Committee Connection

Dr. Howard Burris Discusses 2013 ASCO Election

11 Oct 2012 6:50 PM

Each year, new positions open on ASCO’s Board of Directors (including President-Elect) and on the ASCO Nominating Committee. In the following interview, Nominating Committee Chair Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, MD, shares his insights on the process with ASCO Connection.

Voting will open on Monday, October 15, 2012, at 12:00 PM (Eastern); the voting period closes on November 20, 2012, at 11:59 PM (Eastern). Visit when voting opens for detailed information on all candidates. Voting-eligible members can access the secure electronic proxy ballot using their username and password. Election results will be announced in December 2012.

AC: How does the Nominating Committee develop the slate of candidates?
Dr. Burris: The Nominating Committee accumulates names year-round from a variety of sources. We encourage members to submit names, and we also receive many candidate suggestions from current and recent ASCO Board members.

For the first time, members could submit nominations until just after the close of the 2012 ASCO Annual Meeting. Throughout the Meeting, people came up to me with suggestions of names or handed me pieces of paper to nominate colleagues, and other members of the Nominating Committee had the same experience. Almost every time I walked across McCormick Place, I would be stopped multiple times by members who wanted to recommend someone who they thought would be a great candidate. It speaks to how important it is for members of the Nominating Committee to be active and visible during the Meeting and throughout the year.

This year is my third on the Nominating Committee, and this was the largest and most diverse pool of candidates we’ve considered in developing the slate.

AC: What characteristics did the Nominating Committee consider, or what niches did you look to fill?
Dr. Burris: With the burgeoning interest in electronic health records and electronic communication, we looked for members with an interest, affinity, or expertise in the area of information technology. Widely discussed among the Nominating Committee was appropriate community practice representation. We’ve presented a slate of community oncologists from different parts of the country, with expertise in different practice sizes and practice backgrounds—the common thread is proven leadership skills. The third area we were careful to consider was international diversity, bringing representation to the Board from parts of the world not typically represented. We also looked at disease representation to ensure that candidates came from a spectrum of disease specialties. Our goal was to present a slate that represented the same level of diversity you find in ASCO’s membership.

AC: Why should members cast their votes in the election?
Dr. Burris: Something people often don’t consider is that ASCO Board members serve three to four years, and that Board is interacting not only within ASCO, but with organizations across the country and around the world. It’s important that members have a say in their representation to give the Board a clear mandate and a show of confidence. •

Dr. Burris is the Chief Medical Officer and Executive Director of the Drug Development Program at Sarah Cannon Research Institute and a partner at Tennessee Oncology. An ASCO member since 1991, he has served on the Journal of Clinical Oncology Editorial Board, the Cancer Education Committee, and the Board of Directors, among others. He has been a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology since 2010.

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