The American Cancer Society (ACS) has selected four organizations in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia to host young scholars seeking advocacy work experience in women’s cancer prevention and early detection.
The initiative was announced on International Women’s Day, March 8. The funding comes from the All of Me program the society started this year. It is part of a public-private partnership with Merck KGaA.
Each Latin American organization will receive $15,000 to support the recruitment, selection, and mentorship of students and young professionals.
All of Me is a cancer education program for women and girls. Its aims are to provide women with opportunities to obtain a comprehensive understanding of their health, to reduce their risk of cancer, and to increase their ability to spot cancer signs earlier, for better outcomes.
The programs in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia recognize that primary and reproductive healthcare and workplace settings are keys to ensuring that women obtain information on prevention and early detection of cervical and breast cancer — and information that reduces their risk of developing other cancers.
Brazil’s program is called Tudo sobre mim, and Mexico and Colombia’s programs Todo mi ser.
The host organization in Brazil is the Federação Brasileira de Instituções Filantrópicas de Apoio à Saúde da Mama, or FEMAMA. It is working in Porto Alegre to help healthcare units identify ways to enhance community workers’ impact on the most populous and vulnerable districts.
Community workers are key primary care players in Brazil’s public health system. FEMMA is working with them to promote women’s health.
In Mexico, the host organization is Tómatelo a Pecho. It is leading an effort to establish a multidisciplinary working group on women’s health and collaborating with public health institutions to promote an integrated approach to breast and cervical cancers. The organization is also developing an online women’s health training program.
Two organizations will host the young scholars in Colombia. One is the Liga Colombiana contra el Cáncer, which is working with healthcare providers in the Colombian Meta region to mentor and train primary care providers in women’s cancers.
The other is the Fundación para la Prevención y el Tratamiento del Cáncer. It is trying to increase and broaden the scope of its training activities in the Red de Salud Ladera, a network of healthcare providers serving vulnerable populations in Santiago de Cali.
“With these leading cancer organizations, the Young Scholars will have the opportunity to learn from experts and to develop critical skills in cancer prevention and early detection. It is an investment in the future of women’s health,” Sally Cowal, the cancer society’s senior vice president of global control, said in a press release.
“The toll of cancer in Latin America is huge, with over 1 million people diagnosed each year, and the bulk of this burden falls on women. Our scholars will be exceptional young adults who have an interest in women’s cancers and are about to take the first steps into their career. We want to ensure that they are equipped with the knowledge and resources that they need to be the most effective educators and advocates possible,” Cowal added.
The All of Me program is part of Merck’s Healthy Women, Healthy Economies initiative, which links women’s health and well-being with economic growth.