First presented in 2014, this award recognizes teaching as a vital part of cancer care for the population and for the future of ASCO and brings awareness to the need for teachers to train more oncologists for the future. The award underscores ASCO’s belief that teaching is as important to the future of cancer medicine as are research, care delivery and clinical work. 

This award is intended to recognize, encourage and reward individuals who have had a demonstrable impact on their trainees (residents, postdoctoral fellows, clinical fellows) and who have inspired and shaped the trainee’s practice of cancer medicine.

The award is presented during the ASCO Annual Meeting and the recipient is highlighted in ASCO Daily News, on the ASCO website and in other Annual Meeting publications. The recipient is invited to participate in a moderated panel discussion featuring special award recipients and focusing on leadership and mentorship.

The award consists of a $5,000 honorarium, a commemorative plaque, and support to the recipient to attend the Annual Meeting in the year the award is conferred.


To be eligible for this award, a candidate

  • Must be an ASCO member
  • Must be a physician who is actively engaged in physician education on a regular basis: working with residents/fellows/trainees at the bedside, lecturing, or in other ways teaching the skills and habits recognizable in the best cancer physicians
  • Must be a participant at an ACGME accredited program (for nominees within the United States) or a program accredited by a relevant national accrediting body (for nominees outside the United States)
  • Must have a minimum of 5-years of teaching in the final phase of training leading to independent practice in the specialty, i.e. teaching fellows (HemOnc program), teaching residents (RadOnc program), etc.

Nominations are not restricted to physicians in academic institutions. Physicians in community practices who are actively engaged in physician education at an ACGME accredited program are eligible to be nominated. 

Special emphasis is placed on teachers who, through their example and methods, have

  • Expanded trainee’s patient connection and communication skills
  • Broadened the trainee’s vision of patient-physician interaction
  • Stimulated the trainee’s personal and professional growth
  • Engendered habits of self-reflection, self-improvement, and lifelong learning
  • Fostered the gaining of wisdom rather than of mere knowledge

Nomination Process

  • Teachers must be nominated individually; teacher teams are not eligible
  • Nominators are required to provide the following supporting documentation:
    • A letter of recommendation from the Program Director or Department Head/Chair.  Letters must be dated and signed (1 page limit)
    • 2-3 letters of recommendation/testimonials from trainees of the nominee over the past 5 years. Letters must be dated and signed (1 page limit per letter)
    • Nominee’s curriculum vitae
  • There is no restriction on the number of nominees from any one institution.



Candidates for the award are nominated by the ASCO membership and are considered by the Joint Special Awards Selection Committee. The Committee considers all nominations as they have been submitted; recommendations are then forwarded to the Board of Directors for final approval.

ASCO Board Members and Officers are not eligible to receive Special Awards from the time they are elected through the end of the calendar year in which their Board terms conclude. Joint Special Award Selection Committee members are not eligible to receive Special Awards during their service on the Committee.

Please send all inquiries about this award to Special Awards.

2023 Recipient
David G. Poplack, MD