This is another opportunity as well to share, on behalf of ASCO, what are the opportunities that can be offered to different countries, different regions. ASCO is a global organisation, it’s not only a 4-5 day meeting in Chicago that happens every year but it’s a very vibrant society. The ASCO Annual Meeting actually is being attended by 45,000 professionals, oncology professionals, represented by over 100 countries worldwide. Almost a third of the membership are actually from the international. So we can see how the strategy of ASCO in really engaging international members and looking at how the society can have a global impact, and these are actually the pillars on how the strategy is based on how to improve education, research, as well as quality of care.
So there are a lot of opportunities from awards, grants, educational opportunities as well, mentorship, leadership and a whole portfolio of programmes that can benefit not only individual oncology professionals, there is also engagement in terms of institutional level, the hospitals, cities through different partnerships as well as global organisations. So there are a wide range of opportunities where being a member of ASCO will be helpful, not only through these opportunities, educational materials, involvement in different committees, advisory groups, as well as involvement in different programmes.
But being a ASCO member also gives that level of opportunity to be a volunteer and being able to access those literatures, not only for oncology professionals but for patient advocates as well. So it’s an opportunity for them to have a strong voice and be involved with all these programmes.
Is engagement with ASCO programmes happening in Vietnam?
I don’t have exact figures of how many are members from Vietnam but through this programme, the South-East Asia Breast Cancer Symposium, it’s been a strong partner of ASCO in supporting educational programmes. So this is one way where ASCO could partner and reach out to members in Vietnam.
Anything else to add?
The regional council is created by ASCO and the first one that was created was the Asia-Pacific in 2019 followed by the Latin America Regional Council and now the Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Council. Now, the regional councils are composed of ASCO volunteer members and these are key opinion leaders representing different countries in each of the regions. The role of the regional council is to advise ASCO on what are the challenges of international members in each of these regions and how ASCO could help and have that opportunity to deepen engagement and meet the needs of international members.
So for Asia-Pacific I just want to highlight two programmes that the regional council has initiated. The first is identifying, or selecting, the Sarawak General Hospital in Malaysia. It’s a catchment of a huge number of patients serving that area in Malaysia. This is where the International Cancer Corps of ASCO is being conducted. This is an educational exchange programme where ASCO volunteer members are teaching the local professionals on the management, including multidisciplinary cancer care management of tumours, as well as palliative care courses.
Then the other thing that I want to highlight, one of the programmes that the regional council has initiated as well, is the leadership development programme. The Asia-Pacific Regional Council identified the need to develop and build the next generation of oncology leaders in the region. Asia is a very diverse region with different cultures, language, beliefs, practices, and the way the healthcare system now is evolving is very complicated. It’s getting more complex and one way to really have agents of change is to develop these young oncology leaders. So those are two highlights that I would like to share of what the Asia-Pacific Regional Council has been doing for the Asia-Pacific region.