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ASCOconnection.org is a forum for the exchange of views on topical issues in the field of oncology. The views expressed in the blogs, comments, and forums belong to the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Please read the Commenting Guidelines.

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Physician, musician, and writer Dr. Tara Rajendran explores the power of creative expression in the face of increasing levels of physician burnout.
July is a time of new beginnings and transitions in academic medicine. As I wrapped up my fellowship, I thought often of the adage: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Dr. Samer Al Hadidi shares how a clear strategy may help to choose the best conference/s to attend according to interest and/or availability. 
The weeks following the ASCO Annual Meeting are always a time of transition as we synthesize new knowledge. That feeling of flux is heightened this year as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
According to Dr. Aakash Desai and Dr. Turab Mohammed, the pandemic has emphasized one of the most challenging yet quintessential skills needed for a health care provider: the ability to break bad news compassionately to families.
Although clinician-educator is still a less traditional academic track in many organizations, there is a growing community of dedicated leaders in this field.
"Our approach to treating cancer begins with a focus on prevention—similarly, we need to think about the modifiable factors to prevent burnout," said Dr. Shayma Master Kazmi.
With the current pace of progress in cancer care, urgent implementation of cost-effectiveness training curriculum in fellowship training programs will be indispensable, shares Dr. Samer Al Hadidi. 
"A successful mentorship is mutually beneficial for the mentor and mentee, where each party has to recognize and understand what the other is offering and whether it fits each career path," said Dr. Atlal Abusanad.
Many trainees will have to balance family responsibilities and their training duties. Dr. Samer Al Hadidi provides some tips that he found helpful while trying to balance his roles as a fellow and a father in a two-physician family.
"Ask yourself this question: Are you pursuing now what initially motivated you to become a medical oncologist?" asks Dr. Ramy Sedhom.
"Leading right now means helping team members adapt to the losses that all have experienced and supporting them with more than exhortation and reassurance," writes Dr. Mark E. Robson.
"My motto is to stand up for all the people who face casual racism, sexism, and injustice, and my aim is to protect international trainees in medicine when it is my turn to be a mentor," Dr. Viju Chandrasekhar affirms as she shares a personal experience with bias based on her accent.
Our oncology training is shaped by those who devote their time to helping us turn our weaknesses into strengths, and all of us have a role to play as teachers.
Dr. Arjun Gupta pens an homage to his mentor Dr. Ross Donehower, whose emphasis on patient experience, quality of life, and civility continues to set an example for the next generation of oncology leaders.
"I thought I was going through winter blues until one morning when a surprising thought occurred to me. I was thinking of quitting oncology," said Dr. Atlal Abusanad.
Do you need to do an advanced fellowship? Dr. Samer Al Hadidi explores the opportunities and drawbacks, and acknowledges that in the current system, the answer is, "It depends."  
In this new year we must remain alert to our own prejudices, and be vigilant about keeping our personal biases out of the charts and out of our discussions with colleagues, patients, and caregivers. 

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