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President's Symposium: Improving Health Quality; Increasing Global Impact

M Huq1*, I Albanti2*, M Rogers3*, J Chessell4*, D Mired5*, (1) UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, (2) Harvard University, Boston, MA, (3) Persistent Productions, Boston, MA, (4) Independent Consultant, St. Marys, Ontario, CA, (5) President of the Union International for Cancer Control (UICC), Amman, Jordan, CH


(Monday, 7/13/2020) 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM [Eastern Time (GMT-4)]

Room: Track 1

COVID-19 has taught us one lesson: global health is local health and local health is global health. Innovation in one part of the world, be it in the fight against COVID-19 or against cancer or any other disease, can benefit others across the globe. Collaborations between professionals from high income and low and middle income countries (LMIC) can lead to innovations and development that can benefit all. This renewed realization presents significant opportunities for improving health quality and achieving health equity for all people worldwide.

Cancer knows no boundaries. It is estimated that one in 5 men and one in 6 women worldwide will develop cancer during their lifetime. The death from cancer is estimated to occur in one in 8 men and one in 11 women. Cancer is also responsible for the largest number of deaths in children and adolescents worldwide. More than 80% of the children with cancer in high income countries are cured; in contrast, 20% or less of children with cancer survive in many LMICs. The reasons for lower survivals in LMICs are multifaceted. These include, but are not limited to, inabilities to obtain accurate diagnosis, lack of access to medicines and therapy, abandonment to therapy and many others.

The increased use of radiation technologies for radiotherapy, imaging and nuclear medicine means even greater needs for involvement of qualified medical physicists to the safe planning and delivery of high quality care to cancer patients. It is estimated that by 2025 more than 6000 medical physicists will be needed in low and middle income countries. There are opportunities for medical physicists and professional societies such as AAPM and COMP to collaborate in global health collaborations with various stakeholders to address the rising burden of cancer and disparities. This will be consistent with AAPMs vision for improving health through medical physics – globally.

The Presidential symposium will bring to light the shattered dreams of mothers whose children have cancer diagnoses and their journeys as the children go through cancer treatment. It will take you to an unforgettable journey of 4 children in 5 countries in the How I live documentary and the global fight to cure childhood cancer. The film looks at the global survival gap and through the stories of these children, their families, and their healthcare providers as they confront the realities of living with cancer in Guatemala, El Salvador, Egypt, Myanmar, and Ghana. The film documents the difficulties of accessing cancer treatment in low resource settings while providing examples of how global collaboration can lead to increased survival rates and closing global health disparities. The keynote presentation will highlight the tremendous opportunities that exist for involvement by all emphasizing that global health action and collaborations are crucial for addressing the growing cancer burden and disparities. As we work towards a common goal of improving health quality and achieving health equity for all people worldwide, we must become unified. We all must come together collectively to raise our levels of conscious awareness to achieve partnerships for global health. This is the focus of the keynote presentation.



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