I presented my first poster as a clinical trialist at the ASCO Annual Meeting in 1998. I was struggling to fasten my poster to the display—not only could I not reach the top, I was also very pregnant at the time—when another attendee gallantly came over to lend a hand. My poster looked crooked, he said, and he wanted to help me make it perfect. It turned out he was a gynecologic oncologist, like me. The memory of his kindness and collegiality that day has stayed with me, very clear and strong, all these years.
The man happened to be Dr. Jonathan S. Berek, whom I recently succeeded as editor in chief of ASCO Connection. It feels very fitting that I now have the opportunity to repay his kindness that day many times over, by thoughtfully guiding the publication that he led over the past 10 years.
That’s the amazing thing about the ASCO Annual Meeting: connections can happen anywhere, not just during sessions or designated networking events (although ASCO offers plenty of both). The person who sits next to you on the shuttle in the morning could be your next research collaborator. The person who strikes up a conversation in the coffee cart line could be your next mentor. The person who helps you hang your poster could someday be the outgoing editor in chief who advises you as you prepare for your first term in the role.
Maybe you’re heading to the ASCO Annual Meeting for the first time this year, or maybe the first week of June has been perpetually blocked off on your calendar for decades. Either way, you’ll want to check out our cover story, which notes some of the networking opportunities available. It also previews exciting sessions and themes in this year’s Annual Meeting Education Program, as well as Pre-Annual Meeting Seminars and Case-Based Courses that can help you maximize your learning.
This issue features several stories about making connections and building relationships:
- ASCO President Dr. Daniel F. Hayes got involved with his local ASCO State/Regional Affiliate, connecting with other Michigan-based oncologists and with his state representatives on important health care policy issues.
- After personal experiences with caregiving for family members with cancer, Dr. Rick Boulay connects with the cancer survivor and caregiving community through music and philanthropy.
- Dr. Prakash C. Neupane reconnected with medical professionals in his native Nepal and is working with ASCO International and the International Cancer Corps to bring much- needed education to the area.
- Dr. Brandon J. Blue outlines the importance of a diverse oncology workforce and recommends strategies for improving representation within our field, which can help us build trusting, culturally sensitive relationships with our patients.
We also continue our “Beat Burnout” series with practical tips on using mindful meditation to create moments of peace in your busy day and interrupt negative thought patterns that can reduce your emotional well-being.
I look forward to your feedback on this issue and your ideas for the future; send us an email. Thank you for reading!