AACR Grants Program Helps Shape Global Cancer Workforce

With over 40,000 members in 120 countries, the American Association for Cancer Research is committed to the prevention and cure of all cancer through research, education, communication, collaboration, funding, and advocacy worldwide. An important aspect of the AACR’s global commitment is to provide educational and training opportunities for scientists and physicians, realizing the change one person can make in the fight to reduce incidence, morbidity, and mortality around the world. To this effect, in 2018, AACR launched the AACR Global-Scholar-In-Training Awards (GSITA).

The GSITA program builds upon the success of the African Cancer Research Travel Award which, over the course of three years (2016-2018), benefited 15 African scientists from seven countries – Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Sudan – and expands the program to eligible early-career investigators from all low- and middle-income economy countries (LMICs). Award recipients receive support to offset the cost of travel to attend the AACR Annual Meeting. They also participate in a post-conference mentoring and networking event at a leading academic research institution.

With approximately 70 percent of all cancer deaths occurring in LMICs and only 5 percent of global resources for cancer prevention and control being spent in these countries, LMICs remain ill-equipped to cope with the cancer burden. Lack of public awareness about the disease, fewer resources, limited access to affordable and quality services, and inadequate public health systems all contribute to an inequitable outcome as compared to other countries.

The AACR’s GSITA program provides highly talented researchers from LMIC countries with the opportunity to acquire additional education and training that they can, in turn, apply in their country, in addition to access to an international network of cancer research colleagues through their participation in the AACR Annual Meeting.

In its inaugural year, 15 scholars from nine LMICs have been selected to receive a GSITA award.

  • Kanchan Chakma, PhD, University of Chittagong (Bangladesh)
  • Titilope M. Dokunmu, PhD, Covenant University (Nigeria)
  • Carolina C. Gomes, DDS, PhD, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil)
  • Alyaa F. Hessin, MPA, MS, The National Research Centre (Egypt)
  • Tirzah Braz Petta Lajus, PhD, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (Brazil)
  • Ozhan Ocal, PhD, Bilkent University (Turkey)
  • Ana Karina Oliveira, PhD, Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials -CNPEM (Brazil)
  • Jeremiah Olorunjuwon Olugbami, PhD, University of Ibadan (Nigeria)
  • Mohamed H. Osman, Zagazig University (Egypt)
  • Doğancan Özturan, PhD, Koc University (Turkey)
  • Saumya Patel, PhD, Gujarat University (India)
  • Guoliang Qiao, MD, PhD, Capital Medical University (China)
  • Silvia J. Serrano-Gomez, PhD, Instituto Nacional de Cancerología (Colombia)
  • Pauline J. van der Watt, PhD, University of Cape Town (South Africa)
  • Wu Zhang, PhD, Shanghai Institute of Hematology (China)

This February 4, World Cancer Day, an annual initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control, emphasizes the ability of individual commitment to impact global change. The AACR is proud to recognize the impact that these 15 bright individuals have had and is honored to be able to support their efforts. Cancer knows no national boundaries, and efforts towards its prevention and cure must not either.