Education, Advocacy, and Partnership: TogetHER in Washington, DC in April 2023

May 10, 2023

TogetHER for Health attended the International Papillomavirus Conference (IPVC), organized by the International Papillomavirus Society (IPVS) held in Washington, DC April 17-21. The week was filled with activity both inside and outside the conference center as we engaged with partners working to save lives from cervical cancer and generated new support and champions in the nation’s capital.

The conference itself presented the best opportunity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to meet and mingle with the experts driving both the science and clinical practice of HPV/cervical cancer prevention. It was great to see – and in many cases meet for the first time – so many of the partners enhancing access to cervical cancer prevention interventions in low-resource settings.

We also participated in two key activities of special significance outside of the main conference:

Educating Congressional Staffers on Capitol Hill

TogetHER and our partners at Pathfinder International have worked in tandem in recent years to bolster United States support for cervical cancer prevention in low- and middle-income countries. Through PEPFAR and USAID, the United States continues to invest more in cervical cancer screening and treatment than any other global funder.

The location of the IPVC in Washington, DC created an ideal opportunity to bring experts in cervical cancer prevention and treatment to meet with staff from the U.S. Congress. Over two days, our delegations were fortunate to meet with staff from six House offices and two Senate offices, bringing critical first-hand perspectives on the value of lifesaving U.S. investments. We’ll be continuing these efforts to secure additional U.S. support for cervical cancer screening and treatment in the coming months.

We would like to express our gratitude to the experts and advocates who found the time to participate in our delegations, including representatives from Addis Ababa University, the Elekta Foundation, KILELE Health, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Pathfinder International.

Calling for Multisectoral Leadership to End Cervical Cancer

TogetHER was in attendance at a reception which brought together stakeholders dedicating their efforts to accelerate cervical cancer elimination. The event – titled “The Road to 2030: Reception and Policy Dialogue on Enabling Political and Sustainable Financial Commitments to Cervical Cancer Elimination” – was organized by the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU).

The event featured comments by Dr. Catharine Young, Assistant Director for Cancer Moonshot Policy and Engagement, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, representing the Biden Administration’s Cancer Moonshot initiative seeking to halve deaths from cancer in the next 25 years. It also included remarks from current IPVS President Dr. Suzanne Garland, IPVS President-Elect Dr. Anna Giuliano, and leaders from Roche Diagnostics and Merck.

Stories of the tragic impact of cervical cancer and calls for increased dedication to end this preventable cancer both figured prominently in the evening. Overall, the event carried a sense of palpable excitement and momentum toward putting cervical cancer in the history books. More on the event from BCIU can be found here.

Collaborating with experts and advocates from across the globe. Seizing opportunities to engage new champions in the cause to end this preventable cancer. Building connections to generate resources and strengthen programs in low-resource settings. It’s rare for one week to so fully encapsulate how we at TogetHER for Health and our growing cadre of partners work to make cervical cancer elimination a global reality.