sixth annual Alianza GISTRepresentatives from ten Latin American countries gathered on May 17 in Miami, Florida,  for the sixth annual meeting of Alianza GIST to discuss issues related to advocacy work in their region, last year’s accomplishments and to set goals for the coming year.

Areas reviewed included:

  • Education of the future generation of medical professionals: Two webinars will be introduced this year: “GIST Advances in Diagnosis and Treatment” to be scheduled in July 2015 with Dr. Marcelo Garrido, from The Cancer Center of the Catholic University of Chile, and a webinar on Pathology by Dr. Pablo Bejarano from The Cleveland Clinic, Florida to be scheduled in September 2015.
  • The new website for Alianza GIST, new educational materials, and the work done in Central America by Silvia Castillo de Armas.
  • Latin American Patient Registry, Mutational Studies, Generics Surveillance Program and Latin American Research Consortium.

Under the guidance of Dr. Juan Manuel Acuña of Florida International University, the group performed a diagnostic exercise on how they viewed Alianza GIST as well as how they viewed their individual organizations. Next, the group reviewed the Alianza GIST mission, vision, and objectives, as well as participated in an exercise to identify their individual missions and objectives.

Representatives from the organizations together set the following goals for 2015-2016:

  • Create a presentation in Spanish emphasizing the importance of sharing data about GIST for representatives to share with doctors and institutions.
  • Create a simplified, core database for representatives to collect and capture data.
  • Design a focused surveillance system using a survey to collect information on side effects for brand and generic drugs.
  • Compile a summary chart of generics available in the region to be placed on the website.
  • Create a Latin American Pathology Consortium.
  • Create a Latin American Advisory Group of GIST Clinicians.
  • Create a database of GIST specialists from Latin America.
  • Edit the current strategic plan to focus on the four key strategic areas in which Alianza GIST will focus its work for the following year.

Despite the hard work of the group, representatives did get to enjoy relaxing dinners and a chance to catch up in Miami. Alianza GIST has become more than a successful, cohesive coalition, it has become a family that reaches beyond borders. GIST is not the only unifying factor in this group; the friendship shared has become one of its defining characteristics. We look forward to more updates throughout the year.

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