By 2021-2022 ASCO President Everett E. Vokes, MD, FASCO, and ASCO Nominating Committee Chair Sharon H. Giordano, MD, MPH, FASCO
Every year, ASCO calls upon members to vote for the future leaders of our Society. Voting is now open, with 15 remarkable candidates on the ballot, and will close on December 7, 2021.
We all recognize that the landscape of oncology is changing at a frenetic pace, exacerbated in many ways by the COVID-19 pandemic, and ASCO’s role in shaping the evolution of our field is critical. Casting your vote in the ASCO election means you are helping to select and give a strong mandate to the individuals who will guide our Society over the coming years.
This year, even more voices will be heard. In 2020, members voted in favor of bylaws amendments that enable any member with a doctoral-level degree, regardless of membership category, to vote in the ASCO election, serve on the ASCO Board of Directors, and serve on the ASCO Nominating Committee. More than 12,000 members will be eligible to vote for the first time this year, increasing the pool of Voting Members to 83% of the ASCO membership.
If you are voting for the first time this year, welcome, and thank you for participating in this important aspect of our Society’s governance. You can learn more about each candidate and access the secure online ballot at asco.org/election.
Voting Members will note that this year, for the first time, there is only one name on the ballot for the office of President-Elect. This is also a result of the bylaws amendments which passed with a majority vote of the members last year.
This represents a change in the way candidates are selected for the position of President-Elect, with the goal that over the long term, this change will contribute to the overall diversity of the ASCO leadership. The pool of eligible candidates for this important role is finite, as any candidate for President-Elect must previously have served a term on the ASCO Board of Directors. In the past, to present a fair and balanced slate to voters, the Nominating Committee endeavored to select candidates from similar specialties, practice settings, geographic areas, ASCO experience, and demographics to run against each other. Identifying two candidates with specific similar skills, training, or other criteria to ensure fairness on the slate meant that individuals with unique attributes or experiences could not always be matched on the slate.
As a result of the bylaws amendments, the Nominating Committee is no longer constrained by the requirement to find two equally matched candidates (two pediatric oncologists, for example). Beginning with this year’s election, the Nominating Committee and the ASCO Board of Directors have put forth an exceptional candidate who is qualified and ideally positioned to meet the challenges of this moment. Members can expect that those who hold the office of President-Elect, and later President, will represent the rich diversity of our Society in every way, and will have the skills and experience required to move our field forward.
If you have ever had the opportunity to visit ASCO’s headquarters building in Alexandria, VA, you may have noticed that one main hallway is lined with presidential portraits, dating back to the first years of our organization. Our intention with these bylaws changes, with this opportunity for greater inclusion and diversity in our leadership, and with your vote, is that every ASCO member will be able to see themselves reflected in that hall of presidential photos.
This year, the Nominating Committee is very pleased to nominate Lynn M. Schuchter, MD, FASCO, for the role of President-Elect as the first uncontested candidate. Dr. Schuchter is chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, director of the Tara Miller Melanoma Center at Abramson Cancer Center, and the C. Willard Robinson Professor of Hematology-Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She served on the ASCO Board of Directors from 2009 to 2012, and has held leadership roles on a number of ASCO committees during her long tenure as a member and dedicated volunteer. In 2019, she was recognized with the Hologic, Inc Endowed Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award from Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation. You will find more information about Dr. Schuchter, including her own perspective on the role of ASCO in shaping the future of our field, at asco.org/election.
Voting Members will be able to vote in favor of the President-Elect candidate or write in an alternate candidate. Please note that this change applies to the role of President-Elect only; for all other open seats on the Board of Directors and the Nominating Committee, voting members will have multiple choices on the ballot. With the increased responsibility on the Nominating Committee and the Board of Directors to choose the single best candidate for the role of President-Elect, your vote to fill these open positions is more important than ever.
The work of the Nominating Committee has concluded, and now it is your turn to make your voice heard—please vote!
*Voting Members must be in good standing as of October 18, 2021, to be eligible to vote in this year’s election. Voting closes on December 7, 2021, and election results will be announced in mid-December.