What Dr Howard Burris Will Focus on as ASCO President

As Howard A. "Skip" Burris, III, MD, FACP, FASCO, president, clinical operations, and chief medical officer of Sarah Cannon Research Institute, prepares to become the president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in June, he discusses what his focus will be.

As you prepare to become the president of ASCO starting in June, is there an area of focus that you’re hoping to address during your term?
An area of focus I hope to address is actually quite a diverse topic, and that’s the idea of bringing together the various stakeholders to solve some of these problems or discuss these issues. The issues across the table are the vast number of new therapies and how do we get those studied. I’ve spent my career in drug development and clinical research, and we need more than ever, despite the fact that we’ve got all these approved therapies, there’s some better treatments coming along and we need to understand how to better utilize these treatments.

When I talk about the stakeholders, beyond the medical oncologists, the surgical oncologists, the radiation oncologists need to be at the table so they’re aware and they’re thinking about these issues with their patients. I also think pharma biotech, the regulators, the payers, all need to be in the conversation. And then, I’ve always talked about oncology being a nurse-driven business. You need a good medical oncologist and you need a great nurse if you’re a cancer patient. So, looking at ways to being nurses to the table and have their voices heard when they’re often the person who really understand what’s happening with the patient.

The theme will be built around “Unite and Conquer: Accelerating Progress Together.” We often talk about dividing and conquering; I think in the oncology world, this is a place where we’ve really got to unite and conquer. That’s going to be the key to success for better outcomes.
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