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Behind the Scenes: Q&A with National Conference Co-Chairs

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Learn the latest advances in brain tumor treatment and care at the nation’s largest brain tumor conference, happening virtually on Friday, Sept. 9 – Saturday, Sept. 10. Registration is offered at no cost.

Each year, the ABTA National Conference brings together more than a thousand patients, caregivers, and survivors to learn from the nation’s leading experts, ask questions, and interact with the community.

Nancy Ann Oberheim Bush, MD, PhD, and Vinai Gondi, MD,2022 ABTA National Conference co-chairs
Nancy Ann Oberheim Bush, MD, PhD, and Vinai Gondi, MD, our 2022 National Conference co-chairs

This year’s co-chairs are Nancy Ann Oberheim Bush, MD, PhD, an academic Neuro-Oncologist serving as Director of Clinical Services at UCSF, and Vinai Gondi, MD, Director of Research & Education at the Northwestern Medicine Proton Center.

Nancy and Vinai joined MindMatters for a Q&A on what attendees can expect at this year’s conference and what they’re most excited for in the two-day program.

Q&A with Nancy and Vinai:

1. What are you most excited about for the 2022 National Conference?

Nancy: I am so excited to bring some of the most dynamic, intelligent and empathic physicians, scientists and care team members together to present at the ABTA National Conference. We’re striving to create a program where there is something for everyone.  

Vinai: I am excited by the interactive virtual conference platform, which will bring the expertise, insight and innovative research of pre-eminent brain tumor specialists directly to the living rooms of patients and caregivers across the country and world.

2. Which session(s) will you present or participate in?

Nancy:  I will present a session on systematic therapies for meningioma as well as serve on the mock tumor board panel.

Vinai: I will present a breakout session on proton therapy and its role in optimizing survivorship. I will also serve on the mock tumor panel to provide the radiation oncology perspective to the multi-disciplinary discussion. 

3. What are the top sessions you are most eager to attend or would recommend to others?

Nancy: I am eager to attend the breakout sessions, which we hope will be a place for attendees to interact with leading physicians and scientists that are experts in specific diseases and therapies.

Vinai: Breakout sessions to discuss exciting research advances and innovative treatment approaches; the mock tumor board which simulates multi-disciplinary case discussion and decision-making; and Friday’s slate of outstanding speakers discussing the most important advances in each discipline involved in managing brain tumors.

4. Why is the ABTA National Conference a must-see event? What makes this conference stand out compared to others?

Nancy: This conference is unique as it is completely patient-focused. Even though it is virtual, we are working to create an atmosphere where participants can interact with each other and the speakers create a real sense of community. Additionally, we will have patient voices throughout the conference. 

Vinai: It’s patient-centered, patient-friendly, and patient-empowering all about patients and their caregivers. 

5. What kinds of engagement opportunities will attendees have with other patients and caregivers, as well as physicians and researchers?

Nancy: Participants will be able to chat with the other attendees and speakers and attend breakout sessions that will be smaller interactive groups.   

Vinai: It’s important to enable patients and caregivers to learn not just from experts, but also from each other.  Speed networking and breakout sessions will help patients and caregivers meet other members of the community and interact with experts.

6. Any other thoughts on why new and past attendees will want to attend this year’s conference?

Nancy: Neuro-oncology is evolving! Attendees will learn about how diagnosis, surveillance and management of brain tumors is changing and new treatments that are on the horizon.

Vinai: The 2022 conference is focused on the most cutting-edge research and innovative treatments in the management of brain tumors and will help patients and caregivers remain abreast of this rapidly changing field.

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Jessie Schlacks

Jessie is Managing Editor of the bi-monthly e-newsletter MindMatters. Submit story ideas or questions to jschlacks@abta.org.