The first 10 participants in the new Leadership Programme for Women in Oncology have been announced. The program, a joint endeavour from ASCO and City Cancer Challenge Foundation (C/Can), seeks to address the specific challenges and barriers faced by women leaders in oncology and strengthen the leadership mindsets and skills of women working to improve access to equitable, quality cancer care in C/Can cities.
The Leadership Programme for Women in Oncology will help to prepare mid-career women oncologists in LMICs to lead change in the cancer care sector and foster a network that can pave the way for a new generation of women. The 10 women selected for the inaugural class are each from a different C/Can city:
- Arequipa, Peru: Dr. Livia Martínez
- Asuncion, Paraguay: Dr. Jazmin Servin Brizuela
- Cali, Colombia: Dr. Carolina López Ordóñez
- Greater Petaling, Malaysia: Dr. Suniza Jamaris
- Kigali, Rwanda: Dr. Ndoli Diane Andrea
- Kumasi, Ghana: Dr. Vivian Paintsil
- Leon, Mexico: Dr. Karina Senyase Zamarripa Martinez
- Nairobi, Kenya: Dr. Helena Musau
- Porto Alegre, Brazil: Dr. Fernanda Casarotto
- Tbilisi, Georgia: Dr. Marina Maglakelidze.
Commenting on the confirmation of the 10 candidates, ASCO Chief Medical Officer Julie R. Gralow, MD, FACP, FASCO, said, “This program lays the foundations for the creation of a network of female leaders in cancer care. By focusing on strengthening the key power skills of women oncologists in LMICs, we can generate lasting change in their cancer care sectors.”
C/Can’s experience in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) has demonstrated the importance of local leadership, ownership, and capacity development crucial for the long-term sustainability of projects. Yet, while women represent almost 70% of the global health and social workforce, it is estimated they hold only 25% of senior roles.
By investing in a group of women oncologists who are key to local cancer care efforts in their respective cities, C/Can and ASCO seek to ensure the continuity of their work and to generate a multiplier effect. Through the programme, C/Can also aims to further explore opportunities and effective ways to support leadership roles for women and contribute to reducing gender disparities in the healthcare sector.
The program will begin with a face-to-face meeting at the World Cancer Congress, October 18–20, in Geneva, where participants will get to know the rest of the cohort, sit down with mentors, and start working on their projects. Over the following nine months, participants will attend virtual meetings focusing on strengthening key executive skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, leadership, adaptability, and emotional intelligence.
The program will conclude next June at the 2023 ASCO Annual Meeting, during which participants will join a number of virtual sessions hosted by ASCO covering a diverse range of topics to strengthen leadership mindsets and power skills. During these sessions, participants will have the opportunity to engage with inspiring experts and leaders selected by C/Can and ASCO. A final in-person workshop at this meeting will bring participants together to present their group projects and receive certificates of completion certificates.
After finishing the program, graduates will have the opportunity to enrol for intergenerational mentorship support with ASCO members, during which graduates will receive expert guidance and advice on how to put their knowledge into practice, as well as feedback and support on ideas, innovative approaches, and projects to advance cancer treatment and care in their cities.
 World Health Organization. “Closing the leadership gap: gender equity and leadership in the global health and care workforce.” June 2021. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240025905. Accessed August 19, 2022.