Welcome to the First Issue of ASCO Connection in 2020!

Welcome to the First Issue of ASCO Connection in 2020!

Linda R. Duska, MD, MPH

Jan 14, 2020

In our cover story you can read about the outcomes of ASCO’s annual Advocacy Summit. ASCO volunteers met with Members of Congress and their staff, urging them to take action on key legislation that has a direct effect on patient access to high-quality, high-value cancer care. These volunteers were busy: over the course of a single day, ASCO members from 35 states held more than 160 Congressional meetings. Members who couldn’t travel to Capitol Hill in person were active on social media and on ASCO’s ACT Network in support of these advocacy efforts. 

Wherever we live, whatever we do for our day jobs, we have a responsibility to be politically aware and politically engaged. We must educate ourselves on the issues affecting our profession and people with cancer. The issues are not only about expanding (appropriate) insurance coverage, but also addressing the financial toxicity of cancer care, acknowledging disparities, and improving access to expert cancer care, including clinical research opportunities. To achieve all of these goals, we will need to advocate—on our own, with our local colleagues, with our state/regional affiliate societies, and with ASCO’s support at the federal level—for policies that advance our field and promote better, safer, more equitable, and more affordable care for patients and survivors. This includes encouraging everyone, including ourselves, to be an active and knowledgeable participant in the voting process.

As ASCO Government Relations Committee member Dr. Jason Westin says in our cover story, if we don’t speak up for patients with cancer, who will?

Stepping beyond the borders of local and national policy considerations, in this issue we feature two perspectives on global oncology. Dr. Fredrick Chite Asirwa shares his vision for the future of global oncology as a recognized academic discipline. Dr. Patrick J. Loehrer describes his career path in global oncology and offers advice to trainees who dream of having a global impact on cancer care. The two authors have both experienced oncology practice in Indiana and in Kenya, and on opposite sides of an ocean they share a common goal of improved outcomes for every patient, regardless of where they are born, through robust education and effective partnerships.

We also look at two challenging professional situations for which most of us have very little training. Dr. Inas Abuali gives sage and practical advice for breaking up with a mentor, so if you’re struggling with a mentor/mentee relationship that isn’t a good fit or is no longer supporting your career goals, you can cut ties graciously and diplomatically. Dr. Sharon F. McGee explores the fraught topic of medical errors, with a focus on how to appropriately handle an error and productively recover afterward so that you can continue to thrive in your profession. As we continue to confront the issue of professional burnout in our workforce, we must be prepared to respond to the errors that result from fatigue and overwork.


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