2022 Society for Integrative Oncology Annual International Conference

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Guest Editor’s Note: In October, the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) held its 2022 Annual International Conference in a hybrid format (virtual and in Scottsdale, Arizona). It was centered on the basic science, education and training, and implementation of integrative oncology in diverse settings. The theme was “Delivering Multidisciplinary Integrative Oncology Care Across Communities.” Many attendees were excited to be together in person, and an electric atmosphere filled the historic venue, The Scott Resort & Spa. In this article, Drs. Rao, Millstine, and Carlson highlight the conference proceedings.

About the Conference

The conference was co-hosted by the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Conference sponsors also included the National Capital Cancer Research Fund, the Weil Foundation, the Dr. Rogers Prize, and the Scheidel Foundation. More than 15 exhibiting companies also engaged with the attendees. SIO allocated $50,000 to fund 68 scholarships: 28 in-person attendees, and 40 virtual participants. A total of 24 scholarships were awarded to international delegates, including 15 from low- and middle-income countries. SIO also welcomed eight attendees from the Korean Society for Integrative Oncology (KSIO), including KSIO President and SIO Board Member Hwa Seung Yoo, KMD, PhD.

Guest Editor

Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE

Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE

Dr. Mao is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Chair in Integrative Medicine and Chief of Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

As a hybrid conference, 196 in-person attendees and another 120 virtual participants joined from across the world. More than 110 presenters spoke in keynotes, workshops, symposia, and poster sessions. Virtual posters were uploaded to the SIO conference website and are available to registrants, as are the conference recordings. The multidisciplinary audience, which included integrative oncology clinicians, researchers, therapy providers, students, trainees, and patient advocates, participated in the program; it included preconference workshops, the annual New Investigator Forum, plenary sessions, abstract presentations, workshops, and keynote lectures.

From Nutrition and Mind/Body Medicine to Education and Implementation

The first keynote speaker, Floyd Chilton, PhD, discussed genetic influences on diet and inflammation, spanning preclinical to clinical research. A plenary session focused on the clinical use of functional medicine in integrative oncology by -Brian Lawenda, MD, and the use of a ketogenic diet in the treatment of glioblastoma by the neurosurgeon Kris Smith, MD.

The second day’s sessions focused on mind/body medicine: Lorenzo Cohen, PhD, the Richard E. Haynes Distinguished Professor in Clinical Cancer Prevention and Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discussed research perspectives, particularly in yoga therapy, and shared exciting preclinical work on biofield therapies. A plenary session featured patient advocate and author Niyati Tamaskar, who shared her cancer journey as a young woman of color; radiation oncologist -Kavita Mishra, MD, MPH, who discussed a culturally tailored group-medical mind/body program; and researcher Linda Larkey, PhD, who explored issues around adapting mind/body interventions to broader populations.

Claudia Witt, MD, MBA, Professor and Chair of the Institute for Complementary and Integrative Medicine at the University of Zurich, began the final day of the conference with an interactive presentation on international training and education in integrative oncology, building on published SIO integrative oncology educational competencies.1 A plenary panel session then highlighted the joint “SIO-ASCO Clinical Practice Guideline on Integrative Medicine for Pain Management in Oncology,” focusing on the development and implementation of the guideline (see the November 10, 2022, issue of The ASCO Post for more on the SIO-ASCO guideline).2 The session began with cancer survivor Jodi MacLeod, who shared her experience of chronic pain, the need for integrative therapies, and the role of patient advocates in disseminating recommendations; Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD, MPH, who discussed the guideline development process, followed by Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE, who presented the recommendations (see Table 1). Ting Bao, MD, MS, spoke on plans to create education modules for the guideline, and Judith Lacey, MBBS, FRACGP, presented guideline implementation steps in clinical practice.

The final plenary session focused on SIO’s commitment to health equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging, led by the medical oncologist Ana Maria Lopez, MD, MPH, MACP, and radiation oncologist Eleanor Walker, MD. Joette Walters, RN, of Tuba City Regional Health Care, explained the challenges faced by the Navajo Nation in access to care and their work to bring cancer care closer to home. Shelley Fuld -Nasso, MPP, summarized the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship survey on survivorship, including integrative oncology use and preferences.

Luncheon addresses were given by Edward Creagan, MD, Professor Emeritus of Medical Oncology at the Mayo Clinic Medical School, who discussed burnout; and Linda Rapson, MD, -CAFCI, Medical Director of the Rapson Pain and Acupuncture Clinic and the 2021 Dr. Rogers Prize Winner, who spoke about acupuncture in clinical care and cancer research.

The SIO Global Task Force, in collaboration with the SIO Education Committee, hosted an International Congress led by Eran Ben-Arye, MD (Israel), and Ashwin Mehta, MD, MPH (United States). This 2-hour session featured live and prerecorded presentations about the challenges in integrative oncology medical education, with speakers from South Korea, Israel, Kenya, the UK, and Australia. Dr. Ben-Arye and Dr. Cohen hosted an international workshop on cross-cultural insights, exploring the emotional and spiritual continuum in cancer, with presenters from Mexico and Kenya.

In-Person Highlights

On the first evening, a tribute event was hosted by Dr. Ting Bao to honor Dr. -Barrie Cassileth, the founding President of SIO and former Chief of the Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering. The tribute was an emotional and moving look back on SIO’s origins with reflections from Past Presidents, inspiring SIO to move forward into its 20th year. The annual SIO gala, the “Sunset Soirée,” was a beautiful evening spent at Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s desert laboratory in Scottsdale.

Future Conferences

SIO’s 20th International Conference, along with a celebration of SIO’s 20th anniversary, will be held on September 14–16, 2023, at the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity in Banff, Alberta, Canada. SIO 2024 will be held in Irvine, California, and in 2025, SIO will co-host its annual conference with ARTOI (Italian Association for Integrative Oncology Research and Therapy) in Rome. 

DISCLOSURE: Dr. Rao, Dr. Millstine, and Dr. Carlson reported no conflicts of interest.


1. Witt CM, Balneaves LG, Carlson LE, et al: Education competencies for integrative oncology: Results of a systematic review and an international and interprofessional consensus procedure. J Cancer Educ 37:499-507, 2022.

2. Mao JJ, Ismaila N, Bao T, et al: Integrative medicine for pain management in oncology: Society for Integrative Oncology–ASCO Guideline. J Clin Oncol. September 19, 2022 (early release online).

Dr. Rao is Medical Director of Integrative Oncology for UH Connor Whole Health, University Hospitals, Cleveland. Dr. Millstine is an internist in primary care at Mayo Clinic, Phoenix. Dr. Carlson is Professor of Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine, and Enbridge Research Chair in Psychosocial Oncology, Department of Psychosocial Oncology, University of Calgary.