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Jan. 31, 2012

Forming a global cancer network for research, clinical care, education and prevention.

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Visiting Professorship in Gynecologic Oncology Visits El Salvador

From Jan. 25-27, 2012, Kathleen Schmeler, M.D., of MD Anderson's Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine and Mildred Chernofsky, M.D., of Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., visited Hospital de Maternidad in San Salvador, El Salvador. The two physicians spent three days providing didactic lectures, rounding with patients, assisting with surgery and meeting with local healthcare leadership as part of the Visiting Professorship in Gynecologic Oncology.

Approximately 50 residents participated, travelling from all five residency programs in the country. This included two Gynecologic Oncology fellows from the Social Security Hospital. All Gynecologic Oncology faculty attended the didactic lectures as well as the patient rounds and the hospital administration was actively involved in the visit.  Although Schmeler and Chernofsky performed the majority of the surgeries, the procedures were videotaped and streamed live to the residents and faculty in a nearby auditorium. After surgery, Schmeler and Chernofsky returned to the auditorium to review the surgeries and answered questions pertaining to the procedures.

At the close of Schmeler and Chernofsky's three day visit, a course graduation ceremony was attended by all faculty and administration. The visiting physicians toured the El Salvadoran Social Security Hospital and had dinner with leading participants from the El Salvadoran Obstetrics and Gynecology Society. Schmeler and Chernofsky found there was a high level of interest in improving and expanding the resident training program and in engaging in additional ways to prevent and screen for gynecologic cancers.

The intent of the resident training program is to assist in improving scores on the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology (CREOG) exam administered by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). To that end, Chernofsky and Schmeler added a new CREOG question review lecture to the presentations. Future goals of the program include comparing CREOG scores before and after the Visiting Professorship Program and assisting in writing and reviewing questions for the Central American CREOG exam.

The program plans to return to Guatemala in August, Honduras in the fall or winter and El Salvador in the fall or winter. Participating physicians in the program will embark on first-time visits to Costa Rica in the summer or fall, Nicaragua in the fall and Panama in 2013. In addition to gynecologic cancers, the program hopes to expand to include training in the management of breast cancer.

Calendar of Events

CMSI Annual Symposium
Tokyo, Japan
Feb. 27, 2012

MD Anderson Espana Conference
Madrid, Spain
March 14-16, 2012

GAP Annual Conference
Oslo, Norway
May 14-16, 2012


One Year Anniversary of GAP Connect

One year has passed since we launched GAP Connect. The need for the weekly newsletter arose out of the December 2010 GAP Summit, during which, leadership from many of the Sister Institutions expressed the need for additional and routine information about what was happening in the GAP network.

GAP Connect continues to be for those participating with, and interested in, GAP's activities. We seek your input and suggestions - your ideas and commentary. Take a look back at some of the issues of the last year and contact us with any ideas you have about GAP, the Sister Institution Network, or the work you are doing in association with GAP.

Phil Castle, Ph.D. - Global Oncology Lecture Recording

On Jan. 19, 2012, Phil Castle, Ph.D., presented at GAP's Global Oncology Lecture. Attendees ventured to MD Anderson to hear the executive director of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Institute discuss global cervical cancer prevention, screening and treatment. One interesting aspect of the talk was the idea of developing supporting health systems to enable cervical cancer care. Those health systems would then serve as a foundation to provide additional health services. Listen to the entire lecture and see the presentation's slides on MD Anderson's iTunes University.

Update to GAP Conference Line-Up

The GAP Conference 2012 has added an additional Workshop to its list - Sarcoma. Chairing the session on behalf of MD Anderson is Raphael Pollock, M.D., Ph.D. Chairing on behalf of the Norwegian Cancer Consortium is Ola Myklebost, Ph.D. The complete list of chairs is available on the GAP website.

Network News

Assessing Surgical Trials at Hospitals in Developing Countries - Instituto de Cancerología Clinica las Américas

Increasingly, cancer research is crossing national boundaries and accruing patients is becoming a multi-national effort. In certain disciplines, especially technically demanding fields like surgery, there are concerns that the skills and equipment in developing countries may lag behind that of their board-certified counterparts in the United States. A soon to be published study, however, illustrates that certain outcomes may even be better in developing countries and seeks to dispel the assumption that technology and surgical skill in developing countries is not as good as in the United States.  

Quality of laparoscopic radical hysterectomy in developing countries: A comparison of surgical and oncologic outcomes between a comprehensive cancer center in the United States and a cancer center in Colombia will appear in an upcoming issue of Gynecologic Oncology. The study, carried out by MD Anderson's Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine and the Gynecology Oncology Unit at the Instituto de Cancerología - Clínica las Américas in Medellin, Colombia, a GAP Sister Institution, showed that the outcomes for patients undergoing laparoscopic radical hysterectomy were no worse in Colombia than in the United States. Especially for cancer's found less frequently in the United States, like cervical cancer, the study validates the need and ability of surgeons in the developing world to contribute to multi-national clinical trials.