UICC’s new cohort of Young Leaders 2021-2022 respond to questions on equity and innovation in cancer care

UICC is pleased to announce the selection of ten new young cancer control professionals to join its Young Leaders Programme. Participants comprising this new cohort come from ten different countries on five continents.
11 August 2021

Ten aspiring leaders in cancer care have been selected by UICC for the Young Leaders programme. They address a range of challenges facing the cancer community, in which equity and innovation play an important role.

UICC is pleased to announce the selection of ten new young cancer control professionals to join its Young Leaders Programme. Participants comprising this new cohort come from ten different countries on five continents.

The 2021-2022 Young Leaders are:

  • Arnaud Bayle, Assistant Professor at the Drug Development Department, Gustave Roussy Cancer Center (France)
  • Anna Dare, Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellow at the University of Toronto (Canada/New Zealand)
  • Diego Gimenez Velilla, Head of the Radiation Oncology Department, Nacional Cancer Institute (Paraguay)
  • Freddy Houehanou Rodrigue Gnangnon, Assistant Professor of Surgical Oncology at University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin)
  • Asma Hatoqai, Tobacco Control Specialist, King Hussein Cancer Center (Jordan)
  • Melissa Lim Siaw Han, Committee Member at Society for Cancer Advocacy and Awareness Kuching (Malaysia)
  • Chemtai Mungo, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina (USA/Kenya)
  • Venus Dadirai Mushininga, Program Manager at the Department of Non-Communicable Diseases, Ministry of Health and Child Care (Zimbabwe)
  • Tlotlo Ralefala, Head of Medical Oncology at Princess Marina Hospital (Botswana)
  • Enrique Soto Pérez de Celis, Researcher in Medical Sciences, Department of Geriatrics, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán (Mexico)

The selected ten work to advance cancer care in personalised medicine, health economics, access to radiotherapy, public policy and breast cancer survival, tobacco control, cervical cancer prevention and elimination as well as integrating prevention services with HIV care in low-resource settings, universal health coverage and access to essential services, building health workforce capacity and ageing populations.

“The UICC Young Leaders programme will provide me with the opportunity to utilise what I know to lead initiatives that can contribute to improving lives, as well as help me build a wider network of healthcare professionals that can serve to motivate future leaders of change.”
– Asma Hatoqai, Tobacco Control Specialist, Cancer Control Office, King Hussein Cancer Center, Jordan and 2021-2022 UICC Young Leader

As part of the programme, the Young Leaders will be participating in the 2021 World Cancer Leaders’ Summit in Boston and the 2022 World Cancer Congress in Geneva. The intervening 12 months will provide opportunities for peer-to-peer learning through regular virtual sessions with global cancer leaders and leadership experts. Participants will also be able to connect with the Young Leaders Alumni network as well as experienced leaders, and participate in other recognised international events. 

“Where a person lives should not determine whether they live or die. With the use of HPV self-sampling, the potential of artificial intelligence-based diagnosis, coupled with recent validation of hand-held, portable precancer treatment, there is no reason why a woman should die from lack of access to cervical cancer screening. I am honored and privileged to join others in this fight for equity in global women’s health.”
– Chemtai Mungo, Assistant Professor of Obsetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina, USA and 2021-2022 UICC Young Leader

Equity and innovation

As part of the onboarding process into the programme, the new cohort of Young Leaders were asked what equity in health and innovation in cancer care meant to them. Their answers provide valuable insight into how up-and-coming leaders aim to reduce the incidence of cancer and improve survival rates around the world.

All Young Leaders agreed that equity was about ensuring that everyone, wherever they may live and whatever their social status, economic situation, culture, ethnicity or sexual orientation can access quality health awareness and care without discrimination. To achieve this, not only must resource-efficient solutions be developed, but also all sectors and systems must be mobilised to address the social determinants that produce these inequities in accessing health services.

“ ’Equity in health’ is about recognising that health is a product of broader social, economic, political and environmental forces – we can’t effectively address health inequities in isolation from these factors.”
– Anna Dare, Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellow, University of Toronto and UICC Young Leader 2021-2022

Innovation is a means to overcoming health inequities – innovation in its broadest sense, not just technological but anything that takes a new approach, a different perspective, and transforms a structure or system to allow more effective delivery of care. This means looking at behavioural and environmental change as much as developing new diagnostic and treatment technology, says Asma Hatoquai of the King Hussein Cancer Center in Jordan.

As examples of innovation, several Young Leaders highlighted telemedicine and the emergence with COVID-19 of digital platforms that, according to Venus Mushininga at the Ministry of Health in Zimbabwe, facilitate the decentralisation of cancer care and access to global expertise. Melissa Lim Siaw Han of the Society for Cancer Advocacy and Awareness Kuching in Malaysia pointed to the implementation of more comprehensive health insurance plans and health care policies as important to help close the gaps in care at manageable costs. Other Young Leaders cite widespread use of HVP self-sampling, oral chemotherapy and the use of drones to deliver cancer medicine to isolated populations, automated algorithms in smartphones for precancer diagnosis, the use of smartphones to store patient data, and the portability of technologies such as mammography and ultrasound.

“In many parts of the world, patients are unable to access even the most basic cancer care services, and we need to create disruptive and innovative models to make sure that this does not happen anymore in the future.”
Enrique Soto Pérez de Celis, Researcher in Medical Sciences, Department of Geriatrics, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutricón Salvador Zubirán and UICC Young Leader 2021-2022

Last update: 
Friday 27 August 2021
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