ASCO Connection

July 2017

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Dr. Johnson currently directs the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Lung Cancer Program, a cooperative effort that includes seven Harvard- affiliated schools and institutions. He is engaged in translational research on patients with adenocarcinoma of the lung. ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS Dr. Johnson attended medical school at the University of Minnesota, and did his first oncology rotation during his third year. "I got to see what it was like to take care of patients with cancer and what it took for someone to be cured," said Dr. Johnson. With that experience, he said, he was sure he wanted to be an oncologist. His aunt's diagnosis only made him more certain of his path. Throughout his medical training, Dr. Johnson worked with some of the leading oncology minds of the time. During medical school he studied under mentor Clara D. Bloomfield, MD, FASCO, a renowned expert in the study of lymphoma and leukemia at the Masonic Can- cer Center in Minnesota. He did his postgraduate training at the University of Chicago from 1979 to 1982, where he worked with Harvey M. Golomb, MD, FASCO, who would be elected ASCO president in 1990. During his fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Dr. Johnson worked with Daniel C. Ihde, MD, on his first research abstract, which he presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting in 1985. His abstract, which focused on long-term survivors of small-cell lung cancer, was selected as one of the top abstracts for the entire meeting, which opened up an exciting opportunity: he was invited to the European Society for Medical Oncology in Nice, France. "In my last fellowship year, my first year of faculty, I was able to travel internationally," said Dr. Johnson. "I really enjoyed the scientific energy, even from those early days, and it only grew over the years." Dr. Johnson's passion for the sci- ence and rapidly evolving nature of cancer research spurred him to look for ways that he could contribute more to the field. Thanks to the help of his mentor, Dr. Bloomfield, he didn't have to look for long. Dr. Bloomfield introduced him to the ASCO Scientific Program Committee in 1988, while she was serving as its chair, which led to a long record of ASCO volunteer service. Over the course of his membership, Dr. John- son has served as chair for five dif- ferent committees, and been a mem- ber on numerous others. He cites his work on the Cancer Education and Scientific Program Committees as some of the most enjoyable experi- ences with the Society. "The Scientific Program Committee is the leading venue for the latest scientific findings in cancer," said Dr. Johnson. "The reason I went into the field was that I thought the treat- ments weren't good enough yet, and I always wanted to be at a research institution where we take the existing treatments and make them better." Having been an ASCO member for over 30 years, Dr. Johnson recount- ed the dramatic changes the Society has undergone since he joined. One constant, he noted, is the dedication of its mission-driven staff. "The staff is very professional and supportive of the needs of the Society, and most of us continue to be inspired by how hard they work and their commitment to ASCO's mission," he said. "The thing that inspires me about being an ASCO member and participating in the organization is being able to inter- act with the staff. It's consistent throughout, and it allows you to see excellence in our organization." AN EMPHASIS ON PRECISION MEDICINE For the theme that will guide his presidential term, Dr. Johnson selected "Delivering Discoveries: Expanding the Reach of Precision Medicine," which highlights the importance of making precision medicine accessible to every patient with cancer. His plan involves pro- viding clinical decision support to providers, as well as developing easier ways for them to stay abreast of genomic information so that they For the theme that will guide his presidential term, Dr. Johnson selected "Delivering Discoveries: Expanding the Reach of Precision Medicine," which highlights the importance of making precision medicine accessible to every patient with cancer. 20ā€‚Iā€‚07.2017

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