I always get a little sad in December. To start with, my birthday is in September, and I’m not getting any younger. It’s also the end of the year, and I have to face the fact that I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to. Finally, I walk into my clinic each day realizing that this will be the last holiday season for many of my patients. That’s a part of the circle of life, but it never seems right at this time of year.
This December, though, I have something new to distract me from these realities. First, in January we’re going to launch a new format for JNCCN. We put a lot of thought into this, and I really hope that it’s something that you, our readers, will embrace. Of course, we’re still going to publish the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) and related reviews. But we’re also going to publish more examples of putting molecular medicine into practice. Further, we will focus the publication on the highest quality original research in the areas of health services, outcomes, quality improvement, and policy. In addition, at least for 2015, we’ll have one really special extra feature.
This coming year, 2015, is the 20th anniversary of the founding of NCCN. Under the leadership of Joe Simone, MD, 13 institutions banded together with the goal of identifying strategies to protect our academic missions in oncology. If you weren’t part of the discussion at the time, you might be surprised at NCCN’s original goals. In fact, as we charted our strategy, one of the first initiatives was to harmonize practice across the institutions. From this, the NCCN Guidelines were born.
As a founding board member, I’ve been privileged to watch the growth, maturation, and evolution of NCCN over 2 decades. We’ve done many things very well and have struggled with other issues, as all organizations do. And we’ve grown! NCCN now has 25 Member Institutions, with many other institutions waiting to join the queue. Even though NCCN isn’t quite what we originally envisioned, it’s been a clear success story by any measurement.
To celebrate this anniversary, throughout 2015, JNCCN will feature a guest editorial each month from individuals who have special insights on NCCN. Most of these editorials will be contributions from former and current NCCN leaders, giving us a collection of viewpoints with both historical and future perspectives. Of course, we’ll ask Joe Simone to kick this off. I think you will find these commentaries rich with thoughtful perspectives about NCCN, our academic institutions, and the bigger world of oncology, both in science and in the community.
I think it’s important to sit back from time to time and look at where you’ve been and think about where you’re going. We’ll devote time next year just for that. And maybe when December rolls around again, I’ll feel just a little bit better.