SGO Issues Oct. 4, 2018
Membership changes planned to create a more inclusive Society
SGO Ambassadors visit Capitol Hill during #SGOFlyIn
Allied Workshop has largest attendance to date
2019 GOG Foundation Young Investigator Travel Awards accepting applications
Starting Oct. 20, SGO members will have the opportunity to vote on changes to the membership structure that would reduce the number of membership categories from nine to four. If approved, the changes would take effect before SGO’s 2019 Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer. A webinar hosted by Immediate Past President Laurel W. Rice, MD, and Membership Committee Chair, Mario M. Leitao, MD, describes the proposed changes, which must be voted on by at least 15 percent of all SGO eligible voting members, and approved by two-thirds of those who vote before these changes can be implemented. Voting closes on Nov. 19.
The proposed membership categories are as follows:
- Full: Includes current Full, Associate, International Affiliate (MD, PhD and MBBS) and Candidate members
- Associate: Includes current Allied and non-MD International Affiliate members as well as patient advocates
- Trainee: Includes current Fellows-in-Training (US and international), Resident and Student members
- Senior: This category has not changed
Dr. Leitao explained that as the SGO sought to create a more inclusive, diversified and welcoming society for all gynecologic oncology-related professionals, there was a need to simplify the membership structure.
“Gynecologic oncology care is worldwide and requires a huge host of multiple care providers,” said Dr. Leitao. “SGO needed to become more inclusive and representative of the field of gynecologic oncology around the world. Additionally the current structure was cumbersome and confusing.”
Dr. Leitao added that while current Associate, International Affiliate and Allied members will be impacted the most by these proposed membership changes, there will be no impact on members who already have full membership.
“These changes will simply make SGO an even better and more inclusive worldwide Society,” he said.
A total of 18 SGO Ambassadors and four patient advocates participated in SGO Fly In Day in Washington, DC, on Sept. 28, making scheduled visits to Members of Congress and their staffers in order to discuss matters that are important to the gynecologic oncology community, including general education about gynecologic cancers, increased funding for clinical trials, and access to cutting edge care. Participants met with representatives from 14 states—with 42 House district meetings and 28 Senate meetings. Social media updates were posted throughout the day using the hashtag #SGOFlyIn.
Although SGO members have met unofficially with legislators over the years, this is the second year in a row that SGO has held a Capitol Hill Fly In Day. “Each ambassador had 6 to 9 meetings with 30 minutes to one hour allotted—I personally had nine meetings,” said SGO Legislative and Regulatory Taskforce member Patrick Timmins, MD, of Women’s Cancer Care Associates in Albany, NY. “I have already filled out my after action report which I actually did as we went along. I also did my thank you notes on the train home.”
Dr. Timmins added that having patient advocates visit offices on Capitol Hill helped further the cause of gynecologic cancer awareness and funding for research. “It always adds tremendous impact to have real people who are survivors of cancer beside you discussing their personal story with the staffers,” he said.
“The staffers were very interested in supporting improving funding for GYN cancer clinical trials in order to increase the number of patients on clinical trials,” said Taskforce Chair Heidi Gray, MD, from UW Medicine in Seattle, WA. “They were gracious with their time and genuinely wanted to learn more about bettering care for women with gynecologic cancer.”
A total of 154 participants attended the SGO Allied Health Professionals Workshop Sept. 22-23 in Chicago, including 107 attendees at the first ever pharmacology pre-conference session, “The 411 on Chemotherapy, Pharmacology and Supportive Care.” The attendance number was the largest in SGO history for an allied meeting.
“There was a lot of excitement from the pharmacology sessions,” said co-course director Judith A. Smith, PharmD, BCOP, CPHQ, FCCP, FISOPP, from UT Health McGovern Medical School in Houston, TX. “We talked about management of adverse effects, management of complications; even how did the standard of care come to be the standard of care, which sometimes we don’t have time in practice to go through.”
Presenter Karen Lyle, PA-C, from the Hospital of UPMC in Pittsburgh, agreed that the pre-conference session was a highlight of this year’s Allied Workshop.
“We have over the years grown this conference from one day to one and a half days to now a pre-conference plus the one and a half days of the main conference,” said Lyle. “So that’s huge to have the additional CE, but to have it specifically be pharmacy.”
Casey Williams, PharmD, BCOP, FHOPA, Chief Scientific Officer at Experimental Therapeutics in Sioux Falls, SD, presented, “The Application of Genomics in Gynecologic Malignancies” at the Allied Workshop. He noted that as a pharmacist who is focused primarily on research, it was beneficial to have the opportunity to hear more about issues that directly impact the clinical setting.
“I’m a very large believer in multidisciplinary care, and I think that the whole multidisciplinary team needs to be on equal footing in many places,” said Dr. Williams. “I think it’s significant to try to make sure that all of us have a sound understanding and appreciation for each of our talents and skill levels. And I think it’s important to have open discussions and opportunities to do that.”
Co-course director Carina DeCroes, RN, MS, APN-BC, AOCNP, from the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation in Chicago, noted the importance of “bridging the gap” between the various disciplines that work in gynecologic oncology.
“I think that because of our specialty, because it is so broad with medical management, surgical management, peri-operative issues, it is good to get together and see what some of our colleagues may do on the other side,” said DeCroes. “A lot of gynecologic oncologist physicians will bridge that gap, but not a lot of the allied health and APPs do. So it is always valuable to learn what somebody else is doing, to help collaborate.”
Co-course director Nadia La Scala, MS- PAC, from Christiana Care Hospital in Newark, DE, looks forward to reviewing the course evaluations to see what allied attendees would like to see in future SGO workshops.
“There’s always something to learn. There’s always something new. And sometimes you get pulled into different directions,” said La Scala. “I may be the OR Physician Assistant, but I’m also working inpatient and sometimes I have to write chemotherapy orders and therefore learning about every aspect of the specialty makes you more of a well-rounded clinician.”
The GOG Foundation Young Investigator Travel Awards will be offered to Fellows and Junior Faculty who are less than five years from training (completed training in 2014 or later). The GOG Young Investigator Travel Awards are open to all oncologists active in treating gynecologic cancers. The award, in the amount of $1,500, will cover coach travel, lodging and registration fees to attend the NRG Oncology Semiannual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, Feb. 7-9, 2019, which award recipients are required to attend. The application submission deadline is Dec. 14, 2018, and additional information can be found on the GOG Foundation website.