Monday, June 30, 2019


Dr. Benjamin Anderson

In June 2019, The Washington Global Health Alliance (WGHA) awarded Dr. Benjamin Anderson, Professor, Division of General Surgery, Breast Health Global Initiative, University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Pioneers Award for Impact.

“The 2019 Pioneers awardees are bold, compassionate, creative, and persistent in their work to improve health equity. They include a young woman whose impatience to prevent HIV in pregnant women has already helped 20,000 women in Kenya and expanded HIV prevention options; a man who created a global community and resource-appropriate guidelines for breast cancer care; and two organizations who collaborate to diagnose chronic myeloid leukemia earlier and help patients live longer and healthier lives,” said Dena Morris, WGHA president.

WGHA’s sixth annual Pioneers Award for Impact recognizes Dr. Anderson, who’s created a global breast oncology community to improve breast cancer early diagnosis and treatment in low-resource settings.

Dr. Anderson founded the Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI) in 2002 with a vision for improving breast cancer outcomes in limited-resource settings. He is a driving force who led an international collective effort to create resource-stratified guidelines for providing care in different settings, making it easier for countries to make incremental investments and progress. Based on BHGI’s sentinel work, resource stratification has now been adopted by the World Health Organization and others as a model for creating practical guidelines for the management of other cancers around the world.

Dr. Anderson’s leadership is behind the Breast Cancer Initiative 2.5, an international platform for collaborating and sharing best practices, policies, and country-level guidelines. Judges were impressed by the complex collaborations Dr. Anderson has initiated and navigated, collaborations with practical applications and global impact.

Commenting on Dr. Anderson’s contributions to the field and his approach to collaboration, Lisa Stevens, former deputy director of Planning and Operations at the Center for Global Health, National Cancer Institute, said, “Ben has truly been a pioneer in evidence-based resource-stratified guidelines. He didn’t stop there. After 10+ years of work on the entire continuum of breast cancer, he wanted to ensure that the guidelines would be used by ministries of health. He led the development of the Knowledge Summaries for Breast Cancer so that policymakers could best utilize the guidelines. And even this wasn’t enough as he convened a recent meeting to ensure that there is action in countries to impact the health and lives of women globally. His passion for breast health is a gift for the world.”

“This WGHA award is tremendously meaningful to me,” said Dr. Anderson. “The work of our collaborators from countries around the world has sparked a global effort to improve breast cancer outcomes in all resource settings, not just those countries with wealth. As the most common cancer among women and the most likely reason for a woman to die of cancer, we have reason to work together toward this shared goal. When BHGI started, we were told that improved breast cancer outcomes were beyond the reach of most countries. Today we know that through the coordination of the health care communities, governments and policymakers, and the advocacy communities, meaningful and sustainable improvements are not only possible but are happening. I am honored to accept the WGHA Pioneers Award for Impact on behalf of the people around the globe that have come together to create meaningful change.”

Winners were selected by a panel of global health experts chaired by Erin McCarthy, senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and WGHA board member. Awardees will be honored at the Pioneers of Global Health Awards Dinner & Auction in October 2019. Table sponsorships and limited individual tickets are available to the public for online purchase.

About the Washington Global Health Alliance
WGHA is a membership organization of more than 75 global health organizations working to achieve health equity. WGHA connects and informs Washington’s global health community, creating a culture of collaboration at home so our members can have more impact in the world. Learn more at