ESMO Women for Oncology Award

The ESMO Women for Oncology Award recognises the significant contribution made by an ESMO member or institution in supporting the career development of women in oncology. This important accolade acknowledges the work done in sensitising organisations to perceive the female oncology workforce as a valuable resource

The 2016 ESMO awards will be presented during the ESMO 2016 Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark.

2016 – Sumitra Thongprasert, Thailand

Professor Thongprasert is the Emeritus Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, and also Director of Center of Excellence in Cancer at Bangkok Hospital Chiang Mai, Thailand.

She began her career with a fellowship in hematology-oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, after which she returned to Chiang Mai University in Thailand and set up the Medical Oncology Unit. She served as Professor of Oncology at the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University from 1999-2012.

Sumitra Thongprasert

The award is further impetus to strive towards contributing something meaningful to ESMO and especially to women oncologists. I would like to thank the ESMO Board for giving me the opportunity to be part of ESMO’s work, initially as a member of the Developing Country Task Force, and later as the ESMO Far East representative. I have learned so much from my involvement with the organisation.

Sumitra Thongprasert, 2016 ESMO Women for Oncology Award winner

Professor Thongprasert has been on the board of directors for the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and was a member of the ESMO Developing Country Task Force (2005-2010), and ESMO Regional Representative to the Far East (2008-2014). Most recently, she was chairperson of the Asia Pacific Lung Cancer Conference in May 2016.

Chair of the ESMO Women For Oncology Committee Dr Solange Peters said, “Professor Thongprasert has been a passionate supporter of the ESMO Woman in Oncology Initiative, and has been essential in promoting this idea in Asia and beyond.” The award committee also acknowledged Professor Thongprasert’s advocacy across Asia for female participation in the oncology workforce, and promotion of women in leadership positions.

Previous winner of the ESMO Women for Oncology Award

2015 – Enriqueta Felip, Spain

Professor Enriqueta Felip, receives this newly established award as the medical oncologist who kick-started awareness of the dearth of women oncologists in leadership roles. Felip collected information about the lack of women leaders to give a lecture at ASCO 2013 on the challenges and keys to success for women in academic oncology, which triggered the at that time ESMO President Martine Piccart to create the ESMO Women for Oncology initiative.

Enriqueta Felip

I feel this is not an award specifically for me but for all women professionals working day to day in oncology. I have been fortunate in having the opportunity to work on several ESMO initiatives in which I have always felt I was a relevant part of the team. This award is a way to highlight the importance of the role of women in academic oncology.

Enriqueta Felip, 2015 ESMO Women for Oncology Awardee

In addition to being associate professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Felip is coordinator of the European School of Oncology’s (ESO) lung cancer programme, and a member of the Spanish Lung Cancer Group (Grupo Español de Cáncer de Pulmnón; GECP), the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and the Scientific Executive Committee of the National Lung Cancer Partnership.

Felip has achieved important insights into the field of academic cancer research and simultaneously generated an atmosphere of genuine support and career building for female oncologists in her institution and throughout the area.

Nomination process and eligibility

Nominations can be made by any ESMO Full, Junior, Honorary or Emeritus member. You cannot nominate yourself. To access the nomination form, you will be asked to sign in to your myESMO account

In order to be considered for the award, a nominee must:

  • Be an individual, recognised institution or organisation that has made a significant contribution to supporting the career development of women working in oncology by promoting a merit-based working environment, fostering an environment for equality, implementing mentoring programmes or by facilitating personal-professional life balance. Examples of the nominee's contribution must be included in the nomination*
  • Be an ESMO member (applies to individuals)
  • Be an oncology professional from across the academic, research or clinical oncology environment (applies to individuals)
  • Have not previously received the ESMO Women for Oncology Award
  • Not be a current or recent (last two years) member of either the ESMO Executive Board or the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee

Selection process

All nominations submitted via the online form by the nomination deadline will be evaluated by the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee. After careful deliberations by the committee, its recommendations are forwarded to the ESMO Executive Board for final consideration and selection.

The award consists of a prize and free registration, free accommodation and reimbursement of travel expenses to the annual ESMO Congress for one person.

*In the statement of reasons for nomination, you must include examples of the nominee’s contributions. This should include a detailed description of the actions and measures implemented in favour of female oncologists. Examples are listed below:

Promoting a merit-based working environment
Example: Introduced innovative approaches to support the development of women in the workplace
Fostering an environment for equality
Examples: Safeguarding scientific publication rights for women in case of temporary leave of absence; overcoming prejudice toward leading female oncology professionals
Implementation of mentoring programmes
Example: Number of women mentored during career; number of publications published by those mentored
Facilitating professional-personal life balance
Example: Introduced a flexible working schedule