Dear IGCS Member,
The IGCS Council recently met in Vienna to continue moving the Society’s agenda forward. I am very grateful to the Council and IGCS staff for their commitment, willingness to work, and experience as we discussed an increasing number of prominent issues facing our Society as it evolves to better meet the needs of you, our members, and the patients you serve.
Hopefully, you are aware that we have been intensely focused on building partnerships and creating opportunities to truly internationalize the IGCS so that we can take our place as the one true global resource for all who are dedicated to improving outcomes for women with gynecological malignancies.
Below, I have summarized the main agenda items discussed during the Council Meeting. As you continue reading, the increased activity and growth of the Society over the last eighteen months will hopefully become apparent.
Education & Training
The pillar of our Society, education, continues to be at the core of our business. In the weeks that have passed since the Council made the decision to begin hosting an annual meeting, we have discussed marketing and promotion strategies and approved the name of our annual meeting which will be officially referred to as The Global Meeting of the International Gynecologic Cancer Society. They also approved restructuring the scientific committees responsible for the content of these annual meetings to ensure global representation, thereby allowing these meeting to be truly international in both content and representation.
The Council approved a new and enhanced method for future site selections based on a wide range of predetermined criteria, each of which will be scored to ensure a completely objective process. The Council also agreed that an essential component to the success of our annual meetings is to establish key strategic partnerships with regional and national societies.
Finally, the regions where we hope to hold The Global Meeting of the International Gynecologic Cancer Society have been penciled in for the next 6 years, so we can begin planning and establishing partnerships within each region. The Council approved a rotation that includes four regions: 1.) Europe, 2.) the “Americas”, 3.) Asia /Oceania, and 4.) Africa/the Middle East. We are confident this rotation will allow us opportunities to reach the many interested members who wish to host an IGCS Annual Global Meeting in their region.
Over the last year, we have also streamlined the process in which IGCS supports national society meetings - usually by providing speakers or financial contributions. For 2018, the Council approved to support meetings and programs that will foster further growth and enhance our ability to make an impact around the world. IGCS will support Latin America and their local societies, Morocco and the newly formed PARSGO, Belarus as they initiate regional screening programs and work to manage patients with abnormalities, and Thailand which has a significant number of women with gynecologic malignancies. We are also excited to collaborate with the FIGO Gynecologic Cancer Committee during their biennial meeting in the autumn of 2018 as well as the Gynecologic Cancer Inter Group (GCIG) as they move to educate low resource regions about clinical trials.
The Council was updated on our upcoming meeting to be held September 14-16, 2018 in Kyoto, Japan. We continue to be grateful to Dr. Keiichi Fujiwara for an amazing amount of work on behalf of the IGCS and to Dr. Aikou Okamoto, our Council Member, who is working equally hard for the Japanese Society of Gynecologic Oncology to ensure innovative scientific content and a successful educational collaboration between the societies.
Initiated over eighteen months ago, our Global Curriculum and Mentorship Program has been successful in many ways. We are reaching parts of the globe that have never had formal and structured gynecologic oncology training programs, also allowing for many IGCS members to provide mentorship and guidance to the trainees.
We have confirmed pilot sites for 2018 in Zambia, Liberia, Uganda, Guatemala, Fiji, and the Caribbean. The current pilot site programs are continuing according to plan and we are looking ahead to the first examinations in mid-2018 in Ethiopia. To this end, we have established an Examination Committee which I will chair, to be responsible to the Education Committee for the conduct and standardization of these examinations. Once again, we must thank Drs. Linus Chuang, Joe Ng, Tom Randall and the incredibly hard-working Chair of our Education Committee, Dr. Kathleen Schmeler, for their invaluable help in getting this program up and running.
The Council continues to provide guidance for our Strategic Alliance Partnership Program. National societies are supporting the concept as they find great value in partnering with IGCS; allowing us all to collaborate on priorities, and, in the end, find ways to improve the care women in their regions. It continues to the be goal of the program to strengthen and empower these regional societies by utilizing the resources of the IGCS. This program has generated substantial membership growth for the Society – with this growth we are beginning to realize our potential to meet our goal to truly be the premiere global gynecologic oncology organization.
The Council spent a great deal of time discussing member engagement and ways to continue and improve our service to members all over the globe. One item that has been under development is an online member network that will allow you, our members to communicate with each other, share knowledge and exchange ideas in a private online environment. The network will have many different avenues for networking and the Council is excited about the potential benefits for members to share research ideas, training challenges and career pragmatics. We are very grateful to Drs. Rainer Kimmig (Chair), Saketh Guntupalli, Natacha Poon, Ranjit Manchanda and Vivek Arora for the conception and delivery of this innovative tool.
The Council also agreed that we should conduct a membership survey, posing questions for you all to provide valuable input on ways you would like to be engaged with the society, to ascertain opportunities to improve your experience with IGCS, and to identify ways that IGCS can continue to be the premier global gynecologic oncology organization. We will email the survey to all members in early January and we hope each of you will take the time to provide us with your feedback. We will close the survey in time for the Council to review the information at our March Council Meeting in New Orleans.
The Council approved the 2018 budget and continues to be mindful of our fiduciary responsibilities. Our investments are performing exceptionally well, and the Council approved further diversification our investments to include socially responsible funds. I am grateful for the outstanding stewardship of our finances by Drs. Walter Gotlieb and Andreas Obermair our Secretary-Treasurer and Secretary-Treasurer Elect.
It was also agreed that a version of our audited accounts would be posted on our member website area to ensure transparency and to allow you to contact us regarding any areas of our finances which may concern you.
Organization & Governance
As the IGCS continues to grow and develop meaningful relationships and partnerships, the Council recognizes the need to ensure our current governance structure matches our new global approach. The decision was thus made to allow separate representation from Europe and from Africa/Middle East on Council. We also decided to designate a representative from China to the Council over the next four years.
The method of Council Member nomination and election was also extensively debated. We must ensure as wide a representation as possible and this representation should be balanced regarding gender and age. Furthermore, and importantly, members from each of the designated regions should vote to elect their representatives rather than the entire membership casting votes for regional representatives. In contrast, the method of electing officers should continue to be by the vote of the entire global membership. We will continue to update you on this process and are always grateful for feedback and suggestions. The 2018 nomination and election process will be conducted as it has been done in the past, but we envision this new approach to elections taking place with the 2020 elections.
The Council is also contemplating different models to further involve our Strategic Alliance Partners in the governance and decision making for Society business. There will be more information to come on this!
The Council received an update from Dr. Uzi Beller, our current Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Gynecologic Cancer (IJGC) and from our Editor-in-Chief-Elect, Dr. Pedro Ramirez. The Council expressed its gratitude to Dr. Beller in continuing to successfully steer the course of the IJGC during this transitional time.
The Council was updated on our work with FIGO and other gynecologic oncology organizations including SGO, ESGO and ASGO to address the issue of staging and the potential need for revisions. The IGCS Council is encouraged by the lead that IGCS has taken in this important area on behalf of our members.
We have also been improving the Society’s relationship with our industry colleagues. The Council approved the notion of formalizing an Industry Relations Committee that will allow the Society to capitalize on opportunities to provide input and education about new therapeutics. Dr. Robert Coleman has done extraordinary work in bridging the gap that previously existed, and I thank him for his efforts.
As the year comes to an end, I look forward to the next nine months of my presidency. We have been extraordinarily busy and have made great strides for the betterment of the Society, but there is still much work that lies ahead for us.
I look forward to hearing from each you as the Society continues to evolve and change into a truly global organization aimed at improving outcomes for women with gynecological cancer.
Please do not hesitate to contact me via email at email@example.com
The Kyoto meeting is taking shape to be the very best IGCS meeting ever, so please note the date in your diaries! I hope to see you there September 14-16,2018.
Michael Quinn, MA, MGO
2016-2018 IGCS President