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ESMO Strengthens its Scientific and Medical Division by Appointing First SMD Fellow

19 Nov 2021

ESMO has further strengthened its Scientific and Medical Division (SMD) announcing the creation of the SMD Fellow position to support and collaborate on the development and expansion of ESMO’s scientific, educational, and medical projects and activities.

“Creation of the new fellow role represents a significant development, reflecting the continued growth of ESMO in both the breadth and scale of its activities and its role in driving positive change for the benefit of its members, cancer patients and the wider oncology community,” said ESMO President Solange Peters.  

The new role “will reinforce the division by driving forward existing programmes and developing new projects which support oncologists in their professional development with education, adoption of best practices and dissemination of science worldwide,” said Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Professor George Pentheroudakis. 

The SMD Fellow will contribute to the scientific oversight and curation of all Division’s activities, with special dedication to developing and authoring ESMO publications as well as other Society’s papers on key matters impacting the practice of medical oncology; at the same time, it will be crucial in the continued development of ESMO’s digital educational and clinical practice resources. 

“It is important that, in today’s challenging times, ESMO continues to expand the scope, scale and value of its scientific, educational and practice initiatives. Having a dedicated resource for important time- and resource-intense projects will allow the Society to deliver tangible results in a timely manner, while at the same time maintaining the high standards for which it is renowned,” added Pentheroudakis.  

The SMD Fellow will also support the work of various ESMO groups with the aim to accelerate the transfer from unmet needs to creative ideas and to tangible resources for members, staying true to the core ESMO mission to educate and support oncologists so they can provide the best care to cancer patients. 

The SMD Fellow will hold the position for a fixed two-year term, under the guidance of the CMO. 

The first SMD Fellow will be Dr Luis Castelo-Branco, who will be based at ESMO’s headquarters in Lugano, Switzerland.

Dr Castelo-Branco holds a Pharmaceutical Degree from the University of Coimbra, Portugal (2008) after which he obtained his Medical Degree from the University of Algarve, Portugal (2013), followed by a postgraduate degree in Clinical Oncology from Nova University, Lisbon, Portugal (2015) and a postgraduate degree in immunology from Harvard Medical School, USA (2019).  

Prior to taking up the role as ESMO’s SMD Fellow, Castelo-Branco was a resident in Clinical Oncology at the Algarve Medical and University Centre, Faro, Portugal. During his residency programme, he also matured a broad international experience, being trained at the Jules Bordet Institute in Brussels, Belgium, at the Tulane Cancer Center in New Orleans, USA and at the Canterbury Oncology and Palliative Care Departments in New Zealand.  

He has a particular interest in health policy, public health and medical education, co-authoring a World Health Organization (WHO) report investigating the impact of the financial crisis on health systems and health in Europe. He is a member of the Portuguese Medical Association, the Portuguese Oncology Society and ESMO.  

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