The Rewards of Volunteering

Jan 05, 2011

Committee volunteers are critical to ASCO’s success


Hyman B. Muss, MD

January 2011 issue: ASCO benefits from the hard work and dedication of its committee volunteers— but the opportunity to serve on committees yields up benefits for members themselves.

“I’ve been a member of ASCO for over 30 years, and I feel that ASCO has a key mission. I got started [as a committee volunteer] because I was interested in education, and over time I’ve ended up doing a lot of committee work because it’s a great organization,” said Hyman B. Muss, MD, of the University of North Carolina and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. During his ASCO tenure, Dr. Muss has served on numerous committees, including the Cancer Education Committee, the Scientific Program Committee, and the Professional Development Committee.

A current member of the Bylaws Committee and the Special Awards Selection Committee, Dr. Muss considers himself a more well-rounded practitioner thanks to his committee service. Volunteering “has certainly made me a better oncologist,” he explained. “So many issues related to oncology are not just knowing the specific treatments for a disease, but the social, financial, and regulatory issues. Committee service allowed me to get involved and become knowledgeable on issues that I probably never would have been aware of. In that way, it’s made me a better person and a more effective oncologist.” He also applauds the diverse representation of specialties and career levels on committees.

He has particularly fond memories of his productive time on the Professional Development Committee, on which he served as Chair from 2007-2008. “I felt that we really were interested not just in the development of trainees, but in that of my colleagues in academia and practice. The output of the committee led to the development of some great tools, programs, and interactive learning that are now part of ASCO University®, curriculum guidelines, and the Medical Oncology In-Training Exam for fellows,” he said.

Lasting accomplishments and contributions
Committee members are limited to one three-year term (some committees have shorter terms), after which they may be re-appointed following a one-year break in service. Committees report to the Board of Directors and meet at least once a year. Committee service terms begin at ASCO’s Annual Business Meeting, which takes place during the Annual Meeting.

“When you take a committee job, you’ve got to be prepared to do some work and commit some time. But like many things in life, you get out of it much more than you put in to it,” Dr. Muss said. “By serving ASCO you serve patients with cancer and you serve your colleagues. At the end of the day you feel very good about yourself and your contributions. It’s a terrific way to serve your community.” 

Dr. Muss has been an ASCO member since 1976 and served on the Board of Directors from 2004-2007. He is the recipient of an ASCO Statesman Award and the 2008 B. J. Kennedy Award and Lecture for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology in recognition of his contributions to the field.

ASCO Committees ASCO’s 21 committees encompass the full spectrum of oncology issues and Society management. Many committees have associated specialized task forces and working groups. Read brief descriptions and see current members of each committee at

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