With the launch of its strategic plan, ASCO leadership crystalized its global vision into the future to enhance its role as a truly global organization.
The strategic plan will build on the many ways that ASCO extends its resources to impact patients with cancer around the world by helping health care professionals do a better job in providing the best care possible.
ASCO helps oncology health care professionals worldwide via three different mechanisms:
- Access to knowledge: ASCO provides access to many educational resources, including ASCO University and various ASCO meeting materials, including the ASCO Annual Meeting presentations. There are numerous regional meetings that are endorsed by or supported by ASCO to bring the knowledge close to home, such as Best of ASCO or ASCO Direct. ASCO also holds training courses to help clinicians improve their skills in cancer management, palliative care, and other topics (the upskilling of primary care physicians in some of these courses is a demonstration of ASCO’s commitment to help health care professionals - and by extension, their patients - even if they are not ASCO members or oncologists). ASCO products and programs, such as clinical practice guidelines and the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative, help oncologists apply this knowledge to their practice and improve the quality of care they deliver.
- Career development and research opportunities: ASCO offers multiple career-enhancing programs including grants such as the International Development and Education Award (IDEA), Long-term International Fellowship (LIFe), and others to help oncologists advance their career and contribute to the capacity-building worldwide. Mentoring opportunities with ASCO faculty offer a great exposure for junior oncologists and enhance their potential growth. The above-mentioned programs and others offer junior oncologists the opportunity to get exposed to mentors. However, there are programs built around mentorship concepts, such as ASCO Virtual Mentors, which facilitate connection between junior oncologists in low- and middle-income countries and ASCO mentors from the United States.
- Networking and collaborating: This stretches to other international or regional organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Union for International Caner Control (UICC), European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), and other professional societies. These collaborations create a synergetic power that has a higher impact at larger scales. With more than a third of the 45,000 ASCO members being health care professionals outside the United States, ASCO is gearing up not just to provide support and services to these members, but to reach out for more people who would benefit from its resources and expertise. With the plan to establish a global oncology network, ASCO is building bridges to enhance the collaboration with professional oncology societies in order to reach the maximum possible number of health care providers who would benefits from ASCO resources.
While much work is underway, even more can be done. ASCO leadership is open to suggestions and ideas from you, the ASCO member, that will help ASCO to address the needs and interest of the oncology health care professional worldwide. It is apparent that ASCO is evolving from being a mere successful professional organization to become a “global oncology community” that takes care of its constituents, who are in turn contributing to its success and growth.