2017 WCC lanyards

Intersections of business and cancer control

14 September 2017
Victoria Zhang

Victoria Zhang, Student
Amherst College Department of Health Education

Students from Amherst College, Massachusetts, regularly join the UICC team for short-term internships. One of our former interns, Victoria Zhang, shares her experience at UICC and at the World Cancer Congress.

Not a chair was empty at the World Cancer Congress session focusing on multi-sectoral approach to cancer control, with people from non-profits, private sector, government agencies and patient groups filling the room with ideas such as: ‘How can we improve access to quality care in all countries.’ ‘How can we better connect the cancer community to advocate and reduce inequities along the cancer care continuum?’ I learned through my work in global health that coming up with workable solutions to patient problems requires support on all sides. Last summer, I worked for the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and aligned the interests of hundreds of cancer-fighting organisations with private sector interests to solve problems, like access to palliative care and cancer advocacy in low and middle-income countries. Months later, I got to see this work pay off as a communications volunteer at the Congress in Paris, assisting delegates, taking notes and co-writing for the website.

For my university internship, I wanted to learn about how non-profit organisations were organised and how they carried out their mission to create positive impact. I wanted to witness and participate the ins and outs of creating solutions for cancer from the planning, to the execution, to the quantification of results.

Making a difference in people’s lives is hard, and, in cancer control, the complexity of the challenges increases.

UICC was an amazing place to learn both about the work of UICC and the work of other public health, non-profit organisations that collaborate with UICC. One of my favorite aspects of working there was the diversity of experiences I had and the wisdom of people who worked around me. Every day, I was thrown into something new and had to keep a constantly malleable mindset. I got to co-write a case for support to succinctly explain our goals to prospective members and partners. After my internship, I volunteered at the World Cancer Congress to continue my learning.

Helping run a convening event like the World Cancer Congress was stressful. I co-wrote a press release detailing our combined work in advocacy towards a cancer resolution at the 70th World Health Assembly. I took notes on sponsored sessions organised by UICC partners, such as Merck Group and the American Cancer Society, helping lead delegates towards their research presentations, taking videos of key learning moments and drafting paragraphs highlighting key events such as the CEO programme.

While volunteering, I met these leaders of change in the cancer control community and got to see the real impact these leaders had around the world.

As non-communicable diseases create larger burdens on economies and communities, multi-sectoral collaboration and impact become vital. Working for UICC, I was able to imagine this healthier future, with comprehensive national cancer control plans, improved access to treatment, increased access to medicines and strengthened partnership between all those participating in the fight. The experience was invaluable in giving me exposure to an international non-profit organisation, and teaching me about the vital revenue generating segments of non-profit work. Following this experience, I took an offer as an analyst at an asset manager to further my knowledge of business and learn how to create sustainable and effective organisations. All of these experiences drive me towards my goal of eventually heading my own organisation where I can make my own impact.

If you are interested in joining the UICC team, visit our employment section at http://www.uicc.org/employment or send a spontaneous application to careers@uicc.org, we're regularly looking for new talents.

About the author

Victoria Zhang is a senior Political Science and French double major at Amherst College. She currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and works as a buy side credit intern at Eaton Vance. She is passionate about making a positive impact on peoples’ lives.

Last update: 
Thursday 14 September 2017