Breast Cancer Global Scholars Program

The Avon Foundation for Women Global Breast Cancer Clinical Scholars program provides intensive training in the United States for breast cancer specialists from around the globe.

Apply now to the 2016 Program Read our 2015 press release

2014 Avon Global Breast Cancer Clinical Scholars talk about why they wanted to participate in the program.

On a Mission

Dr. Cynthia Villarreal-Garza is an Avon Global Breast Cancer Clinical Scholar from Mexico. Read her story about her experience in Boston at the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Center of Excellence at Massachusetts General Hospital. Cynthia also talks about her mission to help young women with breast cancer in Mexico. And she explains how actor Harrison Ford played a role in her decision to study medicine!


2014 Avon Global Breast Cancer Clinical Scholars

The Avon Foundation for Women welcomed its second class of Avon Global Breast Cancer Clinical Scholars in May 2014, where 23 physicians from 14 countries began their course of studies by attending the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. The program trained breast cancer specialists living outside the United States at 12 leading Avon Foundation-funded U.S. breast cancer centers beginning. Following their attendance at the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting from May 30 through June 3, the Avon Scholars participated in a four to eight-week intensive training in breast cancer surgery, pathology, breast imaging (radiology), medical oncology, clinical trial design and community and public health at Avon Foundation-funded breast cancer centers in the United States. The scholars have since returned home with advanced skills and cutting edge information to provide the highest quality of breast cancer care to patients in their home countries.

Since inception, the Avon Global Scholars Program has brought 47 breast cancer specialists from 22 countries to study at 13 leading U.S. breast cancer centers. Whether learning the multidisciplinary methodology behind how treatment decisions are made in the U.S., observing surgical techniques that are less invasive and more effective, or learning cutting edge pathology modalities, returning doctors are able to provide improved care directly to tens of thousands of breast cancer patients. And, through sharing what they have learned with their colleagues, the reach of the program expands to impact hundreds of thousands more.

The Avon Global Scholars Program is Avon’s second solely-run global initiative to educate doctors through clinically-focused scholarship opportunities to help reduce the unacceptably high mortality rates from breast cancer in many countries around the world. The Avon Foundation Scientific Advisory Board and host institution mentors evaluated the applications and their recommendations were sent to the Avon Foundation Board of Directors who made the final scholar selections.

2012 Inaugural Class

At the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Forum in March 2012, the Avon Foundation announced its first class of Avon Breast Cancer Global Clinical Scholars.

The inaugural program brought 25 physicians — including 21 from Avon markets — to the U.S. in 2012 to learn new skills. The Scholars have since returned home to share their learnings and help women in their countries by improving breast cancer detection and treatment.

Many Avon markets are working closely with their countries’ Global Scholars: Avon Philippines is supporting its Scholar in her efforts to provide a patient navigator for the underserved at her institution; Avon Institute Brazil is working with one of its Scholars to support the construction of a building to provide services that will decrease the diagnosis time; and Avon Croatia is in discussions with its Scholar to create a dedicated breast cancer health center.

Dr. Andriy Hrybanov, a graduate of the first class of Avon Global Scholars and a staff obstetrician and gynecologist at Nikolayev Maternity Hospital #2 in Nikolayev, Ukraine, trained at Magee-Women’s Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh.

"My host institution was among the top 10 in the United States in the field of oncology, so I knew it was the right place to gain knowledge and acquire new skills. I observed practices that are widespread within the U.S., but were brand new when I returned with them to Ukraine," said Dr. Hrybanoy. "Participating in the Avon Global Scholars Program has been a unique experience for the Scholars to take a look at breast cancer from a new perspective and with a fresh eye, which I hope will improve breast care back in our clinics in our home countries."

The program brings physicians from countries outside the U.S. for intensive four-week to eight-week advanced training at one of 13 leading U.S. cancer centers. On Sept. 12, the first class of 25 Avon Global Scholars (including nine women) began their training "preceptorships" together in San Francisco. The program included lectures from world-class experts followed by the Breast Cancer Symposium co-hosted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and other medical specialty societies. ASCO partnered with the Avon Foundation to help spread the word of this exciting new opportunity to its network of 50,000 oncologists throughout the world to help ensure the broadest possible pool of applicants.

The 25 Avon Scholars hailed from 14 countries: Armenia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Croatia, India, Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, Serbia, Turkey, the Ukraine, Venezuela and Zambia. They represented widely diverse areas of medical specialties in which they received advance training during their time in the U.S. Their specialties range from breast surgery and reconstructive surgery, to medical oncology, pathology, and public health.

The Avon Foundation goal is for the scholars to bring new skills and information to their home countries that will improve the treatment and care of breast cancer patients. This first team of 25 Avon scholars will help tens of thousands of people through direct patient care, and will touch thousands more, now and into the future, by sharing their new knowledge and expertise with colleagues.