A Message from the NRG Oncology Group Chairs: 2022 in Review and a Look Ahead

January 18 2023

NRG Oncology is entering 2023 with vigor, empowered by the many achievements that we have reached in 2022.

Reflecting on this past year, NRG made strides in diversity and equity through the creation of our Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and our NRG NCORP Health Equity Fellowship Program. The DEI Committee will establish and implement programs and best practices that foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment, which values and embraces the diverse constituents within our organization. The NRG DEI Committee is led by the Committee Chair Dr. Katherine Moxley (University of Oklahoma at Tulsa) and the two Vice Chairs Dr. Kathryn Hitchcock (University of Florida) and Dr. Eleanor Walker (Henry Ford Hospital).

The NRG Health Equity Fellowship Program, founded by NRG NCORP Co-PI, Dr. Joan Walker, continues to expand its mission to train selected early-stage investigators in the NRG Oncology system through a structured mentorship experience with an emphasis on recruitment of researchers from underrepresented groups. In late 2021, NRG announced the selection of three mentee scholars, Drs. Tara Castellano, Dr. Oluwadamilola Oladeru, and Dr. Sonya Reid who are currently engaged in the program. In late 2022, we called for another round of fellowship applications, and successful applicants will be announced in January 2023. NRG partnered with ASTRO and the RTOG Foundation for the most recent award cycle for the program. The goal is to have at least one scholar for every disease site that we study. This effort has received funding support from all three NRG legacy Foundations (GOG, NSABP, and RTOG), to make this program successful. If you’d like to help us support a health equity fellow, please visit our Health Equity webpage to learn more.

Additionally, we provided a platform to engage our Veterans Affairs (VA) and Military Treatment Facility (MTF) members through the creation of our VA-MTF Subcommittee. This new Subcommittee is led by the Subcommitte Chair Dr. Vlad Sandulache (Baylor College of Medicine) and the Subcommittee Vice Chair, Dr. Maria Kelly, who is the Executive Director of the National Radiation Oncology Program at Veterans’ Healthcare Administration. The NRG VA-MTF Subcommittee is charged with expanding access for military personnel and veterans to NRG Oncology clinical trials.

Lastly, NRG developed a new Immunotherapy Subcommittee in order to collaborate with the disease-site specific committees on new concepts and protocols that include immunotherapy agents. This subcommittee will be chaired by Dr. Susanna Ulahannan at the University of Oklahoma Stephenson Cancer Center.

There were also several NRG committee leadership changes in addition to those mentioned above. Dr. Steven Waggoner (Cleveland Clinic) was named the new Chair of the Ancillary Projects Committee to lead the committee alongside the new Vice Chair, Dr. Bridget Koontz (GenesisCare). Dr. Vinai Gondi (Northwestern Medicine Proton Center and Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center) was selected to Chair the Early Career & New Investigators Committee. Dr. Ronald Chen (University of Kansas) was named Vice Chair to the NCORP Patient-Centered Outcomes Committee, and Dr. Stephen Lai (MD Anderson) was selected to be Chair of the Surgical Oncology Committee. Dr. Mothaffar Rimawi (Baylor College of Medicine) is now the Vice Chair of the Breast Cancer Committee, and Dr. Todd Morgan (University of Michigan) is Vice Chair of the Genitourinary Cancer Committee. NRG named Dr. Evan Wuthrick (Moffit Cancer Center) as Chair of the Radiation Oncology Committee to lead alongside the new Vice Chair, Dr. Charles Simone (New York Proton Center).

The new committees and leaders have helped to reinvigorate the organization and we aim to continue this momentum as we enter 2023.

This month, NRG will be hosting our Semiannual Meeting in-person in Orlando, Florida at the Orlando World Center Marriott from January 26-28th. All open sessions will be livestreamed to those who cannot attend in-person. These meetings provide an excellent opportunity to network and to catch up on NRG’s current and developing studies as well as important news within our organization and the oncology community. We encourage all members to attend and provide our team with feedback about your meeting experience so we can continue to deliver a productive, engaging, and exciting meeting each time. You can learn more about the upcoming meeting on our NRG 2023 Winter Meeting webpages.

We hope to see you in Orlando and wish you a wonderful 2023!

Quynh-Thu Le, MD           Robert Mannel, MD             Norman Wolmark, MD

The NRG Oncology Group Chairs 

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