The New NRG Oncology Podcast: An Interview with the Co-hosts

June 25, 2024

Podcasts continue to climb in popularity across a variety of topics and audience populations worldwide. Recently, NRG Oncology delved into the world of broadcasting with the upcoming launch of their podcast, aimed to reach a broad audience with overview information about clinical trials, crucial information regarding specific studies, and the many areas and moving parts involved in oncology practice, patient participation, and more. These podcast episodes are already in the process of being recorded and edited as the group awaits the launch of this new endeavor.


RTOG Foundation interviewed Dr. Stephen Chun of MD Anderson Cancer Center and Lauren Henke at University Hospitals to learn more about this effort. Drs. Chun and Henke are the co-hosts and co-founders of the NRG Oncology podcast.

Q: What will the NRG Oncology cover and who would your audience be?

A: Our target audience is really intended to be any NRG Oncology stakeholder including physicians, patients, advocates, clinical research staff and others who might be interested in learning more about NRG Oncology and cancer care in general. In these podcasts, we try our best to simplify complex concepts and the ins and outs of NRG Oncology for a general audience. The ultimate aim is to better communicate goals and priorities to the broader NRG Oncology community in layman’s terms which we believe in turn will translate into greater enrollments and enthusiasm for clinical trials. Already, we have heard interest in using these podcasts in residency training programs for educational purposes, which we welcome enthusiastically.


Q: What inspired you to develop a podcast for NRG?

A: First and foremost, we are inspired to do this podcast by our patients, many of whom many are desperately seeking better treatments and the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. It’s our hope the podcasts can help increase awareness of trials thereby improving access and interest to the 90% of patients who would participate if asked. We were also inspired by the many podcasts out there that are able to simplify complex topics for broad audiences in medicine, science, politics, etc. In particular, we were intrigued by a podcast on paleontology for toddlers called Dinosaur George. If Dinosaur George can break down complex paleontology in an interesting way for kids, we should be able to do this with NRG Oncology concepts.


Q: What else do you believe the oncology community should know about the NRG podcast?

A: Despite podcasts being around since 2003 and having been adopted by mainstream medical publications such as JAMA and the New England Journal of Medicine, this will be the first podcast launched for a cooperative oncology group. The podcast was born out of the NRG Protocol Operations Management Committee and NRG Communications Committee to help break down the barriers of opaque language in trials and other NRG Oncology procedures. We want to be inclusive of all stakeholders and will welcome anyone enthusiastic about NRG Oncology who wants to share their expertise and experience. Our first podcasts will feature our cooperative group chairs Dr. Quynh Le, Dr. Robert Mannel, and Dr. Norman Wolmark, and we have already made recordings featuring protocol principal investigators to follow. Lastly, our theme music from the Smetana Piano Trio was graciously provided by the acclaimed pianist Jon Kimura Parker who is joined by Kathleen Winkler (violin) and Desmond Hoebig (cello). We couldn’t go with music from Taylor Swift because we don’t have the budget to pay the royalties.


Q: When should we expect to start tuning into the podcast?

A: Our hope is to launch this podcast at the NRG Oncology semi-annual meeting in July 2024. The podcast will initially be monthly, but our hope is to expand the podcast over time to coincide with the bi-weekly updates that are sent to the group.



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