On February 25th - February 28th, SACIV hosted eight Russian IVLP participants examining the theme of “Cancer Care, Prevention & Public Health Education." Through this program, we aimed to provide participants with the opportunity to examine public health communication campaigns on cancer awareness and prevention, to visit medical centers and resident programs on oncology, and to examine the role of cancer foundations in professional and public health education.
The first meeting in San Antonio introduced them to a representative of the Cancer Research Training Program, a graduate and postdoctoral training program for cancer research supported by funds from the National Cancer Institute and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. The IVLP group learned about the Ph.D and M.D. students’ journey and evaluation as members of the Cancer Biology Track or Radiological Sciences Graduate Program. It was quite fascinating for participants to explore the structure of the educational curriculum and the experiences of the students in the program.
Their next meeting was with staff of the South Texas Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, who welcomed our group to their new facility where they shared about how they are a voluntary health agency dedicated to addressing issues related to blood cancers. It was helpful for our visitors to learn about local efforts to support patients and provide public and professional educational opportunities.
Later that day, our guests met with the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation, a grassroots advocacy, education, and support organization that addresses issues related to breast cancer. The personal life experience of the speaker outlined the importance of lobbying and advocacy efforts with the public, health professionals, and policymakers to expand knowledge, resources, and services for and about breast cancer. The organization’s advocacy campaigns to improve access to and quality of care for breast cancer were well-presented and inspiring for our guests from Russia.
The next day, these visitors met with representatives of the Down Syndrome Association of South Texas to learn about their mission and purpose. The group found the conversation about their programs and support for children with Down Syndrome very informative.
Their final meeting took place at the Mays Cancer Center, the newly named center at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson, where they met with representatives of the San Antonio Cancer Council, an all- volunteer, non-profit organization that funds the fight against cancer. The IVLP guests learned about how their membership model and special events support the immediate needs of patients and future patients through research. They also discussed how the organization engages the community to raise funds to support cancer research and cancer patients, exploring its fundraising events and outreach campaigns. The highlight of this meeting was the tour of their facilities where they learned about modern equipment used to treat patients and met with a Professor and Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, who was able to answer their many questions.
The program was intensive and was able to cover a wide array of diverse meetings across San Antonio. The Russian delegation was grateful to be able to learn about the wide range of research and clinical trials programs available in our city. #ExchangeMatters