Global breast health summit marks BHGI's 10th anniversary

International health care leaders honor Fred Hutch-based Breast Health Global Initiative's Dr. Ben Anderson and Leslie Sullivan for their decade of 'leadership, vision and dedication'

The Hutchinson Center-based Breast Health Global Initiative received honors during a global summit on international breast health earlier this month at the United Nations International Centre in Vienna, Austria.

Held for the first time under the auspices of the United Nations and endorsed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the 5th biennial Global Summit on International Breast Health: Guidelines for International Breast Health and Cancer Control, also marked the BHGI's 10th anniversary.

Pictured from left: Dr. Robert Carlson; Dr. Benjamin Anderson, chair and director, Breast Health Global Initiative, Leslie Sullivan, BHGI's managing director; Dr. Alexandru Eniu and Dr. Eduardo Cazap.

Dr. Benjamin Anderson, chair and director and Leslie Sullivan, managing director, established the BHGI in 2002. They accepted honors in recognition of "extraordinary leadership, vision and dedication" during an anniversary celebration from Dr. Eduardo Cazap, immediate past-president of the Union for International Cancer Control on behalf of the BHGI alliance of organizations.

BHGI's tangible outcomes

During the course of its first decade, the BHGI has produced model approaches for comprehensive, resource-stratified, evidence-based consensus guidelines to provide a framework for detection, diagnosis, treatment in low- and middle-resource countries and other medically underserved areas around the world, and serve as a model for bringing together key constituencies to problem solve. These guidelines have come as tangible outcomes of previous Global Summits on International Breast Health held in 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2010.

"Certainly, the need exists for cultural and health care systems in limited-resource environments to respond to breast cancer, said Anderson, who is also director of the Breast Health Center at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and professor of surgery and joint professor, Department of Global Health at the University of Washington.

"The BHGI resource-stratified guidelines, recommendations and health care systems, developed through international collaboration, are culturally, socially and politically flexible and appropriate, addressing comprehensive across the continuum of care to optimize healthcare delivery, Anderson said. "It was an honor to be recognized for this collaborative achievement at the summit, which commemorated our 10-year mark."

"From the beginning, I have been inspired by our mission and the international embrace of this collaborative endeavor to improve breast health outcomes through systems-based solutions," Sullivan said. "Ben was prescient in his vision of guidelines development for limited-resource environments. The opportunity to help realize that vision has been professionally and personally tremendously gratifying."

Each breast health summit brings together leading clinical and social science experts, researchers, policymakers, rehabilitations specialists, educators and representatives of international agencies, civil societies and the private sector. At the 2012 summit they addressed issues specific to survivorship and follow-up care, treatment-related supportive care and end of life/palliative care, including pain management, for women in low- and middle-income countries, applying a mix of quantitative and qualitative research to help determine what helps people live better with cancer and its treatments.

The BHGI is co-sponsored by the Hutchinson Center and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

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