At the General Assembly held on 11 October 2022, UICC full members welcomed the new President, Prof. Jeff Dunn AO, and voted for the 2022-2024 Board of Directors, including the new President-elect, Ulrika Årehed Kågström.
The members of UICC's Board of Directors 2022-2024 are listed here alphabetically by last name. Click on accordion items below for full profile and video message when available.
Dear UICC Member,
It is a great honour to be among the candidates to UICC’s Board of Directors. Here some reasons why I asking for your vote.
I believe I can bring many skills and international experience to the UICC Board of Directors where all together we can direct the Organisation along the road traced by the General Assembly. UICC’s ambition is that by 2035, cancer will be a central consideration in all national health plans and the resulting increased investment in prevention, early detection, treatment and care will result in a lowering of cancer incidence and mortality, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This is a goal that, step by step, can be achieved. Throughout the world it is now recognised that cancer can be often prevented, detected early, and when needed treated with remarkable skills from surgeons, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists, along with the nurses and many other experts. The impact of the disease on the patients can and must be alleviated, not only during but after treatment, in medical and social terms. I have believed in these facts and will describe in the second part what experience I can bring to the Board of Directors of UICC. To become a member of this Organisation’s leadership, which I know since the Geneva 2008 Congress quite well, is for me a natural desire, as I embrace its vision and trust you will acknowledge the required capability.
Born in Brazil to Finnish parents, raised there and in Switzerland, married to an Italian physician, a practising oncologist in Italy and Switzerland, I have been all my life an enthusiastic internationalist, proud to have developed a pan-national network of friends and colleagues in oncology, all sharing a common mission to do the very best we can for our patients regardless of where they, or who they are.
I have been pleased to dedicate myself to a broad range of international oncology collaborations including as:
With this background I believe I can represent the spirit of borderless cooperation that typifies UICC.
San Francisco, United States of America
I have a background in nursing and in public health, including global health. For over 25 years I have been involved with UICC, starting in 1996 with UICC’s Nursing Education Project, followed by engagement in various tobacco control initiatives, a project to build capacity of nurses in Latin America to engage in cervical cancer screening, and in my role as President of ISNCC. I hope to be an additional voice for nurses, the largest group of health care professionals, whose engagement in cancer care and control is pivotal to reaching UICC, WHO and SDG cancer targets. UICC’s mission will continue to grow in significance as the need to address the global cancer incidence becomes ever more urgent. As a Board member I will contribute to expanding the reach of UICC, especially to low- and middle-income countries, to nursing and other health groups, and in support of countries’ integration of cancer care, including tobacco control, into primary care standards of practice, contributing to the development and implementation of evidence-based policies. If elected, I would like to engage with UICC’s advocacy initiatives and support tobacco control and cervical cancer elimination priorities. I have decades of experience working with partners and colleagues across the globe, and I would support further engagement of UICC and the Board with groups or countries that could strengthen their representation in UICC’s activities, strengthening UICC’s role as a key stakeholder in cancer control.
Having worked in Brazil, the United States, and globally, I have a good understanding of cancer care challenges in a wide range of resource levels. As a consultant to the WHO and other international agencies, I worked with governments and non-governmental organizations in developing and implementing tobacco control plans and strategies, in the context of the NCD targets and the SDG. In over 30 years of involvement with the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care I pursued strengthening nursing capacity to engage in cancer care and control, implement best practices and leadership, and importantly, integrate tobacco control into cancer care. Through the development and expansion of the Center of Excellence for Nurses in Tobacco Control I worked with nurses from 11 countries, engaging thousands of nurses and with significant capacity building results. Currently I am part of UCSF’s Global Cancer Program Steering Committee and continue to develop research to address disparities in access to cancer care through equity-based policies. I am also engaged in addressing tobacco use among people living with HIV. As, now, a chronic condition, the intersection between HIV, tobacco, and cancer is an emerging area for research, practice, and policy. I have a proven ability of achieving results by working collaboratively across many countries. I work with different groups, cultures and levels of political commitment and have the skills and experience to contribute to UICC’s goals.
Over the years, I have worked in as paediatric oncologist at the national and international level, gaining an international expertise via multiple, global collaborations (e.g. former president of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology, member of the Children Oncology Group steering committee, leader of various twinning programs with low- and middle-income countries, lead in charge of training of international oncologists, etc). I have now been a member of the Board of Director of UICC for 2 years, and I was able to measure the impact UICC can make worldwide. There is a need to advocate for the unique needs of children with cancers, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. However, there is also a critical need to educate children and make them aware of the impact of the prevention of non-communicable diseases.
As this first term is coming to an end, I would love to continue to bring my expertise and skills to support UICC’s objectives. I am in a unique position with close connections with the International Society of Paediatric Oncology, the Saint Jude Global Program, the WHO, Global Hope, GFAOP, POEM and many other groups that have the capacity to have a major impact on childhood cancer.
I have worked as paediatric oncologist since 1987. I have developed in Toronto a large paediatric neuro-oncology program that has gained a worldwide reputation in research and clinical care for children with brain tumours. As his program was expanding, I also paid a special attention to the care of children with brain tumours in low and middle-income countries and I have developed several successful twinning initiatives, first with Jordan, and then with several countries, including Pakistan, Morocco, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Iran. I have learned a lot from these experiences and can continue to bring this knowledge to UICC.
Over the last 10 years, I became increasing involved in international activities through the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) as president, through UICC and various international paediatric oncology networks. My experience and international connections with paediatric oncologists will continue to be an asset in this position.
Porto Alegre, Brazil
As a Brazilian and Latin American leader in breast cancer control and global patient advocacy, I have chaired non-profit organisations and advisory boards in several European countries and U.S. in the past 20 years. I am a technical consultant for the Global Breast Cancer Initiative (WHO) and a chair of the executive committee of the Institute for Governance and Cancer Control. I will leverage my experience as President of FEMAMA, to further develop and enhance my leadership and governance skills to strengthen the UICC Board of Directors. I have been very active as a UICC member and as a past Board member such as a grant reviewer, capacity building development, and chairing regional meetings. I would focus on the development of the ATOM project and explore innovative ways to guarantee that prevention and control of cancer remain on the political agenda. I am astutely aware that increasing UICC membership should be a priority for all Board members. My career as a breast-dedicated surgeon for the last 40 years enables me to better understand and assist the needs of cancer patients and their families, regardless of their background, social status, or gender. I would like to be on the UICC Board to continue highlighting and advocating against inequity in cancer care with greater global impact. Persistence, purposeful connection, and the commitment to reducing deaths caused by cancer are strengths I can offer to the UICC community as part of the Board.
I am devoted to ensuring more patient centricity in LMICs furthering inclusion and establishing clear communication and transparency. I have been involved in innovative digital tools to address health literacy and cancer prevention that could help generate data and awareness. As a local leader for CCan in POA, I have developed important skills in negotiation and governance of multi-stakeholder teams to study solutions for difficult problems to improve quality access to sustainable healthcare systems.
Promoting a series of virtual seminars involving policymakers and professionals nationally and in Latin America together with patient advocates during the pandemic gave me an unprecedented opportunity to recommend policies that have been used by the Government. My mission in life as a medical doctor and advocate has always been to improve well-being of cancer patients through increased access to timely diagnosis and adequate treatment. Besides the strong UICC presence in many countries, there is a need to engage more global partners (from academia, private sector, cancer centers) together with stakeholders from LMICs to advance the idea that cancer should be a primary care issue promoting prevention and earlier detection to decrease the global cancer burden. My professional and personal life have been dedicated to prevention and control of cancer. It would be an honour for me to serve as a UICC Board member to further drive global change benefitting all cancer community.
The primary reason and most important one of joining the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) Board of directors is to profoundly contribute to serving a great organization and its mission such as the UICC. Moreover, to continue in my efforts with the UICC board and staff to open up the conversation and encourage consideration among my peers in the region and globally to better the lives of hundreds of thousands of cancer patients globally and to prevent, eliminate and guarantee access to cancer treatments.
For the last 2 years, since joining the UICC Board of directors in 2020, though mostly hit by the pandemic and confined to virtual, it was surely, one of the most rewarding and enriching experience to be among the decision makers and such an advisory platform of this great strategic work and a learning curve from this different international perspective of cancer control.
Serving on the UICC board will allow me to continue witnessing the operation of this organization at a high level. It will give me the opportunity in partnership and collaboration of the rest of the board to ensure consistent alignment with the UICC mission and vision.
My persistence, dedication and commitments to combating the cancer situation in the region for 18 years as the CCCL general manager and recently, succeeding in surpassing, these times of consequent crises for the past 12 years in the region and Lebanon played a major role in ensuring that the center remains accomplishing its mission.
Despite the emerging of Covid-19 pandemic since 2020 and facing the cancer-related issues on a global level, with a network of esteemed professionals at the UICC and the world, reinforced my commitment to mitigate the anticipated challenges, particularly for the most vulnerable communities. Furthermore, to remain impacting the lives of people living with cancer, especially children, while ensuring access to quality healthcare & treatment for the near and far future.
My network of professional and civil societies will enable me to lead and influence others in the region and globally through all the successful means of communications, the UICC channels, and the organization of regular regional and international meetings.
I have been working in cancer prevention for almost 25 years and from the beginning I was challenged to consider the European and global dimension in all the projects we develop. The Portuguese League Against Cancer has been a full member of the UICC since 1983 and that is why I knew and recognized its various efforts over the years to bring all organizations together in the same objective: to fight cancer. UICC is really a reference for me as it is a supportive and innovative organization that seeks to fill the gaps towards equity and universal care for all.
I have been part of UICC Board of Directors for the last 4 years, which has allowed me to grow professionally, get in touch with new realities and reformulate the way I work in my own country. On the other hand, I firmly believe that it is very important to project the future wisely, bearing in mind the lessons and insights of the past, which is achieved through the continuity articulated with the renewal of the Board of Directors.
I believe that my experience in cancer prevention and health education, in addition to my knowledge of tobacco and HPV issues, especially working with young people, will be useful for the coming years and challenges at UICC.
Finally, as the only representative of the Southern and Mediterranean countries of Europe, I would very much like to have the opportunity to be on the UICC Board of Directors for a final term, to continue the work, do more and do it better.
Half of my life was dedicated to Cancer Prevention and Health Education and the various projects I developed over the years allowed me to explore all the theoretical knowledge of Psychology applying it to Health Education in various environments, formal and informal.
Over the years, other responsibilities and projects ended up being assigned to me, which allowed me to broaden the understanding of cancer beyond prevention, namely with regard to patient support or capacity building. I also progressed from working on the ground for a team management position and I believe that both perspectives are important once on the UICC Board of Directors. In addition to work at regional and national level I also had the opportunity to represent my institution at European level, which allowed me to create strong links and networks, notably with regard to smoking prevention and the European Code Against Cancer guidelines and communications, which could strengthen the UICC membership and partnership dimension.
Being Portuguese is also a strong point in my favor as a representative of southern European and Mediterranean countries, but also because it allows me to communicate with many Portuguese-speaking countries (namely in Africa) but also with so many immigrant communities around the world. Finally, I think it's important for the UICC Board of Directors to have some continuity and that's what I guarantee if I stay there for another two years.
Miami, United States of America
As a native Brazilian who has lived and worked in Asia, Latin and North America, I have seen first hand the issues that hamper cancer control spanning three continents and settings from low to high income countries, including underserved areas in the latter. These experiences have cemented my conviction that as a united community we can promote greater equity and bring cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment to the global health and development agendas, reducing the burden of the disease around the world. Cancer has also touched my personal and family life, which moves me to fight the disease with even more tenacity and effort. Over the years, I have developed a network of contacts and friends in governments, civil society, academic and United Nations organizations, which I hope to leverage in supporting UICC's missions and priorities of bringing together the cancer community and world leaders, building capacity to meet regional and national goals, and transforming commitments into local actions.
I am a practicing physician, and accomplished researcher, educator, administrator, and cancer advocate, as well as a leader in Global Oncology and cancer control. I have closely collaborated with researchers, policy makers and patient advocates around the world. I have run hundreds of clinical trials, which have led to the approval of several anticancer agents, as well as health economics, access and outcomes studies that aimed to inform policy makers and support advocates in increasing access to cancer medications around the world. I have served as an expert to the WHO and the IAEA in official cancer-related missions and I have advised on national cancer control plans in Asia and Latin America. I have served in leadership positions with oncology societies in Singapore, Brazil and the United States, including ASCO’s International Affairs Committee. I have also supported UICC’s missions in several forms. As Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Global Oncology, a collaboration with UICC, I have led the Journal to become the main outlet for Global Oncology research. I was also co-chair of UICC’s review of the WHO Essential Medicines List for cancer and I have served on the Technical Board of the City Cancer Challenge initiative.
Mexico City, Mexico
Since I witnessed the extraordinary global work of the UICC, representing the voice of millions of patients through 1,200 member organizations in 172 countries, I had clear in my mind I wanted to be part of the main decisions’ body inside the UICC with one objective: to share, spread and replicate the benefits of using the law against cancer as I do in Mexico.
Fortunately, I was elected Member of the Board of Directors for the 2020-2022 term. During this time, I have had the opportunity of leading UICC’s organizations members of Latin America region in three routes:
I would like to continue my work at the UICC Board of Directors under the leadership of our following 2022-2024 President: Professor Jeff Dunn.
Due to the above is why today I am respectfully asking you to vote for me to be reelected.
I will continue working hard and passionately, and the most important: together. This battle needs all of us and only together we will bring down cancer!
As a persistent and passionate Mexican Lawyer, I am most determined to contribute to increasing the defense of cancer patient’s rights using my legal knowledge and international experience.
Acting as President of Cancers Warriors of Mexico Foundation I have led different legal initiatives and law amendments in the field of cancer control:
Today, more than 6,000 parents of children diagnosed with cancer have the right to ask for an occupational leave for up to 1 year with 60% of their salary paid by the Mexican government.
Additionally, we lead the #CancerInTheAgenda movement which seeks to commit candidates for public positions to promote actions for the benefit of cancer patients. Currently we count with more than 500 allies among governors, senators, federal and local representatives, and mayors.
Thanks to this movement we obtained the unanimous approval of our legal initiative #OneDayAgainstCancer in three Mexican states to provide one paid day off to workers to carry out studies for early detection of breast, cervix and prostate cancer.
We are working is the promotion of the General Cancer Law to set the basis of the Mexican Cancer Control Plan with the corresponding public budget for its execution.
My fight is in memory of those who fought and are no longer with us, as Tere, my mother, for those who fought bravely and survived, for those who are currently fighting and for those who will have to face the challenge. We are all in this together!
I seek to be of added value as a leader, as a visionary, as an advocate to Cancer care and most importantly as a CEO who strives to advance research that fills the gaps in our understanding of cancer in the Arab world, empower life-saving treatment and the much needed cutting-edge research across the Middle East by investing in clinical and academic priorities to enhance overall service and provide a holistic patient experience in which will ultimately alleviate the human suffering in similar, affected areas.
This is where my true calling lies, starting from prevention to survivorship, we successfully managed to provide the optimum portfolio of services “through delivering excellence in all clinical and non-clinical activities” and “building regional & international network with high level, eminent intuitions” which ultimately paved the way for KHCC to stand out today as a renowned, leading state-of-the art Cancer Center in the Region and an international Cancer care hub sought from around the world.
I also seek to build network of international collaborations by developing valuable ties with medical, research, and academic institutions worldwide and learn new skills to adapt and apply in pursuit of providing access to education, training, public awareness and moving towards excellence by working to enhance overall patient care through improving the patient experience logistically, psychologically, & medically.
In my mission to transfer our success story/unique experience, I have successfully managed to establish regional and international programs under my guidance by promoting preventive measures and delivering all stages of comprehensive Cancer care by treating patients as a “whole”, focusing on their physical, emotional and social well-being.
In pursuit of these continuous efforts, I also focused my outreach initiatives as a leader, towards positioning KHCC regionally as a leading Oncology center by capitalizing on recent advancements and success in the fields of cancer control, cancer care, and oncology training and research, throughout:
As for my collaboration with UICC, I was shortlisted for the Best CEO Award in 2018 and participated with UICC as a speaker at various Leadership Summits over the years and was determined to highlight our success story and further explore ways to expand access of Cancer care to neighboring developing Countries facing similar challenges
It is a critical time for cancer control globally! As a result of the pandemic, we saw a considerable decline in cancer funding and efforts. Through various initiatives, we now starting to have a more connected, dedicated, enthusiastic, global workforce along the entire cancer continuum! I intend to help us leverage our collective strengths and connections in order to innovate and amplify collaborative, region appropriate, evidence based, data driven solutions that help us to improve journeys for cancer patients and to address current gaps! Practical regional research and mentorship, developing sustainable models for health worker/faculty education and advocating for enabling policy with a patient-centric focus will be key areas I intend to support and help build!
As a current board member, I have had the honor of serving in various areas including as chair for the Commonwealth taskforce for the elimination of Cervical Cancer and on the ATOM coalition committee to improve access to cancer medicines. With these efforts, we have had considerable commitments from policy makers, and stakeholders and I hope to help amplify and actualize these strategies to improve both women's health and access to essential medicines globally in the next two years . I hope to lend my collaborative skills to connect and build more regional multidisciplinary communities of practice, especially along capacity building around women's health and universal health coverage. Through the regional dialogues and increasing engagement through my leadership roles at AORTIC and KESHO, I hope to help expand the involvement of African nations with UICC, especially those in Francophone and Lusophone regions. It is the anticipation that through these efforts we can foster greater connectedness for all African countries, in the global oncology discourse. As an oncologist practicing in an LMIC, I am able to reflect on 'pain points', but also on opportunities to help improve cancer care delivery! With my experience in policy in Kenya as the co-Chair of the National Cancer Taskforce and in other parts of Africa, I am able to provide strategies to help develop resilient health policy in these and other regions. I believe we collectively have the ability to build back better!
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Being in charge of the reference center for cancer control in Brazil since 2016 is an honor and a challenge. Leading a cancer public institution in a middle-income country, with so many other health issues, including Covid, demands technical knowledge, managerial skills and mainly empathy - in the sense of understanding patients’ and families’ suffering, as well as the demands of individuals at risk or suspected of having cancer. As a continental country, Brazil has diverse scenarios that reflect different stages of cancer control and, consequently, possible solutions in public policies. Therefore, I have been able to contribute to improve the quality of care services, research projects and public policies in charge of the Institute. International collaborations were enlarged to advance its reach and scope of action. We have strengthened ties in South-South Cooperation both with Latin America and with Portuguese Speaking Countries in Africa, reinforcing the Brazilian commitment towards the 2030 Agenda. The experience as a member of the UICC Board of Directors allowed me to accumulate knowledge in supporting the cancer community to reduce the cancer burden, promote greater equity and ensure cancer control in the center of the health agenda. Through the exchange of knowledge and experiences with colleagues of the Board and the extensive network of UICC members, I hope to expand and improve the convening, capacity building and advocacy strategies carried out around the world.
I started my career at the National Cancer Institute, Brazil, 30 years ago as a medical resident and later as an anesthesiologist. The experience in the care of cancer patients qualified me to be nominated INCA’s Director General in 2016. The practice of Innovative Leadership in Health allowed me to better develop management skills, targeting the accomplishment of the Institute’s strategic actions. For the past six years, I have participated in several initiatives for cancer control internationally, nationally and locally. At the national level, I highlight the National Plan for Chronic Diseases 2021-2030 and the Plan for the Expansion of Radiotherapy in the Public Health System (SUS). At the local level, some achievements were the launch of INCA's science, technology and innovation policy in 2020 and the Institute’s Strategic Planning 2020-2023, which guided efforts to develop strategies that advance work processes and enhance results, with better outcomes to patients. Internationally, I underline the technical cooperation programs with Portuguese Speaking Countries in Africa, working closely with partners to improve and strengthen cancer control policies in LMICs. Being the sole representative of a Latin American country at the IARC Governing Council and a member of the UICC Board of Directors allows me to bring to these environments my professional experience at INCA, the work on international organizations and my personal and professional commitment to cancer control.
I would like to serve on the Board of Directors of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to intensify efforts at global cancer control and work towards eliminating disparities in access and affordability. The UICC is uniquely positioned to advance the cause of cancer control by promoting all aspects of cancer control from prevention, early detection, access to care, palliation, and survivorship. The global nature and diversity of its membership enables the UICC to drive advocacy, and directly influence on-the-ground work, with direct impact on the lives of millions of patients with cancer across the world. I would like to leverage my extensive experience of over 20 years in cancer control towards contributing to the UICC efforts in equity and access. By virtue of leading the National Cancer Grid in India, many initiatives that I have been involved in overlap with the UICC activities currently. Having served on the UICC Board for the past two years, I am familiar with most of the initiatives, and I am confident of being able to contribute further in the next two years. With over 70% of new patients with cancer annually likely to be diagnosed from LMICs, it would be critical for voices from LMICs like India to push the UICC agenda for global cancer control in these countries.
I have been an international leader in global cancer control for the past decade, and was recently awarded the Rachel Pearline Global Cancer Research Humanitarian award by the National Cancer Institute, US. I head the National Cancer Grid in India which is a large network of 272 cancer centres in the country. I am highly committed to efforts towards reducing inequities in cancer care and making cancer treatment accessible to all geographic regions and strata of society. As Director of the Tata Memorial Hospital, I lead the strategy team for the largest cancer centre in India. I have worked on several national and international cancer control programmes including the international component of the National Cancer Grid and IAEA impact reviews. As a member of the UICC Board over the past two years, I have worked closely with the UICC in several subcommittees including membership and the knowledge attitude and practice. I also work with the City Cancer Challenge initiative and have mentored cities in cancer control. I have also been part of several WHO groups including strategic management of cancer, medical devices amongst others. I work with Cancer Research UK as well as ASCO in their committees on international research and education. I will continue to contribute to the Board of Directors at the UICC by the depth of experience and wide expertise that I have accumulated over the years.
As a practicing oncologist and researcher in health policy and economics, I am deeply committed to health equity, global health, and cancer control. My research on improving global access to cancer care and on the economics of cancer delivery has been recognized by the WHO and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and I have contributed to Lancet and Lancet Oncology Commissions in these areas. I have applied this experience and my passion to the UICC Board of Directors over the last four years. As the first UICC Young Leader on the Board, I have also brought the voice of the next generation of cancer leaders to the organization. I am dedicated to the aims of UICC and to developing innovative strategies to engage its members, particularly young cancer professionals, in its mission.
As Director of the Global Cancer Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Chair of the Canadian Global Cancer Network, I have brought together institutions from countries around the world to collaborate on clinical care, research, education, leadership development and advocacy. Cooperation has provided critical mutual support for patients, providers, and cancer control organizations over the last two years. Indeed, the need for such international synergy and innovation has never been greater and UICC provides an important platform for knowledge exchange. It would be a great honour to continue to contribute UICC’s mission and to work with the outstanding leaders on its Board of Directors.
My experience in clinical practice, policy, research, and in global cancer control initiatives have allowed me to make meaningful contributions to UICC and its Board of Directors. As the first UICC Young Leader on the Board, I worked with colleagues to develop the Young Leader Alumni Programme to engage future generations of cancer leaders. As Chair of the UICC Knowledge, Advocacy, and Policy Committee, I supported UICC’s cancer advocacy regionally and internationally. I also serve on the UICC Advisory Committees to the Access to Oncology Medicines (ATOM) Coalition to improve affordability of cancer medicines, and to the UICC Solidarity Fund for Ukraine to support displaced cancer patients. Continuing to serve on the Board would provide growth and continuity on these and other initiatives.
As a physician, I understand the frontline challenges in cancer control and, as a health systems researcher, I appreciate the evidence needed to create change. As a cancer centre leader, I understand the nature and critical importance of global partnerships to improve knowledge translation and prevention, screening, and treatment for underserved populations. Princess Margaret has a longstanding commitment to UICC, and I have personally been highly engaged in its Congresses, Summits, Task Forces, and Master Courses. I would bring this experience to the Board, along with the perspective of a new generation of leaders and a deep personal and professional commitment to cancer control.
Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
Please note that Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu is also a candidate for the position of President-elect
Cancer now ranks as the first or second leading cause of premature death (among those 30–69 years of age) in 134 countries of the world. UICC members are therefore united in our cause to address the growing cancer burden. I am passionate about mobilising this unity of purpose of our union towards expanding access to the cancer control continuum. As health systems navigate recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Union for International Cancer Control’s role in helping to bridge existing inequities in access to quality cancer care is significantly more relevant. Our convening power is so important today as we respond to humanitarian crises such as the support needed for cancer patients in and displaced from Ukraine.
My focus for my next term, as a Board member, will be, creating access to affordable tools we all need to fight cancer in our countries. Cancer patients in high-income countries (HICs) are exploring the benefits of cancer innovations like genomic science, cutting-edge clinical trials and increasing use of artificial intelligence. These kinds of innovations should cut across all demographics, along with the research skills to adapt their use to support patients’ needs locally. So far, despite persistent advocacy with our partners in non-communicable diseases (NCDs), global health funds and investments in cancer health systems are not reaching our field fast enough. I therefore pledge that, if elected, I will continue to work with other members to close the care gap
I am a patient advocate and a consultant paediatrician, I have had the pleasure of serving on the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) Board of Directors since 2018. I am founder & CEO, Medicaid Cancer Foundation which is passionate about improving cancer health literacy in our community, supporting access to diagnosis and treatment but also advocating for change – meaningful policies and building of capacities to drive research and implementation that is right for my country. Finally, and most humbly, I am the First Lady of Kebbi State, Nigeria, a role which I continue to leverage to put cancer prevention and control in the spotlight on global, regional, and national stages.
As a serving board member, I am proud to have played a role in UICC flagship activities such as the Global Breast Cancer Initiative; Access to Oncology Medicines (ATOM) and the International Taskforce on Cervical Cancer Elimination in the Commonwealth, which present an enviable opportunity for UICC to be a driver of closing the gap, I see these as excellent opportunities for UICC members to share real-life barriers and work on solutions together. As a patient advocate, paediatrician and Africa cancer policy expert, I too have had first-hand experience of the pains in access to cancer care. I am committed to facilitating bringing our stories to those global dialogues which will make our activities richer and importantly more impactful.
The world around us is undergoing challenging and extraordinary times. Health care systems have been tested like never before. Many of us have lost loved ones. In order to reduce the global cancer burden we need resilient health care systems, as well as societies that enable us to live healthy lives.
But in times of challenge there are also opportunities.
A recent survey from the UICC shows that two thirds of UICC members across the globe anticipate a decline in income in the medium term. More than half also anticipate a reduction in organizational activities or services as a result. You and your colleagues may already be feeling the effects of the huge economic challenges and rapid changes ahead of us.
The pandemic has widened and highlighted the inequities in health between countries and within them, and the economic downturn seen in many countries is adding fuel to the fire. Unless we accelerate our work we risk a backlash in the global fight against cancer.
As UICC’s treasurer I know firsthand that a lot of the fantastic work that member organizations do to achieve this goal comes down to funding and resource mobilization. The UICC needs to tackle the core of the problem head on. We need to step up and provide even better access to funding opportunities, to highlight the issue, and take our shared commitment to the next level. We need platforms to exchange experiences and best practices in order to give quick access to relevant information and resources during this time of crisis.
I believe that the UICC can inspire more partners and decision-makers to facilitate the leap in the fight against cancer that is within our reach. With the technology and knowledge of today, the vision of defeating cancer does not have to be merely a dream. It should be a serious worldwide commitment.
UICC plays a unique role with its purpose “to unite and support the cancer community to reduce the global cancer burden, to promote greater equity, and to ensure that cancer control continues to be a priority in the world health and development agenda”.
We, together, can make it happen. And it would be my great honor to lead the UICC movement in this progress.
I have served on the UICC Board of Directors for the last four years. I possess a strong knowledge of the working of the UICC and I am actively involved in the current strategy review process.
For the last two years I have served as Treasurer and chair of the Finance, Risk and Audit Committee and I have been actively involved in a number of other committees and working groups. I have chaired the Knowledge, Advocacy and Policy Committee and during that time we set out five advocacy priority areas – NCCP’s (national cancer control plans), Cervical cancer, Tobacco control, AMR (antimicrobial resistance) and Equity.
I have been a member of the AMR task force, the ATOM coalition task force and I am now a member of the Strategy Review Task Force, the Governance Committee, the Congress and World Cancer Leaders’ Summit Committee, the KAP Committee and the Advisory Board of the UICC Solidarity Fund for Ukraine.
For more than 20 years I have devoted my efforts into strategic leadership and advocacy. I have lead large and complex organizations in times of change and crisis. Since 2016 I am the Secretary General of the Swedish Cancer Society. During these years we have almost doubled our fundraising to become the largest fundraising organization in Northern Europe. We have increased our funding to cancer research by 40 %. I have actively participated in the general debate on cancer control and played a strong advocacy role.
I hold a number of leadership positions, building on my previous experience as Secretary General of the Swedish Red Cross. My 10 years in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement provided me with a comprehensive understanding of international work, collaboration and resource mobilization. My previous role has given me experience in negotiating with governments, financiers and member associations.
Additionally, I have extensive experience in governance as chair and member of boards such as; the Swedish Arts Council, the Royal Dramatic Theatre, the Swedish Young Academy, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, the Nordic Cancer Union, Magtoys Inc, the Folke Bernadotte Academy: Swedish agency for peace, security and development, and the Swedish Food Agency. I am often appointed by the Government but also by private sector parties. I understand governance responsibilities, and the distinction between board and staff leadership. I am also a recurring lecturer on a reputable chairmanship training program.
As a leader, I believe in fair play, as well as a transparent and inclusive leadership because I know that we can achieve more together than on our own. Considering the challenges that lie ahead of us I think this is exactly what, the UICC as an organization, need.
As President of the UICC, it would be my mission to lead the UICC in the newly formulated strategic direction. The strategy review was a process where all members were able to participate as equal stakeholders, which makes the process just as important as the result.
When I write this, the strategy is not yet finalized. It will be approved by the UICC Board in September and presented to the General Assembly in October. However, the Board has reassessed our long-term ambitions based on the changing landscape of cancer control.
We have reached out to members, partners and global health leaders to understand the challenges and trends that will influence global cancer control in the future. We have analyzed data and made conclusions leading us to a number of overarching priorities i.e.;
- We need to ensure that governments invest in cancer control.
- We need to scale up our work on tobacco control.
- We need to address the inequity gap between low and high income countries, within countries and regions.
My ambition as President is to continue the transition of the UICC into an even more strategic organization. I want the UICC to have more impact in the long-term, whilst at the same time, continuing to be an organization with real-time value for all its members today.
The information contained in each of the Board member profile has been provided by the Board member themselves. UICC's role is limited to providing the platform for the candidates to share their information and views. The views expressed by the candidates are not those of UICC. Any use, disclosure or unauthorised reproduction of this information is prohibited.
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