Expanding the Reach of ASCO’s Educational Efforts

Dec 18, 2014

Dr. Catherine Van Poznak applies leadership skills to many areas of member education


Catherine H. Van Poznak, MD, Associate Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Michigan, uses the skills she learned as a 2010-2011 participant in ASCO’s Leadership Development Program (LDP) to further the Society’s educational efforts through her service on the Professional Development Committee and Continuing Medical Education Subcommittee, among other activities.

AC: How did you benefit from theLeadership Development Program?
Dr. Van Poznak:
The LeadershipDevelopment Program covered manydifferent aspects of leadership andprovided new and improved insightsinto coordinating efforts of a team. Forexample, the skills I learned in the conflictmanagement session have helpedme work more effectively within bothclinical- and research-focused teams.The advocacy training was extremelyvaluable as well. Through an ASCOLDP trip to Capitol Hill, we learnedabout the interface between ASCO andpolicymaking.That experience gave mea foundation of skills which I used asan ASCO representative during the OneVoice Against Cancer’s advocacy dayon Capitol Hill in July 2014, where weadvocated for cancer research funding.

AC: What impact do you want tohave through education-relatedcommittee service?
Dr. Van Poznak:
I would like tobroaden and deepen the scope ofresources available to ASCO membersto assist them in continuing education,Maintenance of Certification, and lifelonglearning. ASCO offers top-notcheducational symposia, publications,and diverse resources through ASCOUniversity®. My hope is that memberswill be able to find solutions to all oftheir educational needs through ASCOand bolster their competency. Thisgoal extends to every member fromour medical students to our emeritusmembers.

AC: What educational gaps do yousee oncology professionals facing?
Dr. Van Poznak:
There are gaps invarious areas, but certainly the rapidchanges in molecular testing have beenprofound. ASCO is already helping themembership understand the biologicmechanisms behind these pathwaysthrough its journals, ASCO University,and scientific meetings. In many cases,our understanding of the biologyexceeds our ability to clinically act onthis molecular information. Guidance onhow to use therapies based on specificpathways and in specific clinical circumstancesis an area where ASCO has anopportunity to fill a tremendous gap.

AC: What are you looking forward toaccomplishing in the near future?
Dr. Van Poznak:
I’m very excitedabout the potential of CancerLinQ™(ASCO’s rapid learning system). Thissystem will provide the ability toperform self-assessment and offerdirected learning opportunities. I’malso excited about the work of theProfessional Development Committeeon women’s professional development.We’re also assessing how subpopulationsof members within ASCO mayhave unique educational needs, andhow to address them through our educationand quality efforts.

AC: How has volunteering addedvalue to your membership experience?
Dr. Van Poznak:
Volunteering forASCO committees is intellectually stimulatingand emotionally satisfying. It’san honor and a privilege to work withsuch dedicated colleagues to advancepatient care. Through my volunteeractivities, I’ve interacted with membersfrom all practice settings, and the richdiversity broadens my own horizons.The talented ASCO staff are truly amazing.It’s a joy to volunteer, and I hopethat all interested members will considerapplying to serve on a committee.

Applications for the next Leadership Development Program class open in July 2015. If you would like toexpand your own leadership abilities,consider registering for ASCO’s Leadership Skills Seminar on March 26-27,2015. for information. Earlyregistration closes on January 26.


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