March 1 and 2 mark a special time for the Cancer Center. On these days, we will be hosting a group of 11 recognized leaders in oncology research that constitute our External Advisory Board.
These internationally and nationally renowned experts are assembled from 11 NCI-designated cancer centers dispersed throughout the nation. Our EAB brings extensive experience and knowledge to bear on our behalf as we continue our quest for designation by the National Cancer Institute.
This will be the third meeting under Jonathan Licht, M.D., since his arrival and is unique because, for the first time in the center’s history, our EAB will be reviewing narratives we have written that make up the sections of the Cancer Center Support Grant, which we will be submitting to the NCI next year — a true milestone in our quest for designation.
Our EAB is made up of prominent senior leaders from cancer centers that are also accomplished investigators across the entire scientific continuum. The EAB convenes at least annually to assess our scientific progress toward the programmatic goals we have laid out in our Strategic Plan.
We ask them to critically review the narratives they have been assigned, and listen to the presentations given at the full-day visit. Based on their review of the assigned section, they will ask penetrating questions and offer their opinion on how to address areas needing attention. Overall, they are here to help us through constructive criticism, and their advice is taken to heart.
Every cancer center has an EAB. The size and structure may vary, but the core responsibilities and purpose is quite similar across all centers. The group of distinguished cancer scientists and administrators comprising an EAB meets for a daylong review at least once annually with center leadership to review progress of research programs, evaluate supported shared resources to facilitate cancer research and assess the center’s ability to translate scientific discoveries to novel treatments.
Each of these is an expectation of the EAB, and they will provide a verbal review the day of the review and a written report shortly after the visit. The report becomes a blueprint of action items requiring demonstrable responses from us to ensure we prepare the best application possible and be ready for when NCI comes for a site visit after the grant is submitted for review.