Exciting and expanded programming for medical students at this year’s meeting

More than 250 medical students attended last year’s Annual Meeting, and a higher numbern are expected this year. Given such strong attendance, the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology (ARRO) saw an opportunity for expanded programming that would specifically target this demographic. Michael LeCompte, MD, chair of ARRO’s Executive Committee said, “Medical students at the meeting are telling us with their actions that they are interested in our field. Going forward, we want to better recognize that and support them. ARRO is proud to be involved in the development and planning of the ARRO Medical Student Workshop and the Aspiring Scientists and Physicians Program (ASPP).” The Medical Student Workshop was held yesterday, September 30, and the ASPP will take place today, Sunday, October 1.

The Medical Student Workshop was the first of its kind at an ASTRO Annual Meeting. Sustainability and accessibility were top of mind, with free in-person and virtual options being offered. The organizing committee wished to reach as many students as possible to introduce them to radiation oncology and related fields. “This half-day program runs alongside the ARRO Annual Seminar, or ‘ARRO Day,’ and purposely incorporates breaks at certain times so that in-person medical students are able to network with residents and faculty who are attending and participating in ARRO Day and the ARRO Reception at night,” said Dr. LeCompte.

While the ASPP began in 2019, this is the first year that complimentary virtual attendance will be offered alongside complimentary in-person attendance. The organizing committee wishes to reach as many students as possible to introduce them to radiation oncology and related fields, as research has shown that underrepresented minorities are less likely to attend a medical school with a radiation oncology program. New this year, a hands-on workshop in the Exhibit Hall will be featured in the program. Phylicia Gawu, MD, a member of the ASPP program planning team, said, “this program will ensure [that students] feel part of the radiation oncology community and will also serve to increase the visibility of our field."

Together, these two important programs provide educational and networking opportunities for students and the professionals who may become their mentors in the future. ASPP program planning team member and ARRO speaker Carlos Rodriguez-Russo, MD, said, “I could not be more excited to participate in these two events. Together, ASPP and the ASTRO-ARRO Medical Student Workshop will expose trainees to radiation oncology who otherwise might miss out on the nuances and exciting future of our field."

In addition to the weekend programs held in conjunction with ASTRO 2023, the Communications Committee has led a series of medical student Q&A webinars throughout the year with the next one scheduled for October 19. Each session is hosted by a radiation oncologist and radiation oncology resident. These popular sessions offer students an open platform to ask questions and gain a better understanding of the specialty. For more resources for medical students, visit the Medical Student section of the Society’s website.

American Society for Radiation Oncology
251 18th Street South, 8th Floor
Arlington, VA 22202
Telephone: 703-502-1550


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