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BCRF Grantee Since


Area(s) of Focus

Lawrence N. Shulman, MD

Deputy Director for Clinical Services
Director, Center for Global Cancer Medicine
Abramson Cancer Center
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Current Research

Breast cancer is a major public health concern in low and middle income countries (LMCs) such as Rwanda, where women have a much higher risk of dying if they are diagnosed. Without the correct diagnosis, optimal treatment cannot be given, and the chance for successful treatment outcome is greatly diminished. In addition, it is critical that the correct diagnosis is made rapidly so that patients suffering from cancer can have treatment instituted quickly. In the first year of their BCRF funding,  Drs. Shulman and Mpunga joined forces to address these challenges by implementing strategies to improve the capacity for tumor pathology review at the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda. The project is focused on providing training in standard methods of pathology and includes a low-cost telepathology platform that allows trained pathologists in the US to oversee the interpretation of pathology reports from the physicians in Rwanda.

Delays in accessing diagnostic services and treatment are another major obstacle to reducing breast cancer mortality rates in low and middle income countries. Developing early detection strategies for breast cancer in in these settings is essential to improve survival. The goal of Drs. Shulman’s and Mpunga’s 2014-2015 BCRF project is to assess the impact of a breast cancer educational intervention for rural community health workers and health center nurses. In particular, they will study the impact of this intervention on community health worker and nurse knowledge and skills, patient referrals, breast cancer detection rates, delays in breast cancer diagnoses, and breast cancer stage at diagnosis. This project is part of a larger effort by the investigators to implement robust research and clinical programs at the Butaro Cancer Center in Rwanda.


Lawrence N. Shulman, MD, is Chief of Staff, Senior Vice-President for Medical Affairs, and Chief, Division of General Oncology, Department of Medical Oncology, at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI). He is also Director of DFCI’s Center for Global Cancer Medicine, and Director of the Department of Regional Strategy and Development.

He is former Chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) Quality of Care Committee. He is a member of the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons, and Chair of their Quality Integration Committee.

As Director for the DFCI Center for Global Cancer Medicine, and in collaboration with Partners In Health, where he is Senior Oncology Advisor, he is helping to lead the development of structured cancer programs in Rwanda, Haiti and Malawi. In July 2012, former President Bill Clinton dedicated Rwanda’s Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence, the primary provider of cancer care in the country as designated by the Rwandan Ministry of Health, and by the Rwandan Medical School as the primary site for physician and nurse cancer care education. Robust research programs in implementation science have been established at the Butaro Cancer Center.

With the opening of the new teaching hospital in Haiti, Hopital Universale de Mirebalais, the learnings from Butaro have already begun to be used in building a robust oncology program of patient care, teaching and research in Haiti.

A specialist in the treatment of patients with breast cancer, Dr. Shulman’s research includes development of new cancer therapies.