C/Can welcomes three new members to our Board of Directors

We are very pleased to announce that three new highly skilled and experienced members will serve a term on our Board of Directors, effective from 1 May 2024. 

Dr Verna Vanderpuye, Dr Saunthari Somasundaram and Santiago Cornejo bring a wide array of experience and their unique perspective that will steer the City Cancer Challenge Foundation as we continue our mission to support cities in Low-and Middle-Income Countries to improve access to quality cancer care. 

Here’s what they had to say about C/Can  and our approach; 

I am very excited about becoming a board member to support C/Can’s growth and impact. I find C/Can extremely relevant, innovative, and unique in its model and focus. C/Can focuses on cities, which is extraordinarily attractive as a model because it is based on communities and moves decision-making as close as possible to the people it is trying to impact. Global health has been tackling communicable diseases for decades, but NCDs, particularly cancers, are the challenge for decades to come with the greatest needs in LMICs. C/Can could be a pathfinder in global health.

Santiago Cornejo.

Many countries in LMICs are challenged with the provision of innovative services in ageing health systems that are inadequately resourced. C/Can brings new exciting perspectives to stakeholders enabling collaborative efforts on common goals that drive transformation towards comprehensive, equitable healthcare.

Dr Saunthari Somasundaram.

A systems approach is the pragmatic route to changing the status quo. The C/Can mission is more likely to gain sustainable results in cancer outcomes and I love to be a part of this global initiative.

Dr Verna Vanderpuye

C/Can is delighted to have you on board!

More about the new directors

Santiago Cornejo

Santiago Cornejo has over 20 years of work experience in health financing and equitable access to health commodities. He started his career in academia at the Center for Global Health at George Washington University and later worked for six years at The World Bank on many projects related to health and immunization financing at the global and country levels. He joined the Gavi Alliance in 2008, where he held different responsibilities, including developing and managing Gavi’s eligibility, co-financing, and transition policies and Gavi’s middle-income strategy. In his last two years at Gavi, Santiago was a member of the team that developed the COVAX Facility, leading the design of countries’ eligibility, benefits, and contributions. Santiago was Director of Country Engagement in the Office of the COVAX Facility, overseeing the team responsible for managing the relationships with countries, particularly Middle and High-Income countries.

In 2022, Mr. Cornejo was appointed as Chief of the Revolving Fund for Access to Vaccines at the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and is currently the Executive Manager for PAHO’s Regional Revolving Funds, which includes the Revolving Fund for Access to Vaccines and the Strategic Fund of Essential Medicines and Strategic Health Supplies. PAHO’s Regional Revolving Funds enhance equitable access to health technologies, including vaccines, diagnostics, and medicines to 42 Member States in Latin America and the Caribbean region. Mr. Cornejo has a master’s degree in international development studies from George Washington University.

Dr Saunthari Somasundaram

Dr.Saunthari brings over 20 years of experience in cancer control in Malaysia combined with personal experiences in cancer support. She has had extensive exposure in public health, clinical and supportive care issues. She has championed for integrative medicine, patient and childhood cancer support services and networks in Malaysia. She also sits on various committees on tobacco and cancer control, and has been involved in programmes with WHO, IAEA , UICC . She has been a member of the national Ministry of Health expert boards and is currently part of the consultative panel for the NCCP. She lectures at local universities and actively promotes cancer advocacy and control issues through media channels.

Dr Saunthari has had a long and established relationship with the prevention and treatment of cancer. Her guiding principle has been one of reaching out to all stakeholders with the intention of providing and disseminating treatment, support, information and knowledge. She is committed to promoting survivorship initiatives in both the health service and community. Her passion is to foster better communication and understanding of cancer across all sectors. Besides tangible outcomes at NCSM, her guiding pillars have enabled her to be a leading advocate for relevant policy reviews and initiatives.

She has nurtured and formed excellent working relationships with many cancer and other health-related NGOs within Malaysia as well and having further solidified NCSM’s relationship with national governmental institutions. She has also been a leader in the regional arena, having built upon existing regional relationships and also established new and wider cooperation within the region with the view to providing a more comprehensive platform. Dr.Saunthari understands the cancer-related issues of this region extremely well and can bring new light and exposure to these issues which often enough have gone unnoticed due to the lack of visibility caused by socio-political issues.

Dr Verna Vanderpuye

Dr Verna Vanderpuye MBChB, FWACS, FGCP, FASCO is a senior consultant clinical oncologist and Deputy Director at the National Centre of Radiotherapy, Oncology and Nuclear Medicine, Korle-bu Teaching Hospital, Accra Ghana in West Africa since the year 2000.

She is an adjunct Professor at Queen’s University in Canada, Department Of Oncology and is affiliated with the University of Ghana and a faculty board member of the oncology and radiotherapy division of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons (postgraduate medical training ). Her areas of clinical and research interest are breast, genitourinary, gastrointestinal, sarcoma and lung cancer, especially the management of these cancers in Africa and other LMICs. She has past/present leadership roles at the African Organisation of Research and Training in Cancer and served on several committees of NCCN sub-Saharan resource stratified guidelines, WHO, ESMO, International Association on Study of Lung Cancer and other local, regional and international cancer organisations, which influence global cancer care.

She is the immediate past chair of the International Affairs Committee of ASCO. She is a Co-editor, editorial board member and reviewer of several relevant cancer journals and serves as co-PI and External advisory board member of several international research training grants administered in Africa and recipient of the 2019 “international women who conquer cancer mentorship award” by conquer cancer foundation of ASCO. Dr Vanderpuye has participated in several Lancet commissions.
She has Authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed journal publications, several book chapters, and technical documents, mostly on delivering cancer care in LMICs.

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