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The Front Line: Charles D. Blanke, MD, SWOG Chair

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SWOG's Governance Model in the NCTN

Nov 8, 2013 - While SWOG has a pretty effective leadership team and Executive Advisory Council (EAC), policy and other big decisions are made by our Board of Governors (BOG). Currently, the principal investigators of all SWOG member sites and those of all CCOP institutions primarily aligned with SWOG's research base have a vote on the BOG; adding in the group's senior leadership and the chairs of disease, research, and administrative committees gives us a BOG that now numbers roughly 75 members. The new NCTN guidelines for member categories within the cooperative groups could actually triple that number.

It's time to ask ourselves what the implications of the NCTN's changes are for how SWOG governs itself and how our governance group should best be structured. I see a need for a more nimble group, able to conduct business more often than twice a year at the live meetings, and with more space for discussion among the governing members. While smaller would likely be better for these purposes, we don't want to deprive our senior members from having a voice within the Group. Importantly, whatever governance model is eventually put in place, it will need to continue to include broad representation across both our academic and our community sites. One option might be to have a smaller council within the BOG that would meet more often by teleconference, but this is just one among many possible models.

I am convening a task force to propose models for the best governing mechanisms for SWOG, going forward into the NCTN era. The task force will include a disease site committee chair, a cancer control and prevention committee chair, and a top administrator, as well as myself. I also want to ensure the various categories of SWOG member institutions are represented.

If you would like to be part of this task force and help shape the look of cooperative groups in the NCTN era, please get in touch with me at blankec@ohsu.edu.

Have a great week!

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