Highlights from the 2022 National Community Oncology Dispensing Organization (NCODA) Spring Forum


Makenna Smack, PharmD, BCOP

Makenna Smack, PharmD, BCOP
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist GI Medical Oncology
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX

The 2022 International NCODA Spring Forum took place both virtually and onsite on April 27th – 29th in Atlanta, GA. This meeting had the most participants of any other onsite NCODA meeting and was attended by physicians, pharmacists, advanced practice providers, nurses, pharmacy technicians, industry partners, and students. The meeting began with meet and greet events, and included excellent CE programming, posters, panel discussions, breakout sessions, and multiple networking opportunities.

NCODA President, Jim Schwartz, RPh of Texas Oncology, welcomed attendees and opened the first full day of programming by reading the NCODA mission and vision. NCODA’s vision reads, “Our Vision is to be the world leader in oncology by building a patient-centered medically-integrated community whose focus is to innovate the continuity of cancer care so every patient receives the maximum benefit from their cancer treatment.”

Horst Schulze, cofounder and former president of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and author of Excellence Wins, delivered the keynote address titled “Putting the Care in Cancer Care, Excellence Wins.” Mr. Schulze shared his enthusiasm for excellence and principles he fostered during his career as a world leader in the hotel service industry. He taught that excellence is never an accident, it is the result of both high intent and hard work. He commended NCODA for having a vision statement because to pursue excellence “you need somewhere to go” and a vision statement “tells you where you are going.” As a cancer survivor, Mr. Schulze emphasized the importance of listening, providing empathy, apologizing, and making amends when needed. He spoke of loyalty and reminded attendees that “trust is not created by a product; it is created by relationships.” To improve and pursue excellence every day, Mr. Schulze recommended questioning yourself at least once per week by asking “How can I do my job better?” In closing, he reminded us to always look for excellence because “excellence in service starts the moment we make contact with our customer [patient].”

Oncology Pharmacists presented several CE topics covering a wide spectrum of practice areas. Jasmine V. Patel, PharmD, BCOP and Tashia Prince-Lacombe, MSN, AGNP-BC from Boston Medical Center reviewed updates in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in their presentation entitled, “Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma: CLEARing Up First Line Treatment.” They pointed out important differences between the studies evaluating immunotherapy plus tyrosine kinase inhibitors, noted important clinical considerations for side effect monitoring and management, and discussed nuances in selecting first-line therapy for advanced RCC. I had the honor of reviewing “Treatment of BRAF V600E mutated and HER2-amplified Metastatic Colorectal Cancer.” Alison Palumbo, PharmD, MPH, BCOP from Oregon State University College of Pharmacy covered updates in the treatment of HER2 positive and adjuvant hormone-receptor positive breast cancer treatment in her session entitled, “Be the MONARCH of Your Own DESTINY: Recent Updates in Breast Cancer”. In her presentation on “Targeted Therapies for Frontline Treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL),” Taylor Weis, PharmD, BCOP from Memorial Sloan Kettering provided multiple clinical pearls for managing drug interactions and adverse effects associated with targeted therapies (BTK inhibitors, BCL2 inhibitors, and anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies) in CLL. David Hughes, PharmD, BCOP from Boston Medical Center and Sagar Lonial, MD from Emory Winship Cancer Center presented updates on front-line treatment of newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (NDMM) and relapsed/refractory (R/R) multiple myeloma and highlighted important clinical considerations for the use of novel targeted agents in this space. Alyson Leonard, PharmD, BCOP, CPP from Cone Health and Latha Radhakrishnan, PharmD, BCPS, BCOP from University of Illinois debated the use of amivantamab-vmjw or mobocertinib for locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with EGFR Exon 20 insertion mutations. Their discussion was moderated by Ticiana Leal, MD from Emory Winship Cancer Center, and they emphasized many important considerations for choosing between these two agents in practice. Lastly, in his presentation titled, “Integrative Medicine in Cancer Care: Optimizing Your Patient’s Experience,” Stephen C. Farley, PharmD, BCOP from Gisinger reviewed supporting literature for mind and body therapies (yoga, Tai Chi, acupuncture, and art). He also discussed dietary supplements that are commonly encountered in oncology care and reviewed important drug- and disease-interactions to consider with supplement use.

Other programming included an excellent panel discussion titled, “How Legislation Impacts Oncology: Identifying Disparities in the PBM System,” moderated by Melissa Dillmon, MD from Harbin Clinic. The panel included Barbara McAneny, MD CEO of New Mexico Cancer Center, Allison Rollins from US Oncology Network, Christie Smith, PharmD, MBA from Amerisource Bergen, and John Driscoll from the American Oncology Network. The panel emphasized the importance of individual involvement at the state legislative level to impact change at the Federal level. To illustrate the importance of PBM reform and legislation, Dr. McAneny quoted a staggering statistic that about “41% of the cost of a drug comes after it leaves the manufacturer.” To assist healthcare professionals in becoming more active participants in state legislative affairs NCODA offers an oncology legislation tracker at

Another panel discussion with Sybil Green, JD, RPh, MHA from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Kashyap Patel, MD and CEO of Carolina Blood and Cancer Care Associates and Luis Raez, MD from Memorial Cancer Institute focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in cancer care. Each participant shared some of their background that influences their passions for leading initiatives that improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in healthcare. The discussion included some real-world examples of ways they are making improvements. Dr. Raez shared an example of a dashboard within the electronic medical record that is used by his team to holistically address his patients’ needs and social determinants of health. Dr. Patel shared how experiences with Gandhi in his youth have influenced his current practice and approach. Panel members discussed equity and equality and reminded us that we need to strive for equity and equality in all spectrums of cancer care, from screening, prevention and detection to treatment and survivorship.

Posters from this year’s forum can be viewed at:

The NCODA Fall Summit will be held in Orlando, Florida on October 27th-29th. For more information, visit