New Fellows Selected for ASCO’s Health Policy Fellowship Program

New Fellows Selected for ASCO’s Health Policy Fellowship Program

Dr. Alexander L. Chin, credit Stuart A Watson Photography
Dr. Joanna C. Yang
ASCO has selected two new physicians for its Health Policy Fellowship, which began accepting applications in October 2016. This year’s fellows are Joanna C. Yang, MD, and Alexander L. Chin, MD, MBA. The program will run from July 2017 through July 2018. Dr. Yang and Dr. Chin are preceded by Robert M. Daly, MD, MBA, and Steve Y. Lee, MD, who were selected as fellows for the program’s inaugural year.

The ASCO Health Policy Fellowship Program, aimed at oncologists in the early phases of their careers, is designed for physicians who want to develop their civic, policy, or advocacy experience and skills in order to shape cancer policy.

“We had the opportunity to head to Capitol Hill to discuss issues important to oncology with our legislators from New York, and as we talked to both Republicans and Democrats, we learned how to shape our message in the specific ways we needed to get our point across,” Dr. Lee said, reflecting back on his experience as a fellow.

“As I walked through the halls of Congress as an advocate for ASCO, I was thinking about my patients back home, how these laws or regulations were going to affect them, and how I could best advocate on their behalf. It has been a deep education for me on a lot of different aspects of policy making,” Dr. Daly said.

The ASCO Health Policy Fellowship Program is comprised of several components, including:

  • Active participation in policy development for high-impact issues in oncology;
  • Small-group teaching sessions delivered by ASCO professionals and qualified volunteers on topics such as the Congressional authorization/
    appropriation process, U.S. Food and Drug Administration organization and regulatory authority, drug and device approval processes, and payment-reform initiatives;
  • Training in communication and leadership skills, as well as advocacy strategies; and
  • A mentored research project that advances or leverages an ASCO policy initiative.

Dr. Alexander L. Chin

Dr. Chin is currently a resident physician in Radiation Oncology at Stanford Health Care. He graduated with a dual MD/MBA in Health Care Management from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and The Wharton School. It was during business school working as a management consultant that Dr. Chin became interested in health care policy.

As he developed long-term strategic initiatives for a large national hospital system, he thought about how costs and quality of care could be improved for all patients with cancer. As a consultant, he gained experience analyzing historical and projected trends in provider and payer organization, with a focus on how stakeholders were responding to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and to the implementation of alternative payment models.

Dr. Chin has continued this interest in health care policy at Stanford Hospital, where as a member of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Subspecialty Drug Subcommittee, he works on a team that evaluates the safety, efficacy, and cost of medications to ensure optimal value for patients.

As a health policy fellow, Dr. Chin said that he is looking forward to “being a part of the next generation of oncologists helping to shape health care legislation that ensures appropriate treatment and optimal value for all patients with cancer.”

He hopes that he will be able to “have a hand in influencing policy to best align incentives for patients, payers, and providers to maximize the delivery of high-quality, low-cost health care,” he said.

Dr. Joanna C. Yang

Dr. Yang is a resident in radiation oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). She graduated with her medical degree from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and completed a transitional year internship at MSKCC.

She also completed a year of clinical research with MSKCC, where she examined novel uses of radiation therapy to manage pediatric cancers. It was during this time that she started to realize that health care was rapidly changing and that she needed to do something “to take an active role in influencing policy,” she said. But because most oncologists, including herself, aren’t trained in health care policy, she said that she felt “inadequately prepared to take on this role.”

That’s when she started to consider the ASCO Health Policy Fellowship Program.

“I was interested in the program because I thought it would provide me with the experience I needed to be an effective agent of policy change,” Dr. Yang said.

Dr. Yang said she hopes the program will help her understand how to shape cancer health care policy so that “oncologist and patient interests are accounted for adequately.”

“The costs of cancer care are rapidly rising, and I am interested in quantitatively comparing treatment options to find the most effective and cost-effective outcomes for patients. My goal is to translate these findings into policy changes that will influence practice patterns,” Dr. Yang said.

The application period for the 2018 to 2019 program will open in October 2017. Please visit asco.org for more details.

–Danielle Prieur