By Jeff M. Michalski, MD, MBA, FASTRO, ASTRO President-elect
Getting involved with ASTRO is the best way to ensure that your Society is representing your needs and the needs of our members. There are many ways to become involved, and I am excited to share with you a few suggestions, so please read on to learn how you too can get involved.
One of the most obvious ways to engage with ASTRO is to volunteer for a committee. This is a formalized process that begins with a “call for volunteers” in March — which is why I am authoring this blog today. As ASTRO president-elect, one of my first responsibilities is to review the list of committee members and volunteers that come in through the call. Staff liaisons and committee chairs vet the volunteer list to ensure no conflict of interest exists and to ensure diversity of occupation, gender, race disease-site specialty, practice type, etc. So, please be sure your ASTRO profile is up to date. The Call for Volunteers will be announced in the March 2, ASTROgram. Be sure to click on the link in the announcement to view the more than 30 committees that are accepting volunteers ranging from bylaws and ethics to communications, health policy, education, research and more!
Are you concerned that you may be too junior in the field to get involved? Recent data show that 35% of volunteers are 10 years or less out of residency. My first volunteer opportunity came in 1997 when I was six years out of residency. I joined the ASTRO Communications Committee and learned about the issues that were confronting our society and how membership could drive change in our specialty.
In addition to participating on a committee, there are many other ways to increase your involvement and engagement with ASTRO.
- Journals reviewer: Peer review is an integral part of scholarly publishing and is also a great way to get involved with an ASTRO journal. The journals also offer two reviewer training programs, including the Resident Peer Reviewer Training Program and the Practical Radiation Oncology Reviewer Apprenticeship.
- Share your voice and expertise: Provide comments on ASTRO guidelines and white papers. The calls for comment are disseminated in the weekly ASTROgrams and on ASTRO.org.
- Participate in surveys: ASTRO uses the data from surveys to better serve our membership, including enhancing existing programs, creating new initiatives and improving the membership experience.
- Enjoy the benefits of mentorship with ASTRO’s new program, MentorMatch. Whether you’re a mentor or a mentee, mentorships are beneficial to all parties involved and a different way to get more involved with the Society and your fellow members.
- ASTRO has a robust and active social media presence. Follow the Society on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to share content, converse across platforms and stay abreast of hot topics.
- Join the conversations on the ROhub: This exclusive member forum is built to enhance networking and information sharing among ASTRO members. I encourage you to start a thread or comment on an existing one. The two-way dialogue facilitated on the ROhub is a great way to keep a pulse on hot button issues affecting your colleagues and a great source for networking.
- Participate in grassroots advocacy efforts: Help make an impact on national and state legislation by becoming a radiation oncology advocate.
- Become an APEx surveyor: ASTRO’s accreditation program seeks members to serve as site surveyors. APEx surveyors participate in a one-day facility visit as part of the accreditation process.
No matter your interests, there are many ways you can engage with your Society and be an active member of ASTRO. Still not sure where to start? Please reach out to me directly at Jeff.Michalski@astro.org. I’d be thrilled to hear from you and discuss the opportunities available.
Learn more about the committee service selection process.