Workforce Initiatives

A workforce study, commissioned by ASCO, projects a significant shortage of medical and gynecologic oncologists in the United States by 2020. An aging and growing population, increasing numbers of cancer survivors, and slower growth in the supply of oncologists will result in a shortage of 2,550 to 4,080 oncologists by 2020, the study found.

Conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Center for Workforce Studies, the workforce study is the first comprehensive analysis of future supply and demand for oncologist services. A complementary study by Richard Cooper, MD (University of Pennsylvania) models demand for oncologist services based on economic trends. His findings project a similar oncologist shortage by 2020.

In response to the study’s findings, ASCO enlisted a group of volunteer members to develop workforce initiatives for how the Society should address the projected shortfall oncologist shortage. The resulting document, ASCO’s Workforce Strategic Plan, was approved by the ASCO’s Board of Directors in 2008.  The Strategic Plan called for the establishment of a standing Workforce Advisory Group. A roster of the ASCO volunteers involved in the Group is available for download.

For additional information or to provide feedback please contact

Workforce Strategic Plan

The Workforce Strategic Plan was approved by ASCO’s Board of Directors in May 2008.  

Overview of Strategic Plan:  ASCO’s Strategic Plan was featured in Future Supply of and Demand for Oncologists, an article in the November 2008 edition of the Journal of Oncology Practice. For more information, please see ASCO’s press release.

Workforce Initiatives

Workforce Information System: In anticipation of oncologist workforce shortages projected as part of the 2007 study, ASCO created a Workforce Information System (WIS) to assemble the latest available data on oncologist supply and cancer incidence and prevalence.  Key findings from the inaugural report were published in 2013 in the Journal of Oncology Practice, with new findings and analyses (e.g., geographic distribution of oncologists) featured in a subsequent article and within ASCO's State of Cancer Care in America report.  You can also download the full report, which is updated annually.

Study of Collaborative Practice Arrangements: In September 2011, the Journal of Oncology Practice published results of ASCO's Study of Collaborative Practice Arrangements funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, a study examining the role of non-physician practitioners in treating cancer patients.  The full, detailed report is available through this website. An accompanying editorial was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. See the press release for further details.  

Program Directors Survey: ASCO administered a survey to program directors in 2007.  In March 2009, the findings were published in the Journal of Oncology Practice in an article entitled Oncology Workforce: Results of the ASCO 2007 Program Directors Survey.  

Workforce Study: The AAMC Center for Workforce Studies submitted the report, Forecasting the Supply of and Demand for Oncologists, to ASCO in March 2007.

Brief Overview of Study: An article entitled Future Supply and Demand for Oncologists: Challenges to Assuring Access to Oncology Services was published in the Journal of Oncology Practice.

Alternate Demand Methodology: Dr. Richard Cooper confirmed the Workforce Study’s demand principals in his economics-based model The Medical Oncology Workforce: An Economic and Demographic Assessment of the Demand for Medical Oncologists and Hematologist-Oncologists to Serve the Adult Population to the Year 2020.

ASCO Presidential Commentary: Dr. Gabriel Hortobagyi provided commentary on the Workforce Study in an April 2007 edition of the Journal of Clinical OncologyA Shortage of Oncologists? The American Society of Clinical Oncology Workforce Study.

Workforce Study Slide Presentation: The Workforce Study was presented at the 2007 ASCO Annual Meeting. The presentation is available for download. If you would like to alter this presentation, please contact

External Workforce Initiatives

IOM Workshop on Oncology Workforce: On October 20-21, 2008 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) National Cancer Policy Forumhosted a workforce conference: Ensuring Quality Cancer Care through the Oncology Workforce: Sustaining Research and Care in the 21st Century.  Dr. Dean Bajorin and Dr. Michael Goldstein, co-chairs of ASCO’s Workforce Advisory Group, participated in the panel discussions.

ASCO Statement to Senate HELP Committee: ASCO submitted a statement to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on health care workforce issues on February 12, 2008. Additional information on the hearing is available on the Committee's website.