Dana-Farber Launches Cancer Education Initiative

Armen Hareyan's picture

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School, is launching a national continuing medical education (CME) course to bring the latest science and guidelines to community and sub-specialist oncologists engaged in patient care.

Dana-Farber will kickoff its first program, the Master Class for Oncologists, under the direction of Robert J. Mayer, MD, as course chair. Mayer is director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology at Dana-Farber. He also is the Stephen B. Kay Family Professor of Medicine and associate dean of admissions at Harvard Medical School, and a former president of ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology).

"Furthering the practice of cancer care and research through education is a central part of Dana-Farber's mission," says Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD, president of Dana-Farber. "Through the master course program's combination of online courses and live meetings, we hope to make it more convenient for oncologists to participate in continuing medical education courses."

Benz said that in addition to members of the Dana-Farber faculty teaching the courses, he would like to eventually include faculty from the other Harvard teaching hospitals.

Seventy-eight percent of oncologists rely on continuing medical education specifically to stay current on new treatment options. Oncologists earn an average of 93 CME hours a year, with 66 percent citing new medications or developments as prompts to seek CME.1 The first program, Master Class for Oncologists, is an 18-month program delivered on-line and in live programs. Components are based on the latest advances in research and treatment, covering four "tracks": gastrointestinal cancer, breast cancer, upper respiratory malignancies, and hematologic malignancies based on validated gaps in clinical care and patient care needs.


"The curriculum is tailored to community oncologists needing education on a variety of subspecialty areas in oncology, and to sub-specialists needing great depth within their respective sub-specialty," says Mayer who is also the vice-chair for academic affairs in the Department of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber.

Research has shown that physician learning outcomes are higher when delivered by a multi-channel curriculum. The Masters Class will combine on-line CME, convenient and accessible at point of care, and engaging live meetings, providing real-time interaction.

The first of eight live programs will be on October 3-4, 2008 in Los Angeles, with one more live meeting scheduled in New York on October 24-25, 2008. Six more live programs are scheduled for 2009. These two-day events will use a team-based teaching approach. Track directors moderate each track, poll the room for current clinical challenges, present the interactive session and moderate a question, and answer panel with presenting faculty.

Live meeting participants also will have access to the clinical trial education room, where clinicians can meet one-on-one with leading industry's researchers to discuss the latest advancements in the field of oncology. Additionally, CME users will have access to a range of options available on the Web site, including podcasts.

Dana-Farber Master Class for Oncologists' logistics and accreditation partner is Pri-Med, a global provider of educational solutions. Pri-Med Institute is the accreditation arm and will further support the initiative by focusing attendee recruitment on practicing oncologists and conducting in-depth outcomes research.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (www.dana-farber.org) is a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and is among the leading cancer research and care centers in the United States. It is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute.