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

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The Evolution of the Harry Hynes Symposium at SWOG

July 29, 2016 - An Irish gentleman, a humanitarian, a deeply committed community oncologist, and a national leader. Longtime SWOG member Dr. Harry Hynes was all these things and more, before acute myeloid leukemia claimed his life in December 2000. SWOG has for many years honored his work and memory with the Harry Hynes Cancer Control & Prevention Symposium held at each group meeting - a two-hour session that focused on the very issues he held most dear.

My leadership team and I have decided to make a change, one we hope that Dr. Hynes and his supporters would approve of. With the evolution of the new committee structure developed by Dr. Frank Meyskens, and their many related meetings, there seemed to be parallel efforts at the group meeting. We're thus doing away with the stand-alone symposium and instead putting a named Dr. Harry E. Hynes Speaker on the general plenary podium at every group meeting. Indeed, we're putting cancer prevention right on the main stage.

Cancer prevention - and community oncology - have risen steadily in stature and impact in SWOG. To mark this, last year I crafted a vice chair position to oversee our NCI Community Oncology Program (NCORP) efforts, a position that Dr. Dawn Hershman of Columbia University holds. This role mirrors the vice chair positions in translational medicine (Dr. Lee Ellis, M.D. Anderson) and NCTN (Dr. Anne Schott, University of Michigan). Science, medicine, and community are touchstones of SWOG, and all deserve strong leadership.

Our first Dr. Harry E. Hynes Speaker will take the stage in Chicago in September. Dr. Patricia Ganz, a distinguished professor of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, will talk about survivorship research, past and future, as part of our 60th anniversary general plenary program. Like Dr. Hynes, Dr. Ganz is well regarded by so many of our members.

Dr. Hynes was a larger than life figure. He founded what became the Cancer Center of Kansas, established the Wichita CCOP, one of the very first NCI community oncology sites in the nation, and served on the ASCO board. The Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice operates in Wichita, a living testament to his integrity and compassion. Dr. Hynes demonstrated the ultimate support for SWOG; He enrolled in one of our trials before his death. He was a true believer and a doer, and I am proud to further honor him.


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