Impressions of a NACCDO-PAMN Conference First-Time Attendee

By Joy Sutherland, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

In my role as a marketing communications strategist, I work with other members of our communications team and our referral office to highlight the clinical research protocols offered at St. Jude.

Our involvement with PAMN is relatively new and was spurred by our recent Cancer Center grant renewal. For the first time, members of our communications team were involved in the renewal process. This learning experience led to our desire to attend the 2019 NACCDO-PAMN Annual Conference in Oklahoma City. I was excited to represent our team since my responsibilities with physician marketing strategy seemed to fit well with the agenda. I was also extremely grateful to find out I made it through the registration wait list!

The conference certainly exceeded my expectations. I was impressed with the thoughtful attention to detail that made the event run so smoothly and the diversity of the participating cancer centers. Kudos to the Stephenson Cancer Center team for a well-planned, informative event! The sessions were helpful to me, and my only regret is that I could not split myself in two to attend more than one session at a time. I also appreciated the chance to network with fellow PAMN members as well as the sponsors.

Since my return to Memphis, I have discussed with my colleagues many of the ideas and best practices gleaned from the conference. I have also shared the experience with our leadership to demonstrate the importance of our continued involvement with PAMN. A few key takeaways included:

  1. We take for granted that everyone knows what an NCI Cancer Center is and what it signifies. Identify the uniqueness of our center.
  2. Our promotional initiatives should showcase the impact of our research.
  3. The NCI offers multiple resources, including courtesy press release review and a new digital toolkit.
  4. In addition to PAMN, opportunities to share our content include Cancer Currents blog, AACR Cancer Research Catalyst blog, the AACI newsletter, webinars and Cancer Today magazine.
  5. While the cancer centers differ in many ways, we share similar goals and challenges. We can learn from each other, including best practices for referring physician communication and social media.

My positive experience has cemented our decision to become more involved with PAMN, and we look forward to bringing more of our team members to the 2020 conference at Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario. (Thanks to the creative team at Roswell Park, we will be Canada-ready!)

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