Congratulations to the following newly elected members of ASTRO’s Board of Directors. The new officers’ terms will begin on October 25, 2022, during the 2022 ASTRO Annual Meeting.
As a 30-year ASTRO member and volunteer, I have long felt that every professional action is integral to moving our specialty forward. Each of us is a representative and ambassador in our field. In our daily clinical activities, as members of medical staffs, through our research and in other outward facing activities, we individually and collectively influence the public perception of radiation oncology. ASTRO, as our professional society, also reaches out to its members and the oncology field at large on behalf of our specialty. The actions of ASTRO, like many organizations, are directed by the guidance of the Strategic Plan, a reflection of the organization’s vision.
The Strategic Plan of ASTRO is the quintessence of our daily activities leveraged across our specialty to enhance our voices and to support the goals of ASTRO. To deliver high-quality care and value leading to excellent outcomes, to shape health policy and support our members, to advance equitable oncology care and cultivate a diverse work force, and to be an equal partner among the multidisciplinary voices of oncology embody the implementation of the plan.
We take inspiration from the vision offered by the ASTRO Strategic Plan and its bold view of the near term and longer-term future of radiation oncology. ASTRO’s vision inspires me to move forward these specific goals: to communicate – as peers – with other oncologic organizations, to support and expand the research that delivers better treatments for our future patients, and to work with the governmental entities that shape the future of America’s health care as an advocate for radiation oncology.
My background has been in academic radiation oncology, first at the University of Michigan and then at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. I am a firm believer in expanding our clinical radiation oncology knowledge base through carefully conducted clinical research and I have been active in RTOG/NRG Oncology in the design and leadership of prostate cancer clinical trials.
In parallel with my clinical trial activities, I have been active in service to ASTRO and other oncology organizations in part because oncology organizations are often the official spokespersons for us as cancer specialists, and organizations like ASTRO benefit from the voluntary efforts of its members. As a result of various service roles, including a sabbatical at FDA, I have found a home as a member and then chair of the ASTRO Government Relations Committee as well as ASTRO Board of Directors Member (Government Relations Council) for a number of years, which has further emphasized for me the importance of ASTRO’s engagement with all of the governmental entities that can have a direct impact on the practice of medicine in general and radiotherapy specifically.
ASTRO’s Strategic Plan, approved in 2017 and updated in 2022, inspires me to continue the drive for high-quality care with appropriate reimbursement, policy advocacy to reduce administrative burdens, and fuller engagement with the oncology community. I am particularly interested in the strategic goal to empower future generations of diverse radiation oncologists through innovative education, research funding and engagement with members from the earliest years of their careers. I am seeking the position of ASTRO’s Secretary/Treasurer to continue the work of keeping membership well informed of activities and finances, and to continue to develop volunteers to represent our organization in areas related to reimbursement and health policy. It is essential that we mentor any members who are interested in pursuing policy advocacy for the benefit of our specialty and our patients. I am confident that, by providing guidance and opportunity to younger members, we can achieve the updated goals of ASTRO’s Strategic Plan.
The following abbreviated summary of my service to ASTRO may be helpful:
My tenure as a member of ASTRO’s Finance and Audit Committee was under the three recent Secretary/Treasurers who served as my mentors.
In addition to service to ASTRO, I continue to serve as Chair of a large department with direct fiscal responsibility for the budget, and as a member of the hospital’s clinical practice plan board with similar deliverables. I understand the time commitment required for the role of ASTRO’s Secretary/Treasurer.
Since ASTRO’s financial management is directly tied to the work of the Finance/Audit Committee, the execution of these responsibilities has a significant impact on supporting our strategic plan. I have long encouraged any ASTRO member who has an interest and skills in finance and a willingness to ask questions, to become a Board Committee member. I will continue to encourage involvement of ASTRO members, transparency in all financial matters, and support of the work of the dedicated ASTRO staff.
As Chair of the Department of Radiation Medicine at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (an NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center), I oversee the clinical care of patients, and guide the scientific and educational endeavors of department personnel. My service to ASTRO has focused on health policy, specifically related to code development, valuation and utilization. I have and continue to serve in leadership positions within ASTRO, including the ASTRO Advisor to the AMA/Specialty Society RVS Update Committee (RUC). In addition, I have served in leadership positions with other professional organizations, focusing on health policy, practice guidelines and finance.
I am currently Professor, Vice-chair of Clinical Operations at The Ohio State University Department of Radiation Oncology. I was recruited to OSU to become Clinical Director arriving in December 2006. Prior to joining Ohio State, I was the Division Head of Radiation Oncology at The Lexington Clinic, a 150+ multispecialty physician practice based in Lexington, Kentucky. I did my radiation oncology residency at the University of Iowa and for the first 7 years of practice was on active duty in the U.S. Navy and assigned to Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Virginia. I was department head at the time of my departure from active duty. I completed 20 years in the Navy on active duty or reserve, retiring in 2007 at the rank of Captain.
Central to ASTRO’s stated mission is a commitment to the cultivation and education of a diverse workforce. Our strength as radiation oncologists lies in our deep commitment to our patients integrated with our insatiable curiosity for how we can continue to do things better than before. These are core values that need to be supported and nurtured in all possible ways. To be leaders in the field of oncology, we must not only maintain our current strengths – to develop technology, embrace new treatment paradigms, and conduct meaningful research – but we must also continue to identify and implement pathways toward progress.
Innovation should also be a guiding principle that we support and nurture in our approach to education. How we educate ourselves – and, critically, how we educate and support the future workforce of our specialty – defines who we are. By investing in education for all of ASTRO’s members, including those currently in training or early in their careers, we have the opportunity to ensure radiation oncologists are considered central leaders alongside our medical and surgical colleagues for decades to come.
As the Education Council Vice-chair and ASTRO Board Member, I would aim to assure that the voices of all members are represented. I would prioritize engagement from longstanding ASTRO members as well as newer members who will be tasked with guiding the Society over the decades to come. Differences of opinion should be embraced and recognized as a contributor to creativity. I believe that we are at our best when we prioritize transparency, open discussion and inclusivity.
I am a private practice radiation oncologist working with Tennessee Oncology, a large multispecialty oncology group based in Nashville. I feel extraordinarily lucky to be able to practice medicine in my hometown with great family support. When not working in clinic or volunteering for ASTRO, I am likely at home juggling life with two small children and three poorly behaved dogs. I excel at hobbies including shoe shopping, kindergarten art projects and binge-watching true crime series. I do not excel at tennis, but I am trying.
I am committed to clinical excellence, innovation, diversity, equity and inclusion. As a board-certified radiation oncologist who specializes in stereotactic radiosurgery and radiation neuro-oncology, my clinical practice and research focuses on the radiation management of adult and pediatric brain and spinal tumors. I served as the founding Co-Director of the Stanford Radiosurgery Program pioneering the robotic radiosurgery for clinical utilization. I have spent my academic career as an investigator and clinician conducting clinical and translational research as the senior radiation oncologist of the Stanford Cancer Institute and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Pediatric Brain Tumor team. Implementing strategies toward radiation oncology workforce diversity and health equity is a key area of my academic scholarship and service. With a strong track record of administrative leadership in roles in clinical arenas and in education as a former radiation oncology residency program director, I am now the Associate Dean of medical student admissions. In this role, I have employed mission-driven strategic leadership and innovative approaches such as holistic admissions to improve diversity and enhance the learning environment. At Stanford Medicine, I also serve as Chair of the Stanford Medicine Faculty Senate subcommittee on diversity, member of the Diversity Cabinet, the Medical Executive Committee and on the Executive Committee for Continuous Quality Improvement.