Women's College Research Institute

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Visiting professor discusses global initiatives to close the cancer divide

From Connect, June 16, 2014

Dr. Felicia Knaul
Dr. Felicia Knaul

On May 23, 2014, Women’s College Research Institute (WCRI) hosted Dr. Felicia Knaul at the WCRI Research Rounds for a presentation on Closing the Global Cancer Divide: Lessons from Mexico. Dr. Knaul is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative, where she serves as director of the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control.

Staff, scientists and trainees from Women’s College Hospital (WCH), the University of Toronto and the Toronto Academic Health Science Network attended Dr. Knaul’s talk, where she shared some of her personal experiences as a breast cancer patient in Mexico and some of the work she is doing to expand access to cancer care and control in low- and middle-income countries.

"I am always inspired to hear about Felicia's pioneering work and how she is using her own very personal story, along with the best evidence, to highlight the tremendous challenges and opportunities to fighting cancer globally,” says Dr. Ophira Ginsburg, a scientist at WCRI.

Dr. Knaul spoke about Cáncer de Mama: Tómatelo a Pecho, a non-profit organization she founded to promote early detection and effective treatment for breast cancer in Latin America.

She also shared some of the findings from a book she co-authored and -edited, Closing the Cancer Divide: An Equity Imperative, which summarizes the first two years of work by the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control at the Harvard Global Equity Initiative. The book challenges and disproves myths that suggest addressing cancer in developing countries is unnecessary, unaffordable, unattainable and inappropriate.

Following the talk, Dr. Knaul joined women faculty members for a session of tea and conversation hosted by the Gender Issues Committee.

“The discussion was an opportunity to share perspectives with women in medicine and hear more about Dr. Knaul’s unique experiences,” says Dr. Paula Rochon, vice-president, research, WCH.

Dr. Knaul’s presentation at WCH was generously sponsored by the Shoppers Drug Mart WOMEN program.

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