In the spring of 2017, at our San Francisco group meeting, SWOG held a palliative care symposium. Four speakers – physicians Anthony Beck and Christine Richie, professor and field leader Marie Bakitas, and Amy Vandenbroucke, an attorney who runs the National POLST Paradigm – addressed a standing room only crowd in one of the Hyatt’s bigger meeting rooms.

A little more than a year later, we’ve got a strong leadership team in place for a SWOG research committee in palliative and end of life care. And Marie Bakitas, a research powerhouse from the University of Alabama Birmingham, was just named as its final co-chair. This fall, the Board of Governors votes on whether to grant the group full and permanent research committee status, and, if they get the green light, the committee has several trial concepts lined up to move on. 

So, this single symposium helped catalyze a whole new avenue of research for SWOG. Guess who funded that symposium? Our Hope Foundation, through their Program Proposal initiative. The program is now accepting applications, due August 1, and I encourage every member to think about what new projects or tools or events we need to advance our mission. And apply!

The 2019 Program Proposal call is special. It’s not designed to support direct research grants. Hope offers a huge range of opportunities to fill those needs. Program Proposals are aimed at identifying operational or programmatic areas of unmet need – ones that are aligned with our mission and guiding principles and our strategic vision for science and operations.

Many exciting and high-impact initiatives stem from a Hope Program Proposal:

• The SWOG Leadership Academy – Led by Dr. David Gandara, this three-year mentorship program has accepted 15 current members. It’s expanding next year to include young investigators from across the National Clinical Trials Network.

• SWOG Grant Writing Workshop – Led by executive officer Dr. Kathy Crew, this six-week, small-group online workshop for early career researchers provides direct and personal feedback from peers and from Dr. Crew. It has led to several successful submissions.

• Translational Medicine Mini-Retreat – Led by Dr. Mario Sznol of Yale, Dr. Karolina Palucka of The Jackson Laboratory, and Mikala Egeblad, PhD, of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, that event featured eight short presentations aimed at sparking ideas for new TM trials.

Submitting a program proposal application is pretty straightforward. You need to be a SWOG member, or have a SWOG member as a co-collaborator, with a project description and a basic budget request. SWOG staff can also submit ideas. For questions, contact Hope grants manager Morgan Cox at zbetna/ng/gurubcrsbhaqngvba/qbg/bet.

Please check out the online application and help us launch our next big idea!