A Great IDEA: Celebrating 15 Years of the International Development and Education Award

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In 2017, ASCO and the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO are proud to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the International Development and Education Award (IDEA). The IDEA program supports the professional development of early-career oncologists in low- and middle-income countries around the world. 

IDEA recipients are paired with ASCO members in the United States or Canada who serve as scientific mentors. As part of the award experience, recipients attend the ASCO Annual Meeting, participate in a post-meeting visit to their mentor’s institution, and develop long-term relationships that will help improve cancer care in their home countries. In addition, IDEA recipients receive 3 years of complimentary ASCO membership, including a subscription to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, to support their professional journey. 

The International Development and Education Award in Palliative Care (IDEA-PC) provides recipients with medical education in palliative care, assists them with career development, and helps them establish strong relationships with leading ASCO members in the field of palliative care who serve as scientific mentors. The IDEA-PC program enables recipients to attend sessions at the ASCO Annual Meeting that address symptom management, communication, end-of-life care, and other relevant topics. As with IDEA recipients, IDEA-PC recipients are expected to share the knowledge and training they receive through the program with colleagues in their home countries once they return.

In honor of the IDEA program’s milestone year, we look back at the original formation of the award, as well as recognize this year’s IDEA and IDEA-PC recipients.

The Origins of the International Development and Education Award
by Lawrence H. Einhorn, MD, FASCO

I have always recognized the fact that the American Society of Clinical Oncology is a misnomer, as we truly are a worldwide organization. Issues of global oncology are relevant especially in low- and middle-income countries, where people do not have the same access to medical education and cancer treatment as in Western Europe, Australia, North America, and other high-income regions. 

Lawrence H. Einhorn, MD, FASCO

Lawrence H. Einhorn, MD, FASCO

The ASCO Annual Meeting is the world’s leading cancer research and education meeting, bringing together more than 30,000 oncology professionals from around the world. In the 1990s, the international audience for the ASCO Annual Meeting was primarily oncologists from high-resource areas or senior oncologists. These international attendees made major contributions to the Annual Meeting, and their travel costs were often covered by industry sponsorship. However, cancer is an equal, if not larger, problem in low- and middle-income countries. Bright and ambitious junior oncologists never had the opportunity to attend the ASCO Annual Meeting because they did not have the financial capabilities. Furthermore, ASCO can be a confusing meeting for a first-time attendee. 

Therefore, in 2002, with the support of The ASCO Foundation (now known as the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO), we instituted an International Travel Grant, which was later renamed the International Development and Education Award (IDEA). This competitive award allows young investigators from low- and middle-income countries (as defined by the World Bank) to attend the ASCO Annual Meeting by covering their travel and expenses. Furthermore, they are assigned a mentor to guide them through the maze of the simultaneous sessions and help them make face-to-face connections with other attendees. More recently, again with the support of the Conquer Cancer Foundation, those chosen for this award have the opportunity to spend 3 days in a North American cancer center for direct contact and training with the mentor and the mentor’s institution. IDEA now represents a highly coveted award for both mentors and mentees.

The IDEA program has exceeded my expectations. The recipients of these awards—328 over 15 years—are able to pay it forward and continue cancer education and high-quality treatment in their home institution and country. They represent a new generation of national and international leaders in global oncology.

I am proud of my small role in instituting this program, but especially appreciate the support of the Conquer Cancer Foundation, the ASCO International Affairs Department, and their staff in making it a reality. Most of all, I congratulate the IDEA recipients of the past 15 years for their hard work and dedication to improving the care of patients with cancer. 

Dr. Einhorn served as 2000–2001 ASCO President, during which time he envisioned and championed the travel program that eventually became known as the International Development and Education Award (IDEA). He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Medicine and the LIVESTRONG Foundation Professor of Oncology at Indiana University School of Medicine. He has been an ASCO member since 1974. 

Apply for 2018 International Development and Education Award 

ASCO and the Conquer Cancer Foundation encourage all those who meet the following eligibility criteria to apply for the IDEA and IDEA-PC:

  • You must be a current resident of a country classified by the World Bank as a low- or middle-income country, with limited resources to attend the ASCO Annual Meeting.
  • You must not have completed more than 1 academic year of formal training (for instance, attended medical school or participated in internships, fellowships, or residency programs) in a country classified by the World Bank as high-income.
  • You must be a Full Member, Member-in-Training, or International Corresponding Member of ASCO or submit a membership application in one of these categories.
  • You must be less than 10 years past your oncology training program.
  • You must be fluent in English (both writing and speaking).
  • For IDEA-PC, you must have a demonstrated interest in integrating palliative and supportive care into your institution. This may be shown by attending courses on the topic, participating in related clinical activities, etc.

For more information about the eligibility criteria and application process, visit CONQUER.ORG/IDEA. Applications open August 1, 2017, and close October 31, 2017.

Interested in Being an IDEA or IDEA-PC Mentor?

ASCO Full Members practicing in the United States or Canada, in all disciplines of oncology, are encouraged to mentor IDEA and IDEA-PC recipients. Mentors host recipients for 3-day visits following the ASCO Annual Meeting and support their ongoing professional development. Upon the mentees’ return to their home institution, it is expected they will remain in touch with mentors. This ongoing communication opens up opportunities for consulting and collaborating in the future.

Visit and select “Volunteer with ASCO International” to learn more, or e-mail to volunteer and request additional information.

2017 IDEA and IDEA-PC Recipients

ASCO and the Conquer Cancer Foundation congratulate this year’s 20 IDEA recipients and 4 IDEA-PC recipients.

2017 IDEA Recipients

  • Nida Anwar, MBBS, FCPS
    National Institute of Blood Diseases and Bone Marrow Transplant: Karachi, Pakistan
  • Daniel Araujo, MD
    A.C.Camargo Cancer Center: Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Maria Diana Aileen Bautista, MD
    Benavides Cancer Institute, University of Santo Tomas Hospital: Manila, Philippines
  • Joseph Bernard, MD
    St Luke Family Hospital: Port-au-Prince, Haiti
  • Simonida Bobic, MD
    Institute for Oncology and Radiology of Serbia: Belgrade, Serbia
  • Voc Tai Dang, MD
  • Nuclear Medicine and Oncology Center, Bach Mai Hospital: Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Rotimi Adedeji David, MBBS, FWACS
    Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex: Ile-Ife, Nigeria
  • José Enrique Gonzales Nogales, MD
    Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Zulfiyya Imamguliyeva, MD
    Azerbaijan State Advanced Training Institute for Doctors named after A.Aliyev: Baku, Azerbaijan
  • Shakilu Kayungo, MD
    University of Dodoma: Dodoma, Tanzania
  • Evgeniya Kharchenko, MD
    N.N.Petrov Institution of Oncology: St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
  • Tahir Mehmood, MBBS, FCPS
    Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre: Lahore, Pakistan
  • Raj Mohan, MBBS
    All India Institute of Medical Science: New Delhi, India
  • Omar Peña-Curiel, MD
    Instituto Nacional de Cancerología: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Sandra Ileana Pérez Álvarez, MD
    Instituto Nacional de Cancerología: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Srinivas Rajagopala, MBBS, MD
    PSG Institute of Medical Education & Research: Coimbatore, India
  • Manglio Rizzo, MD
    Instituto Alexander Fleming: Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Fidel Rubagumya, MD
    Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Paolo Sogono, MD, BS
    Benavides Cancer Institute: Manila, Philippines
  • Lucksamon Thamlikitkul, MD
    Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University: Bangkok, Thailand

2017 IDEA-PC Recipients

  • Mirza Jacqueline Alcalde Castro, MD
    Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Diah Martina, MD
    Faculty of Medicine Universitas Indonesia: Jakarta, Indonesia
  • André Filipe Junqueira dos Santos, MD, PhD
    Ribeirão Preto Medical School: São Paulo, Brazil
  • Wah Wah Myint Zu, MBBS
    Yangon General Hospital: Yangon, Myanmar. ■

Originally published in ASCO Connection. © American Society of Clinical Oncology. “A Great IDEA: Celebrating 15 Years of the International Development and Education Award.” ASCO Connection, July 2017. All rights reserved.