ASCO’s 50th Anniversary: Past Presidents Recall Top Issues During Their Terms
In a series of articles on the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s CancerProgress.Net website, past ASCO presidents are sharing their recollections of the major issues during their terms.
Emil J Freireich, MD, FASCO, (1980–1981), remembered that during his presidency, ASCO began the process of starting a new scientific journal, the Journal of Clinical Oncology, he “was personally very confident that the journal would be a success,” despite the concerns by many that the journal would fail. “More importantly, I felt it would be an important service to our members to have such a journal,” Dr. Freireich wrote. Another accomplishment that Dr. Freireich recalled was instituting the commercial exhibits at the ASCO Annual Meeting, which has served as an important source of information and resources for ASCO.
Bernard Fisher, MD, FASCO, (1992–1993), recalled discussions during his presidency over whether ASCO’s mission related to cancer research or cancer practice. “I expressed my view that a widening gap between physicians and investigators could not only threaten the welfare of patients, but that, as clinicians got further away from science, the hope for progress in curing and preventing cancer would diminish,” Dr. Fisher wrote.
Paul A. Bunn Jr, MD, FASCO, (2002–2003), remembered his presidential year as a challenging one, dealing with massive growth in membership and the size of the Annual Meeting, growth in international membership, the growing interest in disease-oriented multidisciplinary research, and how to meet the needs of patients and advocates, among other issues. As ASCO grew, many more stakeholders began looking to ASCO to meet their needs, he recalled. ASCO addressed these needs in a number of ways, including launching disease-oriented meetings and collaborative symposia with international organizations, as well as increasing work with advocacy organizations.
ASCO Past Presidents who have yet to submit their reflections can still send an article for posting on CancerProgress.Net. Articles should be 500 to 1,500 words, and can include photographs (current or contemporary to the time period), and may be sent to CancerProgress@asco.org ■
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