ASTRO 2023 elections results
Congratulations to the following newly elected members of ASTRO’s Board of Directors. The new officers’ terms will begin on October 3, 2023, during the 2023 ASTRO Annual Meeting.
I have a unique background that I would bring to a second term on the ASTRO Board, and our current Strategic Plan.
Over the past 23 years, I have experienced a variety of both geography as well as types of practice settings. From training at Wayne State in Detroit, to an academic practice at the University of Florida, to private practice in Oklahoma and then to my current home at Mayo Clinic, I have seen radiation oncology (RO) practice through multiple lenses. I recognize that excellent clinical care can be provided in any practice setting as well as advances in innovation in how we treat cancer. Sometimes forgotten at the National Academy level, I have learned that even small fluctuations in reimbursements might not only dramatically impact a small private practice, but also affect the employed physician model in many academic centers. As our ASTRO President I will fight for a strong academic and private practice environment, raising the tide to lift all boats. I am aware of the need for this because I have lived it.
I have a 20+ year history of service to ASTRO, mostly in Government Relations and Health Policy. I served on the ASTRO Board from 2014-2018, culminating as Government Relations Chair from 2016-2018. In 2017, we made fighting back against inappropriate policies set by benefit managers and payers our top GR priority. This remains a major issue facing our field and requires our continued vigilance.
Overall, I agree with the 2022 Strategic Plan’s seven goals. I was ecstatic to see priority given to “cultivation of fuller engagement with the radiation oncology community.” My first term on the ASTRO Board taught me that we are stronger together. During my practice career, I have served as ASTRO’s AMA delegate and have worked with ACRO on key issues, including the 2013 RUC presentation in which 75% of RO’s code values were evaluated. The joint ASTRO-ACRO effort was successful and helped protect our specialty. I am very good at listening to others and building bridges.
Large segments of the RO community feel that ASTRO neither represents them nor hears their interests and concerns. As I speak with young radiation oncologists, I hear their concerns about oversupply, hypofractionation and outdated COI policies, the latter being out of step with other Societies. I hear these concerns and understand that we must explore these issues together.
If I was entering the field as a physician, physicist or radiobiologist, I would have genuine concerns about the long-term stability of RO if we do not evolve. A payment reform model will likely need to be part of that evolution. I believe that radiation therapy (RT) has the ability to help many patients with non-malignant conditions. If I were elected President, I would commit to this being the theme of the 2025 Annual Meeting. Radiopharmaceuticals have the potential to help many patients and we, as radiation oncologists, are the best physicians to manage this. We need to be present in this space. To accomplish all of this will require partnership with colleagues in other fields and stakeholders outside of ASTRO, including industry. We need leadership to make this a priority and I understand that need.
Lastly, participation flourishes with transparency and accountability. We should implement an annual open meeting with the ASTRO Presidential Track and Senior ASTRO Staff Leadership with regard to the Strategic Plan, inviting input from the membership and being open with our successes and failures.
Our membership deserves this and I am ready to give ASTRO my all.