Newswise — ARLINGTON, Va., October 13, 2021 —The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) will recognize the recipients of its 2021 Gold Medal awards and other high-profile honors at the 63rd ASTRO Annual Meeting, to be held October 24-27 at McCormick Place in Chicago. These physicians will be honored at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, October 26.

ASTRO Gold Medal

Colleen A.F. Lawton, MD, FASTRO, and Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, will be awarded the Gold Medal, the highest honor bestowed upon an ASTRO member. ASTRO awards its Gold Medal annually to individuals who have made outstanding lifetime contributions in the field of radiation oncology, including achievements in clinical patient care, research, teaching and service to the profession. In the award’s 45th consecutive year, Drs. Pierce and Lawton join an exclusive group of 91 Gold Medalists selected over the decades from among nearly 10,000 ASTRO members.

“I am honored and thrilled to present the Gold Medal to two colleagues who have dedicated their careers to improving the lives of cancer patients and advancing the field of radiation oncology through their selfless commitment to collaboration and education at all levels, but especially their mentorship of residents and junior faculty,” said ASTRO Chair Thomas Eichler, MD, FASTRO. “This award recognizes the profound impact of their life’s work that goes well beyond the clinic and the lab, leaving a rich legacy that will resonate within the specialty forever.”   

Colleen A.F. Lawton, MD, FASTRO, is a professor and vice chair of radiation oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and a former Chair of the ASTRO Board of Directors. A longtime advocate of radiation oncology education and research, she led the charge to establish ASTRO’s research foundation, the Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI) and was instrumental in creating the Association for Directors of Radiation Oncology Programs (ADROP). Throughout her career, Dr. Lawton prioritized residency issues, particularly mentorship for women in medicine; served 25 years as the program director of the MCW Radiation Oncology Residency Program; and was pivotal in building strong relationships between ASTRO and the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology (ARRO). As a clinician and researcher, Dr. Lawton specializes in treating patients with prostate cancer and led the development of an atlas used throughout the field for prostate radiation therapy contouring.

Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, is a professor of radiation oncology and vice provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs at the University of Michigan. Dr. Pierce is an internationally renowned expert in breast cancer whose research significantly advanced the treatment of node-positive breast cancer and local therapy options for women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 germline mutations. For more than a decade, she has directed the Michigan Radiation Oncology Quality Consortium, an initiative designed to improve the quality of radiation therapy in the state. Dr. Pierce was elected the 57th president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and she currently serves as the ASCO Board Chair.  She has received multiple awards from medical and philanthropic organizations, including the Association for Community Cancer Centers, the United Way and the Sister’s Network, and she was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors for physicians. Dr. Pierce’s lasting impacts include being a role model for many women and people of color within the broader field of oncology and academia.

Read more about the 2021 ASTRO Gold Medalists in ASTROnews.

ASTRO Honorary Member

Surgical oncologist Douglas B. Evans, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery and Donald C. Ausman Family Foundation chair at the Medical College of Wisconsin, is the 2021 ASTRO Honorary Member. This award is the highest honor that ASTRO bestows upon cancer physicians and researchers in disciplines outside of radiation oncology, radiobiology and medical physics.

Read more about the 2021 ASTRO Honorary Member in ASTROnews.

ASTRO Research Grants and Fellowships

ASTRO offers several funding opportunities for early-career researchers in radiation oncology. In 2021, six scholars received research grants, including seed grants and career development awards co-sponsored by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) and Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). Additionally, three scholars were selected for radiation oncology research training fellowships with industry partners AstraZeneca and Varian Medical Systems.

Read more about the 2021 grant and fellowship recipients in ASTROnews.

Annual Meeting Abstract Awards

Forty-three cancer researchers received 2021 ASTRO Annual Meeting Abstract Awards, which recognize the highest-rated research presented at the meeting with a focus on highlighting the work of residents and early career professionals. Recipients were selected from nearly 2,000 abstracts submitted to the meeting.

A full list of award recipients is available online, and details about their presentations are available in the meeting Conference Planner.

Survivor Circle: Honoring Patients and Their Contributions

In addition to awarding achievements in the fight against cancer made by physicians, ASTRO recognizes contributions from patients through its Survivor Circle program.

The Survivor Circle Grant Program provides financial assistance to cancer support organizations in the state where ASTRO’s Annual Meeting is held. For 2021, ASTRO will award grants to two organizations that provide cancer support services in the Chicago area, LivingWell Cancer Resource Center and The Cancer Support Center.

Read more about ASTRO's Survivor Circle program and these cancer support organizations online.


The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with nearly 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. For information on radiation therapy, visit To learn more about ASTRO, visit our website and follow us on social media.