Developing Global Cancer Mentorship

A Pilot Experience with Rwanda 

Article by Dr. Brenda Santellano

Presenter Dr. Regine Nshimiyimana Maniraho

The pilot experience of initiating a global cancer mentorship program with Rwanda began with the goal of enhancing patient care through knowledge sharing and reducing barriers to care delivery via mentorship. The initiative was undertaken by the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center’s (SKCC) Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Jefferson in collaboration with the Office of Global Affairs. Financial and educational support was provided by Global Jefferson, SKCC, and various clinical departments. The program’s objectives included developing health professionals with a global perspective, fostering collaborative partnerships, improving communication skills, supporting multidisciplinary teamwork, and laying a foundation for cancer-related research.


The structure of the program involved exchange scholars from both Jefferson and Rwanda participating in clinical experiences, community outreach, teaching opportunities, and research activities over a period of weeks. The curriculum included a variety of clinical rotations, skill development sessions, cancer research activities, and learning modules. Feedback from participants highlighted improvements in communication skills, a deeper understanding of clinical decision-making, heightened awareness of healthcare disparities, and increased knowledge of cancer prevention and management.  


Overall, this pilot experience emphasized the importance of collaboration and mentorship in supporting global education and health. The plan includes ongoing engagement with exchange scholars and potential future collaborations. The program also serves as a model for other cancer centers and academic institutions to partner with counterparts in low- and middle-income countries to enhance global education and cancer care. 






Dr. Brenda Santellano is a research associate at Georgia Cancer Center, and she has no conflict of interest. 


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