For years, Dr. Manuel Valdivieso has blazed for SWOG not one new path, but two – our international and quality improvement initiatives.

As the senior executive officer of these critical efforts, Dr. Valdivieso has achieved important and lasting success. SWOG has trained dozens of physicians, nurses, and scientists in clinical trials management as part of our SWOG Latin America Initiative, which also spawned S0701, an epidemiological and clinical trial looking for determinants of h pylori infection and its treatment.  This infection is a major cause of gastric cancer.  The trial was conducted in Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua.

In parallel, Dr. Valdivieso has worked closely with SWOG Quality Assurance Manager Elaine Armstrong to build a robust quality program, overseeing close monitoring and rigorous auditing to ensure that our trial data is reliable and valid.

My predecessor, Dr. Larry Baker, tailored the executive officer position to Dr. Valdivieso’s unique skill set and interests. How else can you explain the intersection of international trials and quality? Now, after so many years of exceptional service, Dr. Valdivieso is retiring, effective at the end of this month.

His departure will create a big hole on the senior leadership team. It also creates an opportunity. After conferring with the executive team, I’ve decided to split the executive officer position in two.

One new executive officer will oversee our international research efforts. For this position, I’m looking for an experienced, enthusiastic ideally international member who knows SWOG well – our strengths, weaknesses, and unique value proposition in the cancer trials community. Because many of our international SWOG members are from Mexico and Central and South America, the ideal candidate would also speak Spanish.

On the quality side, I’m expanding the role. Not only will this executive officer oversee data and safety monitoring, but all other SWOG administrative committees, including conflict of interest management, publications, and professional review. In addition, they’ll oversee current programs, and spearhead new initiatives, that ensure SWOG trials are innovative and value-based; that trial data is accurate, complete, and secure; that publications rates are high and that trial results have an impact on clinical practice; and that SWOG members have the skills to manage conflicts in an ethical way. This work is critical to SWOG’s reputation and integrity, and reflects a major focus at organizations such as ASCO, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on value, quality measures, transparency and impact. I’d like this executive officer to be an early or mid-career investigator with a real zeal for clinical trial quality and organizational integrity.

Please send any comments, and candidate suggestions, to me at oynaxrp/ng/bufh/qbg/rqh. And please join me in extending sincerest thanks to Dr. Valdivieso for his service.

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