We leaked the news in our National Cancer Institute operations grant application. The SWOG leadership team has been notified. Now I wanted to tell you all – a new deputy chair will join the SWOG executive team next year.

On March 1, 2019, Dr. Anne Schott will complete her tenure as the group’s deputy chair. That date marks the beginning of our new National Clinical Trials Network grant cycle, when Dr. Primo Lara Jr. will assume this leadership position, overseeing our National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) portfolio of treatment trials and serving as the second in command of SWOG. This dual position touches on science, policy, operations and the strategic direction of the group.

Dr. Schott has served SWOG for over a decade, and to great effect. She was SWOG’s first deputy chair in the new NCTN beginning in 2013, and helped shape SWOG’s future during that transition. Prior to that, from 2005 to 2013, she served as an executive officer overseeing breast, lung, and gynecologic cancers. She was a member of the board of The Hope Foundation from 2007-2017, and served as chair from 2012-2017. She’s also served as a role model for so many at SWOG, inspiring others with her intelligence, integrity, humility, and deep commitment to cancer science and medicine. 

Dr. Schott will continue to lead clinical research in her new roles as associate director for clinical research and co-chair of the breast clinical research team at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. SWOG will also continue to benefit from her experience. She plans to remain active in SWOG as a senior advisor, as a member of the breast committee, and as part of the leadership of the Integrated Translational Science Center, SWOG’s collaboration with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and The Jackson Laboratory.

Dr. Primo Lara, Jr. – you likely know him as Lucky Lara – has graciously agreed to succeed her. 

As with Anne, Lucky’s clinical and scientific credentials are exceptional, as is his advocacy for patients and cancer trials. He is interim director of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and also serves at the center as associate director for translational research. He is currently co-chair of the National Cancer Institute’s Investigational Drug Steering Committee. At SWOG, Lucky is chair of our professional review committee and an incredibly active investigator, serving on the early therapeutics, lung, and genitourinary committees, as well as chairing the advanced RCC organ site. He serves on the board of the Hope Foundation. 

We will celebrate Dr. Schott and welcome Dr. Lara properly next year at our spring group meeting. But I wanted to share the news with you now – so you can thank them for their service. I’m grateful for it.