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UMKC Dr. teaches life-saving training to health care workers in Africa

Diana Tamer
Posted at 7:34 AM, Apr 04, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City doctor is making a difference almost 6,000 miles away by teaching life saving training to health care workers in Africa.

Dr. Diana Tamer is a hematology oncology pharmacist at Advent Health and a clinical associate professor at UMKC School of Pharmacy. Dr. Tamer traveled to the Ivory Coast through the African Access Initiative as part of her mission to reverse cancer rates.

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“There is a gap, there is a need, it’s a dream of mine to be able to share my knowledge, my experience, hence why I’m in academia, I want to share that and pass along that ripple effect," Dr. Tamer said.

Dr. Tamer spent four days in Africa. She went into practice sites to see where gaps were present and then developed training based on this. She found the largest gaps in areas like matching drugs to mutations, patient care, and knowledge of cancer guidelines.

“It takes me about three years to teach someone that here (in the U.S.), and we did that in four days," she said.

By the trip's end, Dr. Tamer met with stakeholders ranging from high government officials to representatives on her last day to talk about permanently implementing this training in Africa.

“They don’t have a formal oncology training, but they have cancer patients like the rest of the world. We have a ton of cancer patients but very little people to treat these cancer patients and that’s the hardest part," she said.

Dr. Tamer added that there are 2,000,000 new cancer cases predicted to happen in 2024, and about 600,000 cancer deaths. It's part of why her role in this effort is literally lifesaving.

“It’s eye opening, you see countries that have very little resources that have these great minds. They are thirsty for knowledge and it’s beautiful to see and it’s very humbling, and sometimes when we have everything available at our disposal, we are not very grateful, or we don’t know the value of what we’ve got," Dr. Tamer said.

Another special part of her role in this is that when she first learned of this opportunity, one of the requirements was that the training needed to be in French. As a native of Lebanon, she grew up speaking French.

She plans to keep teaching and training, all in the fight to save patients from cancer.