Opening of cancer center in Rwanda is “privilege beyond words”

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The dirt roads in northern Rwanda now lead to a cancer center where patients can receive care for a disease that was, until now, considered a death sentence there. The Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence, which was dedicated on July 18, has allowed Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center to extend a helping hand in this tiny, densely populated country in Africa.

Dr. Larry Shulman, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Chelsea Clinton, President Bill Clinton, Jeff Gordon, and Dr. Paul Farmer

Inaugurating the center were Bill Clinton, former U.S. president and founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation; Honorable Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda Minister of Health; Jeff Gordon, NASCAR champion and founder of the Jeff Gordon Foundation, which has provided funding for the project; Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, co-founder of Partners In Health; and Lawrence Shulman, MD, Dana-Farber’s chief medical officer, who describes this work as a “privilege beyond words.”

In collaboration with Partners In Health, where he serves as chief oncology advisor, Shulman and his Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center colleagues helped establish the new center, with the goal of teaching the Rwandan team how to care for cancer patients. Several Dana-Farber nurses are working three month rotations there, and cancer experts back in Boston consult by phone and e-mail. Shulman is also helping to develop guidelines for cancer prevention, screening, and treatment throughout the nation, one of the poorest in the world.

3 comments

  1. Frances F. Norton says:

    What a privilege it is for both my husband and me to know and be treated by one of your staff members, Barbara Virchick, who is a member of Dana Farber’s staff that is working in Rwanda to help make this a better and heathier world. She has been a gift to us and now a gift to Rwanda.

    • Ken Panthen says:

      Barb is the best. She worked with Dr. Eric Jacobsen and stood by me for an entire year while being treated for Stage 4 Lymphoma. Kudos to her.I am sure she brings lots of positive approaches to the Rwanda team. God Bless you Barb,
      Ken Panthen

    • Nick and Debby Pitaro says:

      Barbara is the best. We miss her here, but know that everyone at the new Cancer Center appreciates just how special she is.

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