The National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) held its seventh annual proton conference March 24-27, 2019, at The Biltmore Miami – Coral Gables, in Miami, Florida. Founded in 1990, the National Association for Proton Therapy is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to work collaboratively to: (i) raise awareness of the therapeutic benefits of proton therapy among patients, providers, payers, policymakers, and other stakeholders, (ii) ensure patient choice and access to affordable proton therapy, and (iii) encourage cooperative research and innovation to advance the appropriate and cost-effective utilization of proton therapy. The annual conference allows proton centers from across the Unites States to convene and discuss how to advance awareness of the clinical benefits of proton therapy for cancer patients, provide education, and advocate for insurance coverage.
This year, almost 300 physicians, nurses, therapists, proton therapy directors, managers and others involved with or interested in learning more about the cutting-edge therapy attended the conference. The 2019 program covered a variety of interesting and informative topics including: pediatrics, marketing, legislation, insurance and appeals, and clinical updates. Keynote speaker Barbara L. McAneny, MD, President of the American Medical Association, Anne Hubbard, Director of Health Policy for the American Society for Radiation Oncology, and guest speaker Senator Marco Rubio, all described the important role and impact of proton therapy in cancer care and the medical field at large from perspectives beyond those of proton providers. It was encouraging to hear proton therapy is gaining powerful advocacy and allies in positions within the medical field as well as in the upper levels of government.
Provision entities were represented by twelve attendees. Provision representatives participated as presenters and facilitators for several of the conference breakout sessions. Rebecca Bergeron, Dr. Ben Wilkinson, Jenni Turner, Elizabeth Vanzo, Nancy Howard, Niek Schroeder, and Laddie Derenchuk were all members of panel discussions and gave presentations on topics ranging from legislation and technical developments, to clinical best practices, patient interactions, and collaboration. This level of participation by Provision representatives further demonstrates Provision’s place as an industry leader.
In addition to the presentations, discussions, and panels, George Laramore, MD, PhD, FACR, FASTRO, of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Proton Therapy Center and the University of Washington, was awarded the 2019 NAPT Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his decades of pioneering work in the field of particle therapy. In announcing the award, NAPT Executive Director, Scott Warwick, stated “Dr. Laramore has brought honor and distinction to the field of particle therapy and we are grateful for the opportunity to award him for his endless dedication and perseverance to serve cancer patients across the country and the world.”
The NAPT announced that the 2020 National Proton Therapy Conference will be held April 25-29 in Nashville, TN at The Renaissance Hotel. Provision CARES Proton Therapy Nashville will host a Reception and Tour April 27th. Nancy Howard, Vice President Marketing & Public Relations of Provision Solutions, will act as the 2020 Conference Chair.
The National Association for Proton Therapy is the voice for the proton community. As there are now 31 Proton centers in operation and 35 centers under construction or in development, it is important for all proton centers to form a strong alliance to advocate for patient access to proton therapy. NAPT is the vehicle that will lead our alliance forward.