Presidential Matters March 2017


March 2017

Dear Colleague,

As we approach the 2017 Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer, I find myself reflecting on my experience as SGO president. In this position, I have been fortunate to be privy to all aspects of the remarkable work of this small but vibrant Society. And I have been particularly struck by the loyalty and dedication of our members.

SGO enjoys a phenomenal member retention rate of over 95%. Among our approximately 2,000 members, about 275 are actively engaged in volunteer positions. Given our size, we are well suited to focus our education, advocacy and clinical practice projects on issues that matter to as many members as possible.

The 2017 Winter Meeting enjoyed record attendance, and as I write, the 2017 Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer is on pace to outstrip last year’s record-setting attendance. We are meeting the needs of our diverse membership with programming for advance practice providers at the Annual Meeting and at the annual Allied Health Professionals Workshop. At last year’s Annual Meeting, presentations on enhanced recovery after surgery were well received, and now we’re providing a series of live, in-studio webcasts on the topic.

SGO’s Health Policy and Socioeconomic Committee, with its four taskforces, is working hard to advocate for gynecologic oncology at the federal level. Nearly 200 members have enrolled as Congressional Ambassadors, and we encourage anyone who wants to make their voice heard in Washington to join. With a new online Washington Alert system, we make it easy for you to contact your legislators on timely issues such as the need to maintain funding for ovarian cancer research in the Dept. of Defense.

During the Annual Meeting we will launch a campaign to address the crisis in gynecologic oncology clinical trials. Make sure you have a Twitter account because we’re going to deliver a message to the President en masse.

Also in the policy arena, the Coding and Reimbursement Taskforce has been working on two new codes for interval debulking and laparoscopic staging that will significantly increase your reimbursement. And we have an endometrial cancer alternative payment model demonstration project under development; two large payors have expressed in participating.

Our Clinical Practice Committee produced an impressive body of work this year, including the evidence-based review and recommendations on stress and burnout among gynecologic oncologists; a clinical practice statement on opioid use; and most recently, “The ‘Value’ of Value in Gynecologic Oncology Practice in the United States,” which will be published online in Gynecologic Oncology soon. The Chemotherapy for Gynecologic Cancers handbook has also been updated this year and will be available for pre-order at the Annual Meeting.

As the practice of gynecologic oncology becomes more complex, collaboration with other organizations is critical. SGO members are actively engaged with sister societies. SGO is a member of the Council of Medical Specialty Societies. We recently produced joint guidelines on neoadjuvant chemotherapy for newly diagnosed, advanced ovarian cancer with the American Society for Clinical Oncology. And in October we produced the SGO Genetics Toolkit in collaboration with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the National Society of Genetic Counselors, Bright Pink and Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE).

All of these activities relate directly back to the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan. Our strategic goals are to:

  1. Educate: Be the authoritative source of education in gynecologic oncology
  2. Research: Promote research in gynecologic oncology
  3. Advocate: Represent the interests of patients and members
  4. Communicate: Raise awareness of gynecologic oncology and its role in women’s cancer care
  5. Collaborate: Work with other organizations to advance the SGO mission and vision
  6. Lead: Be the leading organization in gynecologic oncology

After the Annual Meeting, we will begin the process of developing a new strategic plan for 2018 and beyond.

It has been incredibly rewarding to work with so many dedicated volunteers, as well as the SGO staff who work tirelessly on our behalf. I hope to see you at the Annual Meeting in National Harbor next week. It is going to be an exceptional experience.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your president this year. While it has been a whirlwind adventure, I have truly enjoyed every moment.

All the best,

Jeffrey M. Fowler, MD
SGO President