As part of its ongoing work to ensure equity in cancer care – which includes increasing diversity in the oncology workforce – the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is launching a pilot educational program for select U.S. medical schools to implement in the summer of 2021. The new Oncology Scholars Rotation (OSR) is an immersive 4-week summer pilot program for rising second year medical students from populations underrepresented in medicine (URiM).
The curriculum will provide an in-depth introduction to the field of oncology, provide exposure to oncology faculty through shadowing and mentoring, and cultivate community amongst URiM students through social events.
ASCO is currently accepting applications from medical schools that are interested in implementing the program next year. Schools will be selected based on the institution’s demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion, ability to implement the program, and number of eligible URiM students who enroll in the program.
This is just the latest ASCO-led initiative to address equity in oncology care. In June of this year, ASCO President Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO, announced her presidential theme of “Equity: Every Patient. Every Day. Everywhere,” which has further motivated the Society in its work to advance initiatives aimed at increasing diversity in the oncology workforce, along with other equity issues.
In 2017, ASCO released the “Strategic Plan to Increase the Racial and Ethnic Diversity of the Oncology Workforce,” which guides ASCO’s overall workforce diversity efforts and builds on existing programs, including the Medical Student Rotation for Underrepresented Populations, Resident Travel Award for Underrepresented Populations, and the Diversity Mentoring Program.