Dr. Howard Burris Discusses 2013 ASCO Election

Oct 11, 2012


Each year, new positions open on ASCO’s Board of Directors(including President-Elect) and on the ASCO Nominating Committee. Inthe following interview, Nominating Committee Chair Howard A.“Skip” Burris III, MD, shares his insights on theprocess with ASCO Connection.

Voting will open on Monday, October 15, 2012, at 12:00 PM (Eastern);the voting period closes on November 20, 2012, at 11:59 PM (Eastern).Visit asco.org/election when voting opens for detailed information onall candidates. Voting-eligible members can access the secureelectronic proxy ballot using their ASCO.org username and password.Election results will be announced in December 2012.

AC:How does the NominatingCommittee develop the slate ofcandidates?
Dr.Burris: The NominatingCommittee accumulates names year-round from a variety of sources. Weencourage members to submit names, and we also receive many candidatesuggestions from current and recent ASCO Board members.

For the first time, members could submit nominations until just afterthe close of the 2012 ASCO Annual Meeting. Throughout the Meeting,people came up to me with suggestions of names or handed me pieces ofpaper to nominate colleagues, and other members of the NominatingCommittee had the same experience. Almost every time I walked acrossMcCormick Place, I would be stopped multiple times by members whowanted to recommend someone who they thought would be a greatcandidate. It speaks to how important it is for members of theNominating Committee to be active and visible during the Meeting andthroughout the year.

This year is my third on the Nominating Committee, and this was thelargest and most diverse pool of candidates we’ve consideredin developing the slate.

AC:What characteristics did the Nominating Committee consider, or whatniches did you look to fill?
Dr.Burris: With the burgeoninginterest in electronic health records and electronic communication, welooked for members with an interest, affinity, or expertise in the areaof information technology. Widely discussed among the NominatingCommittee was appropriate community practice representation.We’ve presented a slate of community oncologists fromdifferent parts of the country, with expertise in different practicesizes and practice backgrounds—the common thread is provenleadership skills. The third area we were careful to consider wasinternational diversity, bringing representation to the Board fromparts of the world not typically represented. We also looked at diseaserepresentation to ensure that candidates came from a spectrum ofdisease specialties. Our goal was to present a slate that representedthe same level of diversity you find in ASCO’s membership.

AC:Why should members cast their votes in the election?
Dr.Burris: Something peopleoften don’t consider is that ASCO Board members serve threeto four years, and that Board is interacting not only within ASCO, butwith organizations across the country and around the world.It’s important that members have a say in theirrepresentation to give the Board a clear mandate and a show ofconfidence. •

Dr.Burris is the Chief Medical Officer and Executive Director of the DrugDevelopment Program at Sarah Cannon Research Institute and a partner atTennessee Oncology. An ASCO member since 1991, he has served on the Journalof Clinical Oncology Editorial Board, theCancer Education Committee, and the Board of Directors, among others.He has been a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology since2010.

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