June 6, 2003

Johnson ready to lead organization

Featured Image

Dr. David Johnson

Johnson ready to lead organization

CHICAGO — Dr. David Johnson, deputy director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and president-elect of the largest clinical oncology organization in the world, never forgets the perspective of the cancer patient.

It’s a role he knows only too well himself. Johnson, who officially became president elect at the 39th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, was treated for lymphoma more than a dozen years ago.

“I am a cancer survivor,” Johnson told fellow cancer survivor Selma Shimmel, broadcaster and host of The Group Room, an international radio talk show about cancer- and cancer-survivorship related issues. “That experience as the recipient of health care changed my perspective as a provider of health care. It has had a major impact on how I view this disease and how I relate to my patients.”

In one of his first official duties as president-elect, Johnson appeared on The Group Room during its live broadcast from ASCO’s meeting on Sunday, June 1.

Johnson will become president of ASCO in 2004, a role in which he will guide an organization that includes more than 20,000 members, more than half of them from outside the United States.

“As president, I plan to stick to the core values of the organization,” Johnson told Shimmel and her international radio broadcast and Webcast audience. “The focus is on the patient, and rightfully so. ASCO is an organization dedicated to the research that improves patient care — and by improving patient care, I don’t mean only extending survival but also improving quality of life and preventing cancer. That includes a major emphasis on reducing exposure to tobacco exposure.”

At this meeting, ASCO announced a revised policy regarding use of tobacco that included strong statements by ASCO representatives, including the characterization of tobacco as a “the only weapon of mass destruction” used in virtually every nation in the world.

Johnson told Shimmel that his “passion and vision” is to enhance the education not only of all cancer health care providers but also patients and families as well.

He also cited partnerships with other medical societies in other parts of the world as among the priorities to improve the level of cancer education, research and care around the globe.