SGO Issues Oct 6, 2016


SGO Issues Oct. 6, 2016

Claudia Cohen Research Foundation Prize for Outstanding Gynecologic Cancer Researcher
SGO Genetics Toolkit available on
Cancer genetics articles in October 2016 Gynecologic Oncology
Preventing burnout through leadership and engagement | Julian (Skip) Schink, MD
Elevate your career with SGO

Claudia Cohen Research Foundation Prize for Outstanding Gynecologic Cancer Researcher

Applications are now being accepted for the Claudia Cohen Research Foundation Prize for Outstanding Gynecologic Cancer Researcher, a $50,000 annual prize that is awarded to an individual in recognition of his or her outstanding contributions to research improving the care of women with gynecologic cancer. The deadline for applications has been extended to Dec. 9, 2016.

The selected awardees must have made important contributions that improve gynecologic cancer patient care, including the early detection, treatment or prevention of gynecologic cancers. The award will be made to the individual rather than his or her institution.  The prize is funded by the Claudia Cohen Research Foundation (CCRF) in honor of Claudia Cohen, who lost her battle with uterine leiomyosarcoma in 2007.  Ms. Cohen was a highly respected journalist and philanthropist.  The Claudia Cohen Research Foundation was founded by Ms. Cohen’s daughter Samantha, with her sisters Caleigh and Debra Perelman, to foster research aimed at reducing the burden of gynecologic cancer.

Individuals can apply for this prize or nominators can propose potential candidates by filling out the application and emailing it to with “Claudia Cohen Research Prize” referenced in the subject line.

The Foundation’s Research Grants and Awards Committee will select the awardee. The prize will be announced at the 2017 SGO Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer on March 12-15, in National Harbor, MD.

The Foundation gratefully acknowledges the Claudia Cohen Research Foundation for its generous support of this annual prize. This is the eighth prize being supported by the Claudia Cohen Research Foundation.

Selection Criteria
The applicant must demonstrate they have:

  1. Made important contributions to research improving the care of women with gynecologic cancer.
  2. Obtained significant independent extramural research funding.
  3. Made significant contributions to literature in the field.
  4. Developed programs that improved women’s health.

All applicants must:

  1. Demonstrate body of research in gynecologic cancer, and outline, any application to rare gynecologic cancers, if relevant.
  2. Possess an academic appointment in the USA.
  3. Hold either an MD, PhD or equivalent.

Application Process
Applicants must submit:

  1. The Application detailing their name , date of birth, address, phone, fax, email, university affiliation and academic rank
  2. Their NIH BioSketch / Curriculum Vitae
  3. Abstracts of the applicant’s three (3) most recently published or relevant peer-reviewed papers.
  4. A letter of support or nomination from a senior colleague in the field
  5. A Personal Statement describing their research accomplishments and the impact on either early detection, prevention or therapeutics for women affected by gynecologic cancer, which answers the following questions in 400 words each:
  • How has your research contributed to improving the care of women with gynecologic cancer?
  • What do you consider your greatest achievement, and how has this positively impacted patients and the field of gynecologic cancer?
  • What significant independent extramural research funding have you obtained during your career?
  • What significant contributions have you made to research literature in the field of gynecologic oncology?
  • Describe how your work has developed specific programs, treatments or protocols which have improved the health of women affected by gynecologic cancer?

How to apply

SGO Genetics Toolkit available on

Genetics Toolkit webpage bannerUtilizing individual case histories with genetic pedigrees as examples, SGO launched the Genetics Toolkit on yesterday. The document is a collaborative effort between several medical societies and advocacy organizations that serves as a physician and patient resource on issues surrounding hereditary risk assessment and genetic testing in women who have or are worried about gynecologic cancers.

The toolkit includes a series of vignettes—available as separate PDF files—that are designed to help providers and patients understand the implications of a genetic test result for themselves and other members of their family. The toolkit dispels some common misconceptions around the genetics of gynecologic cancers and sheds light on often overlooked nuances of cancer genetic testing while introducing resources to help families adjust and adapt to the results of genetic tests.

The collaborating organizations for the Genetics Toolkit are the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Bright Pink®, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), and the SGO.

Cancer genetics articles in October 2016 Gynecologic Oncology

Video-assisted genetic counseling in patients with ovarian, fallopian and peritoneal carcinoma
Catherine H. Watson, Michael Ulm, Patrick Blackburn, Linda Smiley, Mark Reed, Rachel Covington, Lauren Bokovitz, Todd Tillmanns
Very high uptake of risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers: A single-center experience
M.G. Harmsen, M. Arts-de Jong, K. Horstik, P. Manders, L.F.A.G. Massuger, R.P.M.G. Hermens, N. Hoogerbrugge, G.H. Woldringh, J.A. de Hullu


Preventing burnout through leadership and engagement | Julian (Skip) Schink, MD

Julian C. Schink, MD

Julian C. Schink, MD

Early in my career, I had no idea what burnout was, but I certainly knew a lot of burned out doctors. They were disengaged, condescending, mocking patients and learners and referring providers; for a while I thought that was normal, as in “normalized deviance”– the acceptance of something wrong because it is so common. Now physician burnout is in the news, and many specialties report a prevalence as high as 50 percent. While I am not a statistician, that number suggests that either you or one of your partners may be suffering from burnout. With this in mind, I see three steps to decreasing and preventing burnout: Leadership, Physician Engagement, and Reconnecting with Patients.

As the surgical leaders in women’s health, our bully pulpit is the platform for the creation of highly functioning workspaces. We have a responsibility to ourselves and our patients to provide a clear vision of what “great” looks like, and to remove any barriers to greatness. As a leader among physicians, some of your key questions to your colleagues should be: “Do you have what you need to deliver care? How can I help you get what you need and get other things out of the way?” Their answers should provide some great insights into what you can do for them to promote their engagement with healing care, which can safeguard them against burnout.

Leadership alone is no magic solution to this grim reality of burnout, especially within gynecologic oncology. Another key step is promoting physician engagement, which to me is the inverse of physician burn-out. Engagement means promoting anything that helps a physician stay connected to the core reason they practice medicine–delivering healing care. There are just too many diversions from that healing focus for many of us, and it’s my conviction that the less care we deliver the more prone we are to burnout.

I’m fortunate to practice in a health system that has taken three steps to battle burnout and promote physician engagement. One is Professional Coaching, the opportunity to receive objective and insightful guidance on overall professional practice, personal development, and life balance. An outside perspective from a talented professional coach can be an energizing and empowering tool for staying engaged in caregiving. Another step is a physician support service called MyConcierge. It’s a dedicated physician service bureau that tends to an array of non-medical concerns so we can stay engaged in caregiving. Whether those concerns are about home maintenance/repair, life tasks, or work issues, MyConcierge handles plenty of small burdens that enable physicians to focus on practicing medicine. Finally, we encourage our providers to protect their personal time and enjoy time away from work.

The Electronic Health Record (EHR) is often cited as a major factor in burnout; it contributes on two sides of this problem: Physician Engagement and Patient Engagement, looming like an electronic force field between you and your patient. To keep the EHR from interfering with my office encounters, I pre-screen the record before entering the room so I am not referring to the computer while talking with the patient. I honor that “golden minute” to reconnect before ever going electronic. I position the computer to the side and try to only use it as mutual reference in partnership with the patient. This triangulation of the patient, provider and computer retains our trusted and rewarding doctor-patient relationship. In this way, I optimize my EHR tools so I can live my mantra of “Less time charting, more time caring.”

When our patients die, it can feel like failure even when it is inevitable. Over the months and years of treatment, these people become our friends. For the frail elderly and dying, I will make the occasional house call, and it makes us both so much more connected. And when they die, I go to funerals, not always but when I can. There I hear gratitude and closure beyond words. Finally, I celebrate our cancer treatment successes. With permission from my patients I tell their remarkable success stories, and I marvel at the fact that miracles do occur, but only because of what we do.

Elevate your career with SGO

Joyce Barlin, MD

Joyce Barlin, MD

From now until Dec. 31, members are encouraged to renew their 2017 SGO membership. As an early career gynecologic oncologist at Women’s Cancer Care Associates in Upstate New York, Joyce Barlin, MD, noted that the most important benefit she has derived from being an SGO member is the camaraderie.

“We do our best to provide honesty and compassion to our patients, and by being a member of SGO, I know that I can rely on my fellow SGO members for advice, support, and encouragement in our pursuit,” said Dr. Barlin.

Dr. Barlin took advantage of volunteer opportunities within SGO and joined the SGO Publications Committee during her fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She is now Vice Chair of the committee and advises other early career members to take advantage of the career-building opportunities that are offered.

“I absolutely tell my junior colleagues to join SGO for the camaraderie, the networking, the opportunity to make a difference in our field, and to be a member of the vanguard of Gynecologic Oncology,” she said.

In addition to networking through volunteer committee work, SGO members can immediately take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Stay informed on the latest news and scientific breakthroughs with a subscription to Gynecologic Oncology;
  • Share knowledge and get feedback from other members on hot topics of interest through MySGO, SGO’s online community;
  • Get immediate access to cost effective online education via SGO’s online learning platform, ConnectEd;
  • Look for the ideal job or reach the best candidates in the SGO Career Center;
  • Receiving a members only discount for live meetings, including the 2017 Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer on March 12-15, in National Harbor, MD.