Newswise — Fairfax, Va., September 11, 2013 – The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has selected health care researcher Jean B. Owen, PhD, as the 2013 Honorary Member, the highest honor ASTRO bestows on distinguished cancer researchers, scientists and leaders in disciplines other than radiation oncology, radiobiology and radiation physics. Dr. Owen will be inducted as the 2013 ASTRO Honorary Member during the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, September 24, at ASTRO’s 55th Annual Meeting, September 22-25, 2013, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
“Dr. Owen’s extensive work in establishing and analyzing benchmarks for optimal care in radiation oncology has been instrumental to the high quality of care our specialty provides cancer patients,” said Michael L. Steinberg, MD, FASTRO, chairman of ASTRO’s Board of Directors. “Her continuous collaboration with physician investigators, including many ASTRO members, is a testament to her commitment to ASTRO, to radiation oncology and, most importantly, to our patients. We thank you, Jean, for your outstanding achievements.”
During her 23-year tenure at the American College of Radiology (ACR) Clinical Research Center, 11 years as senior director (2001–2012) and 12 years as director (1989¬–2001), Dr. Owen served as project director of the Quality Research in Radiation Oncology (QRRO) project, formerly the Patterns of Care Study (PCS). As the leader of QRRO, she was vital in the development of detailed clinical performance measures and survey processes to measure quality of care benchmarks in radiation oncology nationwide. QRRO, which began in 1973, conducts surveys of the structure, process and outcomes of care for patients treated with radiation therapy to improve the quality of care provided to cancer patients in the United States.
“PCS produced national data for the radiation oncology practice that assessed the quality of radiation oncology throughout all types of practices. Over the years, QRRO evolved to address and measure highly specific quality measures in this constantly evolving, technically advanced specialty,” Dr. Owen said. “The major impact was to help create an environment of critical self-assessment within radiation oncology and to build a foundation of quality assessment data that is now embedded within the culture of the specialty.”
To this end, Dr. Owen most recently co-authored three studies published this year, two in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (Red Journal) and one in Practical Radiation Oncology (PRO), ASTRO’s two official scientific journals, examining QRRO’s latest national report results for detailed clinical performance measures on the treatment of prostate cancer, gastric cancer and lung cancer. These studies will serve as models for future efforts in the use of detailed clinical performance measures and improved quality of care for patients receiving radiation therapy.
Dr. Owen has contributed to more than 75 published peer-reviewed journal articles, with 36 appearing in the Red Journal and PRO, and also co-authored more than 100 abstracts presented at scientific meetings, 64 of which were ASTRO Annual Meetings. Additionally, she has served as a consultant to the Radiation Oncology Institute’s (ROI) Data Dictionary Committee since 2009. Her work on QRRO enabled her to provide specific expertise to the ROI’s Committee by using QRRO results as evidence to support ASTRO’s policy recommendations and to help design new projects, registries and processes for collecting and evaluating vital radiation oncology data.
“It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with many leaders of ASTRO, as well as the many ASTRO members who have supported QRRO for the past 39 years. The Annual Meeting and other ASTRO activities are powerful opportunities to unite everyone working on research, policy, quality improvement and the many important aspects of radiation oncology care,” she said. “I am proud to officially become a member of this outstanding organization that I have long felt very much a part of.”
Dr. Owen is currently a health care consultant and is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Research Ethics at the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Milwaukee.
ASTRO is the premier radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals that specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through professional education and training, support for clinical practice and health policy standards, advancement of science and research, and advocacy. ASTRO publishes two medical journals, International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (www.redjournal.org) and Practical Radiation Oncology (www.practicalradonc.org); developed and maintains an extensive patient website, www.rtanswers.org; and created the Radiation Oncology Institute (www.roinstitute.org), a non-profit foundation to support research and education efforts around the world that enhance and confirm the critical role of radiation therapy in improving cancer treatment. To learn more about ASTRO, visit www.astro.org.