St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is expanding its reach around the world with the launch of St. Jude Global. The hospital today unveiled this bold new initiative that grows and strengthens its efforts to improve access to care for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases in every corner of the world. St. Jude is investing more than $100 million in St. Jude Global to achieve an ambitious goal of influencing the care of 30 percent of children with cancer worldwide within the next decade.
“St. Jude founder Danny Thomas dreamed of a world where ‘no child should die in the dawn of life,’” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and chief executive officer. “While we have made great strides in achieving this dream in some parts of the world, the majority of children still die from cancers that can be effectively treated. With St. Jude Global, we are expanding the ways in which St. Jude reaches and impacts the quality of care provided to children around the world, closing the gap in survival that has persisted for too long.”
Global childhood cancer rates are on the rise as more children worldwide survive infancy. Today, more than 80 percent of children with cancer live in low- and middle-income countries, where they lack access to adequate diagnosis and treatment. The majority of those children will die from their disease. This is a sharp contrast to developed nations where survival rates for pediatric cancers exceed 80 percent.
St. Jude began its first global outreach initiative in childhood cancer in 1993 when it established the International Outreach Program (IOP). This program used a twinning model that allowed St. Jude to develop direct, one-on-one relationships with hospitals around the world to improve the delivery of care to children with cancer. In the last 25 years, the IOP has grown to encompass 24 hospitals in 17 low- and middle-income countries. By sharing knowledge, technology, organizational skills and resources through the IOP, St. Jude steadily improved outcomes in children with cancer in the regions in which it operated. The effort, which reached about three percent of children with cancer worldwide, was effective, but difficult to scale.
In 2016, St. Jude formed the Department of Global Pediatric Medicine to accelerate its work to ensure that children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases have access to quality care and treatment — no matter where they live. It set a goal of growing the number of children whose care it influenced from three to 30 percent within the next decade. Ultimately, its goal is for all children with cancer and blood disorders to have access to quality care. With these ambitious objectives in focus, the Department of Global Pediatric Medicine created St. Jude Global.
St. Jude Global is a unique, comprehensive initiative that leverages the resources and expertise of St. Jude and partners around the world. It will create a network of interactive programs and institutions, forming a global alliance that will improve access to care, enhance the quality of care children receive, and provide better options for cures.
“More than two decades of experience combatting childhood cancer around the world has taught St. Jude powerful lessons about how we can improve care for children and save more lives,” said Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, M.D., executive vice president and chair, St. Jude Department of Global Pediatric Medicine, and director, St. Jude Global. “Through St. Jude Global, we are taking on the ultimate challenge of tackling childhood cancer at a global level. We are working to create a global health system that is driven and well prepared to confront this challenge.”
St. Jude Global will focus on three core areas:
- Education: Training the clinical workforce needed to treat childhood cancer worldwide. Educational programs are being made available at the St. Jude camps in Memphis, Tennessee; at regional sites worldwide; and through online platforms.
- Capacity building: Strengthening health systems and patient-centered initiatives across the continuum of care. Through the development of regional networks and a global alliance, St. Jude Global leaders are working with partners internationally to develop patient-centered initiatives that strengthen health systems and policies and establish standards and guidelines to improve patient care.
- Research: Advancing knowledge of global pediatric oncology and hematology to sustain a continuous improvement in the level and quality of care delivered around the globe. St. Jude faculty will share their expertise and serve as mentors for St. Jude Global collaborative sites. The goal is to help facilitate research on a global scale, enabling members to perform high-quality and successful research projects, as well as implement some of the therapeutic protocols available at St. Jude.
The St. Jude Global initiative is building on the relationships that St. Jude has established in nations including Brazil, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Philippines, and Venezuela, and emerging relationships in regions such as Russia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and sub-Saharan Africa to establish regional networks to promote self-sufficiency and the sharing of knowledge, skills and best practices.
Regional structures will form a global alliance that will assist in facilitating collaboration, research and transfer of knowledge across regions and programs. This alliance will integrate all stakeholders worldwide in advocacy, global health, and research and innovation.
Among the other ways St. Jude is working to assist healthcare systems and providers in other nations, ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, is helping to educate and train global partner site foundations on fundraising and awareness activities to help sustain progress.