By Beth Erickson, MD, FASTRO, Chair, ASTRO Fellows Selection Committee
Do you have what it takes to be an ASTRO Fellow? We are very excited to announce the 2023 Class of ASTRO Fellows. These individuals all have one thing in common: a commitment to serving their professional organization.
The ASTRO office receives many phone calls regarding eligibility requirements to achieve ASTRO Fellowship. In this blog, I will highlight the prerequisites for consideration and also share with you what the ASTRO Fellows Selection Committee looks for in candidates worthy of holding the FASTRO designation.
Let’s start with the prerequisites:
- Typically, 15 years of ASTRO Active, International or Emeritus membership, post training, are required. However, there are instances, which I will explain later, where members are considered who are shy of the 15-year membership requirement.
- Significant service to ASTRO. Similar to other professional societies, e.g., ASCO, ABS, ACRO, an important requirement for fellowship is volunteer service. Examples of ASTRO service include committee involvement, speaking engagements at ASTRO meetings, serving as a reviewer or on the editorial board for ASTRO’s journals and participation in ASTRO’s Advocacy Day.
A few years ago, the Committee put together a points chart to help evaluate an applicant’s level of service. The question we are frequently asked is, how many points do I need to be eligible for Fellowship. The number of points is evaluated as part of the entire application package, therefore there is not a specific number. I will say, however, that 100 points is a good starting point for applicants with 15 years of membership. Applicants who are shy of the 15-year requirement (11-14 years) must have contributed an extraordinary level of service, far exceeding 100 points.
Wondering how many points you have accumulated? Log in to the ASTRO website and on your MyASTRO page you can access your FASTRO Service Transcript. Note that some of your ASTRO service may not be recorded on your transcript. That is why taking the time to thoroughly complete your Fellow application is extremely important. Staff will validate the service provided on your application and add verified service to your transcript.
Once the membership and service prerequisites are met, the Committee looks at the application and letters of nomination and support for commendable contributions in one of four pathways — research, patient care, education and leadership/service (to the field). Applicants are required to select and provide details on a primary and secondary pathway. Here’s a bit of a description of each pathway (Note: these pathways are in addition to the minimum 15 years of membership and significant service to ASTRO prerequisites):
- Research: Significant research as evidenced by grants, authorship of scientific papers, chapters or books that have been a guiding influence in the immediate or future aspects of the practice of radiation oncology.
- Patient Care: Significant contribution to patient care and clinical excellence as evidenced by improvement in the standard of practice in the management of disease.
- Education: Significant contribution to the advancement of education in the field as evidenced by participation in residency training, faculty service, extensive presentations at regional or national meetings, or providing significant mentorship to those joining or active in the field.
- Leadership/Service: Demonstration of leadership and service that has advanced the specialty as a whole. This can be in the form of extensive volunteerism, advancement of scope of practice, patient advocacy and legislative and regulatory issues. Service to medicine, including ASTRO and other societies may be considered but in the context of the total application.
Once again, let me stress the importance of thoughtfully completing the Fellow application. Earning the FASTRO designation is a distinguished honor reserved for individuals who have demonstrated a sustained, thoughtful commitment to ASTRO and the field. The Committee takes into consideration how seriously an applicant values this distinction by the quality of the application submitted.
A letter of nomination and three letters of support round out the application process. The Committee reads each letter and looks for information to substantiate the candidate’s qualifications for Fellowship.
- Letter of nomination: Only an ASTRO Fellow may nominate a candidate for ASTRO Fellow.
- Letters of support: Letters in support of a nomination must come from the following subset of ASTRO members: past or current members of the ASTRO Board of Directors, ASTRO Gold Medalists, ASTRO Fellows, and former or current chairs of radiation oncology programs. Emeritus members, except Gold Medalists, are not eligible to nominate or support.
ASTRO membership is comprised of incredible individuals who are devoted to curing patients with cancer. If the FASTRO designation was based on that alone, all members would qualify. However, the FASTRO designation is meant to recognize individuals who are devoted to ASTRO through membership, extraordinary volunteer service and engagement, in addition to accomplishments in the field.
Please join me in congratulating the 29 members of the 2023 Class of ASTRO Fellows. They join a distinguished group of 421 colleagues.
If you have any questions about the application or review process, please email or refer to information on our website.