As the largest organization dedicated to the global interests of the gynecologic oncology community, IGCS advocates for our members and the specialty in many ways. We advocate for the improvement and standardization of training through our Global Curriculum Program and opportunities in our mentorship programs. We are advocating for our members’ education with increased learning opportunities. The decision to move to an annual meeting allows us to bring the meeting to new regions of the globe and provides IGCS members the opportunity come together on a more regular basis to network and learn with their international colleagues.

We believe parallel and equally important to these advocacy activities is the opportunity to work with patient survivors, caregivers and others interested in making a difference for women diagnosed with gynecologic malignancies. There is a wealth of excellent gynecologic oncology patient education from a variety of resources and organizations. Many non-profit healthcare associations have a component of patient advocacy in their organizations with a primary focus on patient education.  Also, many organizations are started by patients who have a mission to drive awareness, raise funding and be a resource for survivors and their caregivers. Over time, we hope to enhance our website with information and links to many of these outstanding resources.

The IGCS Council recently discussed and approved the concept of IGCS centering its advocacy efforts around the theme “empowerment”. Empowering women, caregivers and others interested in making a difference with tools and resources to increase their level of autonomy and enable them to represent the specific needs within their region. This may include screening and vaccination, funding and support for clinical trials, research, and access to better care.

We can best begin to achieve our goals through our annual meeting efforts as we move from region to region. As we plan these meetings, we will network with local physician thought leaders for information, regional strategic alliance partners and other similar organizations. We will become familiar with the region and their current advocacy efforts and needs. We would welcome the opportunity to cultivate and build relationships with the women from these regions and learn about their obstacles while sharing our patient advocacy goals and resources to empower them to begin to make changes in the region. By the time the Global Meeting occurs, we will have established a strong network of survivors, caregivers and others who would attend the “Empowering Women” course themed around any key challenges and concepts learned during the cultivating phase and conduct the training needed to allow for them to become effective advocates.

IGCS Council recognizes the importance of these activities and the need for a qualified individual who will work with the IGCS team to initiate our patient advocacy efforts. We are seeking someone who has existing relationships in many parts of the globe, understands the patient perspective from region to region, and has the ability to develop advocacy training programs based off the information learned. Over time, they would also seek and write proposals for grants.

Where better to start the search than with you, our members who have relationships with patients and patient-centered organizations in and around gynecologic oncology. Please feel free to contact our Chief Executive Officer at mary.eiken@igcs.org. She would welcome the opportunity for you to share your thoughts, suggestions and provide any information you might have in our search for the ideal person to achieve our goal of empowering women.

Sincerely,

Michael Quinn, AM, MGO
2016-2018 IGCS President

Mary Eiken, MS
IGCS CEO