Dr. Daniel Haller to Receive Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Service to ASCO, Contributions to GI Research
|Daniel G. Haller, MD, FACP
This year’s Special Recognition Award will be given to Daniel G. Haller, MD, FACP, a physician who has given many years of service to ASCO, recently completing a 10-year Editorship of The Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO). Dr. Haller is also a widely recognized researcher in gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies and a respected editor.
The Special Recognition Award honors those who have made major contributions in the areas of clinical oncology, cancer research, clinical trials, reimbursement, and patient advocacy activities, and it recognizes outstanding long-term service to ASCO and to clinical oncology. Dr. Haller was presented with the award on Friday night at a closed ceremony.
“I have been going to ASCO meetings since 1977, and ASCO has always been a signifi - cant part of my life,” Dr. Haller said in a recent interview with ASCO Daily News. In 1977 ASCO Annual Meeting was held in one hotel in Denver, had no concurrent sessions, was much less formal, and provided attendees the opportunity to “rub shoulders with everybody,” he said.
Since that fi rst meeting, Dr. Haller has served on or led 13 committees including the Scientifi c Program Committee and the Board of Directors. “There has almost never been a time when I was not on a committee,” he said.
Dr. Haller holds the Deenie Greitzer Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology Professorship at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and he is the Attending Physician at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Since he joined the faculty in 1980, Dr. Haller has also served as the Gastrointestinal Committee Chair for the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, and he is the current Co-Chair of the U.S. National Cancer Institute GI Intergroup, which coordinates all GI clinical research among the cooperative groups.
After earning his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Haller completed his residency at Georgetown University where he was also a medical oncology fellow. His professional career began as a Senior Investigator and Head of the Medicine Section of the Clinical Investigations Branch of the National Cancer Institute. There, he coordinated cooperative group activities, including the GI Tumor Study Group, which performed the seminal trials in gastrointestinal cancer for more than a decade.
His early mentors at Georgetown — three young physicians from the National Institutes of Health — fueled his interest in GI cancers. “They told me that GI disease accounts for about 25% of all malignancies, but no one was doing much about it.” He took up the challenge of that fi eld, one he describes as having “wide heterogeneity and variety that keep most of us busy.”
Since that time, Dr. Haller has authored or co-authored more than 125 peer-reviewed publications, and he is nationally and internationally recognized for his contributions, particularly in the fi elds of colon and rectal cancer. “We finally have some treatments. They may not be home runs, but the treatments are life lengthening,” he said.
Dr. Haller is on the International Advisory Board of INCa, the French National Cancer Institute, and he has served as a member of the writing panel for medical oncology for the Medical Knowledge Selfassessment Program (MKSAP) exam. He was a secretary to the Subspecialty Board on Medical Oncology for the American Board of Internal Medicine and was a member of the writing committee for the fi rst Self-Evaluation Process for Medical Oncology Recertifi cation.
For the better part of his career, Dr. Haller has also worked as an Editor for a number of publications, including Associate Editor for hematology–oncology for the Annals of Internal Medicine and Editor-in-Chief of Physician Data Query (PDQ®), the National Cancer Institute’s cancer information database. JCO Editor-in-Chief For the past decade, Dr. Haller has been Editor-in-Chief of the JCO, a position that the bylaws limit to two 5-year terms. Encouraged by his mentor, John H. Glick, MD, to apply for the appointment, Dr. Haller has shepherded the journal from the paper-based system of 10 years ago and through the radical changes that have occurred in publishing throughout the course of his Editorship.
Dr. Haller described JCO as much like a portable ASCO Annual Meeting that its members can easily access three times each month, and suggested that JCO is quite possibly the single most important oncology journal. Although general medical journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet have higher impact factors, the oncology content in those journals represents about 5% of the papers, he said.
“The last time we looked, JCO represents approximately 12% to 14% of all the oncology citations in the world’s literature.”
Under his leadership, JCO will be the fi rst journal to provide access to the complete or large portions of the protocols for all large phase II and phase III clinical trials in oncology.
“The three questions that you have to ask when you look at a clinical trial are whether the data are new, are valid, and will affect clinical practice. With this protocol submission, a physician can look at the actual site, all the eligibilities and noneligibilities, all the dose modifi cations, and for the reviewers in particular, the statistics.”
Serving as Editor-in-Chief of JCO has been a great privilege, Dr. Haller said. “Lots of ASCO presidents have gone by, but there have only been three Editors of the Journal. It’s very select, very visible, and I’ve enjoyed it."
Next for Dr. Haller will be serving as Editor of the Oxford Textbook of Oncology.