Training Gynecologic Oncologists around the world to care for women with gynecologic malignancies is challenging. Many regions, particularly in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), do not have formal fellowship training in gynecologic oncology and those with formal training often do not have opportunities to learn new treatments and procedures. While an increasing number of countries are prioritizing the need for structured training programs, it takes time, commitment and resources to develop the infrastructure needed to support such a curriculum.
In response to the global need for training and mentorship in the field of gynecologic oncology, the IGCS Council has decided to re-establish the IGCS International Visiting Scholar & Mentorship Program (formerly known as the Traveling Scholars Program).
Dr. Vivek Arora (Australia), Member of the IGCS Council and Mentorship & Training Committee, has led the charge in developing objectives and establishing the scope of the new and improved program. Dr. Arora says:
“There still exists a wide disparity in access to care for women suffering from gynaecological cancer in different parts of the world. This program is yet another effort that will complement the existing initiatives of the International Gynecological Cancer Society in bridging this gap. The aim of this program is to foster long term mentoring relationships.”
The Traveling Scholars program was very successful and popular for several years. In 2016, the program was suspended to establish the Global Curriculum and Mentorship Program, an intensive two-year fellowship program for regions of the world without formal training in Gynecologic Oncology. This new program has been very successful with 9 global sites currently utilizing the program to train young aspiring gynecologic oncologists with the help of international mentors. It has been apparent that many individuals interested in this new program do not qualify due to a lack of infrastructure and resources at their home institution to make the Global Curriculum a possibility.
We are aware that our members in LMICs can benefit greatly from opportunities that would allow them to travel to an established gynecologic oncology center to observe and receive mentorship and training to enhance their skills. The objective of the Visiting Scholar & Mentorship Program is to foster long-term mentoring relationships, providing exposure and opportunities not otherwise found at the mentee’s institution. It is also the desire of the IGCS that the mentees continue to stay engaged with the IGCS, take advantage of our educational programs and over time, take on leadership positions.
Starting in 2019, the new Visiting Scholar Program will provide financial support for two to three (2-3) early career gynecologic oncologists to travel to an established gynecologic oncology unit for a minimum of eight (8) weeks and a maximum of three (3) months to receive advanced training, foster a relationship with their mentor and gain experience, knowledge, and skills to implement within their local institution and practice.
We will be accepting applications from January 15 – February 15, 2019 and selections will be announced in March 2019. Selected mentees must complete their travel within the 2019 calendar year. Those who are interested in being considered for the program should review the eligibility criteria closely to determine if they meet the requirements. We anticipate that we will receive many applications and the selection process will be competitive. The application form will be posted on the IGCS website and emailed to the membership on January 15, 2019.
It is important for IGCS to support and provide learning opportunities to the future leaders of the specialty and our society. We are thrilled to be reinstating this program to further achieve the IGCS mission to enhance the care of women worldwide.Many thanks to Dr. Vivek Arora for his leadership in reinstating this program.
If you have any questions about this program or any IGCS initiatives, please contact IGCS Membership Manager Cathy Fearing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Kathleen Schmeler, MD
Mentorship & Training Committee Chair
|Joseph Soon-Yau Ng, MD
Mentorship & Training Committee Vice Chair