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GLPH 488 Global Oncology: Cancer Care, Policy, Research, and Education

GLPH 488 Global Oncology: Cancer Care, Policy, Research, and Education

 Winter 2024 (Blended)
 Year 4 Optional Course
 9-10 hours/week
 3 units
On-Campus Course

Global oncology is a branch of global health, focusing specifically on the challenges and opportunities of cancer care, policy, education, and research, especially in resource-limited settings. A key focus is the investigation of appropriate cancer policy as a critical point of intersection for all facets of cancer care, as it can ultimately make a difference in outcomes of patients with cancer. Students will study several aspects of cancer policy, such as clinical trial designs, surrogate endpoints, appraisal of clinical benefit from cancer drugs, regulatory approval, cost and value of cancer drugs, financial toxicity, disparities in access to cancer treatments, conflicts of interest, real-world evidence and ethical issues in cancer research. Aspects of global oncology that will be covered include the global burden of cancer, global disparities in access to cancer care, access to cancer medications worldwide, cancer research and trial infrastructure in low-and-middle-income countries, ethical cancer clinical trials for global oncology, use of technology to address global cancer disparities and finally, the concept of cancer “groundshot”, a term that the instructor of this course coined.

Minimum 4th year standing.

Online/ in-person

  1. Critically appraise clinical trials and other types of research in oncology and assess the magnitude of clinical benefit of cancer drugs.
  2. Analyze the implications for access with respect to how cancer drugs get approved and funded in the U.S, Canada and around the world
  3. Discuss the economics of cancer drugs, and its relationship with global cancer disparities.
  4. Appraise and then propose policy level solutions to address disparities in global cancer outcomes, including the role of organizations such as the WHO and other non-profit international organizations.
  5. Produce both a publication style research-style as well as a commentary-style article related to global oncology and/or cancer policy.

Assessment 1: Participation (20%)

Active participation in discussions is taken seriously in this course. This grade is based on 3 items: participation in discussions (in class or discussion boards), a submitted brief reflection on what they have learned to be provided at the end of 6 weeks, and a brief written reflection at the end of the course on how they plan to apply the understanding achieved in this course in the future. (The online version of this course will incorporate discussion boards to enable asynchronous interactions between students and the teaching team)

Assessment 2: Quiz (20%)

A multiple-choice quiz will be conducted at the end of 8 weeks to assess students’ understanding of core concepts from the course.

Assessment 3: Appraisal of a paper (30%)

Groups of students will assess and present their commentary of manuscripts based on clinical findings. (The online version of this course will incorporate discussion boards to enable asynchronous interactions between students, as well as with the teaching team)

Assessment 4: Final project (30%)

Students will write a paper (2500 words) focusing on a current topic in the field of global

Students can expect to spend approximately 8 - 12 hours a week in study, practice and online activity for GLPH 488 (total ~120 hours).

No textbooks are recommended, but journal publications will be required reading for students. Malignant by John Hopkins University Press is a suggested book for expanded learning. Students are also encouraged to review the Coursera course “Writing in the Sciences” to improve their academic writing skills.