Christobel Saunders serves as Vice-President at All.Can International and is a distinguished clinician-scientist balancing clinical work as a specialist cancer surgeon with academic responsibilities as Professor of Surgery at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Over the past two decades, Christobel has dedicated herself to improving health outcomes on local, national, and international levels. This includes developing health policy and treatment guidelines with governments, enhancing care and policy through advocacy organizations, ensuring quality education with professional organizations, and driving research agendas. Her work with All.Can International and All.Can Australia focuses on designing and influencing policies and practices to enhance the efficiency of cancer care globally.

Christobel Saunders
Vice-President, All.Can International

Christobel’s Story: Discovering My Passion for Associations

Around the world, nearly 20 million people are diagnosed with cancer annually, making it one of the common causes of premature death and disability. The burden of cancer is personal to patients and families and significant to healthcare systems. I see it as a vital part of my job as a clinician and cancer researcher to ensure we have the best and most efficient patient-centric cancer outcomes worldwide. To achieve this, we need to come together – patients, healthcare professionals and systems, industry, and policymakers – and learn from each other internationally. All.Can does just this to work for better cancer care.

Christobel’s Approach: How to #InspireInclusion through Our Work and Actions

Inclusion to me means not just bringing together stakeholders with whom we routinely interact but also those who do not normally work together. It is about stretching ourselves to look for opportunities to include the options and experiences of those who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized. In cancer, this, of course, means first and foremost putting patients at the center of what we do – and as cancer can affect anybody, this means patients from all backgrounds and abilities. To broaden our interactions, we must include industry partners, researchers, policymakers, those who fund care, and those who deliver it.

Christobel’s Perspective: On the Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Associations

Any association must reflect the community it serves. Moreover, diversity brings a rich broth of views and ideas, and it is at these intersections that truly revolutionary ideas can develop. But just bringing diverse people together is not enough – each voice must be heard equally, and we must learn to acknowledge our differences as well as our commonalities and respect the benefits this brings. An association that is seen to reflect the community it serves will gain credibility both internally and externally, and so will more likely be successful in achieving its aims.

Christobel’s Initiatives: Actions and Inspirations for Fellow Association Leaders

All.Can International has purposefully recruited Board and other members from industry, healthcare professionals, researchers, and patient advocacy. We are global, with no boundaries, and are actively involving developing as well as developed countries. We have an « Efficiency Hub » that showcases examples of good cancer care across the globe and have discovered some examples from developing countries can inform much better practice even in the most affluent nations. We can all learn from each other.