While modern-day medicine and advances in technology (e.g., artificial intelligence, CRISPER, immunotherapies, etc.) may make today an exciting time to practice oncology and/or hematology, these innovations are offset by a sobering reality—escalating burnout rates among healthcare professionals, pushing many to leave the field of medicine in its entirety.
This situation has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as healthcare professionals everywhere were required to take on more work, lacked adequate personal protective equipment, and did so in the face of the short- and long-term (some of which are still unknown) impacts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. One of the biggest challenges that cancer programs and practices will face over the next decade is the health and well-being of the oncology workforce as they transition into healthcare operations post-pandemic.
Olalekan Ajayi, PharmD, MBA, chief operating officer at Highlands Oncology Group, PA, was named president of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) on Friday, March 10, at the ACCC 49th Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit (#AMCCBS). Dr. Ajayi shared his excitement with #AMCCBS attendees on being able to focus ACCC’s time and resources over the next year on the oncology workforce. This includes mentoring a new generation of leaders and diversifying cancer care teams to ensure better representation of the different communities within which patients live.
His 2023-2024 ACCC President’s Theme is titled: (Re)Building the Oncology Workforce to Deliver Next Generation Cancer Care. "One of the greatest challenges we face over the next decade is related to our oncology workforce. Specifically, will we have enough providers and staff to support and deliver lifesaving treatments to patients?" Dr. Ajayi asked.
To accomplish this goal, over the next 12 months, ACCC will focus its time and resources to:
"Making healthcare—particularly lifesaving care like [anti-]cancer treatment—accessible to everyone should be our calling,” Dr. Ajayi stated. “Whether we are talking about race, geography, age, socio-economic status, or any other individual characteristics. What is better than having providers who reflect the communities where they live and work, providers with cultural humility and the desire to understand what their patients value, and providers who can walk a mile in their patient's shoes? Those are the providers we need to rebuild our oncology workforce; those are the providers who will succeed in delivering next generation care."
The resources and tools that will be developed in conjunction with Dr. Ajayi's 2023-2024 President's Theme will be posted to the ACCC website as they become available. Stay tuned!
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