2009 ACS Latin American Best Practice Award (Premio Excelencia Latina) Winners, from left to right: Ana Garces, Una Voz Contra el Cancer, Guatemala; German Piraquive Torres, SANAR, Colombia; Guadelupe del Valle, Una Voz Contra el Cancer, Guatemala; Emma Vera Espinoza, Grupo RETO, Mexico; Carmen Riveroll, Grupo RETO, Mexico; Olga Santamaria Fernandez, Liga Colombiana, Colombia; representative with SANAR, Colombia; Arlisa Lifshitz, AMLCC, Mexico; Eva Maria Ruiz de Castilla Yabar, Esperantra, Peru; representative with SANAR, Colombia; Nancy Ortiz, Colegio de Periodistas, Chile.
On November 20, the American Cancer Society held its third annual Latin American Best Practice Awards (Premios Excelencia Latina) ceremony in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. An initiative supported by an educational grant from Novartis, Premios Excelencia Latina recognizes regional best practices of Latin American cancer control organizations in different program categories. This year, winning programs from six organizations were selected from three categories: patient services, collaboration with health care professionals, and media/decision-maker engagement. The six award-winning organizations include Sanar from Colombia, Grupo Reto from Mexico, Una Voz contra el Cáncer from Guatemala, Asociación Mexicana de Lucha contra el Cáncer from Mexico, Esperantra from Peru, and Colegio de periodistas from Chile. The American Cancer Society will award a total of $67,500 in grants to the winning programs, as well as offer a customized fellowship with one of the Society’s Divisions in the United States. The awards ceremony was led by Alessandra Durstine, vice president of Regional Programs and director of Latin America for the American Cancer Society, and Angela Esteva, volunteer board member for the American Cancer Society South Atlantic Division. Colombian leaders in attendance included Senator Dillian Toro; Congress representatives Dr. Elías Raad and Dr. Jorge Morales; Dr. Lucio Rangel de Sosa, regional health director; and Dr. Carlos Vicente Rada, director general of the National Cancer Institute. The awards were also attended by members of Alianza Latina, a regional alliance of hematological cancers. The event received media coverage throughout Colombia and the surrounding region.