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Presidential Matters: Angeles Alvarez Secord, MD, MHSc

Presidential Matters
Apr 21, 2023

Dear colleagues, friends, and gynecologic oncology community,

It is my privilege and honor to serve as the 55th president of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO). In the spirit of unity, Dr. Ginger Gardner, the chair of the Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC), and I jointly welcome you to kick-off the 55th year of our beloved society and celebrate our foundation. An interesting, fun fact is that the number fifty-five symbolizes major life changes, new experiences, and growth. The theme for our year is the “The Power of Shared Purpose: Transforming Gynecologic Cancer Care” to create a unifying culture that will maximally leverage opportunities for synergistic collaboration to further our collective mission and vision where everyone has the power to impact, prevent, overcome, and eradicate gynecologic cancers.

The accomplishments of our society over the past 55 years have been remarkable. We truly stand on the shoulders of giants, allowing our gynecologic cancer community to reach even greater heights. We honor the forethought of Drs. Hervey Averette and John Mikuta who identified the need to create a medical society focused on gynecologic oncology in January 1968. The initial objectives focused on the creation of the subspecialty of gynecologic oncology; training and certification of specialists; and promotion of research, education, and practice. Our specialty has evolved over the decades, expanding the membership in May 2011, and redefining ourselves as the Society of Gynecologic Oncology. This unifying decision allowed all members of the cancer care team to join, leading to broad representation with medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, researchers and memberships for advanced practice providers, non-physician health professionals, geneticists, patient advocates, trainees, and our celebrated retired members.

Another significant landmark for our society occurred in 1991, with the establishment of the foundation, with Dr. Rod Mortel as the inaugural chair. Initially called the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF), the foundation was rebranded as the Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC) in 2011 in order to be inclusive of the breast cancer population that seeks our expertise related to genetic drivers, hormonal considerations, and our position in the broader scope of female cancers, overall health, and well-being. As a 501(c)(3), the FWC provides a central avenue for community awareness, patient education, and research grants for SGO members. With over 30 years of dedicated work and philanthropic support, the FWC extends our breadth and reach to broader communities and sustains our scientific inquiry. The FWC also hosts in-person and online patient education, and provides very helpful educational materials to share with your patients, all easily available on foundationforwomenscancer.org. Currently under the direction of Dr. Ginger Gardner, the FWC is growing exponentially, and we look forward to a brilliant year ahead!

In our shared work, we stand together committed to accelerating progress for patients, providers and communities affected by gynecologic cancers, and to the broader needs of all at risk of developing gynecologic cancer.

This upcoming year we will harness “The Power of Shared Purpose” as we strive to complete several major objectives including:

  • The SGO/FWC Organizational Assessment
  • The SGO/FWC Strategic Plan for 2024-2026
  • The SGO/FWC/GOG Foundation collaboration
  • Expand on the SGO Future of the Profession Initiative

SGO/FWC will continue to support and develop other collaborative opportunities such as the ongoing work with the World Health Organization/International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS) to eradicate cervical cancer led by Drs. Wendy Brewster and Mark Einstein; IGCS to ensure global equity for ovarian cancer care; and other associations such as American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Gynecological Obstetrical Society, American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Foundation, and Women First Research Coalition. If you are interested in collaborative opportunities, please reach out to us.

We are committed to infusing diversity, inclusion, and equity across all aspects of our strategic initiatives. We encourage transparency, dialogue, and questions, and we see the enormous opportunity in the power of shared purpose to transform gynecologic cancer care and build the most successful future of our beloved society and foundation.