A few weeks after the full-scale russian invasion of Ukraine, Nataliya Kovalchuk, PhD, a Clinical Associate Professor of radiation oncology at the Stanford School of Medicine, sent an email to all cancer centers in Ukraine, asking how she could help.
Dr. Andriy Beznosenko, a Medical Chief Officer of National Cancer Institute, responded to a call for help. The interview with him was published in the Advances of Radiation Oncology article: “While Ukrainian Soldiers Are Fearlessly Defending Their Country, Ukrainian Oncologists Are Bravely Battling Cancer”.
Together with Dr. Andriy Beznosenko, Ruslan Zelinskyi, a President of Ukrainian Association of Medical Physicists, and other practitioners from the U.S. and Australia, they formed Help Ukraine Group, which aims to support cancer care in Ukraine. Part of the group’s initial missions was to advocate for support for Ukraine by petitioning professional organizations and vendors for support, writing articles describing the situation in Ukraine and how to help and organizing sessions on Ukraine at the professional meetings. One of the first such sessions was organized by Dr. Natalka Suchowerska, an esteemed medical physicist of Ukrainian origin working at the University of Sydney, Australia. Since then, Help Ukraine Group has organized talks or sessions on Ukraine at more than 20 conferences and published more than 10 journal articles.
One of the most important HUG’s goals was to support the Ukrainian cancer centers with medical supplies, hardware and software. HUG has delivered aid to more than 20 cancer centers through UICC grants and vendor support:
Help Ukraine Group at the initiative from Dr. Beznosenko is also finding training opportunities for Ukrainian onco practitioners in US, Canada, and Australia. Together with Nelya Melnitchouk and Global Medical Knowledge Alliance (GMKA), HUG secured 25 training positions abroad.
HUG also organizes virtual education opportunities partnering with ASTRO, AAPM, ESTRO and academic institutions in US, Canada, and Australia to provide the needed training courses for radiation oncologist, medical physicists and radiation therapists.