SGO Issues June 27, 2013

SGO Issues June 27, 2013

Peter R. Johnson, MD, FACS: Ensuring GYN cancer patients are optimally treated
July 31 deadline for Foundation for Women’s Cancer research grants
SGO Chicago staff volunteers in local neighborhood
SGO responds to AMA classifying obesity as a disease
Upgrade your SGO Membership
Women’s Cancer News on Wednesdays
Register now for SGO State of the Art 2013
On Your Side: The Gynecologic Cancer Care Team
In the News

Peter R. Johnson, MD, FACS: Ensuring GYN cancer patients are optimally treated

Peter R. Johnson, MD, FACS

Peter R. Johnson, MD, FACS

Upon arriving at the 2013 SGO Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in Los Angeles, Peter R. Johnson, MD, FACS, already wanted to contribute to the Foundation for Gynecologic Oncology. When he heard that his donation of $25,000 would be matched by Dr. James and Vicki Orr’s Legacy Society, the decision became “a no-brainer.”

“It was a 100 percent immediate return on investment. So I gave $25,000 and immediately another $25,000 came to the organization. It was as if I was giving $50,000,” said Dr. Johnson, who serves as the Medical Director of Gynecologic Oncology at the Aurora Medical Group in Milwaukee, WI, and Clinical Adjunct Professor with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, WI.

“I look at SGO as an incredibly valuable organization, and I want to see it thrive,” he said “I want to see more work in terms of clinical quality, I want to see more work on good database development. What we have done for our members and what we continue to do for our members is invaluable.”

Dr. Johnson is particularly committed to ensuring that all women with gynecologic cancers have access to gynecologic oncologists. He performs most of his surgeries at Aurora West Allis Medical Center, which is an Intuitive Surgical-designated gynecologic oncology Epicenter where surgeons are trained on how to perform gynecological surgeries using the da Vinci® robot.

“All women with gynecologic cancers should be cared for by a gynecologic oncologist,” said Dr. Johnson. “Every Friday I travel. One Friday I do a clinic that’s 100 miles north of me (in Neenah, WI), and the following Friday I do a clinic that’s 130 miles north of me in Green Bay.

“I don’t do the major surgeries up at these places; I believe in the centralization of surgeries at gynecologic oncology centers of excellence, but I do believe that patients shouldn’t have to travel a long way to see their doctor for their care, so I arrange radiation oncology and the medical oncology as much as possible close to their homes.”

More than half of Dr. Johnson’s patients live outside of the Milwaukee area, very similar to the rural township in east central Wisconsin where he grew up with a father who was a Lutheran minister and a mother who was a public health nurse. “Living the life of a minister’s son, seeing all of the tragedies and the joys of life on a daily basis, really gave me a lot of perspective and a lot of respect for people,” he said.

Over the years Dr. Johnson has had several mentors in the field of gynecologic oncology, including Nick Spirtos, MD, in the area of laparoscopic surgery and fellow SGO member Javier Magrina, MD, for robotic surgery. And it was at a breakfast meeting at the 2012 SGO Annual Meeting in Austin, TX, where Dr. Johnson met Fredric Price, MD, who spoke about board certification in hospice and palliative care, which Dr. Johnson received last fall.

“It was because of SGO that I even found out about this [certification] being available,” said Dr. Johnson. “Without that one meeting, that one hour breakfast meeting that I happened to go to down in Austin, I wouldn’t be board certified in hospice and palliative care now.”

Always striving to learn more, being open to change and constantly improving, Dr. Johnson believes in giving back to SGO through the Foundation for Gynecologic Oncology because he wants to share the blessings and success he has enjoyed both personally and professionally.

“People ask me how I do what I do, how I deal with the death, the dying, the difficult surgeries, the very, very long days at times, all the travel,” he said. “And my response is I absolutely love what I’m doing. If I didn’t do something I loved couldn’t be doing it for even four hours a day. But I just look at this—it’s such a privilege, such a gift to be able to do what I do that it just gives incredible joy to my existence.”

July 31 deadline for Foundation for Women’s Cancer research grants

The Foundation for Women’s Cancer is offering six research grants for 2013-2014 with a submission deadline of July 31, 2013, for all abstracts. The goal of the Research Grants and Awards program is to mentor and accelerate the success of young investigators. Researchers are encouraged to submit their abstracts for the following grants:

  • Amgen Ovarian Cancer Research Grant ($50,000/one-year award)
  • Caring Together, NY Ovarian Cancer Research Synergy Grant ($100,000/two-year award
  • Genentech Ovarian Cancer Research Grant ($50,000/one-year award)
  • Roberta Detz Endometrial Cancer Research Grant ($50,000/one-year award)
  • St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness Research Grant ($53,000/one-year award)
  • WeRoc/OChO Ovarian Cancer Research Grant ($50,000/one-year award)

The research grants guidelines, instructions and application process are available at Foundation for Women’s Cancer.

SGO Chicago staff volunteers in local neighborhood

SGO-group-volunteer-photo_ROn June 21, SGO staff participated in a service project on Chicago’s southwest side. Sponsored by the Hilton Worldwide sales team, SGO staffers joined nearly 100 volunteers at the Frank W. Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy, a K-8 school, where 90 percent of the students are from low-income families. Volunteers spent the entire morning painting, creating murals, and landscaping around the property of the nearly 90-year-old building.

“In the spirit of the health care practitioners who serve their patients on a daily basis, we try to participate in at least one service project each year,” said SGO Executive Director Mary C. Eiken. “Events like these really encourage team building and cooperation, and the outpouring of appreciation from the students and faculty was very rewarding. We are grateful for our longstanding relationship with Hilton hotels and that they included us in this very worthwhile community effort.” (SEE PHOTOS)

SGO responds to AMA classifying obesity as a disease

In response to the June 18 announcement by the American Medical Association (AMA) that the organization has decided to classify obesity as a disease, SGO President Barbara A. Goff, MD, released the following message to the news media regarding SGO’s position on obesity:

Many people associate obesity with diabetes and heart disease, but few are aware that obesity is the critical factor in the increasing number of American women with endometrial cancers—the most common gynecologic cancer. And the outcomes for women with obesity are much worse than for their normal weight peers. Part of the problem is awareness, but the other part stems from the reservations that gynecologic care practitioners have in discussing obesity with their patients. The Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) recognizes this and is in the process of developing resources to improve public awareness, access to appropriate interventions and communication with their patients.

SGO supports the American Medical Association’s decision to declare obesity a disease, which will encourage a more open discussion and help the greater medical community find more effective ways of attacking the problem.

Upgrade your SGO Membership

Contact membership@sgo.org to find out if you are ready for the next level of SGO Membership. Applications are due July 31.

Women’s Cancer News on Wednesdays

SGO Women’s Cancer News is now being sent to members every Wednesday. Be sure to add sgo@multibriefs.com to your e-mail’s safe senders list to receive your copy. To view the Women’s Cancer News archive, click here.

Register now for SGO State of the Art 2013

State of the Art Conference/International Society for the Study of Trophoblastic Diseases (ISSTD) World Congress XVII: Sept. 20-23, 2013, in Chicago, IL. Register here.

On Your Side: The Gynecologic Cancer Care Team

Share the SGO video, “On Your Side: The Gynecologic Cancer Care Team,” with patients and others who want to learn more about the subspecialty of gynecologic oncology.

In the News

No more chemo not so far fetched (June 26, 2013)
New hope for cervical cancer patients (June 25, 2013)
Pretests of cervical tumors could inform treatment (June 24, 2013)
Chlamydia promotes gene mutations (June 20, 2013)
HPV vaccine credited in fall of teenagers’ infection rate (June 19, 2013)