#BCSM at The American Society of Breast Surgeons

We have a seat at the table.

For patient advocates and survivors there can be no greater achievement. When Alicia and I arrived last week in Las Vegas for the American Society of Breast Surgeons 15th Annual Conference to join Deanna Attai, MD, we had no idea we were about to be swept into an organization that was ready, waiting and primed for patient advocates. We  had no idea that we were about to meet one physician after another eager to hear what we, as patients, survivors, and advocates, had to say. But we did.

It is difficult to pin down the many factors that drove the progressive, patient-centered agenda. This is a group of physicians interested in the latest scientific information, and passionate about taking that information back to their practices to help their patients. They are interested not only in the patient experience, but how to incorporate quality and outcomes measures into all that they do. They want to hear from us.

Jody Alicia RickyAll we really know is that both together and separately, we felt like rock stars arriving on the first stop of a global tour.

The conference will be remembered as the year that social media and patients came to town.  Both were new for the organization.  On Thursday morning Dr. Attai gave a rapid-fire, super informative session on “Social Media for Your Practice” to a room of more than 200 surgeons — some of whom opened twitter accounts during her session.   Friday morning we rolled on with a doctor-patient panel with Drs Attai, Mike Cowher and I talking to a smaller group on social media for your practice.  My presentation was share the patient’s perspective — what do we want from docs on social media?  I expressed my thoughts, and from the feedback received, I am convinced that we have made significant inroads.

But that was only the start.  Friday night’s poster session (which is part of a reception at ASBrS so it’s relaxed, social and informative) featured our initial work with #BCSM with hints of places we’re planning to go.  Then on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Drs. Attai and Cowher moderated live tweeting for the first-time ever with questions gathered — via tweet stream — for the panels on the stage.

BCSM Poster and Authors







Alicia SelfieAnd some conferences leave the best to last.  Alicia Staley brought the house down with her presentation on “Patient Advocacy 2.0” — a reference we’ll explain  — and the game-changing moment when she started her address with a selfie of her at the podium, with a packed room of breast surgeons behind her.  That’s a seat at the table.  Priceless.

Me and ChipThis was a big occasion.  We not only came away with the patient voice assertive and clear from the stage, but are fortunate enough to work in partnership with Deanna Attai, MD, who was appointed President elect of the organization at Friday’s business meeting. You have an idea for her vision from what you’ve already seen from her:  patient-centered partnerships, mutual respect, and quality measures where the the entire patient experience can be measured and perfected.  This is the shape of things to come. Stay tuned because we’re just now getting our feet in the water.



Ann Fonfa

Date: 12 May, 2014

Great work and an excellent report. (Sent from China where I will give a talk on Integrative Oncology from the patient perspective as part of Cancer the Next Decade. Also a talk about my personal experiences).