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Dr. Paul Harari

Q&A with ASTRO president Dr. Paul Harari

by Sean Ruck , Contributing Editor
From the October 2018 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

ASTRO’s annual meeting is scheduled for Oct. 21-24 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. In advance of the show, HealthCare Business News spoke with ASTRO president Dr. Paul Harari to get some insight on his background, what’s going on with the association and oncology, and what to expect at this year’s show.

HCB News: What inspired you to get involved in healthcare?
Dr. Paul Harari: Dreams of being a professional baseball player as a kid faded away after tearing my rotator cuff while pitching in college and realizing a baseball career was not going to happen. Medicine seemed a natural fit, as I greatly enjoyed biology and physics in college. Medical school opened up my passion to care for patients with significant illnesses. Early in residency, recognizing that we could provide cancer patients a chance for cure or meaningful palliation to improve their quality of life attracted me to oncology.
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HCB News: How long have you been a member of ASTRO and why did you join?
PH: I joined ASTRO as a first-year resident in radiation oncology training and have not missed an annual meeting in 32 years since then. ASTRO serves as a cornerstone of activity and information for clinical advances, cancer research, education and health policy. ASTRO also provides a remarkable network for professionals interested in the field of radiation oncology around the world to connect.

HCB News: What initiatives do you plan to champion as president of the association?
PH: It is vitally important for us to illuminate the tremendous power and precision of radiation to heal, cure, image and improve human health and quality of life. With the 60th anniversary of ASTRO in 2018, the October annual meeting highlights the enormous capability of radiation oncology to deliver cancer cure and palliation now and into the future. Translating cutting edge research discoveries into opportunities for cure is a theme to be highlighted this year.

HCB News: What are the biggest uncertainties or challenges in radiation oncology today?
PH: A significant challenge, as well as opportunity, for disciplines like radiation oncology is that the body of knowledge changes very rapidly. New cancer treatments and techniques are emerging at a record pace and practitioners are always searching for the best way to stay abreast of the latest developments that may be beneficial to their cancer patients.

HCB News: Is radiation oncology facing any difficulty with having enough professionals entering the field?
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