A New Year of Community and Connection

A New Year of Community and Connection

Linda R. Duska, MD, MPH

Jan 09, 2024
Happy new year—welcome to the first issue of your member magazine in 2024. 
This month, ASCO celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium with reflections from leaders, founders, and attendees on two decades of the meeting. Their words, and the event itself, are a testament to the power of community—of what we can accomplish when we bring everyone together under one roof (physical or virtual) to tackle a problem. The wins in cancer care and research are hard fought, and it’s so important to recognize them whenever we can, even when they aren’t in our own specialty. At a general plenary session at the ESMO Congress 2023 in October, I was very fortunate to be present for the presentation of practice-changing results from the EV-302/KEYNOTE-A39 and CheckMate 901 studies, offering novel effective therapy opportunities to patients with advanced bladder cancer. I was in the audience at the remarkable moment when attendees rose to their feet in a standing ovation, and I could see that the presenter was visibly moved by the audience reaction. I look forward to celebrating more exciting results with our GU specialist colleagues this month.
Community and connection are throughlines in this issue. Whitney Pritham speaks about the important role that advanced practice providers play in continuity of care, particularly in rural settings, and patient satisfaction; the APP community is an essential member of the multidisciplinary team delivering high-quality cancer care.  
Addditionally, in this issue you will find a summary of a report on progress in advancing health equity for the LGBTQ+ community. The ASCO Sexual and Gender Minorities (SGM) Task Force has executed a number of initiatives since its formation in 2019, and will continue working to ensure that this underserved community receives empathetic and evidence-based cancer care. 
Our community of oncology care providers grows each year as we welcome the next generation of trainees into our profession. Four medical students who participated in ASCO’s Oncology Summer Internship (OSI) discuss their experience and the invaluable introduction the program gave them into our exciting and highly rewarding field. The OSI was launched as part of ASCO’s efforts to support diversity in the oncology workforce; participants come from populations underrepresented in medicine and have the opportunity to immerse themselves in oncology and consider it as a future career path. 
This issue also includes stories from our global community of oncology professionals, with perspectives on a health system in crisis in Sudan, the cancer care landscape in Peru, a new ASCO regional council in Central and Eastern Europe, and a collaboration with the City Cancer Challenge Foundation (C/Can) to provide leadership development opportunities to women in oncology in low- and middle-income countries. 
As a new year begins, I want to thank you for being part of this community of ASCO members and readers. ASCO Connection welcomes your contributions on the challenges and rewards of working in oncology, and we invite you to contact us at ascoconnection@asco.org with your submissions. 


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