Conquer Cancer Foundation Hosts Inaugural Scientific and Career Development Retreat

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In October 2015, the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO (CCF) hosted its first Scientific and Career Development Retreat at ASCO Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, for past recipients of the Young Investigator Award (YIA) and Career Development Award (CDA).

The YIA provides funding to promising investigators during their transition from a fellowship program to a faculty appointment, to encourage and promote quality research in clinical oncology. The CDA is a 3-year grant awarded to clinical investigators who have already received their faculty appointment as they work to establish an independent clinical cancer research program with a patient-oriented focus. 

The 2-day retreat opened with brief remarks from Nancy R. Daly, MS, MPH, CCF Executive Director and Chief Philanthropic Officer, and presentations on a few of the career development programs that ASCO offers. Jamie H. Von Roenn, MD, ASCO’s Director of Education, Science, and Professional Development, discussed the new Health Policy Fellowship, and Deborah Kamin, RN, PhD, Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy, discussed the Leadership Development Program.

Awards were presented to participants who submitted high-quality abstracts to the retreat, including Nader Sanai, MD, a 2013 CDA recipient, of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, and Filipa Lynce, MD, a 2013 YIA recipient, of Medstar Health Research Institute.

The second day of the retreat included scientific sessions and sessions focusing on career development. Past YIA and CDA recipients shared new and unpublished findings from their CCF-funded research in oral abstract presentations and poster sessions.

Career development talks addressed practical steps for a successful research career, with an emphasis on finding role models and mentors, maximizing scientific opportunities, building collaborations across disciplines, time management, and achieving work-life balance.

Dawn Hershman, MD, MS, of Columbia University Medical Center, gave an inspirational keynote address on the opportunities and challenges of a research career. Dr. Hershman provided an overview of the CCF grants she received—the 2002 Career Development Award, the 2007 Advanced Clinical Research Award in Breast Cancer, and the 2015 Comparative Effectiveness Research Professorship in Breast Cancer—and the critical role those grants played in her successful career development as a physician-scientist. She described the positive effects of the ASCO Leadership Development Program and how her volunteer experiences at ASCO have helped her in her career.

ASCO President Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, discussed effective time management and work-life balance. Other presentations examined the role of intrinsic and extrinsic work values in career development and the importance of multidisciplinary collaborations in oncology research. 

Attendees also participated in small-group discussions on topics such as drug development, immunotherapy, health services research, and biomarkers, led by Richard Schilsky, MD, FASCO, ASCO Chief Medical Officer; Eduardo Sotomayor, MD, Chair of the CCF Grants Selection Committee; Dr. Hershman; and Christina Annunziata, MD, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute. 

CCF is working to create a world free from the fear of cancer by funding breakthrough research, by sharing knowledge with physicians and patients worldwide, and by supporting initiatives to ensure that all people have access to high-quality cancer care. Working in close collaboration with a global network of top scientists and clinicians, as well as leading advocacy and research organizations, CCF draws on the passion and expertise of nearly 40,000 oncology professionals who are members of its affiliate organization, ASCO. For more information, visit ■

Originally printed in ASCO Connection. © American Society of Clinical Oncology. “Conquer Cancer Foundation Hosts Inaugural Scientific and Career Development Retreat” 15 December 2015. All rights reserved.