Women represent almost 70% of the global health and social workforce, but it is estimated they hold only 25% of senior roles. This statistic is not simply evidence of lingering inequality; it is also a barrier to the creation of lasting cancer care capacity at local level. A growing body of evidence, supported by experiences from City Cancer Challenge’s (C/Can) first round of cities, has shown that committed, competent leaders with ‘ownership’ of a project can be a differential factor between those initiatives that last over time and those that do not.
Across C/Can cities, women oncologists have played a key role in the city engagement process, for example as members of the technical working groups, representing participating institutions, and analysing needs assessment data in their respective area of expertise. To build on this achievement and further leverage transformational local engagement, this proposal seeks to empower women to thrive as leaders in their cities and enable others to drive change, based on a common vision of a world with quality, equitable cancer care for all.
The Leadership Programme for Women in Oncology, delivered in partnership with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), will help to prepare mid-career female oncologists in low and middle income countries (LMICs) to lead change in the cancer care sector by increasing their leadership impact and creating lasting personal and professional change. This programme will foster the creation of a network of women leaders in cancer care, who can in turn pave the way for a new generation of women.
The programme will focus on the strengthening of key power skills for change-makers, such as “critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, leadership, adaptability, and emotional intelligence.
By bringing together 10 women oncologists from C/Can cities: Cali (Colombia), Asuncion (Paraguay), Kumasi (Ghana), Kigali (Rwanda), Tbilisi (Georgia), Porto Alegre (Brazil), Greater Petaling (Malaysia), Leon (Mexico), Arequipa (Peru) and Nairobi (Kenya). These oncologists will take part in a blended learning programme, combining in-person and virtual meetings, for a total of nine months.
The programme will start with a face-to-face meeting in Geneva, at the World Cancer Congress (18-20 October 2022), where participants will have the chance to meet the rest of the cohort, meetmentors, and start working on their projects.
For the following six months, participants will join six virtual sessions (one per month) hosted by ASCO on 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. The course will close with a second face-to-face training session at the 2023 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago. During this meeting, participants will present their small group projects and will receive their completion certificates.
Once the programme is complete, graduates will have the opportunity to enrol in inter-generational mentorship support with ASCO Alumni for the following six months. This mentorship support is intended to provide expert guidance and advice to graduates on how to apply learnings in practice as well as feedback and support on ideas, innovative approaches or projects to advance cancer treatment and care in their cities.
ASCO is committed to leadership and the healthcare workforce in low-and middle-income countries. This programme reflects our dedication to empowering and strengthening the healthcare workforce.