After every SWOG group meeting, we ask members who registered for the event to complete a brief survey about their experience. Those results are essential in guiding our effort to continually bring members a better, easier, and more useful group meeting experience. This was true pre-pandemic, and it's even truer today, in the era of hybrid conferences.

Thank you to the 106 respondents to our spring meeting survey, who represented a broad range of member roles. About two-thirds had attended the meeting in person, so we had good representation across both sides of the hybrid experience. One message comes through clearly from those who were present in San Francisco – members are happy to once again have the chance to meet face-to-face with their colleagues. Concerns about COVID-19 have largely faded.

In general, there was strong support for maintaining the virtual components of the meeting, although virtual was not desired as a replacement for the face-to-face option. A number of respondents who attended virtually did say their institution will not fund travel to a meeting if virtual attendance is an option.

Content was king, with respondents consistently expressing strong appreciation for the quality of the sessions they attended. Overwhelmingly, they said their committee chairs had clearly defined session goals in advance of the meeting, and they were almost unanimous in agreeing that committees were successful in accomplishing those stated goals. This speaks to the effectiveness of our committee leadership, and again confirms the high quality of the meeting content.

Overall, the meeting’s technical components garnered high marks, with average scores in the 4.5 neighborhood on a scale of 1 – 5 (with 5 being the best). However, a number of specific technical glitches were cited, include several problems with Zoom audio feeds, and we will address those with our technology partners. 

In free-form responses recognizing strengths and weaknesses of the event, our meeting planning team garnered glowing reviews once again (no surprise there!). 

A topic that earned mixed reviews, however, was food. Some loved it, others not so much, but one common request we can act on is to better inform members about when and where they can expect to be fed. In a day with back-to-back sessions, it can be challenging to plan for meals. Knowing ahead of time which sessions will provide food can mean a better meeting experience.

One quirk of this spring’s meeting that proved frustrating for a number of respondents (and likely for others who did not respond) was the late move of the board of governor’s session to Friday evening, from its usual Saturday morning time slot. This meant many of our board members missed the meeting’s traditional Friday evening reception, and with it a prime opportunity for networking and socializing. The change in session time resulted from circumstances unique to this group meeting – namely, the election of our next group co-chairs – but I do apologize to our board members (and others) for this unfortunate overlapping of important events. I don’t anticipate it will ever be repeated.

Partly in response to the survey results, and partly in response to changing circumstances, we’re now working to change a number of group meeting elements, starting with our agenda book. The agenda book for the spring meeting was just shy of 100 pages, and printing and shipping a thousand copies was a considerable cost. Many organizations have stopped printing thick meeting books in favor of a digital agenda delivered primarily by a mobile app. You’ll be hearing more about SWOG’s moves in this direction.

We’re also taking steps to streamline our process for granting educational credits. Currently, we offer Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits for many sessions, with The Hope Foundation as provider of those credits, certified through the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). 

This approach requires significant administrative work by staff at both Hope and SWOG, and we’re exploring whether having credits managed by a third-party vendor could make us more efficient in providing professional education credit opportunities to our members, across a variety of professional roles. We’ll also be expanding our efforts to ensure all members get the message that these credits are available (speaking of which – if you attended this week’s Best of SWOG at ASCO event, have claimed your CME credit yet?). 

Continually expanding our use of technology in our group meetings comes with its own challenges, but it also has the potential to improve efficiency and the member experience. Although specific virtual elements will continue to evolve, I suspect overall the hybrid group meeting is here to stay.

One of the undoubted benefits of the move to hybrid is the fact that we can now make available to our members recordings of most open sessions. If there were sessions you were unable to attend in San Francisco, check out the recordings available online. 

And to those who completed our survey – thank you. We have heard you!


Trial of the Week

S2209: Comparing Three Induction and Maintenance Therapy Combinations in Patients Newly Diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and Considered Ineligible for Transplant

This Friday’s trial of the week is SWOG’s freshest study – the S2209 trial in patients newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma and deemed too frail or otherwise ineligible for stem cell transplant.

S2209 is a three-arm phase III trial that will randomize 510 patients to 

  1. induction with VRd-lite (bortezomib, lenalidomide, dexamethasone) followed by lenalidomide maintenance or
  2. induction with DRd (daratumumab, lenalidomide, dexamethasone) followed by lenalidomide maintenance or
  3. induction with DRd followed by maintenance with lenalidomide plus daratumumab.

Dual primary objectives will compare progression-free survival in arms 1 and 2 and overall survival in arms 1 and 3. The trial includes quality-of-life objectives as well, comparing patient-reported health status at nine months and longitudinal changes in health status from baseline to nine months.

The study was activated late last month, and study chair is Sikander Ailawadhi, MD, of the Mayo Clinic Florida. Your patients newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma who have a calculated myeloma frailty indexof “frail” or “intermediate fit” may be eligible.

Learn more on the SWOG S2209 page or the CTSU S2209 page.

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