The Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP) recently published a new editorial, entitled “Supporting the Future of the Oncology Workforce: ASCO Medical Student and Trainee Initiatives,” which provides an overview of existing initiatives designed to attract and support medical students and oncology trainees who are about to enter the workforce.
The authors of the editorial, Robert A. Leon-Ferre, MD, and Daniel G. Stover, MD, write that the oncology community “must expand efforts to ensure that the stream of young physicians who enter the oncology workforce matches or surpasses those who leave practice. To accomplish this, oncology must remain an attractive career choice where trainees interested in entering the field feel supported.” The editorial notes that a big portion of the current oncology workforce is nearing retirement and increasing administrative and regulatory burdens are diverting physician time away from patients.
The editorial, which is part of ASCO’s new State of Cancer Care in America series, highlights some of the initiatives currently in place to support medical students and oncology trainees, including:
- ASCO’s Student/Resident Membership – Provides free ASCO membership for undergraduate or graduate students and medical residents. Since 2013, the number of members in this category has grown by more than 1,000 members per year, and as of October 2017, ASCO had 5,362 student/resident members. Other oncology professional societies also offer free or discounted membership to students and residents.
- ASCO-sponsored Cancer Interest Groups – Meet several times a year to discuss cancer topics, career opportunities, and to participate in volunteer projects. Currently there are 63 ASCO-sponsored Cancer Interest Groups.
- ASCO’s Trainee Council – Aims to identify and support the unique early career development needs of medical students, residents and fellows. The Trainee Council also plans programming of the Trainee and Early Career Oncologist Lounge at the ASCO Annual Meeting.
The JOP editorial calls on the oncology community to “redouble our efforts to encourage careers in oncology…to ensure continued cancer care access to the increasing pool of cancer survivors.”
Read the editorial.