When we gather in San Francisco in April, the first-ever meeting of the palliative and end of life care committee in development will convene. In less than nine months, SWOG leaders have made the case for this new research committee – and made big strides in making it real.

We’ve identified two committee co-chairs, Drs. Robert Krouse and Mark O’Rourke, and have just launched a search committee to find a third. Dr. Krouse, a long-time member from the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia, was the long-time chair of our survivorship committee, is board certified in palliative care, and is currently leading a SWOG palliative care study. Dr. O’Rourke, a community oncologist with Cancer Centers of the Carolinas and the Greenville Health System Center for Integrative Oncology and Survivorship, brings medical oncology expertise to the table and is also board certified in palliative care.

Both Dr. Krouse and Dr. O’Rourke bring exceptional clinical and research strengths to our new committee. A search team, led by SWOG Chief of Administration Nathan Eriksen and long-time SWOG member Dr. James Wade, is starting its work in identifying, vetting, and selecting one more chair to round out the leadership. They’re looking for candidates within SWOG, and outside of it, who have deep experience running palliative care and end of life trials. Please share any names to consider with me or Nathan, who can be reached at revxfra/ng/bufh/qbg/rqh.

I’m quite eager to see this new research team together. And so are our members! A survey of 582 SWOG members last year showed that a whopping 86 percent wanted the group to pursue clinical trials in palliative care and end of life issues. 

I’m grateful to Drs. Krouse and O’Rourke, as well as Dr. Frank Meyskens and Dr. Dawn Hershman, as well as every SWOG member who helped pull together so quickly our first new NCORP committee in years. We’re really moving. We’ve even identified exceptional candidates to serve as patient advocate. 

By the end of the year, this new team will be up and running. They will certainly face big challenges, which as always also offer promising opportunities for SWOG.