Conquer Cancer Foundation Hosts Successful Scientific and Career Development Retreat

Dec 22, 2016

In October 2016, the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO (CCF) hosted its second Scientific and Career Development Retreat at ASCO headquarters in Alexandria, VA. Attendees included Career Development Award (CDA) and Young Investigator Award (YIA) recipients awarded between 2010 and 2016, ASCO and CCF leadership and staff, and distinguished speakers and guests.

This 2-day event encouraged networking among CCF grant recipients and provided attendees the opportunity to learn from and interact with speakers on several career development topics.

The retreat began with a networking reception and a dinner following opening remarks by CCF executive vice president and chief philanthropic officer Nancy R. Daly, MS, MPH. The evening continued with featured talks. Sanjay Goel, MS, MD, of Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care, discussed the positive impact of ASCO’s Leadership Development Program on his career. Sandra M. Swain, MD, FASCO, FACP, of Georgetown University, provided an overview of ASCO and CCF, including the varied ways to become involved.

Two prizes were presented to authors of the highest-ranked CDA and YIA abstracts submitted to the retreat as determined by the CCF Grants Selection Executive Committee: 2010 CDA recipient Nilofer S. Azad, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, and 2015 YIA recipient David R. Raleigh, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco.

The second day of the retreat gave the YIA and CDA recipients the opportunity to share their CCF-funded research with their peers through poster and oral presentations. It also featured career development talks by notable speakers. Susan Lim, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute, gave an informative overview of the National Institutes of Health grant application process.

In an interactive panel discussion, Eduardo M. Sotomayor, MD, of George Washington University, ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO, of the University of Michigan, and Robert J. Mayer, MD, FASCO, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discussed the job application process, including how to negotiate a contract and secure a promotion.

Attendees also benefited from two breakout sessions conducted by David McFadden, MS, RPh, of Merck Research Laboratories, who discussed how to interact with pharmaceutical companies and industry, and Jeffrey Weber, MD, PhD, of NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center, who provided insight on how to successfully run a laboratory as a physician-scientist.

CCF Grants Selection Committee chair Christina Annunziata, MD, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute, served as the moderator for the retreat.

The keynote address was given by Allen S. Lichter, MD, FASCO, former ASCO CEO. In his inspiring and engaging talk, “Building a Career in Oncology,” Dr. Lichter discussed 11 principles he learned throughout his career, including the importance of networking, not being afraid to turn down a position, and “doing something that excites you.”

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