Nov 05, 2019
By Alex Carolan, ASCO Publishing
In January 2019, Linda D. Bosserman, MD, FACP, FASCO, began her tenure as editor in chief of the Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP). An assistant clinical professor and staff physician at City of Hope, Dr. Bosserman has served on the ASCO Board of Directors and as a founding member of the TAPUR Steering Committee. She serves on the Practice Guideline Implementation Network and is a liaison to the Clinical Practice and Ethics Committees. As her first year leading the journal comes to a close, she discusses her early journalistic experiences, her emphasis on quality and value, and the value of JOP for all oncology professionals.
How did you first become involved with JOP?
LB: I was editor in chief of my high school newspaper for 2 years, and I’ve had a long interest in journalism and writing.
I’ll never forget the time in high school when someone wrote an editorial against the cheerleaders. My sister was the head cheerleader, and my father and I had a very heated dinner conversation that night about how I could have allowed an editorial that had anything negative to say about cheerleaders when my sister was leading them. I said, “Dad, it’s the free press.” I believe in dialogue in debate, which helps us do better. I encouraged him to write a rebuttal letter to the editor!
Earlier in my career, I was a co-editor of the Journal of Community Oncology/Journal of Community and Supportive Oncology for 15 years, since its inception. Over the years I’ve reviewed for JOP and become more involved at ASCO. John V. Cox, DO, FASCO, who was editor in chief of JOP for 10 years, is one of my heroes and mentors. Douglas W. Blayney, MD, FASCO, my former medical partner, was the first editor for JOP. They are both role models for me.
During my 4-year term on the ASCO Board of Directors, I became even more passionate about our mission to serve patients by serving those who serve them. When Dr. Cox’s term was ending and the JOP editor in chief job became available I applied, interviewed, and was very honored to have been chosen.
How has JOP evolved under your leadership this year?
LB: JOP has a very solid direction in the key clinical reviews that you want to have at your fingertips when you see patients, and in high-level papers on health care research and science that can empower improved care delivery and care quality.
A new column called “Clinical Cancer Advances” is expected to launch this fall. It will pair an ASCO Value Framework analysis of clinical trials with a key opinion leader’s commentary on where, if, when, and how a new therapy fits into the clinical continuum of care for specific patients.
I’m also passionate about expanding work on the science of value-based cancer care. I see the necessary move to value as having contributed a lot to the increasing levels of staff burnout. We need more discrete data while providing rapidly changing treatments based on evolving science and engaging patients.
I am hoping JOP’s expanded focus on value-based care will stimulate people to submit studies that evaluate what it takes to deliver high-quality, precision, and personalized cancer care for every patient. With a team, we can improve multidisciplinary care and staff satisfaction while providing a better patient experience.
We are also an international journal, and welcome international submissions as there are many places that are doing value well. We want to encourage health care researchers to submit to JOP so we can all learn from the experiences of other countries.
What are some of the topical issues that the journal has explored recently?
LB: We invite editors for special issues to bring their expertise forward. It’s a very collaborative experience, and I’d like to push to get more work and expertise on value when it comes to population-based health. We need analytics and benchmarking, and we need to do it in a way that engages staff and patients effectively.
We publish special series that bring together state-of-the-art information, in addition to our annual series on the State of Cancer Care in America and quality care. For instance, we published a series on the opioid crisis. The main idea was that the response to the opioid crisis has unintended restrictions, which makes it more difficult for patients with cancer to access opioids for cancer pain needs.
Other topics include precision medicine, which includes practical and academic points of view, burnout and moral injury, and development on end-of-life options. In the future, we’re looking at topics in telemedicine and social media in oncology.
Why is JOP a must-read publication for all oncology professionals?
LB: We’re talking about the science of care delivery. Care delivery is how you organize your clinic, interact with other specialists, serve the patients, implement drug policies and delivery, and more. It’s how you do all of the steps in a scientific way that is validated to have a better outcome. We’re presenting that science so we can benchmark and share with each other, so we all don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
We’re all in a period of rapid change and need to learn the validated science from each other: improving care quality and outcomes helps us better serve our patients, which we hope adds to our satisfaction as clinicians. It is our goal to serve our diverse audience with these focuses. I welcome people reaching out to me with ideas or topics and feedback so we can continue to make JOP the most effective journal in improving care delivery and care quality.
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