If your work touches those who have cancer, you have a place within ASCO.
That’s the message that the organization, during its 48 years, has gotten across in many ways, not the least of which is its membership categories, which have expanded right along with the field of cancer care.
“ASCO is unique in that we are the only organization that encompasses all oncology specialties, allowing our members to grow from the professional and personal expertise of their colleagues worldwide and across disciplines,” said Allen S. Lichter, MD, ASCO chief executive officer.
ASCO membership is available to a broad constituency both in the United States and abroad, from oncologists of all subspecialties to researchers, nurses, radiologists, practice managers, fellows, and as of very recently, to medical students. As new categories have been created, ASCO member volunteers and staff have worked to come up with appealing benefits tailored to each group, including grant opportunities and specific educational offerings.
ASCO currently has 31,276 oncology professionals represented in its membership, a 70% increase from just a decade ago. Most of its membership categories have existed since just after the organization’s inception, but a few are new.
Medical Students, Come Aboard
To help foster a new generation of oncologists, in 2011 a new category was approved for medical students, medical residents, graduate students, and undergraduate students who are enrolled in a biomedical, nursing, or allied health program and who have a predominant interest in the biology, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of human cancer. Members in this category, Student/Non-Oncology Resident, pay no annual dues and get a subscription to The ASCO Post (TAP), as well as significant discounts on the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) and the Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP) ($50 each, an 83% savings on JCO and 60% on JOP).
Another fairly new category, the International Corresponding membership category, was created in 2004. This category is offered to physicians in countries with low per capita income as defined by the World Bank list of economies. To benefit these members, ASCO offers a sliding dues scale from $50 to $210, and membership includes free, full-text online-only subscriptions to JCO, JOP, and TAP, in addition to savings of up to 60% off the nonmember registration rate at the ASCO Annual Meeting. These applicants have the option of joining ASCO as a Full Member or an International Corresponding Member.
Full Member: Still the
The largest membership category is that of Full Member, constituting 65% of ASCO’s membership. Oncologists from every specialty are welcomed as Full Members and receive JCO, JOP, and TAP with their membership. Annual dues for Full Members are $550. All physicians eligible for Full membership who are within 3 years of completion of an approved oncology subspecialty training program qualify for discounted dues of $295 for those 3 years.
Another popular category is that of Member in Training. Twelve percent of ASCO’s membership belongs to this category, which is available at no cost to physicians and other health professionals at the doctoral level who are participating in a subspecialty training program in oncology or another field that would lead to eligibility for Full or Allied Physician/Doctoral Scientist membership. Membership includes a subscription to TAP and discounts on subscriptions to JCO and JOP, as well as discounted registration for the ASCO Annual Meeting and ASCO symposia and savings of 20% to 50% off all ASCO educational products and resources.
Nononcologists: Pleased to be Part of the Family
Seven percent of ASCO’s membership belongs to the Allied Physician/Doctoral Scientist membership category. Vivian Weinberg, PhD, biostatistician at UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Francisco is in that number. She’s been an ASCO member for over 30 years and in that time has held leadership positions on committees, a role she was pleased to take on because of the recognition for the need to consider statistical integrity in oncology research.
“ASCO has always been important to me professionally,” she said. “The organization has always recognized that people from different disciplines bring their own strengths and abilities, and that each role is valuable.”
The Allied Physician/Doctoral Scientist membership category is available to physicians and other health professionals at the doctoral level (such as epidemiologists, biostatisticians, public health specialists, nurses, and other scientists) or individuals with equivalent academic ranks who are not eligible for Full membership and who have a predominant interest in the biology, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of human cancer. Annual dues are $150. Membership includes subscriptions to TAP and JOP, as well as substantially discounted member access to JCO in print and online.
Useful Tools Created for Affiliated Health Professionals
A small but important portion (4%) of the membership falls within the Affiliated Health Professional membership category. This category is available to oncology nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, practice management professionals, and other health specialists who devote a majority of their professional activity to the care and treatment of patients with cancer. Recognizing the important role that practice management professionals and other health-care specialists have in delivering quality care, ASCO has built a wide range of products and benefits for members in this category to help them provide the most effective cancer care. For example, these members have access to a variety of electronic health records tools, practice quality programs like the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®), and ASCO’s Coding and Reimbursement Hotline.
To join ASCO, no matter which membership category applies to you, visit benefits.asco.org. For personal service, contact ASCO Member Services at (703) 299-0158, (888) 282-2552, or firstname.lastname@example.org. ■
© 2012. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.