ASCO Announces Election Candidates, Proposes Amendments to Society Bylaws, Certificate of Incorporation; Voting Opens on Nov. 5

The ASCO Nominating Committee has selected 12 distinguished ASCO members as candidates for open leadership positions within the Society. This year’s ASCO election will include a vote on proposed amendments to the Society Bylaws and Certificate of Incorporation.

Eligible members* can vote for their chosen leaders and on the proposed amendments beginning November 5, 2020. The voting period closes on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, at 9:15 AM ET.  

Election results will be announced in mid-December, and newly elected officers will begin their terms of service in June 2021. Please contact ASCO Election staff with any questions.

*Eligible members are those who are Full members, Emeritus members who were formerly Full members, or Honorary members, and who are in good standing as of October 19, 2020.

Slate of Candidates

President-Elect (one seat, 4-year term) 

James L. Abbruzzese, MD, FACP, DSc (hon), FASCO
Duke Cancer Center 

Eric P. Winer, MD, FASCO 
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute 

Board of Directors – Designated Community Oncologist (one seat, 4-year term) 

Melissa S. Dillmon, MD, FASCO 
Harbin Clinic LLC 

Gladys I. Rodriguez, MD 
South Texas Oncology and Hematology, P.A. 

 
Board of Directors – Designated Medical Oncologist (one seat, 4-year term) 

Primo “Lucky” N. Lara, Jr., MD 
University of California Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center 

Taofeek K. Owonikoko, MD, PhD, MCSR
Winship Cancer Institute & School of Medicine, Emory University 

 
Board of Directors – Undesignated Specialty (one seat, 4-year term) 

Mariana Chavez Mac Gregor, MD, MSc 
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center  

Charles R. Thomas, Jr., MD, FASCO 
Oregon Health and Science University

Nominating Committee – Undesignated Specialty (two seats, each a 3-year term)  

Toni K. Choueiri, MD 
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute 

Daniel J. George, MD 
Duke University Medical Center 

Merry Jennifer Markham, MD, FACP, FASCO 
University of Florida 

Nathan A. Pennell, MD, PhD, FASCO 
Cleveland Clinic 

 

Proposed Amendments to Bylaws and Certificate of Incorporation

The proposed amendments, which have been reviewed and approved for a vote by the ASCO Board of Directors, are intended to expand the diversity of the ASCO Board of Directors and the ASCO elected officers, ensure continuity and mentorship for the role of ASCO Treasurer, and increase member engagement in shaping the future of the organization.

When voting opens on November 5, 2020, eligible members* will vote on all of the proposed amendments as a group: either in favor of all proposed amendments, or opposed to all proposed amendments. Voters will not be required to vote on each individual proposed change. If the amendments pass, most of the changes will take effect beginning in 2021.

The key points of the proposed amendments are described below. You can review the full text of the proposed amendments with annotations and current Bylaws and Certificate of Incorporation in the following files:

*Eligible members are those who are Full members, Emeritus members who were formerly Full members, or Honorary members, and who are in good standing as of October 19, 2020. 

Proposed Amendments: Key Points 

Enhanced Benefits for All Members With Doctoral-Level Degrees

Current situation: Only Full members, Emeritus members who were formerly Full members, and Honorary members are eligible to vote in the ASCO election, and only Full members may serve on the ASCO Board of Directors, on the ASCO Nominating Committee, or as ASCO elected officers. Together, these categories represent approximately 57% of the total membership.

Proposed change: If the proposed amendments pass, any member with a doctoral-level degree, regardless of membership category, will be eligible to vote, serve on the ASCO Board of Directors in undesignated seats, and serve on the ASCO Nominating Committee. This expanded group, which will be defined as Voting Members, represents approximately 83% of the total membership.

  • Members with a doctoral-level degree will be eligible to vote and to serve on the Board of Directors and Nominating Committee beginning in 2021.
  • Members with a doctoral-level degree will be eligible to serve in the undesignated seats on the Board of Directors. Out of 18 seats on the Board, five are undesignated seats, representing a significant voice in ASCO’s governance.

Additional proposed amendments related to member engagement will empower ASCO to schedule its Annual Business Meeting separately from the scientific portion of the ASCO Annual Meeting (which allows the Society to be flexible and sensitive to member needs in unforeseeable situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic) and will enable voting-eligible members to cast their votes online or by mail directly (rather than through the current proxy ballot system). 

Uncontested Presidential Election

Current situation: The ASCO Nominating Committee currently reviews the pool of eligible candidates for the role of ASCO President-Elect, selects a balanced roster of candidates (individuals from similar specialties, with similar experience levels, qualifications, and background) so as not to advantage one person over the other, and presents two final candidates on the slate. Candidates for President-Elect must have previously served on the Board of Directors. Eligible members vote between the two candidates for the role of ASCO President-Elect.

Proposed change: If the proposed amendments pass, beginning with the ASCO election in 2021, the ASCO Nominating Committee will review the pool of eligible candidates for the role of ASCO President-Elect, select two candidates from among the pool, and submit the candidates to the ASCO Board of Directors. The ASCO Board will then select the best candidate for the job from among the two choices, and present one candidate to run unopposed on the slate for the role of ASCO President-Elect. Voting-eligible members will be able to vote in favor of this individual, write in an alternate candidate, or abstain from voting.

  • Any candidate for President-Elect must have previously served on the ASCO Board of Directors, meaning the individual will already have been elected once by the voting-eligible members to an ASCO leadership position.
  • The ASCO Nominating Committee will continue to nominate multiple candidates for open seats on the Board of Directors and the Nominating Committee. The change applies to the role of President-Elect only.
  • This Nominating Committee will be better able to support diversity in the role of President-Elect from year to year, with the expectation that over the long term, the ASCO Presidency will reflect the diversity of the membership in every way: specialty, professional setting, demographics, and other characteristics.

Continuity in the Role of ASCO Treasurer

Current situation: The ASCO Treasurer is currently treated as a unique seat on the ASCO Board of Directors, and voting-eligible members vote for a candidate to serve as Treasurer every 4 years. The candidate elected to the role of ASCO Treasurer begins their term on the Board when the previous Treasurer’s term ends, and as such there is no overlap or opportunity for knowledge sharing or mentorship.

Proposed change: If the proposed amendments pass, beginning in 2021, the Board of Directors will elect a current Board member to serve as Treasurer-Elect, who will then have a period of overlap with the current Treasurer. The Treasurer-Elect will begin their term as Treasurer in June 2022, when the current Treasurer’s elected term concludes. Moving forward, the Board of Directors will continue to elect a Treasurer-Elect each year from among the current Board members. The Treasurer-Elect will serve one year as Treasurer-Elect, and one year as Treasurer.

  • This change ensures that the ASCO Treasurer will already have experience with Society operations from their service on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer-Elect, and allows for a period of training and mentorship from the current Treasurer, for continuity of knowledge.

Additional Leadership Perspectives on the Nominating Committee

Current situation: The Nominating Committee is composed of the current ASCO President, the current chair of the Board of Directors, and Nominating Committee members that are elected by the voting-eligible members.

Proposed change: If the proposed amendments pass, the current President-Elect and the current Past President will also sit on the Nominating Committee, ensuring a diversity of viewpoints.

Future Bylaws Amendments Are Decided by Majority Vote

Current situation: Proposed Bylaws amendments are decided by a two-thirds majority vote of the voting-eligible members, meaning two-thirds of the votes cast by voting-eligible members must be in favor of the amendments to the Bylaws for those amendments to be effective.

Proposed change: If the proposed amendments pass, future proposed Bylaws amendments will be decided by regular majority vote (meaning over half of the votes cast by the voting-eligible members must be in favor of the amendments) of the voting-eligible members, effective in 2021. 

Please contact ASCO Election staff with any questions.