JCO Oncology Practice Podcast: Behind the Scenes With Host Dr. Nathan Pennel

Jan 10, 2020

By Charlene Chuquillanqui and Jennifer Giblin, ASCO Publishing

ASCO’s JCO Oncology Practice (JCO OP) provides information and tools to enhance practice efficiency and promote a high standard for quality patient care. Its companion podcast, which debuted in 2010, features interview-style discussions with authors from the journal’s articles. JCO OP consultant editor Nathan Pennell, MD, PhD, of the Cleveland Clinic, hosts the podcast.

What have you enjoyed most about being the host of the JCO OP podcast?

NP: I’m an academic oncologist who treats lung cancer, so most of what I read and work with traditionally revolves around that topic area. I love being able to broaden my focus to the practice of oncology and to issues of cancer policy.

Do you select the topic for each episode?

NP: I do. That is one of the best things about being the host—I get to do podcasts on things I find particularly interesting. The JCO OP editor in chief [Linda D. Bosserman, MD, FACP, FASCO] and associate editors also contribute to the selection of topics, forwarding me papers they think would make good podcasts. And I often agree with their selections.

Are all of the episodes based on papers in JCO OP?

NP: They are—although when we actually record the podcasts, often we end up talking about things that are broader than just the paper.

How do you think the podcast enhances the understanding of JCO OP’s articles?

NP: If you listen to our podcast, you’ll see we spend probably two-thirds of our time talking about the overall topic and what it’s addressing and, then, what’s going to happen in the future. These are areas that don’t get as much coverage in the article because the focus is on the study itself. The podcast offers a much broader understanding of the field and where the paper fits into the field.

Are there any specific episodes that you really enjoyed doing?

NP: My favorites are the “State of Cancer Care in America” episodes. Every year ASCO surveys oncology practices and publishes a summary that looks at trends in cancer practice and issues that are being dealt with and addressed by oncologists. I usually get a really knowledgeable oncologist like Blase Polite, MD, MPP, FASCO, or Robin Zon, MD, FACP, FASCO, to come on and explain to me what’s going on in the oncology practice field, and these are always the most popular podcasts of the year.

Other than the JCO OP Podcast, do you have a favorite ASCO podcast?

NP: I like the ASCO in Action Podcast, which is hosted by ASCO CEO Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO. A lot of ASCO members think of ASCO and think of the Annual Meeting or the Journal of Clinical Oncology, but ASCO is also the major advocacy group for oncologists in the United States. The ASCO in Action Podcast offers a great view of topics ASCO is tackling that impact the practice of oncology.

Outside of oncology, are there any podcasts that you’re a fan of?

NP: I’ve just recently started listening to other podcasts. I like the Freakonomics podcast, and at the risk of revealing my political affiliation, I like Pod Save America as well.


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