The fundamental and unifying goal of everything we do at ASCO, CancerLinQ, and Conquer Cancer is to improve the quality of cancer care provided by our members and community. Despite extraordinary and unprecedented challenges in 2021, we remained as committed as ever to achieving it.
To me, 2021 was a “normal abnormal” year. I say that because the overall COVID-19 situation remained abnormal, but we continued to make noteworthy and long-planned progress against our goals as outlined in ASCO’s strategic plan. Today, I am pleased to share that progress with you in the form of brief highlights organized by our three mission pillars. These accomplishments were made possible by the innumerable contributions and steadfast dedication of our volunteer leaders, members, Conquer Cancer donors, and staff and I am deeply grateful to everyone for the efforts and vision that got us here.
Our core values—evidence, care, and impact—and our virtuous cycle of research, education, and quality all begin with the generation of new knowledge (research).
- We published a new study in JCO Oncology Practice (JOP) describing the impact of COVID on patients with B-cell malignancies.
- With support from Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, we provided funding to three new grantees for additional analyses of our registry data.
- We presented the “ASCO Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan: A Legacy of Commitment, a Future of Promise for All Individuals With Cancer” aimed at infusing equity into every activity within ASCO.
- We continued to develop our partnership with the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) to improve racial and ethnic diversity in trial enrollment through a pilot project to test a research site assessment tool and implicit bias training program.
- Supporting researchers, Conquer Cancer updated its strategic plan by adopting ASCO’s vision statement and upgrading its mission to read: “Accelerate breakthroughs in lifesaving research and empower people everywhere to conquer cancer.”
- Delivering on that mission, Conquer Cancer raised more than $10 million to support research and other multi-year equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) educational efforts.
We convert new research results (evidence) into action and impact through educational programs and content.
- We successfully returned to live (hybrid) meetings in 2021 and are cautiously optimistic that this recovery will continue through 2022.
- We designed and launched our Monthly Plenary Series.
- With Conquer Cancer funding, we completed our first ever Oncology Summer Intern program for rising second-year medical students selected from minority groups traditionally underrepresented in medicine.
- We designed and launched ASCO’s first Palliative Care eCourses (Malaysia and India) and ASCO’s first Leadership Development Program (LDP) adapted to the Asia-Pacific region.
- We expanded our regional councils to Latin America, with plans for additional regions now in place.
- We completed the transition to our new publisher Wolters Kluwer, onboarded a new editor-in-chief (Dr. Jonathan Friedberg), and are now focused on operations and improving user access to our content.
Our ultimate goal is to improve the quality of cancer care by continuously engaging our global community.
- We increased overall first-time volunteer engagement to 23% (up from 19% in 2020) and saw a 4% increase in the number of international ASCO volunteers as well as a 13% increase in international members serving on ASCO committees.
- We educated Medicaid staff about the passage of the Clinical Treatment Act and worked with state affiliates on ways to engage with their Medicaid programs on its implementation.
- We hosted our largest Advocacy Summit with 148 advocates participating from 44 states and DC and held 222 meetings, all remotely.
- We produced a record number of new or updated guidelines.
- We focused on identifying impact and real-world utility through our measures program.
- We launched the ASCO Patient Centered Cancer Care program (“APC4”), a practice support program (supported by CancerLinQ) that aligns quality with efficiency, relies on our published Oncology Medical Home standards, and has garnered interest and participation from a range of practices and payers.
In light of this and so much more, I am proud of the remarkable year behind us and ready for an even more productive 2022. Thank you for all you do, each and every day, on behalf of ASCO and the oncology community.