Building Global Partnerships:

In May 2013, QECH-GO held its inaugural international tumor board with a discussion on generalized lymphadenopathy. To date, tumor boards have attracted a diverse team of QECH and Boston-based oncologists, pathologists, surgeons, palliative care specialists and QECH-GO volunteers. These tumor boards are a culmination of correspondence between Dr Leo Masamba and Dr Franklin Huang, who together identified the need for educational exchange. The partnership continues to grow and develop through the work of a dedicated team of clinicians and nurses in Malawi, Dr Philippe Armand, a medical oncologist at DFCI, as well as a team of Boston-based GO volunteers who lead all of the logistical and supportive work. The goal of this project is to help improve the care of cancer patients in Malawi through knowledge transfer, mentoring, and education.

Tumor Board Framework:

The QECH clinical team prepares and presents a patient case over videoconference and GO organizes relevant cancer specialists in Boston to participate. Tumor boards occur via videoconferencing and the case presentation is followed by teaching and discussion led by the Boston team. The 1.5 hour tumor board is used to discuss diagnosis, pathology, psychosocial background and treatment plans.

The Challenges of Planning International Tumor Boards:

A number of challenges include technological barriers and human resources. A number of technologies including videoconferencing and texting have been used for communication between GO volunteers and the team in Malawi. The QECH-GO team continues to develop ways to continue the case conferences despite the high clinical burden of our colleagues and we always seek to address the needs of the QECH staff.

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