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UNC Lineberger’s Satish Gopal, MD, MPH, was a co-author of a viewpoint published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that discussed the benefits of global oncology initiatives.

UNC Lineberger’s Satish Gopal, MD, MPH.

The article outlined current initiatives in global oncology, and also highlighted opportunities for this work to drive cancer research forward, including to improve screening, diagnosis and prognosis through therapeutic and technological advances as well as to learn from clinical trials.

In addition, Satish and his co-author, Patrick J. Loehrer Sr., MD, director of the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, urged the field to pursue initiatives to create “innovation hubs” in low-and-middle-income countries.

“All oncology is global, and confining work in low-and middle-income countries to a small corner of the oncology universe will lead to enormous missed opportunities,” said Gopal, who is an associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine Division of Hematology/Oncology and a member of UNC Lineberger and the UNC Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases.

Gopal is the cancer program director for UNC Project-Malawi, a partnership to boost clinical care and research in Malawi between UNC Lineberger, the UNC Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases, the Malawi Ministry of Health, the University of Malawi College of Medicine and others.

Gopal said a successful global health initiative requires sustained funding alongside a political will, plus high-level institutional support to build programs that combine research, training and clinical care.

“UNC likely has one of the strongest global health programs in the world, certainly among U.S. public universities, and there are many opportunities for the greater UNC community to support and/or engage,” Gopal wrote in an email.