It’s Official: “SWOG” Stays
We’re sticking with SWOG. Not just the group – the label! At our spring meeting in San Francisco, the board of governors on Saturday voted to keep “SWOG” as the backbone for our group name by a vote of 34-24.
Tradition won the day, with several long-time members defending our six decades of history. Many argued that “SWOG” has strong name recognition in the cancer community – and a reputation for excellence. Parallels were drawn with Coca-Cola and Kleenex. I was a little surprised Geico wasn’t added to that list. In essence, those members were asking: “Why retire a good brand?”
The vote didn’t go the way I expected. So, I’m glad I issued a disclaimer during Plenary II. I personally supported a name change after commissioning a public survey that showed everyday Americans – prospective trial participants and philanthropic donors – would be less likely to join a trial or donate to an organization that had “SWOG” in its name. By choosing the label Hope Cancer Research Network or Impact Cancer Research Network, I believed we would be listening to patients – and putting them first. But, luckily for the group, the majority of our governors clearly wanted to keep SWOG, and that is what we’ll do. We are not a dictatorship!
There was no mistaking the sentiment underlying the vote. Our senior leaders are proud of our team, proud of our impact, and proud of our name. That pride, that conviction, is of course a wonderful thing. These drivers make our cancer clinical trials possible, and help us change medicine, advance science, and improve the lives of people touched by cancer.
I am deeply grateful that there is so much respect and affection for our group. It’s a testament to all the leaders who’ve come before me, all of our members, then and now, who create and support our trials. No one doubts we’ve made six decades of difference.
Speaking of the meeting, this ambition to do better, and work harder, to save and extend lives could be found in every conference room in San Francisco. We’re conducting great trials – often with the help of our Hope Foundation. At the general plenary, Hope CEO and President Jo Horn gave a passionate, funny, and inspiring speech in honor of the foundation’s 25th anniversary, and the investigators who testified at the plenary about the power of Hope grants to improve science and advance careers had everyone cheering.
The positive energy in the ballroom was palpable – and it will propel us, under our old banner, into the new work in the decades ahead.