I’m excited to report that our search for a new executive officer was successful. Anne Chiang, MD, a long-time SWOG member and Yale medical oncologist, will now oversee our portfolio of clinical trials in lung and breast cancers.

It’s a huge job. Our lung and breast committees are among SWOG’s largest and most productive, and trials coming from these groups have changed the standard of care dozens of times. With the departure of Julie Gralow to ASCO last month, we had important, and really big, shoes to fill. We cast a national net for the new executive officer, advertising through ASCO’s online Career Center and sending direct emails to ASCO members, also posting a month-long ad in The Cancer Letter. We had multiple strong, qualified candidates submit applications.

Anne was selected for many reasons.

First, she is both a gifted physician and successful researcher. A medical oncologist, Anne completed her PhD research in molecular genetics at Harvard and postdoctoral research in molecular metastasis profiling at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Now she treats patients with lung cancer at Yale University’s Smilow Cancer Hospital. She’s earned a slew of awards from ASCO, including last year’s Joe V. Simone Award and Lecture for Excellence in Quality and Safety in the Care of Patients with Cancer.

As a researcher, she’s exemplary. She recently led eight completed lung cancer trials and currently leads three projects – an investigator-initiated biomarker study of combination immunotherapy for recurrent small cell lung cancer patients; a translational SPORE project studying acquired immunotherapy resistance in small cell lung cancer; and our own S1709/EA5163, a randomized, phase III frontline non-small cell lung cancer trial comparing first-line immunotherapy to combination chemo-immunotherapy with immuno-biomarker driven analysis. Her trial plate is about to get bigger: Anne has another SWOG study and three pharma trials pending approval!

Second, Anne is a proven leader. She graduated from leadership development programs at ASCO and Yale, served as Smilow’s chief network officer, and now chief integration officer, and oversaw management and growth of Yale’s clinical cancer program across the state of Connecticut. She helped increase Smilow trial accruals in the network from 30 in 2013 to 220 in 2019 – now representing almost 23% of all Yale Cancer Center patients going on study. Over 85% of Smilow community physicians accrue patients to SWOG trials, plus others in the NCTN and NCORP portfolios.

Finally, Anne knows and supports us. She has been an active member of the SWOG lung committee for years, and in 2016 earned a Coltman Fellowship from The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research, work that led to the launch of S1709. Anne also shares SWOG’s highest value – patients first. Her commitment to patient-reported outcomes and the NCORP program illustrates her fierce advocacy for listening to people with cancer, and ensuring they have access to potentially life-saving trials.

Anne starts effective May 1st. I’m thrilled about this addition to the leadership team, and am grateful for her interest and her future efforts on behalf of our lung and breast cancer investigators. I’d like to thank another EO, Dr. Lisa Kachnic, and our assistant chief of administration, Casey Dawson, for leading this important executive search. I am also so grateful to all the applicants. For our members and patients, SWOG has a great new leader.

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