Dr. Jessica Schuster, an associate clinical professor in the Department of Human Oncology, was named a fellow of the American College of Radiation Oncology (ACRO) at the ACRO 2022 Radiation Oncology Summit.
Dr. Schuster joined ACRO, an organization that supports Radiation Oncology professionals by providing opportunities for career development and practice improvement to enhance patient care, in 2016. Typically, ACRO members become eligible for fellowship nomination after 10 years of service. Dr. Schuster earned this honor early in recognition of her exceptional commitment to the organization. She has served various roles including diversity and inclusion subgroup, mentorship director, new practitioner chair, and board member.
As mentorship director, Dr. Schuster has recruited mentors to provide medical students, residents, and new practitioners guidance on issues such as work-life balance and the transition from residency to practice. The program also offers trainees opportunities to make connections in locations and in types of practice that could help in their job searches. It also enables experienced professionals the chance to share their knowledge and experience with the next generation. Typically, mentors and mentees meet at the annual ACRO meeting, but the Covid-19 pandemic made a virtual format necessary in 2021.
“It had been an in-person, annual meetup, but we were able to expand the program through the virtual platform. It’s an uplifting Covid story in that people could have mentors from all over the country and because all of us got used to doing video calls the mentor and mentees were able to better engage despite not being able to see each other in person,” says Dr. Schuster, who also serves as a mentor.
In addition to the mentorship program, Dr. Schuster helped with ACRO’s efforts to train new practitioners in contouring using eContour, which provides access to sample case contours that enables trainees to compare their disease contouring with that of more experienced colleagues.
“This fellowship is a great honor,” Dr. Schuster says. “I feel that this is my way of giving back. I’m not a big researcher. I’m more clinically focused. Connecting folks and educating trainees about the profession is one of the ways I contribute to the field.”