Secord Installed as New President of SGO
Duke Cancer Institute gynecologic oncologist and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Angeles Alvarez Secord, MD, MHSc, was officially installed as president of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology at the Society's Annual Meeting, held March 25-28, 2023.
“It is my privilege and honor to serve as the 55th president of SGO,” Secord said at the meeting. “The theme for our year is ‘The Power of Shared Purpose: Transforming Gynecologic Cancer Care.’”
Secord, who serves as associate director of clinical research in DCI's Gynecologic Cancer Disease Group, has been a member of the faculty since 2001. She's been member of DCI since 1994 when she first joined Duke as an OB-GYN resident after earning her MD at the University of Washington. From 1998 to 2001, she was a DCI GynOnc fellow. She was named a full professor in 2013.
Secord's research is centered on novel therapeutics, biomarkers, and clinical trial development for ovarian and endometrial cancer. A national leader in the field, her efforts contributed to the approval in 2017 of Niraparib, a PARP inhibitor, to treat ovarian cancer.
Secord already had a national profile prior to her election as SGO president. She has been an active member of SGO since 2001; serving initially on the SGO Fellow’s Task Force and later as chair of the Candidate’s Task Force. She was inspired to serve SGO further during her role as an ex-officio member on the SGO Council from 2003 to 2005 and, according to an article by SGO introducing her as its new president, "credits that experience for opening the door to future leadership possibilities."
Secord has participated on several SGO and Foundation for Women’s Cancer committees, task force initiatives and program committees. She serves as co-chair of Education and Mentoring at the GOG (Gynecologic Oncology Group) Foundation; chair of the Scholar Committee at the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Foundation; and vice chair of the New Investigator Committee at NRG Oncology. Secord is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and an active member of American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Gynecological & Obstetrical Society, and the International Gynecologic Cancer Society.
At the 2023 SGO meeting, Secord received the Best Clinical Science Award for an abstract that synthesized data from the DCI-based multi-institutional Endometrial Cancer Molecularly Targeted Therapy Consortium that she established in 2019 with a $1 million Kay Yow Cancer Fund/V Foundation for Cancer Research grant. Her winning abstract was titled: “Genomic Alterations, Molecularly Targeted Therapy and Race: Real World Data from the (DCI-based) Endometrial Cancer Molecularly Targeted Therapy Consortium.” The consortium has grown to include more than 20 member institutions that are focused on research into molecular alterations and targeted biological therapies in endometrial cancer. The group holds an annual "She Dunks on Cancer" symposium under Secord's direction.
Secord stressed the need for diversity, inclusion, and equity across all of SGO's strategic initiatives, and she invited Ginger Gardner, MD, chair of the Foundation for Women’s Cancer to lead with her in these efforts.
"Detrimental racial and ethnic disparities in gynecologic cancer survival outcomes are pervasive," she said. "To mitigate race/ethnicity-related disparities will require transformative change at all levels to ensure access to care, representation in clinical trials, and building the pipeline of diverse care providers. In our shared work, we stand together committed to accelerated progress... for those at risk for or (living) with gynecologic cancers.”
Secord has worked at a national level to address the impact of disparities and to find ways to ensure that a more diverse population is represented in gynecologic cancer research in the clinic and the lab.
In October 2022, she participated with DCI colleague Haley Moss, MD, MBA (director of the Breast and Gynecologic Oncology System of Excellence at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' National Oncology Program Office) in a virtual White House Cancer Cabinet Community Conversation on Breast and Gynecologic Cancers held under the auspices of the reignited White House Cancer Moonshot Initiative. The discussion was moderated by Carolyn Clancy, MD, assistant under secretary for Health for Discovery, Education, and Affiliate Networks at the Veterans Health Administration.
Secord was asked by Clancy how to expand clinical research opportunities. For example, according to the FDA, only 8% of participants in clinical trials that led to FDA drug approvals were Black, which Secord says, “limits the ability to assess underlying prognostic factors and explore underlying tumor biology.”
“We need to ensure that that we move into an era where there's more trust with our patients and that they're willing to participate in trials,” Secord said in response to Clancy’s question. “Dr. Nadine Barrett at Duke has developed a program that's called “Just Ask.” We can't assume, have our bias, that patients won't participate in clinical trials. We need to ask all our patients about participation, and we need to offer ways that we can reduce barriers to participation in trials like offering to cover transportation and childcare costs."
Secord's term as SGO president will last for one year.
Jane Black, director of Communications for the Department of Obsterics and Gynecology, Duke University School of Medicine, contributed to this article. READ MORE