ASCO’s State Oncology Societies Booth Provides a Place for Relationship Building and Sharing Best Practices

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Want to learn how to best lobby your local state legislators on the issues that affect your practice in your state? Or finally meet the executive director of your state’s oncology society?

Look for the State Oncology Societies Booth at ASCO’s Annual Meeting this year. The booth will be located in the Oncology Professionals Hall, to the left of the entrance. The State Oncology Societies Booth is an important way that ASCO helps unite state societies with each other and with their members every year at the Annual Meeting.

Both booth space and conference registration are free to state affiliate representatives, who can promote their society to nonmembers visiting the Oncology Professionals Hall. The booth also offers state society leaders the opportunity to meet with current and potential corporate sponsors for their organizations.

Connecting Personally and Professionally

Leaders from different state societies also network with each other at the State Oncology Societies Booth.

“The booth is a great place to connect with other society leaders, providing a meeting space for society members to check in and connect with their state or regional affiliate, and [engage] with other society leaders,” says Lori Aubrey, Executive Director of Northern New England Clinical Oncology Society. “The booth’s inviting, comfortable layout provides for intimate meeting space among the enormity of the hall.”

Valuable Exchange of Best Practices

All state and regional societies are invited to send a representative to the booth, who will interact with providers as they come by.

Mary Malloy, Executive Director of the Michigan Society of Hematology & Oncology (MSHO), observes, “It’s very beneficial to be able to network with my peers, both formally during the ASCO-developed information sessions, and informally discussing our experiences and best practices—different strategies for member retention, for example.”

Often, such information exchanges result in notable gains.

“Two years ago at the booth, Mary Malloy had on display an example of her group membership recognition award,” says Ms. Aubrey. “The following year, we incorporated practice awards into a group membership structure. The result of the new group membership and recognition program? More than 120 new members!”

Springboard for Program Development

Change and growth at the state societies can come via exchanges between executives and providers visiting the booth. Ms. Malloy recalls that an MSHO member shared an idea regarding professional development for training fellows. She recruited him as course director on the spot, and the MSHO instituted a career development forum for their Hem/Onc fellows the following spring. Ms. Molloy adds that, by popular demand, the program will be expanded this year, and it all started with the meeting at the State Oncology Societies Booth that connected a society member’s great idea with MSHO program development.

Another year, a Wisconsin physician dropped by the booth. Those at the booth helped him get involved in revitalizing his state society from the ground up. A similar scenario occurred with the West Virginia society.

One more success story from the State Oncology Societies Booth: After hearing feedback from state affiliate members last year, ASCO’s Government Relations Committee developed model legislation on oral chemotherapy parity for members to take back to their states and use to lobby their state legislatures.

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