Tyler Wilson

Q&A with Tyler Wilson: Executive Director of the National Association for Proton Therapy

March 09, 2015
by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor
With NAPT’s annual conference taking place March 30 to April 2 in Washington, D.C., HCBN caught up with executive director Tyler Wilson to find out more about the association’s first new director in 25 years and only the second ever (an interview with founder and former director Leonard Arzt can be found on page 44).

HCBN: What is your background?
I am an association executive and an attorney. I’ve been in health care for 15 years and have been in Washington for 20-plus years with a strong government affairs and lobbying background. Previously, I worked on behalf of the orthotics and prosthetics industry and more recently, durable medical equipment. I moved over to the proton community in September of 2014.

HCBN: What items are at the top of your “to-do” list for your first few months with the association?
The proton community needs to continue to work together on advocacy, communications and public relations. We also need to go beyond working strictly within the proton community and add others that are cancer treatment stakeholders. Part of NAPT’s challenge is to get all of the disparate segments of the community to work together.

These challenges we face are really collective challenges, so we need an approach where everyone is weighing in and helping to build a consensus among the different centers. The various centers are organized differently, of course, with some being not for profit and others having a for-profit model.

There’s a great benefit from the centers being able to share ideas and network. But beyond that, let’s take the conversation about public affairs, for instance — there’s only so much one center can do on its own. Highlighting the benefits of proton therapy with a collective effort and moving forward is part of what we are able to do as a national organization.

HCBN: What are your long-term goals for the organization?
I want to make sure that every proton therapy center, whether currently treating or under construction, is a member of the association. I want to make sure our membership is comprehensive and that we have the resources — not only monetary resources, but also the means for working effectively with the different departments at the different centers.

This means the PR and marketing teams, the business development department, the clinicians, and the center administrators, as well as the technology providers and other vendors. All of those mentioned have an interest in making sure their centers (or their customers if they are technology providers) are receiving proper compensation for the health care they’re delivering and serving patients with the best therapy possible.

At NAPT, we are providing the therapy centers with an opportunity to work together, to learn best practices from each other, and to connect on a whole range of issues so that together, we can advance the needs of the proton community and the patients being served by the therapy. A lot of that will happen at the annual NPC meeting. Longer term, the association will continue to have a growing role in getting the various centers to work together.

HCBN: Other than your recent appointment, what’s the big news from the association?
I think the big news is our annual proton conference. The conference is the largest domestic gathering of the broad proton community coming together to discuss issues of mutual concern.

Another big news item is that the Proton Therapy Consortium and NAPT are being brought together to operate as one structure under one name. They will both continue to exist; but going forward, the advocacy-oriented structure of the Consortium will exist behind the brand of NAPT.

There also are many clinical studies that are establishing and strengthening the evidence that proton therapy is the way to go to treat many cancers. For instance, in the case of women with left-side breast cancer, proton therapy can treat the cancer effectively without increasing the likelihood of heart disease or a secondary, radiation-induced tumor.

HCBN: Are there any new member benefits you’re working on?
I think the best news with respect to membership is that I’m putting together a program to attract and bring technology partners and other vendors into the organization, which will give them an opportunity to get more involved in a formal way with the activities of NAPT.