Congratulations to the first three fellows completing their two-year training and final examinations through the IGCS Gynecologic Oncology Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program!

Dr. Benjamin Elly Odongo
Moi University Hospital, Kenya
Dr. Jerome Katumba
Uganda Cancer Institute
Dr. Mariam Nabwire
Uganda Cancer Institute

The Global Curriculum was established in 2017 under the leadership of then-IGCS President, Michael Quinn. It is a comprehensive education, training, and mentorship program designed for regions around the world that do not currently have formal training in gynecologic oncology. There are now 12 training sites utilizing the IGCS program under the leadership and guidance of Drs. Tom Randall and Linus Chuang.

The program at Moi University in Kenya has been in place for about 10 years, producing a number of gynecologic cancer specialists practicing in Kenya and Uganda. Dr. Benjamin Elly Odongo is the first to complete the Moi University program with the IGCS Global Curriculum in place. The program at the Uganda Cancer Institute was initiated more recently in 2017, utilizing the IGCS Global Curriculum from the start. Notably, Drs. Mariam Nabwire and Jerome Katumba are the first gynecologic oncologists to be trained locally in Uganda.

Instrumental to the program’s success is the hard work of the fellows, local faculty and administrators at each facility who are committed to implementing the curriculum and working to ensure its sustainability over time. We also acknowledge the dedication and support of the international mentors from established institutions and faculty contributors who participate in monthly Project ECHO virtual tumor board video conferences. Finally, we’d like to thank Dr. Allan Covens for his efforts as Chair of the Final Examination Committee.

To learn more about the program, please download the 2019 Annual Report.

Those who would like to learn more about how to contribute to the mentorship and training aspects of this program, please email mary.eiken@igcs.org.

Dr. Benjamin Elly Odongo
Moi University Hospital, Kenya
Fellowship Training Completed: 2019

“The IGCS Fellowship, especially the time spent to prepare for the ECHO tumor boards made me realize that no matter how busy I thought I was, I had to find time for reading, or surrender myself to self-chosen ignorance.

Having local mentors made me understand that there are abilities within us which have not yet been developed and can be developed further particularly the skills to manage patients with gynecological malignancies locally, the resource limitations notwithstanding.

The international mentors and the time spent at The University of Toronto led me to the discovery of the fundamental fact that we are continually learning new things and that the problems which perplex us in our part of the world can be solved through leadership, research and commitment. I am therefore proceeding to advocate for implementation of cancer prevention strategies, support efforts towards improving the capacity to make accurate cancer diagnosis, provision of treatment including palliative and end of life care.”

See more about the program in Kenya.

Dr. Jerome Katumba
Uganda Cancer Institute
Fellowship Training Completed: 2019

“I am extremely excited by the great achievement of completing the IGCS Fellowship and becoming one of the first gynecologic oncologists locally trained in Uganda. This fellowship has enriched my knowledge and skills in the field of gynecologic oncology and has completely changed my approach and practice in the management of patients.

I extend my sincere gratitude to my local and external mentors who toiled to impart us with the knowledge and skills during the training. I am also beholden by the hospitality and shadowing experience I enjoyed from the staff of the University of California San Francisco Hospital, North Carolina University Hospital and Duke University Hospital.

Bravo IGCS Fellowship Team! Keep the candle burning.”

Dr. Mariam Nabwire
Uganda Cancer Institute
Fellowship Training Completed: 2019

“The cogitation to initiate the gynecologic oncology fellowship training program in Uganda is a great turning point. The extensive support provided by the IGCS, our external mentors, and the local mentors has led to a successful fellowship program.

I am honored to be one of the first two gynecologic oncologists trained in Uganda. We plan to set up the Uganda gynecologic oncology association to ensure quality and sustainability of gynecologic oncology services in Uganda and Africa at large.”

See more about the program in Uganda.

Thoughts from Mentors & Leaders

“Congratulations to the first three international fellows to pass the final exam for the IGCS Gynecologic Oncology Global Curriculum and Mentorship Program. We are incredibly proud of our fellows and want to thank our local and international mentors for their dedication and support. Together they are changing the care and outcomes of women with gynecologic cancers around the globe.”

– Dr. Kathleen Schmeler (MD Anderson Cancer Center)
IGCS Mentorship & Training Committee Chair & International Mentor for the Mozambique Fellowship Program

“This is a really important day for IGCS. The implications for the care of women from disadvantaged backgrounds are enormous and truly reflect our mission to improve outcomes by teaching and training. Our challenge now is to get the resources to expand the program and to ensure that our new international specialists continue to be supported. Sincere congratulations to all concerned.”

-Dr. Michael Quinn
IGCS Past President and Founder of the Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program

“I am immensely proud of Mariam Nabwire and Jerome Katumba for their achievement in successfully completing their fellowship. They are the first two fellows to graduate from the Uganda program. Their success embodies all the efforts from the current local faculty including Drs. Anthony Okoth, Jane Namugga, Carolyn Nakisige, Judith Ajeani, Miriam Nakalembe; and from the administration including Drs. Jackson Orem, Annettee Nakimuli, and Nixon Niyonzima.

The initial vision for gynecologic oncology sub-specialization came from the prior Head of Department for Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Josaphat Byamugisha, almost 10 years ago. With his leadership combined with Dr. Jackson Orem, the Director of the Uganda Cancer Institute, and leadership from Makerere University, Mulago Hospital, and the Ministry of Health, the gynecologic oncology fellowship in Uganda began in October 2017.

The partnership with IGCS strengthened the curriculum and processes to achieve excellence in the quality of training. With IGCS funding support, Jerome and Mariam were able to complete an 8 week observership in the United States that they both found very meaningful for their training. In addition, the support from other passionate global educators from IGCS has been very rewarding to me.

I am very grateful for the commitment of all the external mentors, especially Dr. Stefanie Ueda. With her experience, I learned how to navigate mentorship and leadership in a challenging setting with many stakeholders involved. I owe many thanks to Duke, especially Dr. Andrew Berchuck, who supported and believed in me to make a difference. Finally, I am grateful to the women in Uganda to trust their care in us as we continue to do our best to improve their gynecologic oncology outcomes.”

-Dr. Paula Lee (Duke University Hospital)
International Mentor for the Uganda Fellowship Program

“On behalf of myself and Dr. Barry Rosen, and the local supervisors Drs. Omenge, Tonui, and Itsura, we congratulate Dr. Elly Benjamin on his successful completion of the IGCS Global Curriculum in Gynecologic Oncology. He is a special and unique individual. We are proud of both his accomplishments, and the tremendous success of our program at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya.

Our program has been running for approximately 10 yrs, and has produced a number of gynecologic oncologists currently practicing in Kenya and Uganda. Dr. Benjamin’s accomplishment as one of the first to formally pass the IGCS training program in gynecologic oncology highlights his and our success, and is inspiring for all training programs and individuals working in low resource countries.

The collaborative efforts of the IGCS team, combined with the dedication of the international mentors, local supervisors, in addition to all the individuals participating on the monthly ECHO calls embodies the value and importance this initiative is to so many.

We hope Elly is just one of many such individuals to successfully complete this training program in the future.”

-Dr. Allan Covens (University of Toronto and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center)
International Mentor for the Moi University Fellowship Program