2016 ASCO Annual Meeting Preview and Education Program Highlights

Feb 23, 2016

Collective Wisdom: The Future of Patient-Centered Care and Research

By Virginia Anderson, Managing Editor

The ASCO Annual Meeting, now in its 52nd year, is the premier venue for oncology professionals from around the globe to gather, learn, share, discuss, and debate practice-changing discoveries in cancer care. Don’t miss the opportunity to join the most innovative thinkers and leaders in oncology, network face-to-face with more than 30,000 health care professionals, and bring the latest advances home for the care of your patients.

Annual Meeting Theme Emphasizes Importance of Every Care Team Member

“Collective Wisdom: The Future of Patient-Centered Care and Research” was chosen by 2015-2016 ASCO President Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, as the theme of the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting.

“The patient is at the center of a very complex system trying to assist them through their journey of cancer care. I selected the theme of collective wisdom to represent the importance of the multimodality care that is necessary for our patients,” Dr. Vose said.

This theme recognizes the absolute necessity of collaboration and teamwork when facing challenges in today’s cancer care environment, from increasingly complex treatment decisions to changing models of reimbursement to the variability of therapeutic options across countries and health care systems.

No matter the obstacles, “we must always remember that the patient is the center of the circle, and the goal is to assist them in informed decision-making,” Dr. Vose said, a goal which can only be accomplished through a multidisciplinary approach and regular communication between care team members. She emphasized that this team includes colleagues in specialties other than oncology, particularly in the care of cancer survivors as they transition away from active treatment.

2016 Education Program

The Annual Meeting Education Program features a robust overview of best practices, standards of care, and evidence-based medicine across disease sites, and reflects the concerns and priorities that affect every oncology professional. Multidisciplinary sessions will emphasize collaborative care in the management of different cancers, address issues relevant to daily practice, foster conversations about global health, explore questions of value and quality, and elucidate current knowledge in immunotherapy.

ASCO’s Cancer Education Committee, the body responsible for planning the Education Program, gave serious consideration to the Annual Meeting theme and endeavored to incorporate its philosophies throughout the sessions.

“One of the charges we gave ourselves was to develop a diverse faculty for the Education Sessions, with multidisciplinary speakers and many specialties represented, which we felt was an important aspect of the theme of collective wisdom,” said Apar K. Ganti, MD, MBBS, 2015-2016 Chair of the Cancer Education Committee.

Attendees can expect to see exciting changes to this year’s Education Program based on evaluation feedback from past Annual Meetings. In particular, sessions will feature more interactivity between the faculty and attendees through pro/con debates, tumor board presentations, and case-based discussions.

“I’m very excited about the Education Program this year. We’ve incorporated novel learning methods, increased the level of interactivity, and tailored many sessions to the interests of the practicing oncologist,” Dr. Ganti said. “If you care about learning the newest advances and want to take better care of your patients, this is where you’ll get the tools and information you need.”

One of the major clinical questions addressed in the Education Program is the role of immunotherapy and immuno-oncology in practice, following last year’s interest in abstract presentations on this topic. “Attendees can expect to see a wide variety of talks in different disease sites about immunology, given the new drugs that have been approved in the past few years. In both melanoma and lung cancer, there will be sessions detailing how to incorporate these new drugs into clinical practice,” Dr. Ganti said.

In addition, attendees will enjoy unique and timely sessions, including a Town Hall forum that will explore the effects of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) on practice reimbursement, physician wellness sessions to combat burnout, and a Women in Oncology Session that will include a round-table discussion on professional development issues facilitated by Dr. Vose and other women leaders within ASCO. A Molecular Oncology Tumor Board—an extremely popular session during its debut last year—will be offered, focused on lung cancer; experts in medical oncology, molecular pathology, and molecular diagnostics will discuss the translation of genomic information into improved outcomes for patients.

Keep in mind that popular Clinical Problems in Oncology Sessions (interactive case-based panel discussions utilizing audience-response technology) and Meet the Professor Sessions (interactive, small-group discussions with expert faculty) are ticketed. Attendance at these sessions is limited in order to provide an intimate, personalized learning experience. Add ticketed sessions to your online registration.

Thematically related sessions will be tagged within the Annual Meeting Program according to several categories of interest this year:

  • Clinical Trials
  • Disparities
  • Ethics
  • Geriatric Oncology
  • International
  • Value

Preliminary session information is available online.

The 2016 ASCO Educational Book is a peer-reviewed, National Library of Medicine–indexed resource containing articles written by Annual Meeting Education Program faculty. Articles highlight current standards of care and future therapeutic possibilities. Visit the Attendee Resource Center (am.asco.org/ARC) in early May to read the 2016 ASCO Educational Book online; print volumes can be ordered and picked up onsite at the Annual Meeting.

Global Oncology Clinical Science Symposium

Offered for the first time last year, ASCO is again hosting an extended session focused on global health as part of its commitment to helping medical professionals deliver high-quality oncology care to every patient around the world. The Global Oncology Clinical Science Symposium will facilitate cohesive, in-depth discussions of international issues in cancer care, and will take place on Friday, June 3, at 1:00 PM-3:15 PM. All attendees are welcome to join.

The session will include a mix of scientific abstracts and didactic presentations on the subject of HPV-associated malignancies. Dr. Ganti serves as Co-Chair of the session, along with ASCO International Affairs Committee Chair Peter George Harper, MD.

Pre-Annual Meeting Educational Programs

This year, ASCO is offering two types of educational programs prior to the official start of the Annual Meeting: Pre-Annual Meeting Seminars and Pre-Annual Meeting Case-Based Courses. Attendees can register for one seminar or case-based course in addition to their Annual Meeting registration. Both of these educational offerings have been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Pre-Annual Meeting Seminars offer an in-depth and extended educational opportunity dedicated to topics of interest in the oncology community. They will be held onsite at McCormick Place from 1:00 PM-5:00 PM on Thursday, June 2, and from 7:30 AM-11:00 AM on Friday, June 3. Seminar registration includes a boxed lunch on Thursday and a continental breakfast on Friday.

  • New Drugs in Oncology will focus on the theoretical and practical aspects of both recently approved drugs and those on their way to approval. Topics covered will include mechanisms of action, administration, toxicity and side-effect management, and use in the clinic.
  • The Economics of Cancer Care will educate attendees on current challenges and opportunities in cancer economics, with an overarching theme of value in cancer care. Thursday’s presentations will focus on innovative cancer treatment models in theory and practice; Friday’s will review emerging opportunities for cancer treatment spending reductions and quality-ofcare improvements. Speakers will be drawn from the most prominent academic researchers in economics, health economics, and health services research, physicians, insurers, and policy makers.
  • How to Integrate Tumor Immunotherapy into Your Clinical Practice, cosponsored with the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, will target the needs of clinical oncologists and the entire medical team involved in treating patients with cancer. This program will provide an understanding of basic immunology principles, the clinical application of modern cancer immunotherapy, treatment of patients receiving immunotherapy, and emerging drugs and concepts in the field, including a focus on the value proposition of immunotherapy agents for patients and clinical practices.

Pre-Annual Meeting Case-Based Courses offer a flipped-classroom learning. They will be held onsite at McCormick Place from 7:30 AM-11:00 AM on Friday, June 3. In advance of the course, participants will receive materials focused on a real-world case to review and prepare for the in-person meeting and panel discussion with recognized experts. Case-based course registration includes a continental breakfast.

  • Hematology for the Practicing Oncologist, cosponsored with the American Society of Hematology, will focus on hematologic issues which medical oncologists commonly encounter in a consultative practice. Topics covered will include the etiology and treatment of disorders of red cells, platelets, myeloproliferative syndromes, bleeding and clotting disorders, and other problems in hematology.
  • Genetics and Genomics for the Practicing Clinician will cover both tumor and inherited genetic variation, as well as explain the variety of tests available to the clinician and when they should be administered. Implications for disease management and screening will be discussed.

Can’t-Miss Networking Opportunities

In an era when many educational courses and presentations are available online, the unparalleled opportunities for face-to-face collaboration and networking offered by the ASCO Annual Meeting prove to be a major draw.

“Even if you didn’t attend a single session, you will learn a lot just by interacting with people onsite at the Meeting. Being in close proximity with 30,000 of your peers will naturally help you practice better,” Dr. Ganti said. “Experts in every field will be present, and would be glad to have a conversation with you about a problematic case or a challenging question.”

Some of the tools and venues for networking include:

Find a Colleague: This online messaging tool enables professional attendees to search for and connect with colleagues who are also attending the Meeting. It will be available in April on the Attendee Resource Center (am.asco.org/ARC).

Mentoring Sessions for Trainees and Junior Faculty: Interact with established ASCO members and receive invaluable career advice at the Trainee and Junior Faculty Member Lounge.

Women’s Networking Center: Now in its second year, the Women’s Networking Center is a place for ASCO members to gather, discuss, and attend sessions addressing pertinent issues that affect women in oncology. Scheduled programming will be offered, as well as opportunities for informal discussion and networking.

ASCO Bistro: Avoid the lunch rush by reserving a table at the ASCO Bistro in the Oncology Professionals Hall, where you can enjoy an all-inclusive lunch buffet. Tables can be reserved for groups in order to hold meetings or dine with friends. Purchase tickets in advance.

Networking Cafes: Take a break, charge your devices, and connect with colleagues at four Networking Cafes with plentiful chairs and tables, located throughout McCormick Place.

Connect on Twitter: Tweeting about the Annual Meeting? Use #ASCO16. Include your Twitter handle on your Annual Meeting badge during registration to make it easy for colleagues to follow you.

The ASCO Annual Meeting is supported by the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO.

Back to Top