Communication: An Important Cornerstone of Success
Last week NCI released its inaugural annual report, The Nation's Progress in Cancer Research for 2003, available at www.cancer.gov/aboutnci/annualreport. This new communication tool describes some of the successes from NCI-supported research published in late 2002 and 2003 - highlights that are representative of the discovery, development, and delivery continuum and illustrate the progress we are making toward the 2015 goal.
The development of an annual report is just one example of the evolution of how NCI communicates with its key constituencies, including the public. We have reached a crossroads in the battle against cancer, so it is vital that we communicate effectively with all of our stakeholders to provide evidence-based guidance and inform them about the latest happenings that affect their lives.
NCI's communication strategy is based on a two-pronged approach: first, we proactively disseminate information on current NCI initiatives, breaking cancer news, and other cancer topics. We are also prepared, however, to react and respond to scientific and programmatic issues as they arise.
For example, NCI has been a leader in using the Internet to deliver easy-to-read information for the public on cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. We also provide important educational resources geared toward the lay public and professionals, such as the clinical trial education series and publications from the Cancer Information Service.
At the other end of the communication spectrum are NCI's efforts to inform our stakeholders and the public about the rapidly changing cancer research enterprise. Last week, for example, NCI held a press briefing to tell reporters about the launch of the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer. During the event, journalists received important background information on this exciting initiative and had the chance to ask questions of NCI leadership and some of the world's leading experts on nanotechnology.
The NCI Cancer Bulletin also plays a central role in our communication strategy. NCI has an important story to share, and the Bulletin is proving to be an effective means of getting our story out. A recently completed survey of Bulletin readers revealed widespread satisfaction with this new publication, evidenced by the doubling of its subscription base from approximately 8,000 to more than 16,000 since it was launched in January.
Yet another crucial communication vehicle is the annual professional judgment plan and budget proposal, The Nation's Investment in Cancer Research, a publication that presents NCI's strategic priorities and outlines the funding we believe is needed to achieve our goals and build on our success in the upcoming fiscal year. Our new annual report will serve as a companion piece to this document. The plan and budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2006 is expected to be available in late October and will be framed around the seven strategic priority areas under the 2015 goal. The accompanying annual report, focused on achievements of 2004, will be available in early 2005.
I encourage you to read these publications and I welcome any feedback you may have on them and other NCI communications. The purpose of all of our communications is to meet our stakeholders' needs and we believe that, by using the right mix of communication tools and outreach, we can be more transparent and more responsive and continue to engender the trust and support of the entire cancer community as we all push forward to achieve an elusive but achievable goal.
Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach