Leading and collaborating for change

Submitted by Dan_Canteen on 02 Jul 2021
02 Jul 2021

By Laura Vidal, Canteen Policy and Advocacy Manager

Canteen has grown its scope of work over the past 36 years and we can be proud of so much, not least the way we have been able to successfully advocate and lobby for better outcomes for young people impacted by cancer. We do this while also focusing on delivering programs, counselling and the raft of other free support services that these young people need every single day.

The spectrum of Canteen’s advocacy work spans everything from winning consistent government funding for the Youth Cancer Services, to currently trying to get the right cancer-fighting drugs onto the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Although I’m new to Canteen – recently starting in the Policy and Advocacy Manager role – I can see the huge volume of research, evaluation and collaboration that has happened both in Australia and overseas to get to where we are today.

Some of this reach and influence includes:

  • Canada’s adoption of Canteen’s Australian Youth Cancer Framework, which allowed them to establish a national vision for all cancer agencies.
  • Close research partnerships with Denmark, The Netherlands, and especially the UK and USA.
  • Canteen as a partner in the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Global Accord with Teen Cancer America and the Teenage Cancer Trust (UK), together delivering an international AYA cancer conference series.
  • The translation and use of our offspring and siblings needs measures and our distress screening tool in Belgium, Italy, Sweden, the USA and New Zealand (among many others).
  • Investment in the next generation of researchers with Canteen’s new Postgraduate Scholarship Fund to support a scholar as they conduct new research on how getting cancer young can impact futures.

Very recently Canteen’s General Manager of Research, Policy and Patient Programs, Pandora Patterson, presented to US hospital Memorial Sloan Kettering on AYA patient assessment and therapeutic intervention, while CEO Peter Orchard spoke at a national conference of AYA health professionals in Japan on driving better cancer care protocols for AYAs.

It’s this broad-brush stroke of local and international leadership in the youth cancer space that will allow us to continue to push for the best outcomes we can.

My recent arrival at Canteen is part of our renewed five-year strategy. I can’t wait to get stuck into driving the development of Canteen’s policy and advocacy agenda that will carve out ways to continue creating positive change, including partnering with others to maximise our collective impact.

If you’d like to collaborate with Canteen in any of the ways I’ve written about above, please reach out to me via laura.vidal@canteen.org.au