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Bridging Cancer Care

Active Since: 2007

Contributing to SDGs…

Bridging Cancer Care


  • Academia or research institute

    Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope

    University of Washington

    National School of Public Health

    Management and Professional Development

  • Local NGOs

    World Services of La Crosse

  • Professional and trade associations

    Romanian Cancer Society

  • Professional Services

    Partners in Progress


  • Eliminate disparities in cancer treatment between Central and Eastern Europe by building healthcare worker capacity, training healthcare workers and increasing patient awareness, screening and treatment.

What are the health needs and challenges?

Cancer is the second-most common cause of death in Europe and remains a significant health problem. There are currently 3 million new cancer cases and 1.7 million deaths from cancer in the region each year. Central and Eastern European countries, however, have worse cancer incidence and mortality rates than the rest of Europe. About 6 in 10 cancer deaths occur in less developed regions and disparities in cancer persist among the poor, racial minorities and vulnerable people. Cancer illiteracy among the general population, lack of prevention and screening efforts, and limited health care resources are all seen as contributing factors to this gap.

Partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Bridging Cancer Care directs funding and develops partnerships to help narrow the differences in care and outcomes experienced by countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Priorities include capacity building for training oncology, general practice and public health nurses to increase their ability to care for cancer patients in the community, targeting funding at the community level and seeking to improve patient health outcomes and their quality of life.

Bridging Cancer Care creates innovative partnerships with government and civil society organizations to support the public health response to cancer. Funding and initiatives are targeted at the community level for health care worker training (professional and lay), and for community mobilization, education and supportive services that remove barriers to care and support patients as they manage their disease at home and in the community. Bridging Cancer Care focuses on populations disproportionately affected by cancer, including the poor, ethnic minorities and people living in rural communities with limited access to cancer services.

Programs are evaluated for improvements in care capacity patient health outcomes and quality of life. Lessons learned are shared at annual conferences and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation advocates with its partners for improvements in standard of care and enabling policies based on the lessons learned.

 "Patients felt they received better care from nurses and highly valued us, as did the physicians."
Olgo Frolova
Chief Nurse, Ivanovo Regional Hospital Oncology Dispensary,Russia


SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

  1. 3.1: Reduce Maternal Mortality
  2. 3.2: Reduce Under-5 Mortality 
  3. 3.4: NCDs (including mental health)
  4. 3.7: Access to sexual and reproductive health-care services 

SDG 5: Gender Equality

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals 


Since 2007, the Foundation has directed grant-making and partnership development to reduce cancer disparities in Central and Eastern Europe with programs focused on a variety of needs, including psychosocial support, disease information, palliative care, care coordination, assessment of cancer services, and building nursing capacity.

In 2010, the Foundation shifted its focus to making grants for projects that improve nursing skills and build nurse/community partnerships. Between 2010 and 2013 the Foundation has awarded 22 Bridging Cancer Care grants for projects in Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. To date, the program has trained 5,700 healthcare workers and provided educational initiatives for 476,000 people.

In 2010, the Foundation supported the implementation of the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium to improve palliative care in several countries, including Russia and Romania. Also in Romania, a two-year, $95,000 grant supported a project to increase health literacy and improve the quality of life for cancer patients by educating community nurses and forming partnerships between nurses, patients and libraries. A $149,000 grant to World Services of LaCrosse in Russia enhanced cancer nursing skills as well as increased health care system capacity for prevention, screening and care through expanding the scope of practice of the nursing role.

In 2011, the Foundation awarded six grants totaling more than $900,000 to improve cancer awareness, prevention and care by developing cancer nursing skills and building nurse-community partnerships in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Russia.

In 2012, the Foundation awarded five grants totaling about $750,000 to improve nursing skills for oncology, general practice and public health nurses in the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Russia.

In 2013, the Foundation awarded two, two-year grants totaling $700,000 to establish Cancer Nursing Centers of Excellence in oncology nursing and smoking cessation in Saratov Oblast, Russia, and Prague, Czech Republic. The centers will offer training and technical assistance to nurses and will disseminate lessons and impactful approaches to broader audiences throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

Current and future partnerships:

Hospice Casa Seperantei will receive $349,979 over two years to establish a Palliative Care Center of Excellence in Romania that will serve Central and Eastern Europe. The Center of Excellence builds upon the organization’s extensive experience and expertise in palliative care.

Project HOPE Poland received $47,803 to continue its work improving early detection of cancer in children in Poland by developing national guidelines that offer best practice advice on investigating and referring children to primary health care when cancer is suspected.

Russian Nurses Association will receive $39,028 over two years to partner with the University of Washington to implement “Evidence-Based Oncology Nursing: Helping Patients & Family Caregivers Heal.” The project will use evidence-based modules of behavioral interventions – based on published clinical trials – that nurses can apply to adult patients or caregivers dealing with cancer to improve their quality of life, enhance symptom management and decrease their anxiety and depression. Also, University of Washington received $129,179 to partner with the Russian Nurses Association to revise, implement and evaluate evidence-based modules of psychosocial interventions that nurses can apply to adult cancer patients and their caregivers to improve their quality of life, enhance symptom management and decrease their anxiety and depression.

The international Society of Nurses in Cancer Care received $350,000 over two years to create the Eastern European Nurses’ Centre of Excellence for Tobacco Control, which will engage nurses in the fight against tobacco and promote cancer prevention.

World Services of LaCrosse will receive $349,882 over two years to establish two Cancer Care Nursing Practice Centers of Excellence in Russia, that will provide innovative and sustainable approaches to increase capacity and improve cancer nursing skills.