Online Program

Addressing cancer disparities in the border region: A NOVEL MODEL of “twinning” in pediatric oncology

Monday, November 4, 2013

Paula Aristizabal, MD, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/ Division of Pediatrics, University of California San Diego/Rady Children's Hospital San Diego, San Diego, CA
Raul Ribeiro, MD, International Outreach Program, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
William Roberts, MD, Department of Pediatrics/ School of Medicine, Unirvesity of California San Diego, San Diego, CA
Background: Health institutions located along the borders of countries with profound economic disparities often face difficulties in providing care for children with cancer. Until recently, many children with cancer from Baja California went untreated. We postulated that the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (SJCRH) “twinning” model used to improve pediatric cancer care in low-income countries could successfully be applied in this particular setting.

Objectives: In 2008, Rady Children's Hospital San Diego (RCHSD) in partnership with SJCRH and Hospital General-Tijuana (HGT), the largest hospital in northwestern Mexico, initiated an outreach project to establish a pediatric oncology unit in a culturally sensitive manner and adapted to the local health care system.

Methods: The initial assessment revealed that, although the basic hospital infrastructure was in place, the essential elements of a pediatric cancer unit including, dedicated space, trained physicians and nurses and uniform treatment were lacking. A 5-year plan was designed to provide salary supplementation for staff, intensive education and training, and infrastructure improvement.

Results: After 4.5 years, accomplishments include: the opening of a new inpatient unit with updated technology, the training of healthcare providers, and the establishment of a dedicated inter-disciplinary team. Over 200 patients have benefited from accurate diagnosis and treatment and from psychosocial and nutritional support programs.

Conclusion: Border towns have a high need for the development of programs to address health disparities. Initiatives in the border region are highly effective, since the proximity permits close follow-up and leads to establishment of programs in record time, benefiting hundreds of children.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Describe a novel initiative in the border region to improve care for children with cancer

Keyword(s): Cancer, Sustainability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a broad background in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and have carried out projects in addressing cancer disparities in low income countries for more than 5 years. I am primarily responsible for the implementation, analysis and progress of this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.