Piga Fernández, Director of Fundación GIST Chile, Global Relations Consultant for the LRG

Piga Fernández, Director of Fundación GIST Chile, Global Relations Consultant for the LRG

On Saturday August 11, in Fundación GIST Chile we celebrated our Fourth Anniversary and the end of the GIST Awareness Campaign: “HAGÁMOSLO POSIBLE”. The audience of 80 participants represented the different health stakeholders from Chile: patient and civil organizations, Ministry of Health, clinical oncologists, investigators,  Medical Oncology Society, journalists, and the Chamber of Pharmaceutical Innovation.

We held two panel discussions. The first one was “Public Policies”, in which the speakers were: Senator Carolina Goic, Director of the Cancer Department of the Health Ministry, Dr. María Inés Romero, representing the National Cancer Forum Foundation, Dr. Garreth Owen, Director of Public Policies of Social Organizations Community, and Nicole Romo and Sonia Lira, health journalists.

Panel on Public Policies

The panel, left to right: Sonia Lira, journalist, Dr. María Inés Romero, Director of Cancer Department of the Ministry of Health, Nicole Romo, Civil Organizations Community, Senator Carolina Goic, Dr. Garreth Owen, National Cancer Forum Foundation, Luisito, Pamela Morales, Journalist and Moderator.

The speakers of the second panel called “Access, Clinic and Investigation” were: Dr. Bettina Muller, oncologist, President of the Medical Oncology Society, Dr. Marcelo Garrido, GIST specialist, Gabriela Garnham, General Manager of the Society of Medical Devices, Jean Jacques Duhart, Executive Director of the Chilean Chamber of Pharmaceutical Innovation and myself, representing Fundación GIST Chile and ACHAGO (the Chilean association of oncological patient groups).

Both panels were conducted by Pamela Morales, a well-known journalist with wealth of experience in health issues.

Our spokesman, “Luisito”, the main actor of our GIST Awareness video, couldn’t be absent, so he led the whole meeting sitting among the panelists.

Dr. Marcelo Garrido presented the Salud con Datos GIST Patient Registry as an example of a collaborative best practice and he emphasized the importance of the collaborative work done by GIST Argentina, Fundación GIST Mexico, Fundación GIST Chile, and The Life Raft Group.

Piga Fernandez and Senator Carolina Goic

Piga and Senator Carolina Goic

Some of the main takeaway ideas to MAKE IT POSSIBLE (HAGÁMOSLO POSIBLE):

  • Without data it is impossible to take decisions
  • Dialogue and collaboration
  • More bridges than trenches
  • Public-private alliances
  • Trust and legitimization among stakeholders
  • More clinical investigation, more oncologists
  • Develop collaborative practices among different health stakeholders
  • Transparency in the process of taking decisions
  • Patients at the center
  • Cancer: is a State issue
  • Public policies with a long-term vision.
Piga Fernández
Author: Piga Fernández

Piga Fernández, Santiago, Chile, is a Global Relations Consultant since 2009 for the Life Raft Group , a GIST Patient Organization. She founded and is the Executive Director of Fundación GIST Chile, a nonprofit organization dedicated to support GIST and other gastrointestinal patients through education, information, emotional support and advocacy, with the goal of having them experience a better quality of life. Additionally, She is also the Coordinator of Alianza GIST, a consortium of GIST groups in Latin America. Her advocacy efforts in Chile have led to important changes in her country, impacting both legislative change and raising awareness for rare diseases. A GIST patient who was diagnosed incorrectly in 1995 with leiomyosarcoma, she understands the importance of correct diagnosis and access to treatment. She plays an integral role in working with our international patients, to assure they receive the quality of care necessary to survive and thrive.