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Health Economist Heads Commission to Examine Global Cancer Care Inequities

Transforming Patient Care
Felicia Marie Knaul, Ph.D.

Felicia Marie Knaul, Ph.D., a member of the Cancer Control Program at Sylvester, director of the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas, and a professor at the Miller School of Medicine, has been tapped to co-lead a new commission at The Lancet, to examine how to simultaneously strengthen cancer care and health systems worldwide, especially in the wake of COVID-19.

“Our commission will explore how to harness the synergistic and mutually symbiotic relationships between cancer and health systems to improve outcomes,” said Dr. Knaul. “COVID-19 can catalyze innovation and radiate new energy for systemic change. We are confronted with both a challenge and an opportunity to improve cancer control for everyone, everywhere, and to shake health systems out of an equilibrium of apathy through which some have access to ever-improving treatment and prevention, while many — mostly the poor — lack access to even the most basic treatment for pain relief and palliative care.”

Gilberto De Lima Lopes Jr., M.D.

The commissioners also include Gilberto De Lima Lopes Jr., M.D., associate director of global oncology at Sylvester and medical director of its international programs, who is working to develop new treatments for cancer and to improve access with a focus on Latin America.

“Cancer is one of the most complex of health problems," Dr. Lopes said. "To provide equitable care to all suffering with the disease, we need comprehensive action — spanning from prevention and early diagnosis to individualized treatment and palliative care."

Julio Frenk, M.D.,
M.P.H., Ph.D.

Joining them is University President Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., a distinguished global health leader and professor of public health. As Mexico’s Minister of Health from 2000 to 2006, Dr. Frenk introduced health system innovations through the program Seguro Popular, to provide better access to cancer care and control for close to 50 million Mexicans. Dr. Frenk also believes that the faculty and staff at Sylvester will offer a wealth of knowledge to the commission.