Dr. Sameer Keole
July 20, 2023 — The members of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) recently elected three new officers to ASTRO’s Board of Directors, including Sameer Keole, MD, FASTRO, as President-elect; Wendy Woodward, MD, PhD, FASTRO, as Science Council Vice Chair; and Vivek S. Kavadi, MD, MBA, FASTRO, as Health Policy Council Vice Chair. The officers will begin their terms in October during ASTRO’s 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego.
During his four-year term on the Presidential track, Dr. Keole will represent the society’s 10,000 members, who include physicians, physicists, biologists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists, nurses and other professionals involved in radiation oncology care. Dr. Keole will serve one year as President-elect, followed by a year as President where he will oversee the 2025 ASTRO Annual Meeting; he then will serve one-year terms as Board Chair and Immediate Past Chair. Dr. Woodward and Dr. Kavadi will serve two-year terms as Vice Chairs, followed by two-year terms as Chairs of their respective councils.
Dr. Keole is a radiation oncologist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona and also sees patients at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. He focuses on treating pediatric patients as well as adults diagnosed with brain, spine and other central nervous system tumors. He previously served on the ASTRO Board as head of the Government Relations Council, helping lead ASTRO’s work with Congress and other policymakers on prior authorization and Medicare payment reform. Dr. Keole is a longtime champion of fair reimbursement for physicians from all practice settings, and he will continue this advocacy as ASTRO works to implement the recently introduced Radiation Oncology Case Rates (ROCR) program with a goal to achieve payment stability through legislative action.
In addition to efforts on the Hill, Dr. Keole will focus on boosting collaboration within radiation oncology and with other oncology fields, focusing on policies that support physicians in both community and academic practices. “Excellent clinical care can be provided in any practice setting, and innovations in how we treat cancer can be achieved in many different environments,” he said. “I am confident that by working together, we can make significant progress in the fight against cancer for the benefit of patients worldwide.”
Other priorities for Dr. Keole include increasing partnerships with industry and other stakeholders on radiopharmaceuticals; looking more closely at the impact of workforce issues on early career physicians; and drawing attention to the role of radiation therapy for patients with non-malignant conditions. “More than one million people receive radiation therapy each year to treat cancer, and potentially many more could benefit from this important modality,” he said.
Dr. Wendy Woodward, the new Science Council Vice Chair, is a professor and interim Chair of breast radiation oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she also serves as Executive Director of the Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Clinic and Research Program. A leading expert in the treatment and biology of breast cancer, Dr. Woodward leads a federally funded translational research lab, co-leads translational science efforts related to breast cancer for NRG Oncology and is a member of the Breast Oncology Local Disease Task Group of the NCI breast cancer steering committee working group. During her Board tenure, Dr. Woodward will help direct ASTRO's scientific initiatives, including its grant and fellowship programs for early-career researchers. "With efforts to strengthen the innovation ecosystem, foster diverse research teams, increase collaboration and partnership, and support health services research, we can drive meaningful advancement in radiation oncology," said Dr. Woodward.
Dr. Vivek Kavadi, the incoming Health Policy Council Vice Chair, is Chief Radiation Oncology Officer for the US Oncology Network and a radiation oncologist at Texas Oncology. He is also the current Chair of ASTRO’s Health Policy Committee and Payer Relations Committee. In his Board role, Dr. Kavadi will continue his longstanding advocacy of payment reform for radiation oncology, helping lead ASTRO’s efforts to implement the Radiation Oncology Case Rates (ROCR) payment program, as well as the Society’s work to reduce prior authorization hurdles that can unnecessarily delay cancer treatment. “Physician advocacy is key to raising awareness of the financial and administrative pressures facing radiation oncology today,” said Dr. Kavadi. “We can help policymakers truly understand the impact of what they put into law."
In addition, Dr. Ronald Ennis, the immediate past Chair of ASTRO’s Government Relations Council, has returned to the role to replace Dr. Gopal Bajaj, who recently stepped down from the Board of Directors. ASTRO members also elected three individuals to join the Society’s Nominating Committee:
- Nominating Committee - Academic Physician: Stephanie Terezakis, MD, University of Minnesota
- Nominating Committee - Community Practice Physician: Arshin Sheybani, MD, John Stoddard Cancer Center
- Nominating Committee - Radiation or Cancer Biologist: Deborah Citrin, MD, FASTRO, National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute