Olalekan Ajayi, PharmD, MBA, chief operating officer of Highlands Oncology Group, PA, and 2023-2024 president-elect of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), discusses why he is excited for this year’s meeting, including its many workshops and day 1 keynote on CRISPR.
Drawing on his experience as an attendee and Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) board member, and now as its 2023-2024 president-elect, Olalekan Ajayi, PharmD, MBA, chief operating officer of Highlands Oncology Group, PA, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, discusses why he is excited for this year’s meeting, including it’s many workshop and day 1 discussion on CRISPR.
What has you excited about this year's ACCC Annual Meeting and Cancer Center Business Summit?
I am really excited about this year's meeting. I think what really excites me most is the structure through which we're embracing this meeting this year. We're going to be doing a lot of workshops, and that really helps promote engagement from people. You can come in here and there's a better avenue and structure for networking. And so I'm really looking forward to the workshops that we're going to be doing with our attendees this year. That makes me really happy.
The next thing I also really want to highlight is one of our guest speakers, Kevin Davis, [PhD; presenting the keynote address, “Precision Medicine: Stories From the CRISPR Revolution”], who is going to be talking about CRISPR. CRISPR has been around for not a really long time, but it's been around for a while. And it really holds great promise in future treatment, designing future treatments in oncology, and I'm really, really excited to hear what he's going to have to say.
What is your presidential theme, and can you discuss how it builds on your predecessor’s theme, which focused on leveraging technology to transform cancer care delivery?
So this year, my presidential theme is focusing on building the oncology workforce to deliver the next generation of cancer care. It's really amazing to see how cancer care has grown over the past 10 years to what we have today. Even thinking about what it's going to be in the next 10 years. We know cancer care has gotten complex over the years, and so AI [artificial intelligence] holds, and technology really holds, great promise in helping manage the complexity of cancer care.
However, I also think that we need to develop our workforce, too, as well, to complement the technologies that are coming. They not only have to understand it, we need to invest in a new generation of leaders who are going to be helping drive the use of technology in cancer care, as well as also people understanding that technology is only as good as the people who use them. We want to develop our workforce, just so that we can be ready for when this technology comes, and actually already is coming, into cancer care.