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ASCO Launches New “How To” Video Tutorials to Help Oncology Professionals With Career Development Skills Not Taught in Medical School

Jul 21, 2023

In its latest initiative to deliver education to busy oncology professionals and meet these practitioners’ professional development needs, ASCO has launched a new video series that will cover the non-academic skills that all professionals can use to advance their careers, such as building your own professional brand, making teams work, and thinking creatively and critically. The Leadership Skills Training Gallery videos are available to all ASCO members.

The content for the series was created based on input from participants in the 2022 Leadership Development Program (LDP), a yearlong selective program to identify and train mid-career-level members to become future leaders at ASCO and in other areas of medicine. The 2022 cohort was tasked with developing a strategy for addressing the professional development needs of members in a way that would have the most impact possible and be scalable.

“Our group tackled this challenge with great enthusiasm, leveraging our collective expertise in social media, technology, and diverse perspectives,” said Emil Lou, MD, PhD, FACP, an associate professor of medicine at University of Minnesota in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, and member of the 2022 LDP cohort.

“Oncology is a team sport,” said Samuel J. Klempner, MD, a medical oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and member of the 2022 LDP cohort. “Oncology providers benefit from skillsets that help them effectively participate in, and often lead, teams from diverse backgrounds and perspectives to provide the best possible care. The ASCO professional development video library is a living, curated toolkit that providers at all career stages and practice settings can frequently return to for navigating the most common scenarios.”

The LDP team developed a survey that was emailed to 2,000 ASCO members and distributed via social media to better understand members’ needs and the perceived barriers to participation in ASCO’s professional development offerings. 335 responses came in, 80% of which were from ASCO members. Respondents ranged in career stage from early to late with the majority being midcareer, which is defined as 5 to 15 years post-training.

Reviewing the responses, it became clear that oncology professionals wanted ASCO to offer easily accessible career development resources for those in the mid-to-late career stage. To fill this gap, the LDP recommended that ASCO create a series of engaging videos that would be available on demand and tagged so that they were easily searchable. Topics covered will include managing teams, learning when to say no, how to grow through adversity, and much more.

“The survey results helped guide and confirm our ideas for how ASCO could rethink its customer interface as well as the content it could offer for oncologists at all levels of experience and career trajectory,” Dr. Lou said. “Knowing from our own experiences as busy professionals juggling demands of professional and personal lives, we wanted to see an approach that was easy-to-use, accessible at any time, and using multiple platforms—in other words, for any busy person on-the-go. We envisioned content that was not only helpful for the clinical science aspect of our profession but also that could help us build and enhance non-academic skills that would help us foster personal growth.”

“Many physicians finish training with little formal leadership education and yet are routinely asked to lead teams both within and external to their institutions,” said Erika Hamilton, MD, director of breast cancer and gynecologic cancer research at Sarah Cannon Research Institute and member of the 2022 LDP cohort. “I am happy to see ASCO offering a comprehensive on-demand video library that addresses common leadership topics, and how we—as physicians—can boost our skill set in this important area.”

Designed and delivered by psychologist and career trainer Owen Fitzpatrick, these video sessions are intended to be engaging, structured, and full of practical tips and suggestions. The videos are organized into six modules, each with four to six chapters:

  • Module 1: How to Build Your Own Personal Brand: What it is and why it’s important, the qualities and skills of a strong personal brand, and communicating and optimizing it.
  • Module 2: How to Grow Through Adversity: Building confidence and resilience and handling daily stresses.
  • Module 3: How to Influence Effectively: Why influence matters, how to become influential, and how to deliver influential messages.
  • Module 4: How to Make Teams Work: The challenge of being part of a team; the importance of diversity, inclusivity, and cultural intelligence; and how to better collaborate and handle feedback.
  • Module 5: How to Think Creatively and Critically: Using creative and critical thinking to become more strategic and make better decisions.
  • Module 6: How to Become More Assertive and Productive: Why assertiveness matters.

“Everyone leads a little differently, but we can all improve our leadership skills,” Dr. Klempner said. The video series “can help you identify your own leadership style and give you the tools to maximize productivity and interact with other leadership styles to effectively move toward a common team goal.”

Watch the complete video series.

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