Monday, August 31, 2009

Speaking of New Orleans

There was a story today in the New York Times about how this magnificent city is clawing its way back trying  make itself better than it was before hurricane  Katrina and  with some success.
It reminded me of  a bad decision the leadership of the American Society of Clinical Oncology ( ASCO) made to  drop New Orleans from it's list of meeting sites.
When someone commented that New Orleans would no longer accommodate a meeting the size of ASCO, I checked with a colleague of mine in New Orleans and was assured it wasn't true. The convention center , hotels and New Orleans outstanding  eateries are well able to handle the meeting.

I was told by ASCO's  EVP Alan Lister, that it was primarily a financial decision . ASCO can make more money from the exhibits at the Chicago convention center than at New Orleans because of the way it's configured. But it turns out New Orleans is not suffering from discrimination .  ASCO is gong to be in  Chicago in perpetuity despite  good facilities at other cities as well.

Now don't get me wrong, I like Chicago-just not every year. Not to mention that ASCO could do it's part  by helping the economy of New Orleans.

I told the ASCO leaders that I thought if the ASCO members were polled  they would probably  have voted for  variety over Chicago in perpetuity.

Annoyance was obvious. I was told it was a board decision to make. As a member I disagree.
I was at the founding meeting of ASCO. The society was founded for the benefit of its members, and had as it's primary role  the dissemination of information, not to become a bank.
I don't suppose the annual budget to run  the society of 90 million dollars had anything to do with  this?

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