As the world continues to battle the COVID pandemic, SIOP has been working hard to help you in your endeavours. The Board made an early decision to hold the 2021 congress in a virtual format again this year, recognising that this increases accessibility to shared learning and research. We were delighted to receive 1,320 abstract submissions, a 20% increase from 2020. Dr Lillian Sung and her team are preparing an excellent programme and we look forward to welcoming you all there.
The WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, met with SIOP and seven other organisations on 10th June to discuss our offer of co-ordinated help from the childhood cancer community in recovery planning from the pandemic. We will now be working with the WHO NCD leadership team to contribute to an expert task force that can help with inclusion of cancer in children and young people in health service planning. Through our collaboration with St Jude Global, we have also launched a working group on COVID vaccination with a focus on information relevant to our community.
Despite these challenges, there is continued progress and innovation in childhood cancer education and research. The Summer newsletter highlights the many activities of SIOP’s committees, networks and working groups, for which I thank them on behalf of all of our members and encourage you to avail yourselves of the many opportunities to benefit and participate. Our Secretary-General, Julia Challinor, has led a huge piece of work to review and streamline our society’s governance. There has been an important renaming of SIOP PODC as SIOP Global Health network, led by the co-chairs, Muhammad Saghir Khan and Michael Sullivan.
June 26th was International Childhood Cancer Survivors Day and SIOP has contributed to a webinar on ‘Understanding and coping with the mental and emotional impacts of childhood cancer’. This forms part of the excellent advocacy work now being taken forward under the leadership of Alan Davidson and the SIOP Advocacy Committee.
In the spirit of “Building Forward Better”, I am delighted at the strong interest in the future leadership of SIOP and thank all of the candidates who put themselves forward for the position of President-elect. It is a great pleasure to announce the Dr Guillermo Chantada has been elected to this position and I look forward to working with him closely to serve the needs of our members and the childhood cancer community.
We trust that you enjoy reading the achievements of SIOP members highlighted in this Summer newsletter and continue to find solidarity in our community in these continuing challenging times.
SIOP President, and on behalf of the SIOP Board of Directors