In this issue
- President's Message
- Special Feature
- Society News
- Membership Bulletin
- Case Quiz
- Conference Central
- Industry Relations Council
- Career Center
Amy Billett, MD
As I reflect on my 2 years as ASPHO president, I think about the ways ASPHO has changed and grown stronger.
We have a new strategic plan that emphasizes ASPHO’s role “leading in a changing environment.” I really like that phrase and don’t believe we can rest on what we have achieved or assume that what has worked in the past is the best strategy going forward. As an organization, we must focus on the road ahead. It’s challenging, but necessary (and fun).
Our strategic plan specifies that we actively “support the critical role of discovery in improving the health of our patients.” As an organization, we strive to foster all aspects of discovery, including basic science, translational, clinical, and outcomes research; implementation science that focuses on changing care delivery, quality improvement, and patient safety; and discovery that fosters professional growth and well-being. There is always more to learn.
We have clarified and strengthened our commitment to diversity and are working to ensure we incorporate diversity into all aspects of the organization. As we add committee members, identify leaders, and make decisions, we are considering such factors as institution size, clinical area, professional training, and career focus. Additionally, we recently created a Diversity Advisory Group to aid the board in this area.
In conjunction with a new staff member and our reconstituted advocacy committee, we are signing on to more letters, providing a quarterly advocacy update to members, and joining more coalitions. I am proud to report that ASPHO supported the Sickle Cell Disease Research, Surveillance, Prevention, and Treatment Act that passed the House of Representatives in February. (Given the abundance of cancer statistics available to us, I confess that I am still shocked that no one knows how many U.S. residents actually have sickle cell disease, never mind how those individuals are impacted by their disease.)
We compiled our years of workforce data into publications available to all through the Pediatric Blood & Cancer journal.
We have created and strengthened relationships with other professional organizations including ASH, ASCO, SIOP, COG, and AAP. We recently completed a collaboration with APHON and HOPA that provides interdisciplinary education at each organization’s conference. Collaboration leverages the strengths of each organization involved, allowing ASPHO to make a bigger impact than we can on our own.
We have grown in terms of both membership numbers and our financial well-being, and have recently made key investments to improve our future educational strategies and offerings.
We have focused on improving as an organization. We have created orientation processes for committee chairs; added a new annual, in-person session with all board members and committee chairs; and launched a quarterly Leadership Update publication so that we can be a more effective team. We have charged our committee chairs, board liaisons, and staff with identifying leadership opportunities for committee members, particularly in their first term, which allows for a more regular infusion of new people and new ideas. Additionally, many committees now have vice chairs to allow more effective leadership development and transition.
Our members are even more engaged than in the past. Our special interest groups are burgeoning, with five new ones in just the last 2 years. We have more folks volunteering than we have space to accommodate, and our committees composed of ASPHO volunteers continue to do meaningful work on behalf of our members and the field. ASPHO must be doing something right.
So, how has being ASPHO president changed me? I am tired. This is hard work, but it also is a lot of fun. I’ve met many new people and gained an even deeper appreciation of the wide range of people, institutions, work settings, and career pathways in our field. I enjoyed figuring out various problems and challenges as well as how to take advantage of opportunities for ASPHO. Now I know a lot more about associations and volunteer leaders.
I want to take this moment to thank the past presidents of ASPHO whose previous work helped me do my job better as well as the many board members, officers, committee members, and ASPHO staff. I could not have done my job without you.
Global Pediatric Oncology: Public Service and Personal Rewards
John van Doorninck, MD, and Dr. Pisepong Patamasucon, a Pediatric Infectious Disease physician from Thailand, working together to create a program to address needs of children with cancer from the Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand.
During my training in pediatric hematology/oncology, I became familiar with a basic principle of oncologic treatment: namely, for each cancer, there are variables that that help us risk stratify a cancer, predict outcome, and tailor therapy accordingly. I am forever grateful to the subject area experts who have created this body of knowledge.
However, it was not until later in my career that I became familiar with the most important prognostic indicator for a child diagnosed with cancer: the country in which he or she is born. In high-income countries, the overall survival for children with cancer is greater than 80%. However, in low- or middle-income countries, the estimated overall survival often does not exceed 35%, and is less than 10% in certain countries. Eighty percent of childhood cancer diagnoses occur in these countries. Thus, the statistics and therapies that guide me in the United States do not apply to the majority of the world.
As I became familiar with this fact, my ear started turning toward those committed to addressing the survival gap created by socioeconomic differences. I gleaned insights and inspiration through discussions with leaders in the field such as Professor Tim Eden of the United Kingdom, Dr. Trijn Israels of the Netherlands, and Dr. Scott Howard of the United States. I learned that central problems include lack of access to correct diagnosis, lack of access to treatment, later presentation to medical care, malnutrition, failure to complete treatment, and less-intensive supportive care for cancer therapy leading to increased treatment-related mortality and need to reduce the intensity of treatment.
This understanding has prompted an unexpected and rewarding development in my career—active engagement in closing the preventable survival gap. A key vehicle for this aim has been involvement with World Child Cancer, an organization whose mission is to improve cancer diagnosis, treatment, and care for children in low- and middle-income countries. Recently, we worked with Project C.U.R.E. to deliver a container of medical supplies and consumables valued at approximately $650,000 to one of our project facilities, Hospital de la Niñez Oaxaqueña, in Oaxaca, Mexico. I also accepted a position on World Child Cancer’s Global Projects Committee. Sharing the company and aims of this group is an immense privilege.
As medical professionals, we are public servants. My public service, and the reward reaped from it, has been immeasurably enhanced by understanding that the greatest prognostic factor for pediatric cancer outcomes is socioeconomically based, and by working with a wonderful team of individuals committed to address this problem.
John van Doorninck, MD
Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children
Copyright © 2018 by the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. All rights reserved. The views and opinions expressed in the Feature Articles are those of the author alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of ASPHO, its Board of Trustees or staff. The information in this newsletter is intended to provide readers with resources and information that they may find useful and of interest and is only current as of the publication date. ASPHO is not liable to any party as a result of their reliance on the information, recommendations, services, or resources discussed or made available through this newsletter.
ASPHO continues to move its External Relations strategic goal forward at the upcoming conference and beyond.
In 2017, the ASPHO Board of Trustees identified a new strategic goal to be recognized as the leading voice for pediatric hematology/oncology (PHO) through External Relations & Advocacy. ASPHO has 10 collaborative relationships with external organizations ranging from formal liaison relationships to co-location of meetings in an effort to create and foster partnerships with other professional communities involved in pediatric hematology/oncology. Throughout the year other communications or outreach may occur with 10-15 additional organizations including advocating for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) improvements with American Board of Pediatrics (ABP), communications with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), and outreach to other pediatric subspecialty organizations. By growing and nurturing these relationships, ASPHO can raise its profile as an essential resource for information and consultation, collaborate for a greater voice and impact on issues important to our members, and position ASPHO as the leading physician organization in PHO to advance educational and professional development needs of the field.
Several collaborations occur in conjunction with the annual conference, including the Pediatric Blood & Marrow Transplant Consortium (PBMTC), which co-locates with ASPHO by hosting a preconference before our conference; the North American Pediatric Aplastic Anemia Consortium (NAPAAC), which will meet at the nearby Children’s Hospital to continue their collaborative research efforts; the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP), which is co-sponsoring a session on “Renal Tumors Beyond Wilms;” and St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which will once again honor former editor of Pediatric Blood & Cancer, Robert J. Arceci, MD, by announcing the annual research award in his name.
Outside the conference, ASPHO collaborates with the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) by offering continuing medical education credit for a session during COG’s fall meeting. There are also formal liaisons appointed or coalitions where ASPHO holds membership. The American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Hematology/Oncology (AAP SOHO) and ASPHO have a very successful joint Policy Review Group lending both organizations' expert voices to shape policies, books and guidelines for comment, review and/or endorsement on important issues in our field. Leaders of ASPHO and AAP SOHO hold calls quarterly to connect on joint efforts, identify areas of collaboration, and discuss opportunities in the field.
Leaders of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and ASPHO also meet regularly to identify areas of collaboration that would benefit pediatric hematologists. Formal liaisons are appointed to/by ASPHO from the ASH committees on Government Relations and Practice. Other liaisons are appointed to the Alliance for Childhood Cancer (ACC) and the Council of Pediatric Subspecialties (CoPS).
ASPHO is a member of the newly established Sickle Cell Disease Coalition (SCDC) to help amplify the voice of the SCD stakeholder community, promote awareness and improve outcomes for individuals with SCD by promoting research, clinical care, education, and training.
In collaborating with other organizations in the field, ASPHO can maximize its impact to influence issues and create opportunities and higher quality care for patients and families.
Under the leadership of Rajkumar Venkatramani, MD MRCPCH MS, and Colin Moore, MD, the Communications Committee continues to provide counsel and feedback regarding all of the various digital member publications from ASPHO. These include eNews, At-a-Glance, News Briefs, and our Clinical Forum communications. One of the many enhancements to these publications over the past year includes the addition of a Special Feature article to our eNews communication. This feature article allows our members to share a personal reflection or opinion piece on broad issues in pediatric hematology/oncology that are of interest to ASPHO’s diverse membership. Our articles thus far have covered care during natural disasters and maintaining work-life balance. Look for the featured article in this issue of eNews and our upcoming article on Global Hematology Challenges.
The Committee also is charged with ensuring ongoing growth in ASPHO member engagement through communication efforts. With the use of comprehensive analytics, we ensure that our members have easy access to collaborative efforts through our website and Online Member Community. To further expand our member engagement, the committee also oversees ASPHO’s social media presence on Facebook and LinkedIn. We are pleased to launch Twitter this month to coincide with the conference in Pittsburgh and hope you follow our feed @aspho_hq and join us at #ASPHO2018.
Introducing the ASPHO Diversity Advisory Group
The Board of Trustees recently approved the formation of the Diversity Advisory Group.
We are pleased to announce that the Diversity Subcommittee of the Professional Development Committee has been approved to become the Diversity Advisory Group, a standalone entity. The decision to change to an advisory group stemmed from the appreciation that the topic and promotion of diversity relates to all aspects of ASPHO, including but not exclusive to professional development. Therefore, the intent of the Diversity Advisory Group will be to present recommendations to the ASPHO Board of Trustees regarding ways in which to promote diversity and inclusion within the Society. Similar to participation on a committee, the Diversity Advisory Group will have the same term length (up to two terms), will plan to meet quarterly, and will be expected to present reports to the ASPHO Board biannually.
ASPHO is dedicated to the inclusive participation of a diverse set of members to serve on its committees, task forces, and board, as described in the ASPHO Diversity Statement:
“ASPHO values and encourages diverse and inclusive participation within the profession of pediatric hematology/oncology. ASPHO is focused on attracting, developing, and retaining volunteers who reflect the diversity of its membership to play key roles in leading the society. The society seeks to create an atmosphere that encourages varied perspectives and participation on its committees, task forces, and board. ASPHO believes that an open exchange of ideas from diverse perspectives will result in improved decision making and will best serve our members' collective needs and interests and, by extension, those of their patients.
ASPHO therefore charges its nominating committee, committee chairs, and board to strive for balance and diversity in the elected and appointed volunteer work force. It is our collective goal to identify and nurture the future leaders of the organization and to ensure that they represent the wide diversity of career stage, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, institutional size, and race.”
Therefore, the Diversity Advisory Group will work towards advising the board on the needs and opportunities for promoting diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency within the Society. The Diversity Advisory Group also will be responsible for conducting cultural and demographic analyses of the membership and volunteer representation. They also will continue to contribute and identify other members to write Diversity Corner articles for the ASPHO eNews.
While the Diversity Advisory Group will focus on the Society’s diversity needs, the Diversity Special Interest Group will continue their excellent work in providing a national networking forum for members to promote diversity in the field of pediatric hematology/oncology at large.
Emily Mueller, MD MSc
Member, Diversity Advisory Group
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The Early Career Council continues its Career Spotlight series featuring various career paths available to pediatric hematology/oncology physicians, with its eighth issue featuring Dr. Elisabeth Villavicencio. Read this and other profiles in the series on the Early Career Forum on the ASPHO Member Community.
Several SIGs will be holding elections for incoming vice-chair positions.
Details will be communicated through individual SIG communities on the Member Community. Join the SIG that matches your interest area to learn more and participate in a network to build your specialized knowledge and connections.
3 Year Old Boy with Fever and Abdominal Distention
Lisa Maurer, MD PhD, and Erika Friehling, MD, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA
A 3 year old boy with no significant past medical history was referred to the emergency department over 1-2 months with intermittent fevers (up to 102°F). This was associated with 2 weeks of worsening abdominal distension, but no abdominal pain. His appetite was described as normal. He had formed stools every 2-3 days (consistent with baseline) and normal urination. His parents were unsure if he had lost weight. Review of systems was otherwise negative. Specifically, he had no upper respiratory symptoms, rash, or neurologic complaints.
Here’s a sample of just a few sessions you won’t want to miss at the ASPHO Conference.
Presidential Symposium—Partnering with Patients and Families to Improve Research and Clinical Decision-making
The goal of this symposium is to enable pediatric hematology/oncology providers to improve both research and clinical outcomes by fostering partnerships with patients and families in conducting patient-centered research, and by engaging in shared decision making for clinical care. Ethan Basch of UNC Health Care and Eric D. Kodish of Cleveland Clinic will discuss how incorporating family values in medical decision making can lead to meaningful improvements in outcomes and care.
Plenary Session—Health Care in the Current Political Climate: Stormy Days Ahead?
Since the 2016 presidential election, our country has entered into an uncertain and tumultuous chapter in health care and health policy. David K. Jones of Boston University, Danielle Leach of St. Baldrick’s, and Joseph Pugliese of Hemophilia Alliance will address current efforts to reinvent health care, and the implications for pediatric hematology/oncology.
Preconference Workshop—Essentials of Effective Mentoring
Think about the last time you had a challenge in your mentoring relationship. How much time did you spend worrying about it? How much energy did you spend trying to resolve it? What if you could enhance your skills as a mentor and better equip yourself to avoid or address these challenges?
Attend a 4-hour, evidence-based workshop on mentoring sponsored by the Professional Development Committee and led by Drs. Lindsay Frazier and Jen Kesselheim of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Dr. Chris Pfund from the University of Wisconsin. The workshop is based on a curriculum developed, tested, and refined by Dr. Pfund over the past decade with support from NIH, the Howard Hughes Institute, and the National Science Foundation. This workshop is open to everyone: nurses, doctors, junior and senior faculty, or fellows. The content will be valuable to both experienced mentors and mentees who would like to become more adept at “mentoring up” (and who will be mentors themselves soon enough!). In particular, we encourage fellowship directors or the principal investigator of a T32 training grant to attend. You will walk away from this workshop with both knowledge and actual tools to put into practice.
From the perspective of a mentor:
"Many of us mentor routinely but never think about the process in a formalized manner. These sessions provided useful focus to identify and address key and current mentoring issues, particularly through the discussion of the case studies. They also allowed participants to articulate their mentoring philosophy, to hear and share others, and hopefully to integrate some of the approaches and philosophies into their own mentoring paradigm and practices." — Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
From the perspective of a mentee:
"I've seen a shift from general mentoring advice to specific mentoring advice about where I'm at and what I need to do in the next 5 years...I didn't realize how helpful these discussions could be. I didn't know what I was missing...the experience with my own mentor will definitely help me be a better mentor to others, too." — Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota
View all the 2018 accepted posters and paper sessions.
Congratulations to the 2018 ASPHO Young Investigator Award Winners
Robbie G. Majzner, MD
Stanford University School of Medicine
Car T Cells Targeting B7-H3, A Pan-Cancer Antigen, Demonstrate Potent Preclinical Activity Against Pediatric Solid Tumors and Brain Tumors
Robin Parihar, MD PhD
Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital
Natural Killer Cells Targeting the Suppressive Immune Microenvironment of Pediatric Solid Tumors Rescue the Impaired Activity of Car T Cells
Congratulations to the 2018 Early Career Travel Stipend Award Winners
Amy Houghtelin, MD, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Ex Vivo Expanded Multi-Antigen Specific Lymphocytes for the Treatment of Solid Tumors
Zachary LeBlanc, MD, Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Paneth Cell Counts Independently Predict Acute Gastrointestinal GVHD Stage and Response to Therapy
Joseph H. Oved, MD MA, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Outcomes of Unrelated Donor Peripheral Stem Cell Transplantation for Patients with Nonmalignant Hematologic Disorders Using Two Partial T Cell Depletion Strategies
Allison S. Remiker, MD, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH
Mechanisms Linking Fibrin(Ogen) Structure/Function to Tumor Metastasis
Luke R. Smart, MD, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH
Geospatial Mapping of Sickle Cell Disease in Northwestern Tanzania
All educational sessions from the 2018 Conference will be recorded and are available for purchase.
The recordings include
- 49 hours of synchronized audio recordings and slides
- 7 platform sessions
- 26 educational sessions
- 5 award presentations
Recordings can be preordered with conference registration. Orders must be received by the end of the meeting on Saturday, May 5, for this special pricing. Following the conference, recordings will be available for purchase on the ASPHO website for $149.
Stay up-to-date on conference information and personalize your meeting experience with the new ASPHO Conference mobile app.
Coming to Pittsburgh for #ASPHO2018? Download the mobile app to stay organized with up-to-the-minute information. Get real-time updates, build a personalized schedule, bookmark exhibitors, connect with attendees, find local restaurants and attractions, and more!
We are 'going green' this year so you'll find all the conference details on the app or website. To download the mobile app, visit your app store and search "ASPHO Events." For BlackBerry, Windows, and other web browser-enabled devices, go to http://app.core-apps.com/aspho2018 to be directed to the proper download version.
Bayer HealthCare Initiates Phase I/II Clinical Study of PI3K Inhibitor Copanlisib in Pediatric Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Solid Tumors or Lymphoma
Bayer HealthCare, in collaboration with Children’s Oncology Group (COG), recently announced the initiation of patient enrollment in the Phase I/II clinical study of PI3K inhibitor copanlisib in pediatric patients with relapsed/refractory solid tumors or lymphoma. The clinical study is designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability, efficacy, and pharmacokinetics of copanlisib in pediatric patients and can be accessed online. Copanlisib is an intravenous pan-class I PI3K inhibitor being developed by Bayer that has predominant activity against the PI3K-alpha and delta isoforms. In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted copanlisib accelerated approval to treat adults with relapsed follicular lymphoma who have received at least two prior treatments, known as systemic therapies.
Visit the Career Center Today
Visit ASPHO’s popular Career Center to stay on top of job openings in the field. The Career Center is the go-to source for employment and targeted recruitment opportunities in pediatric hematology/oncology.