The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) recognized the recipients of its 2021 Gold Medal awards and other honors at the 63rd ASTRO Annual Meeting, held October 24 to 27 in Chicago.
ASTRO Gold Medal
Colleen A.F. Lawton, MD, FASTRO, and Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO, received the Gold Medal, the highest honor bestowed upon an ASTRO member, presented annually to individuals who have made outstanding lifetime contributions in the field of radiation oncology.
Colleen A.F. Lawton, MD, FASTRO
Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO
Dr. Lawton is Professor and Vice Chair of Radiation Oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and former Chair of the ASTRO Board of Directors. A longtime advocate of radiation oncology education and research, she led the charge to establish ASTRO’s research foundation, the Radiation Oncology Institute, and was instrumental in creating the Association for Directors of Radiation Oncology Programs.
Dr. Pierce is Professor of Radiation Oncology and Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs at the University of Michigan. An internationally renowned expert in breast cancer, Dr. Pierce has conducted research that significantly advanced the treatment of node-positive breast cancer and local therapy options for women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 germline mutations. For more than a decade, she has directed the Michigan Radiation Oncology Quality Consortium, an initiative designed to improve the quality of radiation therapy in the state. Dr. Pierce was elected the 57th President of ASCO and currently serves as ASCO Board Chair.
ASTRO Honorary Member
Surgical oncologist Douglas B. Evans, MD, Chair of the Department of Surgery and Donald C. Ausman Family Foundation Chair at the Medical College of Wisconsin, is the 2021 ASTRO Honorary Member. This award is the highest honor that ASTRO bestows upon cancer physicians and researchers in disciplines outside of radiation oncology, radiobiology, and medical physics.
Douglas B. Evans, MD
Prior to joining the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2009, he was the Hamill Foundation Distinguished Professor of Surgery at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
ASTRO Research Grants and Fellowships
ASTRO offers several funding opportunities for early-career researchers in radiation oncology. In 2021, six scholars received research grants, including seed grants and career development awards cosponsored by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Melanoma Research Alliance, and Prostate Cancer Foundation. Additionally, three scholars were selected for radiation oncology research training fellowships with industry partners AstraZeneca and Varian Medical Systems.
Annual Meeting Abstract Awards
A total of 43 cancer researchers received 2021 ASTRO Annual Meeting Abstract Awards, which recognize the highest-rated research presented at the meeting, with a focus on highlighting the work of residents and early-career professionals. Recipients were selected from nearly 2,000 abstracts submitted to the meeting.
Honoring Patients and Their Contributions
In addition to awarding achievements in the fight against cancer made by physicians, ASTRO recognizes contributions from patients through its Survivor Circle program. The Survivor Circle Grant Program provides financial assistance to cancer support organizations in the state where ASTRO’s Annual Meeting is held. For 2021, ASTRO awarded grants to two organizations in the Chicago area, LivingWell Cancer Resource Center and The Cancer Support Center.