A Great IDEA: Supporting the Next Generation of Oncology Leaders in Low- and Middle-Income Countries 

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Leadership has been cited as a critical success factor for improving access to cancer care in low- and middle-income countries.1 Effective clinical leaders in these countries can be transformative by supporting the development of cancer treatments to meet the needs of their patients, by advocating for national and international anticancer policies, and by developing and leading national and regional organizations that can advance cancer control in a localized, sustainable way.

The Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO International Development and Education Award (IDEA) aims to support the development of oncology practice and improve access to cancer care in low- and middle-income countries by promoting the professional development of young oncologists from these countries. Each IDEA recipient is carefully matched with a senior ASCO member mentor. Recipients attend the ASCO Annual Meeting and participate in a post-Meeting visit to their mentor’s institution in the United States or Canada. The true emphasis, however, is on the ongoing mentoring relationship that continues after mentees return to their country.

Substantial Results

The IDEA program produces substantial results. There are currently 205 IDEA alumni from over 40 countries, many of whom have assumed leadership positions on ASCO committees and in their local societies; received fellowships and other research opportunities; pursued longer-term collaborations with their mentors; helped organize ASCO trainings and other activities in their countries; and, in some instances, created oncology societies where none previously existed. In addition, on average, each IDEA alumnus shares the information and new skills they learn with more than 80 colleagues in his/her country.

The application cycle for IDEA opens October 1. Visit to apply or to make a donation to the Conquer Cancer Foundation. ■


1. Knaul F, et al: Closing the cancer divide: A blueprint to expand access in low and middle income countries. Boston, Harvard Global Equity Initiative, 2011.

This article was partially excerpted from “ASCO and the Conquer Cancer Foundation: A Global Oncology Community Sharing Knowledge to Improve Patient Care,” published in Cancer Control 2013 on November 5, 2012, by publisher Global Health Dynamics. © 2013. American Society of Clinical
Oncology. All rights reserved.