From left, clockwise: Bruce Chabner, MD; Nazia Faki; Lowell Schnipper, MD; and Aparna Parikh, MD
From left, clockwise: Bruce Chabner, MD; Nazia Faki; Lowell Schnipper, MD; and Aparna Parikh, MD

In February 2018, faculty from the Mass General Cancer Center and Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) launched the Program for Enhanced Training in Cancer (POETIC), a fellowship exchange program with clinical oncology fellows from Cape Town University, and Ocean Road Cancer Center in Tanzania. Harvard faculty co-directors Aparna Parikh, MD; Bruce Chabner, MD; and Lowell Schnipper, MD, collaborate with South African clinicians, Drs. Zainob Mohamed and Jeannette Parks of the Cape Town Program, and with the leadership of the Tanzania unit to select appropriate candidates for the program.

“Our goal is to provide much needed training for cancer specialists in the face of a rapidly increasing incidence of cancer in African countries,” says Dr. Parikh.

Pauline Njiraini
Pauline Njiraini

Each POETIC trainee receives a tailored learning experience based on their specific interests, and works closely with appropriate mentors. Trainees attend medical and radiation oncology conferences, clinics, and teaching sessions for three weeks at the Mass General Cancer Center and at BIDMC.

To date, three fellows have participated in the program: Pauline Njiraini from Nairobi, Kenya; Nazia Faki from Cape Town, South Africa; and Sarah Fairhead from Cape Town. A fourth participant, from Botswana and the Cape Town training program, is expected to arrive in June, and then three more fellows from Rwanda and the Tanzania training program in fall 2018.