Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation Announces Five New Grants to Advance Cancer Nursing Skills in Central and Eastern Europe

<0> Bristol-Myers SquibbU.S.Frederick Egenolf, 609-252-4875orEuropeElzbieta Zawislak, + Psyrra, +30.210.6074479 </0>

Recognizing the increasingly important role nurses play in improving health outcomes for cancer patients, the today announced five new two-year grants totaling nearly $750,000 to help improve nursing skills for oncology, general practice and public health nurses in the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Russia.

While cancer is the second-most common cause of death in Europe, mortality rates for most cancer types are higher in Central and Eastern Europe than in Western Europe, according to European Union data (Eurostat 2011). Low levels of cancer awareness and understanding among the general population, a lack of cancer prevention and screening efforts, and limited health care resources in the region are factors contributing to this gap.

Over the past five years, the Foundation’s initiative has been working with more than two dozen organizations in Central and Eastern Europe to reduce the burden of cancer by addressing a variety of patient needs, including psychosocial support, disease education, palliative care, care coordination and building nursing capacity.

“Nurses are in a unique position to enhance patient care, influence treatment outcomes and improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their families or caregivers,” said John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “By building trusting relationships with patients, other health care providers and supportive services in the community, nurses can help ensure cancer patients receive the comprehensive and compassionate care they need and deserve.”

A hallmark of the Foundation’s efforts to elevate the practice of oncology nursing is the annual Grantee Summit, which this year coincides with the International Conference on Cancer Nursing (ICCN) in Prague, Czech Republic. Foundation grantees and partners from Europe and the United States gathered before ICCN to share best practices and participate in educational sessions led by global health experts and cancer advocates from the World Health Organization, the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care (ISNCC), European Oncology Nursing Society, National Cancer Institute of Brazil and other organizations around the globe. ISNCC is a co-sponsor of the Grantee Summit.

also hosted a symposium at the ICCN conference titled The symposium highlighted innovative projects that are breaking barriers and involving nurses in all aspects of care along cancer continuum from health promotion and prevention, screening, early detection and survivorship to palliative and hospice care.

During a joint press event today with ISNCC at the ICCN conference, the Foundation announced that the following five organizations will receive grants:

The mission of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is to help reduce health disparities by strengthening community-based health care worker capacity, integrating medical care and community-based supportive services, and mobilizing communities in the fight against disease.

For more information on the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, visit .