Conquer Cancer Foundation Hosts Inaugural Scientific and Career Development Retreat

Dec 15, 2015

In October 2015, the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO (CCF) hosted its first Scientific and Career Development Retreat at ASCO headquarters in Alexandria, VA. Attendees included past recipients of the Young Investigator Award (YIA) and Career Development Award (CDA), ASCO and CCF leadership and staff, distinguished speakers, and guests.

Nancy R. Daly, MS, MPH, CCF Executive Director and Chief Philanthropic Officer, opened the 2-day retreat with brief remarks following an evening networking reception. The program continued with presentations by Jamie H. Von Roenn, MD, on the new ASCO Health Policy Fellowship, and by Deborah Kamin, RN, PhD, on the ASCO Leadership Development Program. Dr. Von Roenn is the Senior Director of ASCO’s Education, Science, and Professional Development Department; Dr. Kamin is the Senior Director of the Cancer Policy Department.

The highest-ranked CDA and YIA abstracts submitted to the retreat, as determined by the CCF Grants Selection Committee, received awards. Awardees included 2013 CDA recipient Nader Sanai, MD, of Barrow Neurological Institute, and 2013 YIA recipient Filipa Lynce, MD, of Medstar Health Research Institute.

The second day of the retreat included presentations on scientific knowledge and career development. CDA recipients from 2011, 2012, and 2013—as well as YIA recipients from 2013 and 2014— discussed new and unpublished findings from their CCF-funded research during Oral Presentation and Poster Sessions. Ten grant recipients who submitted the highest-ranked abstracts gave 20-minute oral presentations, while 33 recipients presented their abstracts in poster format.

Career development talks addressed practical steps for a successful research career, with an emphasis on finding role models and mentors, maximizing scientific opportunities, building collaborations across disciplines, time management, and achieving a work-life balance.

Dawn L. Hershman, MD, MS, of Columbia University Medical Center, gave the keynote address on the opportunities and challenges of a research career. Dr. Hershman provided an overview of the CCF grants she has received—a 2002 CDA, the 2007 Advanced Clinical Research Award in Breast Cancer, and the 2015 Comparative Effectiveness Research Professorship in Breast Cancer—and the critical role those grants played in her successful career development as a physician-scientist. She described the positive effect of the ASCO Leadership Development Program and how the variety of volunteer opportunities at ASCO assisted her career.

2015-2016 ASCO President Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, discussed effective time management and work-life balance. 1997 YIA recipient Jeffrey S. Dome, MD, PhD, of the Children’s National Health System, shared his thoughts on the role of intrinsic and extrinsic work values in career development. 2000 YIA recipient Daniel Laheru, MD, of Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, discussed how internal and external multidisciplinary collaborations in oncology can help advance a research career.

CCF Grants Selection Committee Chair Eduardo M. Sotomayor, MD, of the George Washington Cancer Center, served as the moderator of the Oral Presentation and Poster Sessions. Attendees participated in small-group discussions on subjects such as drug development, immunotherapy, health services research, and biomarkers, led by ASCO Chief Medical Officer Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FASCO, Dr. Sotomayor, Dr. Hershman, and Christina M. Annunziata, MD, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute.

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