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Presidential Matters: Warner Huh, MD

Presidential Matters
Dec 6, 2019

Dear colleague,

Reflecting on the depth and breadth of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s activity I have witnessed during my eight months as your president, I am struck by the extraordinary level of engagement of our membership.


Our Practice Survey returned a record response rate of 48 percent of the SGO membership. Huge thanks to all of the members who took the time to participate in the survey. This will yield great insights into the status of our practice. I will highlight some of the survey findings in my Presidential Address on Saturday, March 29, at the SGO 2020 Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer, as our profession enters a critical crossroads and we need to think about our place in cancer and women’s health. Also, be sure to attend the Member Forum on Monday morning, March 30, for an in-depth presentation of the survey findings.


Speaking of the Annual Meeting, I am excited to share the news that Douglas R. Lowy, MD, Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute, will deliver the ABOG Lecture on Sunday, March 29. His joint research with John Schiller, PhD, has identified many aspects of the human papillomavirus (HPV) life cycle, developed technology underlying the FDA-approved HPV vaccines and elucidated mechanisms for the high efficacy of the vaccines. Dr. Lowy will speak about the continued importance of screening and management strategies for cervical cancer prevention.


The Annual Meeting as well as the SGO 25th Annual Winter Meeting will feature an update and elucidation of the results of the practice changing ovarian cancer studies presented this year at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress 2019. SGO covered the ESMO meeting and reported the results of the PAOLA, VELIA and PRIMA studies through video interviews with the presenters. Nearly half the membership opened the video news reports while the conference was still in session, and the videos have been viewed over 4,000 times in just a few months. Also in the works are a Clinical Practice Statement and podcast – an SGO first – elaborating on this research. SGO’s new daily news briefs have been well received. Open rates regularly approach 50 percent for Women’s Cancer News and for our biweekly newsletter, SGO Issues. These open rates far exceed industry standard and demonstrate the value that SGO delivers. Clearly, your SGO membership keeps you well informed and well educated.


SGO also has an impressive level of member involvement, with over 250 active committee volunteers and applications from 132 additional members interested in serving next year. Committees are the lifeblood of the society, and we are pumped. Here are just a few highlights of recent activity:

  • The Clinical Practice Committee produces a steady stream of reviews and recommendations, practice statements and joint guidelines, including most recently the Clinical Practice Statements on Use of Cannabinoids in Cancer Patients and Managing Opioid Use in the Acute Surgical Setting.
  • The Education Committee has produced a webinar on use of opioids and flash cards on use of PARP inhibitors.
  • Health Policy and Socioeconomic Committee: The Coding Task Force produces a Coding Bootcamp webinar, runs a regular column in SGO Issues and is planning its course for the annual meeting. The Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Task Force held its largest-ever Fly-In Day in Washington, DC, with 25 members and 10 patients participating in 105 meetings with Congressional staff and elected leaders. The Payment Reform Task Force is continuing its work on alternative payment model, and the Policy, Quality and Outcomes Task Force is preparing a primer for clinical use of patient-reported outcomes measures.

I simply cannot do justice here to legion of volunteers working to keep gynecologic oncology a vibrant and evolving profession. I can, however, thank each of you, first and foremost, for your membership in our society. Membership is an important step in demonstrating your commitment to your profession. Active engagement with the resources we provide is the next step. And volunteer involvement in producing those resources is the deep dive.


If you haven’t done so already, remember to tick off your year-end checklist: 1) Register for the Annual Meeting (and make sure your passport is current!), 2) Renew your dues, and 3) Donate to the Foundation for Women’s Cancer.


In the spirit of the holiday season, I extend to you my deep appreciation for your membership, engagement, involvement and support. I would love to hear your thoughts. Email me at warner.huh@sgo.org.


Warner K. Huh, MD
SGO President