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

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New Institutional Membership Guidelines for a "New" Network Group

Nov 21, 2014 - At last April's Group Meeting, our Board of Governors (BOG) convened an ad hoc committee to review and recommend changes to SWOG membership and governance policies, with the purpose of bringing them in line with the new realities of the NCTN. That committee presented its recommendations last month to SWOG's Board of Governors, which voted unanimously to accept them and to amend policies accordingly.

SWOG's new institutional membership categories are outlined in detail in Policy 2 and Policy 3 on the SWOG website, and are presented more graphically in this table of membership categories, requirements, and privileges. I recommend you check out this table, memorize it immediately, print it if unable, and keep it for reference (after completing your reading of this week's blog, of course).

In brief, we have three categories of members:

  • Full Members
    LAPS, NCORP, or Clinical Members (non-granted), all must enroll an average of at least 10 patients per year to SWOG studies.
  • Affiliate Members
    Sites that operate independently but are sponsored by a Full Member. Affiliates must enroll an average of at least 5 SWOG-credited patients per year.
  • Member Components
    Sites that are part of a network completely managed by a Full Member or Affiliate Member.

Governance is different. Full Members who enroll an average of at least 25 patients each year to SWOG trials and contribute scientifically to the Group will be Governing Members, with a voting seat on our Board of Governors. The BOG has the final authority in SWOG in that it approves or rejects all proposed policies and policy changes; additionally every five years it elects the SWOG Chair and Group Statistician.

In setting out these guidelines, we also want to welcome granted institutions (LAPS and NCORPs) not historically aligned with SWOG, and we want to accommodate smaller sites -- perhaps former U10 or CCOP affiliates -- that accrue steadily to SWOG studies but aren't large enough to meet the former full membership benchmark of at least 20 accruals per year. The new benchmark is 10 accruals per year.

A key goal in framing a new governance model was that it not weaken the governing role of our community institutions, and indeed, under this new model the ratio of academic site to community site BOG members remains very close to its previous mark of 60/40.

If you want an even deeper understanding of the new model and the reasons behind the policy decisions made, I recommend you turn to a recording of SWOG Deputy Chair Anne Schott's presentation on the topic from last month's Group Meeting. Have a great weekend!


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