Lawson's cover image
Lawson

Lawson RIDE

Year of Award: 1999 Award State: Tasmania Health And Medicine > Cancer And Oncology
Social Welfare > General
The Sir William Kilpatrick Churchill Fellowship to study rural cancer control with particular reference to patient support, prevention and fundraising - Norway, Netherlands, Ireland, Canada, USA
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The countries I chose to visit had a similar demographic to Tasmania. At that stage the Cancer Council of Tasmania had existed for only three years, but had already achieved some basic objectives. My application for a Churchill Fellowship was suggested to me by founding Cancer Council board member Kim Boyer as a way to help move us forward.

The Fellowship helped me to gain an accelerated knowledge of possible solutions developed by sister organisations around the world.

I started by attending an international Breast Cancer conference in Antwerp, which brought home to me that cancer care was not just the responsibility of one NGO or Government agency. Tasmania’s success in this field depended on a collaborative and unified approach.

In Ireland I was particularly interested in the advocacy work of the Cancer Society in support of the first Smokefree Pubs legislation; I went to Galway and Kerry to talk with the highly regarded Cancer Nurses, paid by the ICS and supported by community fundraising. The nurses worked alongside Department of Health staff to provide an integrated service to local communities.

The Norwegian Cancer Society (NCS) is funded by poker machines and is very wealthy: when I arrived at Oslo Airport I was handed a ticket to Trondheim to meet with staff and volunteers.

This visit confirmed my view that funding integrated services was by far the most cost-effective model, and that our Health System did not need the level of clinical support provided by oncologists and professionals in the NCS.

In Atlanta, Georgia, USA, I attended the World Conference of Cancer Organisations.

Apart from my first exposure to the Relay for Life, I also learnt about the Board Governance Model developed by John Carver. Overwhelming support of this approach was shown by both volunteer and paid staff in the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). When adopted by the Cancer Council Tasmania, this model was to give me the freedom to start a range of initiatives.

In Winnipeg, Canada, I spent a day learning about the operations of their ‘Road to Recovery’ program. It became clear that this non-clinical transport solution could help address a similar need in Tasmania and so was born the flagship Statewide Transport to Treatment Program. We also saw the establishment of Smokefree – Tasmania and the Tasmanian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (TCDPA).

I am now retired and spend my time between Hobart and Port Arthur. Before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease I was a keen musician, and now listen to a lot more music. 

Excerpt from “Bringing Knowledge Home” published by the Churchill Fellows Association of Tasmania (2016) 

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