Storytelling workshop to encourage stakeholder engagement with the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer

Fuentes-Alabí et al.

Storytelling can enhance stakeholder engagement and support the implementation of the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer, which aims to improve care globally for children with cancer. The Initiative aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, addressing health, education, inequalities and international collaboration. This report describes the design and implementation of a workshop that used storytelling through film to encourage stakeholders in national cancer control plans to engage with the Initiative in its focal countries in Central America, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. A six-step process was used to develop the virtual workshop hosted by PAHO: (I) define the audience; (ii) define the goals of storytelling; (iii) build an appropriate storyline, including choosing a platform and content, and addressing group dynamics and the length of the film; (iv) guide the workshop’s design and implementation with current theoretical frameworks, including the Socioecological Model of Health and the Theory of Change; (v) design interactive group exercises; and (vi) disseminate workshop results. The skills-building component of the day-long workshop included 80 representatives from eight countries in the Region of the Americas, with participants representing pediatric oncology, hospital administration, ministries of health, nonprofit foundations, the scientific community and public health organizations. Outputs from the workshop included (i) a summary report, (ii) an empathy word cloud with live reactions from participants, (iii) qualitative responses (i.e. quotes from participants), (iv) stakeholders’ analyses and (v) a prioritization matrix for country-level strategic activities that could be undertaken to strengthen health systems when caring for children with cancer. The workshop used storytelling through film to try to reduce health inequalities and have a regional impact. Combining art, public health and medicine, the workshop created positive change by sharing real-life experiences. Commitment was fostered among stakeholders through their engagement with the workshop, which aimed to increase their awareness of the need and advocacy to improve health systems and enhance access to health care for this vulnerable population.

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