Fellows Institute II was once again a successful half-day event prior to the official start of the 2019 Annual Cancer Symposium. Geared toward Surgical Oncology and Breast Surgical Oncology fellows, the Institute consisted of 8 sessions delivered by SSO leaders and experts and moderated by Drs. Sarah McLaughlin and John Mullen on behalf of the SSO Training Committee. Topics were chosen to complement the Fellows Institute I that occurred in November 2018 and ranged from succeeding as an academic surgical oncologist to practical tips at the start of clinical practice.
Kelly McMasters, MD, PhD, kicked off the event by discussing the Finances of Clinical Practice, how to wisely invest and remembering that success occurs at multiple levels including professional, financial and perhaps most importantly, personal. Monica Morrow, MD and Timothy Pawlik, MD discussed academic success and advanced degrees, respectively. Dr. Morrow’s advice for navigating academia centered on knowing what one wants from his/her academic career, understanding the requirements and rules to accomplish that and then planning ahead as you build your CV and work toward promotion. Similarly, Dr. Pawlik discussed the benefits of additional degrees, which are becoming much more common, and stated that an additional degree can be helpful as a means to an end but not necessary.
Charles Staley, MD discussed the practical aspects of coding and reimbursement especially the importance of documentation and wording. Michael Cassidy, MD followed with a session on what he wished he had known or asked at the beginning of his practice; there were many helpful pieces of advice including how to be a good team player, identifying a broad range of mentors including those outside your specialty and asking for help. Steven Chen, MD presented on “Partnering with Industry and Medical Entrepreneurship”. He detailed how surgeons are well suited to medical entrepreneurship secondary to our ability to make decisions, data driven personalities and a broad knowledge of different types of therapeutics in oncology. Charles Balch, MD focused on Wellness and Resiliency which are particularly important to combat the burnout epidemic and how solutions at both an individual and corporate/institutional level are needed. Lisa Newman, MD concluded with an inspiring talk on global surgical oncology and shared her experiences on building successful and durable global partnerships, exchanging academic ideas and scholarship. Fellows Institute II was an excellent opportunity to hear firsthand from Society leaders on their experiences and expertise on topics outside of clinical surgical oncology and continues to be a valuable and well-attended session for fellows.