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NCI/ASCO Teams Meeting Offers Unique Approach to Developing Research

The NCI/ASCO teams in cancer care delivery initiative is focused on creating groups of clinicians and team scientists who work together to identify gaps and ways to improve clinical problems that involve clinical teams. Last spring, groups were formed that identified a specific population and set of challenges in teamwork and then met to discuss these topics in August.  Groups then began drafting manuscripts for submission to a special issue in the Journal of Oncology Practice. 

The NCI/ASCO Teams in Cancer Care Delivery Workshop on February 25, 2016, which was held in Phoenix, AZ in conjunction with the ASCO Quality of Care symposium, provided a platform for a selected group of authors to present a synopsis of their project to about 100 attendees.  Those projects were then discussed in small groups that represented a cross-section of attendees to provide feedback to authors. I was involved in one of the selected author groups that developed a project and also participated in the day-long interactions that included presentations and discussions.  

I thought the meeting provided an intriguing and very action-oriented approach to developing this kind of work, particularly as team science is an entirely novel concept to most of the clinical care teams who are grappling with it. The presentations themselves were very interesting and hopefully discussions that occurred in the individual breakouts provided useful input. It also seems that each group is still in its infancy in thinking about approaches to solving challenges in team care and that makes sense given how new this field is for the vast majority of people who were participating. In general, I think it is challenging to move an entire field (e.g., clinicians involved in care of cancer patients) to understand a different field (i.e., team science) in such a fast-tracked way. But I believe that this is the beginning of defining a new multidisciplinary, applied science. I am very curious about how the feedback will be taken up by author groups and ultimately incorporated into journal articles. I am also curious about what the steps will be once the special journal issue is published. 

Ashley Wilder Smith, PhD, MPH; Chief, Outcomes Research Branch