The International Gynecologic Cancer Society stands at the forefront in the global fight against gynecologic cancers, supporting and sponsoring programs “to enhance the care of women with gynecologic cancer worldwide through education and training and public awareness.”
Consistent with this mission and the current heightened global awareness of, and attention to, social and health inequity, IGCS is issuing this statement outlining its position on these important matters. Most succinctly put, IGCS supports all who espouse social and health equity around the globe.
Our statement provides clear context and specificity to our longstanding and forward-moving embrace of these important social justice and human right imperatives. We hope that it stimulates dialogue/discourse, and we welcome your comments. Most importantly, we hope that it prompts programming and actions that improve the lives of girls, women, and communities worldwide.
We would like to thank the working group for drafting the statement:
- Dr. Andreas Obermair (Australia)
- Dr. Marie Plante (Canada)
- Dr. Michael Quinn (Australia)
- Dr. Ritu Salani (USA)
- Ms. Mary (Dicey) Jackson Scroggins (USA)
To continue the discourse, add to the literature, and prompt discussion and most importantly action, IGCS is currently drafting an article focused on global health disparities. The article will:
- elucidate IGCS’ position more completely
- site and explore specific systemic patterns and institutions that support or perpetuate inequities
- highlight areas of women’s well-being that go beyond gynecologic cancer but are integral to their health and that of their communities
- offer an action plan for moving forward.
In the coming weeks, we will review IGCS operations and programming for areas of potential improvement relative to issues of global health equity. Where appropriate and needed, we will enhance or restructure these areas such that they more explicitly align with our core belief that global health equity is a social justice and human rights imperative—one that we fully support.
After these initial assessments, we will regularly monitor programming and new program development for consistency with our core values summarized in the statement and with the attainment of documentable enhanced global health equity. Of course, we will keep members informed of this ongoing effort, programming adjustments, and progress in this important work. And, we will need and request your help in this organization-wide commitment to global health equity.
Global Health Equity: A Social Justice and Human Rights Imperative
IGCS Supports All Who Espouse Social and Health Equity Around the Globe
As a core principle, the concept of global health equity—the absence of systematic disparities in health to allow the opportunity for every person to attain her (or his) full health potential—is embedded in the mission of the International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS) and is reflected in the breadth of our membership and the design and implementation of our programs.
With over 3,100 members from low-, middle-, and high-income countries around the globe, IGCS has purposefully developed an inclusive membership framework that encourages interaction and growth across diverse social, political, and health care systems. Through this framework, IGCS connects our members with specific needs to those with corresponding resources and programs; forms partnerships; educates, trains, and mentors clinicians, survivors-patients, and caregivers; and otherwise enhances benefits to women not only in optimal but also in the most challenging circumstances and environments.
Since our establishment in 1987 as a forum for the worldwide exchange of scientific information, IGCS has grown as a model for global health equity, and consistent with that history and our current operation, IGCS supports individuals and organizations meaningfully engaged, at whatever level, in the journey toward social and health equity worldwide.
As we lead the global fight against gynecologic cancers, we do so with the clear understanding that prompting, promoting, and inspiring maximum achievable health outcomes for every girl and woman (and thus every community)—wherever and under whatever circumstance she might live—are fundamental to the social justice and human rights imperative of global health equity, irrespective of
- national origin or political system
- location of residence/citizenship
- race or ethnicity
- sexual orientation and/or gender identity
- local, national, or regional leadership
- sociodemographic factors
- any other intervening factor
In keeping with this understanding and by focusing our work and service where they can have the greatest impact on health and well-being, IGCS supports the empowerment of girls and women—and the health professionals who serve them—so they can attain the best health and life outcomes specific to but not limited to gynecologic cancers.
In the coming weeks and months, IGCS will review our programming. Furthermore, as an act of social responsibility, we will continually review the health equity-explicit initiatives within our portfolio and identify the need for new initiatives where none exist. After all, our mission “to enhance the care of women with gynecologic cancer worldwide through education and training and public awareness” and our demonstrated commitment to global health equity explicitly require as much.