecologic Oncology research is a priority for PARSGO in the areas of healthcare services, prevention, early detection and screening, diagnosis, management and cancer care. Aligning PARSGO’s research focused mission with IGCS education and training will be a benefit for members along with the potential to publish their work in the International Journal of Gynecologic Cancer (IJGC). PARSGO will benefit from access to our online education portal, a web page specific to the PARSGO group, admin and meeting support, and a network to allow an exchange of ideas and communicating the benefits of membership to the PARSGO clinicians.

This partnership was cultivated through meaningful conversation with Prof. Dr. med. Jalid Sehouli, President of PARSGO and Director, Department of Gynecology with Center for Oncological Surgery, Head, European Competence Center for Ovarian Cancer, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Virchow-Klinikum and Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin (Germany). Prof. Sehouli says, “At PARSGO we are proud of our partnership with IGCS. Together, through research and education we will make a bigger impact on healthcare for women with gynecological cancers in the Arab world. We are confident that this partnership will allow us to grow and create dialogue on a truly global level”.

We owe an enormous thank you to Dr. Sara Nasser, Executive Officer of PARSGO and Gynecologic Oncologist, Imperial College NHS Truts, London (UK) Charité Comprehensive Cancer Center, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin (Germany), and Dr. Nadeem Abu-Rustum, a long standing leader at IGCS and Chief, Gynecology Service; Vice Chair for Technology Development, Department of Surgery; Avon Chair in Gynecologic Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, for providing seamless facilitation to foster this partnership.

PARSGO will host their first International Focus Workshop on Ovarian and Cervical Cancer on April 6-7, 2018 in Marrakech, Morocco.

Please join me in congratulating PARSGO on the formation of what will be a very impactful organization and for joining forces with the IGCS. Together we can continue to improve the care for women in the Pan-Arabic region.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Eiken, RN, MS
IGCS CEO

Welcome, Kazakhstan!

IGCS Welcomes the Association of Oncologists of the Republic of Kazakhstan as a Strategic Alliance Partner

It has been such a pleasure over the last year to continue to meet and engage with IGCS members all over the globe. I recently had the honor of traveling to Central Asia to learn more about this beautiful region, the incidence of gynecologic oncology and the opportunity to get to know the wonderful people who live there and their strong affinity to IGCS.

Under the leadership of Dilyara Kaidarova MD, PhD, Director of the Kazakh Institute of Oncology and Radiology, Almaty, Kazakhstan a meeting was held with representatives from Russia, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Center for Global Health, National Cancer Institute. At the meeting each of the centers within the region provided an overview of the population. They presented the burden of disease along with their top challenges, barriers to provide optimum care, and ways they feel collaborations with IGCS would be beneficial.

I am pleased to say at the conclusion of the meeting the Association of Oncologists of the Republic of Kazakhstan signed our Strategic Alliance Partnership agreement. Kazakhstan is a country that while very progressive in the care and treatment of gynecologic cancers is not without its challenges. However, I am confident through our partnership we will together continue to improve the lives of women afflicted with gynecologic cancers. In the true spirit of collaboration Dr. Kaidarova said, “we are very excited about our partnership and the commitment of IGCS to advance the care we provide in Kazakhstan and beyond our region. It would be my goal to include others in the region who align with our goals and mission.” Central Asia consists of Kazakhstan (pop. 18 million), Kyrgyzstan (6 million), Tajikistan (9 million), Turkmenistan (6 million), and Uzbekistan (31 million), giving the region a total population of about 70 million.

It was with great pleasure while in Almaty, along with Edward Trimble MD, MPH, Director, Center for Global Health, National Cancer Institute, to participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of a vaccination clinic at the women’s health center. After many setbacks and challenges, it was heartwarming to see the clinic open and to see firsthand the team and leaders of the Kazakh Research Institute of Oncology and Radiology’s commitment to primary prevention of cervical cancer. Please click on this LINK to see more photos of regional meeting, conference, and other events in Kazakhstan.

                         

IGCS continues to benefit from a very solid international base of members who represent the diversity of clinicians caring for women with gynecologic cancers. The opportunity to expand our membership to regions throughout the world will continue to allow IGCS to bring our shared resources, vision, mission, and incorporate our member driven values globally.

It is my hope that we continue to make a difference in gynecologic oncology.

Mary Eiken, RN, MS
IGCS CEO

 

Welcome, China!

IGCS Welcomes the Chinese Gynecologic Cancer Society as Strategic Alliance Partners

We are excited to announce that we are continuing to expand our membership through the Strategic Alliance Partner Program with the addition of China. I am so pleased to welcome our second Strategic Alliance Partner, the Chinese Gynecologic Cancer Society!

China is in East Asia and the world’s most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. In 2015, the incidence and mortality in ovarian cancer and cervical cancer in China are some of the highest in the world. There are more than 5,500 gynecological oncologists in China working at more than 138 cancer centers. Not all practicing specialists are current members of the Chinese Society but over time we hope that will change so more and more can take advantage of the benefits.

We are now working to deliver benefits to our new Chinese Alliance Members by providing access to our online education portal, involvement in the global curriculum, guidance in standards and uniformity in the training process, a web page specific to the Chinese group, and assistance with formalizing governance structure.

Dr. Quinn, President of the IGCS, said “We look forward to our partnership with China. Based on the sheer number of people living in China, the potential impact we can have on their members and ultimately the care of women in their region will be extraordinary. The burden of disease is really remarkable; we feel over time we will begin to make really meaningful improved outcomes for Chinese women.”

Dr. Qi Zhou, President of the Chinese Gynecologic Cancer Society who was instrumental in solidify the partnership says that “participating in the IGCS Strategic Alliance Partnership Program is an excellent opportunity for CGCS to offer a more formalized practice to the Chinese gynecologic oncologists, especially the younger generation. By collaborating with the IGCS, we will establish a network to allow an exchange of ideas and promote international cooperation for the clinicians in China. The leadership of CGCS believe that the collaboration between IGCS and CGCS will offer better care and better life to the women in China afflicted with gynecologic cancers.”

                                         

We welcome China and look forward to the impact that all of us within IGCS can make with this partnership. If you are interested in becoming a Strategic Alliance Partner please contact me at mary.eiken@igcs.org. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Eiken, RN, MS
IGCS CEO

 

 

 

Welcome, Belarus!

IGCS welcomes 51 Belarusian gynecologic oncology team members from the Belarusian Oncology Society as a Strategic Alliance Partners:
A message from Mary Eiken, RN, MS, IGCS CEO

In June, I communicated the Council’s long-term and short-term goals for membership expansion and our hopes to increase engagement through our new Strategic Alliance Partner Program. The goal of the program is to encourage organizations and regions from all over the globe whose objectives are consistent and aligned with our own become partners, allowing their local members to become IGCS members as a unified group.

I am so pleased to welcome our first Strategic Alliance Partner, the Belarus Gynecologic Oncology Division of the Belarusian Society of Oncology! Fifty-one gynecologic oncology, surgeons, specialists, researchers, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists from cities across the eastern European country of Belarus are now Alliance Members of the IGCS.

Belarus is a country of 9.5 million people in eastern Europe, on the western border of Russia and the northern border of Ukraine. There are sixty gynecological oncologists in Belarus working at N.N. Alexandrov Cancer Center, at six Regional and six Inter-district Cancer Dispensaries.

In Belarus, the overwhelming majority of cancer patients undergo examination and treatment at the N.N. Alexandrov Cancer Center and Cancer Dispensaries, which facilitates information collection. About 4,000 new cases of gynecologic cancer are diagnosed annually in Belarus. In 2015, 2,028 endometrial cancer cases, 964 ovarian cancer cases and 884 cervical cancer cases were newly diagnosed. In 2015, the incidence and mortality in endometrial cancer were 22.9 and 3.6 on 100,000 female population respectively (World standard), in ovarian cancer – 12.1 and 4.6, in cervical cancer – 11.9 and 4.2.

We are now working to deliver benefits to the fifty-one new Belarusian Alliance Members by providing access to our online education portal, a web page specific to the Belarus group, a network to allow an exchange of ideas and communicating the benefits of membership to the Belarus clinicians. Dr. Michael Quinn, current IGCS President has expressed that “we look forward to a meeting with the Belarusian leaders to further discuss their needs and discover the areas in which we can work together to meet our common goals to enhance the care of women with gynecologic cancer worldwide. This alliance is a meaningful step in the right direction for the IGCS and we hope to partner with more groups in the near future.”

Dr. Sergey Mavrichev, Head of the Gynecologic Oncology Department at N.N. Alexandrov National Cancer Centre in Belarus who was instrumental in solidifying the partnership says that “participating in the IGCS Strategic Alliance Partnership Program is an excellent opportunity for surgeons and gynecologic oncology team members in Belarus to obtain access to the specialized education materials that IGCS can provide. By collaborating with the IGCS, we now have a voice to participate in key strategic discussions with global leaders in the field and industry who are focused on finding solutions to the same issues with which we are concerned.”

We look forward to our partnership with Belarus and we hope to announce more partners in the coming months on the IGCS.org homepage. If you are interested in becoming a Strategic Alliance Partner please contact me at mary.eiken@igcs.org. I welcome the opportunity to continue this meaningful conversation.

Membership expansion will assist and guide the next several years of IGCS growth and development allowing for closer dialogue, better idea and information sharing, and collaboration with the common goal of finding solutions to the many issues that face us globally.

Sincerely yours,

 

 

Mary Eiken, RN, MS
IGCS CEO

 

Strategic Alliance Partnership

Announcing the Strategic Alliance Partnership Program:
A message from IGCS CEO, Mary Eiken, RN, MS

As I reflect on my first year as CEO of IGCS, one of the most rewarding aspects of the position has been the opportunity to meet and hear from members all over the globe. I am motivated and inspired everyday by the growing commitment the membership of IGCS demonstrates toward caring for women with gynecologic cancers. It inspires me and my team members every day to work even harder on your behalf.

One of the essential successes of a membership organization such as IGCS is to maintain a strong membership base and when opportunity presents itself, grow that base. IGCS has been fortunate over the years to build a very solid international base of members who represent the diversity of clinicians caring for women with gynecologic cancers.  Membership growth is always on the mind of any CEO looking to expand the reach and relevance of the organization. Recently, I led the IGCS Council in strategic discussions about a plan and opportunity to expand our membership in a non-traditional manner, a plan that would assist IGCS in further focusing on our vision, tailor our mission, and incorporate our member driven values into our daily work.

During the discussion, Council came to a conclusion on long-term and short-term goals for membership expansion that will provide us the opportunity to increase engagement of various IGCS stakeholders, including council members, staff, committee volunteers, members, and others important to our organization. Membership expansion will assist and guide the next several years of IGCS growth and development. To that end, IGCS is starting a Strategic Alliance Partner Program within our existing membership structure.

Strategic Alliance Partner Members of IGCS will include organizations and regions from all over the globe whose objectives are consistent and aligned with our own. This program will bring together the leaders and memberships of gynecologic oncology organizations, allowing for closer dialogue, better idea and information sharing, and collaboration with the common goal of finding solutions to the many issues that face us globally.

We have had some initial conversations with existing regional societies and groups and the response has been extremely positive. They are enthusiastic about the opportunity to offer IGCS membership to their current members and further strengthen their position. We believe the tangible benefits of the program will allow IGCS to continue to become the global society originally envisioned.

Learn more about the IGCS Strategic Alliance Partner Program and its specific benefits.

We will keep you abreast of our progress and I hope you will join me and the leadership in welcoming our strategic alliance partners as they start to become members of the IGCS. Achieving the vision of IGCS requires a strong and engaged membership that is able to meet emerging challenges and achieve the goals of IGCS.

I am confident the Strategic Alliance Partner Program will strengthen our voice and have a positive impact on the outcome and quality of life of women suffering from gynecologic cancers.

Together we are stronger.

Mary Eiken, RN, MS
IGCS CEO