The news is bittersweet: Dr. Julie Gralow, SWOG’s executive officer for lung and breast cancer research, is leaving us for a pretty good replacement. In February, she will start work as ASCO chief medical officer.

Only one person, Dr. Rich Schilsky, has previously held the post, which is enormous in scope. ASCO represents nearly 45,000 oncology professionals, runs five journals, writes practice guidelines, funds research, advocates for cancer care, and holds the world’s largest cancer research conference. As CMO, Julie will provide medical and scientific leadership for all of ASCO’s research, policy, and communications efforts, as well as its global programs and services. She will also help direct fundraising for ASCO’s foundation, Conquer Cancer. As CMO, Julie will serve as a member of ASCO’s executive leadership team, reporting to CEO Dr. Cliff Hudis.

We’ve been lucky to have Julie as a SWOG member and leader for more than 20 years. She came into the group early in her career, under the guidance of the late Dr. Robert Livingston. She’s run SWOG trials as a principal investigator (including the recently published S0307 study of bisphosphonates in early stage breast cancer), served as vice chair of the breast committee, and most recently, provided direction to the breast and lung committees as executive officer. She’s supported development of the digital engagement committee and the SWOG Latin American Initiative, and created, with The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research, the Robert Livingston Endowed Lectureship in Breast and Lung Cancer to honor her friend and mentor – and an outstanding clinical trialist who contributed greatly to SWOG.

It’s hard to credit and sufficiently thank Julie for her work with us. There’s more detail about her career, and her impact, in one of last year’s blogs. I will just say: You’re one of a kind, Julie. And you’re going to be impossible to replace!

I’ve pulled together a search committee that’s generating ideas for candidates to fill Julie’s EO role. If you have suggestions, please send them my way at oynaxrp/ng/bufh/qbg/rqh.

You can read a really great Q+A with Julie about her new role in last week’s issue of The Cancer Letter. As you’ll read, she will bring a big focus on patient advocacy, global outreach, and diversity, equity, and inclusion to ASCO. Which, I’m proud to say, are all values we also uphold here.

I wanted to give Julie the opportunity to say something to you all. Here she is:

“I want to encourage junior faculty and young investigators to look for opportunities to get involved in SWOG, through training workshops, grants, committees, and trials. SWOG is an amazing organization with opportunities for everyone, and you’ll find that reaching out and investing time in SWOG can be very rewarding.”

I swear this was not scripted. It’s just Julie being herself – friend, mentor, advocate, leader. It’s impossible to say how much we will miss her.