News Release 

EMD Serono Awards grant to American Cancer Society to deliver global evaluation data for SOURCE

Grant to fund expansion of cancer NGO capacity building efforts globally

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has received a grant from EMD Serono Inc., the healthcare business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada, to improve data management for its comprehensive NGO strengthening program while building a robust community of practice among cancer-focused NGOs in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). This funding builds on prior EMD investments in the ACS Global Cancer Control initiatives such as the ACS Global Burden of Cancer in Women Report and the Young Scholars Program to address the global unmet needs in cancer.

This grant is part of a multi-year commitment to fund an evaluation and learning fellowship program that will enable ACS to assess and share successes to date in strengthening the global cancer NGO community and contribute to the wider body of knowledge within the field of organizational capacity development of the cancer civil society sector. The fellow will also lead the development of a Project ECHO clinic focused on NGO organizational strengthening that will enable ACS to connect organizations across countries to learn from one another's experiences, build the evidence base, and share best practices, challenges, and successes. This is part of ACS's Strengthening Organizations for a United Response to the Cancer Epidemic (SOURCE) Program that was established in 2016.

According to the World Health Organization, cancer causes about 1 in 6 deaths worldwide, with cancer-related mortality outnumbering deaths from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. The recently-released GLOBOCAN 2018 database projects that the global cancer burden will increase to 29.5 million new cases and 16.4 million deaths annually and LMIC will continue to shoulder most of this burden. In 2016, out of nearly 9 million cancer-related deaths worldwide, 70% were in LMIC. Therefore, there is a growing need for a strong civil society sector that can address the gaps in services and advocate for more resources to address cancer.

"We are grateful to EMD Serono for their support of this important investment in action on the ground to help us address our crucial need to collect, analyze, and report data that can be shared with the wider global health community that has not yet fully appreciated the trajectory of the growing cancer burden," said Sally G. Cowal, senior vice president, global cancer control, American Cancer Society. "With this fellowship, our community of practice platform, and ECHO clinic for cancer NGOs, we believe we can make significant contributions to a wider understanding around the role of civil society in the global cancer fight."

Currently, there is limited published literature supporting the impact of organizational development interventions on the mission delivery work of organizations globally. This fellowship program provides timely resources to analyze data and see how the ACS SOURCE Program is improving the quality of effort and function of non-governmental health organizations in LMIC.

"We are excited to be supporting ACS in their goal of strengthening the global cancer NGO community to enhance capacity building and drive real change for people living with cancer. This collaboration illustrates our commitment to working with patient organizations and the broader oncology community to address the gaps in cancer care and ensure we continue to deliver the innovation that matters most to patients," said Zhen Su, MD, MBA, senior vice president, Head of the Global Oncology Franchise, EMD Serono, the healthcare business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada.

To learn more about the American Cancer Society global initiatives, visit


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