In 2011 the WCIO steering committee came together for a critical strategic planning session which led to our transformation from an annual meeting to a global community promoting IO as the fourth pillar of cancer care. I am excited and gratified to report that all of our strategic goals from the 2011 plan have been realized, thanks to the efforts of the volunteers, our industry partners, and our professional management firm.
Of course, that means it was time to develop our next set of goals. In November, the Board of Directors held an all-day strategic planning session to define our key goals for the next two years. Four major areas were identified for significant investment, two existing and two new.
First is expanding the breadth and depth of IO community engagement through our core website, IO-Central.org. Under the editorship of Dan Brown, MD FSIR, IO Central currently hosts my blog, the Case of the Week, Discussion Forums, Corporate Partners links, and a professional directory. We want to expand IO Central to host IO interest group for trainees, medical students, and allied health professionals; dedicated fora for specific technologies (ablation, embolization), diseases, and world regions; and IO educational and professional content. All these new efforts will require a LOT of passionate volunteers willing to devote a few hours a month to WCIO.
Second is expansion of our meetings programs. In addition to our annual scientific meeting, the global showcase for IO held in New York City in May for the next 3 years, WCIO is supporting the global development of IO with "Best of WCIO" meetings in Mexico in 2013 and Argentina in 2014, and is seeking local partners in other regions for subsequent years. The strategic plan also identified a need for dedicated practical education for trainees and recent graduates who want to establish an IO practice. Anyone following the conversation on WCIO Linked In will appreciate what a hot topic this is, especially in Europe. WCIO plans to develop a mid-year "boot camp" on IO practice, and is looking for volunteers with expertise in the private sector.
This leads to the two new areas, Education & Training and Professional Practice. As I discussed in an earlier post (Are We Ready for Subspecialty Training in IO, Nov. 6th), a draft IO training curriculum adaptable to the current US IR training scheme has been presented to the American IR Fellowship Directors. This curriculum needs to be fleshed out in detail, and adapted for other countries where formal IR fellowships are largely non-existent. Once the curriculum has been defined, content can be developed on IO Central and in WCIO meeting programs, as well as in collaboration with larger IR societies such as SIR and CIRSE. This will require a few years of effort from several volunteers.
In addition to an IO training curriculum, there is a need for materials to support IO practice development. This includes literature supporting IO services, lectures directed at other oncologists and hospital administrators on the clinical effectiveness and comparative effectiveness of IO, and tools for IO practice such as IO clinic templates and treatment algorithms.
If this vision for IO sparks your passion and you would like to volunteer in one or more areas, please log on to IO-central.org (just create a name and password -- it's free, and you won't get lots of junk mail). Under the right-hand header "About IO Central", there is a drop-down menu to the volunteer page and nomination form. Please sign up by the January 5th deadline. Become part of our future.