Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, M.D., an international leader in pediatric solid tumor research, is joining St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to head the International Outreach Program. The appointment comes as the institution broadens its global footprint through enhanced programs and collaborations.
Rodriguez-Galindo will serve as the International Outreach Program director and an executive vice president. He will also chair the newly created Department of Global Pediatric Medicine and hold the Four Stars of Chicago Endowed Chair in International Pediatric Research.
A native of Spain, Rodriguez-Galindo came to St. Jude in 1994 as a postdoctoral fellow and served as a clinical researcher and faculty member for more than a decade. He focused on developing new therapies for retinoblastoma, sarcomas and rare childhood cancers.
He returns to St. Jude from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital, where he was director of the Pediatric Solid Tumor Program, medical director of the Clinical and Translational Investigations Program, and director of the Global Health Initiative in Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders. He also served as professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
“Today, more than 80 percent of children with cancer live in low- and middle-income countries, and more than half will die from their diseases,” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and chief executive officer. “Dr. Rodriguez-Galindo’s broad experience in global medicine and his vision for the International Outreach Program will help St. Jude change that statistic by establishing a clinical care and research agenda that accelerates worldwide progress for children with cancer.”
Established in 1998 with the goal of improving the level and quality of care for childhood cancer patients around the world, the St. Jude International Outreach Program now includes 24 partner sites in 17 countries. The program is leading the development of integrated models of education and capacity-building, resulting in steady improvements in the outcomes of children with cancer in those areas. For example, acute lymphoblastic leukemia survival rates in the Central American partner countries have risen from less than 30 percent in the 1990s to more than 60 percent today. While work remains to alleviate disparities in cancer detection, management and treatment worldwide, these successes serve as a model for the future.
Through the International Outreach Program, St. Jude also fosters the development of regional networks among its international partners and collaborators. This model moves beyond the existing one-on-one partnership approach by promoting self-sufficiency and the sharing of expertise among international sites. These efforts have led to the creation of three successful international networks: the Asociación de Hemato-Oncología Pediátrica de Centro América (AHOPCA), which includes members from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Panama; the National Childhood ALL Study Group in China; and the Pediatric Oncology East and Mediterranean (POEM) Group, which encompasses partner sites and collaborating centers in more than 20 countries in the Middle East, northern Africa and southern Asia.
“By further integrating research, innovation and advanced education, the International Outreach Program is creating a new paradigm for global pediatric oncology care,” said Rodriguez-Galindo. “Our ultimate goal is to generate knowledge and innovative models so that soon all children with cancer in the world have access to quality care.”
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow the hospital on Twitter and Instagram at @stjuderesearch.