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POLICY: MASCC Study Groups

MASCC Study Groups (SG) promote and conduct research and education and develop guidelines and practice resources within specialized areas of supportive care in cancer.

General

There will be a maximum of 16 MASCC Study Groups. Adding additional Study Groups presents both potential problems in both operational capacity and management. For more information on an alternative option, please see the section “Process for Adding a Potential Subgroup to an Established SG” below.

Membership

All members of MASCC are entitled to the following benefits.

  • Members are encouraged to join up to 3 SGs of their choice.
  • A member may change SGs at any time by updating preferences in the MASCC profile.
  • Members are encouraged to complete surveys and evaluations to provide feedback on what is working well and where there are opportunities for improvement.
  • All members are expected to respect fellow members and act in a collegial manner within their own and other SGs.

MASCC Support for Study Groups

  • A Study Group Coordinator, who is available to support the SGs and SG Leadership in fulfilling their mandates and achieving annual initiatives
  • Knowledge-sharing from other SGs (minutes, annual reports)
  • Time and space at the Annual Meeting for a SG Business Meeting
  • Management of a SG list and centralized support to send out communications to SG members
  • Support from the Web and Society News Editor to help in placing SG content on the MASCC website and in the MASCC Society News.
  • Potentially, funds for projects and initiatives (e.g., guideline development)
  • A platform for holding virtual SG meetings and administrative financial support, if requested

Leadership

Each SG is led by one Chair and one Vice-Chair. The Chair retains responsibility for completion of all annual checklist items (below). The Chair may decide with the Vice-Chair(s) how to share and delegate tasks to other SG members.

Leadership Expectations for SG Chairs and Vice-Chairs

  • Prior to the MASCC Annual Meeting, the SG Chairs and Vice-Chairs should encourage abstract submission and attendance. Attendance of an average of 10 or more individuals to the annual SG meeting over a three-year period will serve to demonstrate viability and interest of of the SG.
  • SG Chairs and Vice-Chairs are expected to participate in the New Members Reception at the Annual Meeting.
  • Chairs and Vice-Chairs will communicate throughout the year to share information about MASCC initiatives and contributions to the MASCC Society News.
  • Chairs and Vice-Chairs are expected to attend the SG Leadership Meeting, which usually takes place on the day before the beginning of the Annual Meeting.
  • The Chair will submit SG Business Meeting minutes and an Annual Report following the Annual Meeting.
  • After the Annual Meeting, the Chair will also submit any appropriate workshop and parallel session proposals for the next Annual Meeting. 
  • In addition to their face-to-face Business Meeting (at the MASCC Annual Meeting), SGs should hold a meeting during the year. SGs are strongly encouraged to hold a virtual e-meeting to provide education opportunities outside of the Annual Meeting and further the mission and vision of MASCC.
  • SG leaders should solicit input on SG projects from their members.
  • SG leaders should welcome new members. The SG Coordinator can email and cc the SG leaders or the leaders can send an email themselves (template available).
  • SG leaders should encourage members to submit their research to the MASCC journal, Supportive Care in Cancer for publication.
  • SG Leaders are expected to respond to e-mails from the Board of Directors, MASCC staff and their members within 1 week.

Annual Checklist of items for Study Group Projects and Activities

During the Year

  • A minimum of one (1) project or initiative annually (e.g., research project, survey, literature review)
    • Appoint members who will be responsible for implementing the plan, timeline, etc.
    • Submit a project budget request for funding to SG Coordinator, if needed (template provided). Identify potential industry organizations or contacts that may have interest in the current SG initiative or project.
  • Offer mentorship opportunities for young investigator(s), e.g., offer awards for trainees or junior faculty members within the SG subject area).
  • Have a minimum of one E-session or E-meeting during the year.
  • Contribute a minimum of one (1) piece or feature to the MASCC Society News per year based on a pre-determined schedule.
  • Provide materials for posting on the MASCC website (including all of the Study Group’s ongoing studies and online surveys).
  • Alert the Web Editor or Study Group Coordinator about any newly published books authored by a MASCC member and other relevant material, such as websites and publications in journals with a high impact factor.
  • Identify a SG representative for social media and develop posts and hashtags for the group.
  • Respond to other support requested by the SG Coordinator or Executive Director or others (e.g., manuscripts sent by the Editor) as needed.

January-February of Each Year

  • If applicable, submit a Study Group Leader Application form and CV, and provide feedback on applicants as advised by the SG Coordinator.

May-June of Each Year

  • Every year, 3 SGs will make a presentation at the June Board of Directors meeting and SG Leadership meeting. If requested, prepare a presentation to illustrate and share the work of the SG. 
  • Consider topics and an agenda for the annual SG Business Meeting and SG Leadership Meeting. 
  • Lead the SG Business Meeting (or arrange for a delegate to do so, if unable to attend).

July-August of Each Year

  • Produce the following and send to the SG Coordinator no later than 30 days following the Annual Meeting: 
    • Minutes from annual Study Group meeting
    • Annual report (template provided). 
  • Consider applications for workshops and parallel sessions at the Annual Meeting. It is strongly encouraged that SGs work with other SGs and propose joint workshops. 
  • Provide the Planning Committee with input for the selection of topics and speakers. 
  • Discuss with SG members whether there is anyone influential at the following year’s meeting location who should be approached to participate in the Annual Meeting or Local Organizing Committee.

September-October of Each Year

  • Submit the SG Operational Budget Form, if needed (template provided).
  • Compile a list of SG members who will review abstracts in their areas of expertise for the Annual Meeting within four weeks once requested by MASCC.

Leadership Composition and Terms

  • The composition of the SG leadership team should be one Chair and one Vice-Chair. There should be one clearly defined Chair leading the group. (This change is effective as of July 2018. In accordance with the previous Study Group Policy, SGs with two Vice-Chairs can choose to complete their full two 3-year terms. Once completed the SG will be expected to have only one Vice-Chair moving forward.) 
  • The term of office is 3 years with consideration for one 3-year renewal. The Chair can serve for no more than two (2) consecutive terms. 
  • The Chair is not eligible for the position of Vice-Chair immediately following his/her term as Chair within the same SG. This policy is in the spirit of ensuring that opportunities for leadership are available to other SG members and to allow for succession planning purposes. 
  • An individual cannot be Chair of more than one Study Group simultaneously. 
  • Every leader must be a MASCC member in good standing for at least one year at the time of application.
  • When possible, the Vice-Chair will be from a country and region different from that of the Chair. 
  • SG Chairs and Vice-Chairs are to sign a Conflict of Interest document annually. 
  • The Chair and Vice-Chair understand that, if they are not able to fulfill their roles and responsibilities, they may be asked by the President to cede their position to another MASCC member.

Election Process for Chair and Vice-Chair

  • When the Chair or Vice-Chair’s first term is ending, the person will be notified by the Study Group Coordinator to determine whether they are interested in serving for a second 3-year term. 
    • This renewal process will involve completing the SG Leader Application form and submitting it, along with a recent CV, to the SG Coordinator. The renewal application will be reviewed and approved by the MASCC Executive Committee. 
  • When the Chair’s second term is finished, the SG Coordinator will circulate the Study Group Leader Application form to all SG members about 6 months prior to the Annual Meeting in order to allow all interested members the opportunity to apply for a SG Leadership position. The previous Vice-Chair will be eligible to apply for the Chair position; his/her performance as Vice-Chair will be taken into account. Applications must be reviewed and approved by the MASCC Executive Committee. 
  • When it is time to select new leaders for a Study Group, the SG Chair and the SG Coordinator will circulate the SG Leader Application form to group members about 6 months before the Annual Meeting. Anyone who is interested in becoming either a Chair or Vice-Chair should complete the form and send it to the SG Coordinator, along with a CV. While the decisions will be reviewed and approved by the MASCC Executive Committee, the SG Leadership will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the applications.

Disbanding of Study Groups

Because of the evolving interest for different SG topics, the productivity and value of each individual SG is an important assessment to ensure that SGs are viable and those that are no longer of interest to our members are disbanded to allow opportunities for new SGs. The Minutes and Annual Report will be reviewed by the Study Group Coordinator and the MASCC Executive Committee annually. The Executive Committee will review and decide on whether a SG should be put on a one-year probation period or be disbanded.

Process for Adding a Potential Subgroup to an Established SG

  1. The originator approaches the appropriate SG Chair. If the SG Chair approves the proposal, the Chair then provides an email of support to the SG Coordinator and requests the addition of a Subgroup, providing the criteria below are met. An application (form provided) is sent to SG Coordinator for review and final approval must be obtained by the Executive Committee.
  2. If approved, the new Subgroup is assigned to the tenured SG for a trial period of up to 3 years.
  3. As assigned, the Subgroup Chair and Vice-Chair must report on the progress of the Subgroup in an Annual Report similar to that of the parent SG’s leaders.
  4. At the end of a 3-year period, an assessment of the new Subgroup will be provided to the SG Coordinator by the parent SG’s leaders. The Chair and Vice-Chair of the parent SG should evaluate the Subgroup and provide a report to the Executive Committee.
  5. If determination is made that the Subgroup can stand on its own, then it is reasonable to allow the mentored Subgroup to become independent as a new SG. This must be approved by the Executive Committee and full Board of Directors. If both the Executive Committee and Board of Directors approve, an existing SG that has not been active might be disbanded to accommodate the new SG and keep the total number of SGs to 16.

Benchmarks for a New Subgroup’s Success:

  • Active participation and submission at the Annual Meetings (workshops, parallel sessions, poster reviewers, etc.) through the assigned SG. 
  • Completion of all requirements of SG leadership with regular management and leadership of Subgroup (status reports, business meetings at Annual Meeting, etc.). 
  • A minimum of one (1) project or initiative (e.g., research project, survey, literature review, guidelines) must be produced by the end of the trial period.

MC/CL/LJ/TC Revised October 15, 2018

Leslie Johnson, Study Group Coordinator