Apr 01, 2022
New Initiative Seeks to Enhance Educational, Networking Experiences for Medical Educators, Geriatric Oncology Specialists, and Palliative Care Clinicians and Investigators
By Joy Curzio, ASCO Communications
As part of its commitment to lifelong learning, ASCO is continually exploring new ways to enhance the Annual Meeting attendee experience through uniquely tailored events and programs. Distilling the wide array of scientific and educational offerings during the meeting through a specialty-based lens and discussing interesting information with colleagues and experts within the same field both enriches an attendee’s overall meeting experience and ensures accurate understanding of new knowledge.
This year, ASCO launched Communities of Practice to foster collaboration within specialty-based groups during the Annual Meeting and throughout the year. An ASCO Community of Practice is a group of individuals who come together based on a shared common interest, passion, or goal. The groups are self-organizing in nature and will use a grassroots approach to connect and evolve with support from ASCO staff. There are three Communities of Practice in 2022 dedicated to clinician medical educators, geriatric oncology specialists, and palliative care clinicians and investigators.
The idea for ASCO’s Communities of Practice was inspired by several alumni of the ASCO Education Scholars Program, led by Sam Brondfield, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco (@s_brond). Dr. Brondfield and Jennifer E. Schwartz, MD, FRCPC, of Indiana University School of Medicine (@JenSchwartzIUSM), will facilitate the group for medical educators.
“Those with a passion for education can at times be isolated within their institutions—they may not know the steps to take to progress in this professional journey,” Dr. Schwartz explained. “Through the ASCO Community of Practice group for medical educators, members will have access to resources, advice about scholarship, and potential mentors. Expertise may be varied at respective institutions or practices, and our Community of Practice will be able to fill those gaps and highlight best practices for our membership.”
The experiences that Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Brondfield had in the ASCO Education Scholars Program were so helpful and inspirational that, according to Dr. Brondfield, they were motivated to make the knowledge gained during the program available to a wider audience, including trainees. “Members of the group can participate as much or as little as they would like, including volunteering for leadership positions, or simply peruse the resources and opportunities we provide,” Dr. Brondfield said.
“Although we are all on our own professional journeys, many people are facing similar issues and challenges,” said Grant Williams, MD, MSPH, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and leader for the Geriatric Oncology Community of Practice (@GrantWilliamsMD). “Dr. Arti Hurria, our beloved geriatric oncology leader and true pioneer in the field who tragically passed away much too early, frequently quoted the proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together,’ and this has become a motto for the field of geriatric oncology. Any effort to bring together and facilitate networking for researchers, providers, and patients/caregivers is a welcome effort to helping us achieve the ultimate dream that all older adults with cancer receive personalized tailored care using evidence-based medicine with a multidisciplinary approach.”
Connecting Live and Virtually
ASCO will be providing physical space for onsite group meetings during the 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting on Friday, June 3, 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM (CT). Based on each group’s needs, space also will be made available on Tuesday, June 7. These in-person meetings will serve as excellent bookends for the Annual Meeting, allowing group participants to make and solidify connections, process new information and ideas with colleagues, and formalize educational points for dissemination at home institutions and practices. Individuals who are unable to attend ASCO22 but who are interested in following one of the three groups can connect virtually through the ASCO myConnection platform; there will be ongoing conversations throughout the entire year on social media. Specific social media hashtags for each group and ASCO myConnection platform links will be made available closer to the Annual Meeting.
ASCO staff will be providing each Community of Practice with best-practice guidelines for facilitators regarding how to foster engagement and maximize the power of social media to expand outreach. Going forward, the hope is that group members will self-select through social media or on the ASCO myConnection platform to participate, and group leadership and facilitation will rotate each year based on a volunteer structure within the group versus formal appointment by ASCO staff.
According to Ramy Sedhom, MD, of Penn Center for Cancer Care Innovation and group co-leader for the Palliative Care Community of Practice (@ramsedhom), live and virtual participation throughout the ASCO Annual Meeting will be a vital tool in processing clinically important information. “The most critical question to answer is not what does the research show, but how do we implement into practice? Ongoing participation in Communities of Practice, even just virtually, are an excellent opportunity to operationalize what we know into what we do,” Dr. Sedhom said.
3 Reasons to Participate in the Palliative Care Community of Practice
Thomas W. LeBlanc, MD, of Duke University School of Medicine and co-leader of the Palliative Care Community of Practice, is no stranger to social media communities. An avid Twitter user (@tomleblancMD), with more than 4,500 followers, Dr. LeBlanc sees the group as a meaningful opportunity for those ASCO Annual Meeting attendees interested in palliative care for three reasons:
- “Palliative care is a very diffuse topic and field. Each year, a large number of individuals interested in palliative care attend the ASCO Annual Meeting but might not actually know each other or be at the same sessions. Bringing this diverse group of people together around a shared area of interest is a wonderful way to more meaningfully create community at what can otherwise feel a bit overwhelming, given the size of the event.”
- “The Community of Practice is building on known successes. My experiences with the ASCO Annual Meeting “Tweetup” have been remarkably positive. The event has been a wonderful way to meet people in person who we have otherwise only met on Twitter, providing an instant connection when seeing each other in real life. I see an even greater opportunity for community building and connectedness among a group of people with a shared common interest.”
- “Celebrating and easing back into live events. Amid the pronounced isolation we have all felt amid the COVID-19 pandemic, I and others are even more hungry for connection, collaboration, and meaning-making in our work. What better way to foster that than to bring groups together more intentionally at the ASCO Annual Meeting, around areas of shared interests and common goals. This is also a wonderful way to feel a little more comfortable in a crowd—knowing there are friendly faces around every turn.”