Mission and Purposes
The mission of the Pediatric Cancer Working Group (PCWG) is to establish childhood cancer research as a global priority supported by improved funding, the very latest technologies and best educational strategies. The PCWG will provide a forum for communication and collaboration among basic, clinical and translational researchers in academia, industry and government on all aspects of pediatric cancer research. It will serve as an interface bridging the AACR with advocacy and legislative groups to promote the prevention and cure of cancers arising in children.
Many advances in cancer research can be traced to the contributions of scientists and clinicians active in the care of pediatric patients. The study of pediatric cancers has a rich history of providing unique insights into the biology of all cancers, such as the identification of amplification and translocation of oncogenes driving tumorigenesis (NMYC in neuroblastoma and CMYC translocation in Burkitt’s lymphoma) as well as the identification of tumor suppressor genes (RB in retinoblastoma).
Advances in our understanding of the biology of cancer have been rapidly translated to novel treatment approaches for pediatric cancer patients. This is evidenced by significant improvements in long-term survival for children with malignancies, which has improved steadily from approximately 25 percent in the 1960s to more than 80 percent today. These improvements are in part due to innovation within the field of pediatric oncology, the resilience of the patient population, the creation of multidisciplinary care teams, and a strong cooperative group infrastructure for clinical research. Despite these improvements, the challenges for the field remain significant coupled with slowed progress. To continue to make strides and move the field of pediatric cancer forward, paramount to these efforts are the contribution and collaboration amongst basic, clinical and translational researchers. The AACR PCWG will serve to further the success of pediatric oncology in the new era of molecular medicine.
Article I: Membership
Section 1. The PCWG is open to all members of the AACR interested in childhood cancer. AACR members may indicate their wish to join PCWG via the AACR annual dues invoice, which is sent to members in the winter of each year. You may also join PCWG at other times during the year by completing the PCWG membership form.
Section 2. Researchers involved in pediatric cancer who are not members of AACR may become members of PCWG/AACR, however they are encouraged to also become Active, Associate, or Affiliate members of AACR. Non-members of AACR may not hold office within the PCWG, with the exception of liaisons from other professional societies.
Section 3. Dues for membership in PCWG/AACR, if any, will be assessed on an annual basis at a rate set by the AACR Board of Directors.
Article II. Steering Committee
Section 1. The leadership body of PCWG/AACR shall be known as the Steering Committee.
Section 2. The responsibilities of Steering Committee members will include, but are not limited to:
a) Encourage and maintain active participation in AACR activities of all scientists interested in cancer-related pediatric research;
b) Promote AACR and its programs related to pediatric cancer research;
c) Represent the field of pediatric cancer research by acting as a liaison and advisory body to the AACR Board of Directors and CEO;
d) Serve as representatives of those engaged in pediatric research at the AACR Annual Meeting, the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting, the Health Disparities special conference, and during other meetings or functions as deemed appropriate by the AACR leadership;
e) Propose a plan and establish priorities for the scientific and professional goals of PCWG/AACR and its members;
f) Provide input to the Chairperson on issues such as suggestions for new Steering Committee members; formation and membership of Standing or Ad Hoc Committees to carry out the work of PCWG/AACR; and recommendations for nominations of PCWG/AACR members for service on Program and Education Committees, Editorial Boards and other relevant task forces, committees and other activities of AACR.
Section 3. All AACR members in good standing who are active members of PCWG/AACR are eligible to serve on the PCWG/AACR Steering Committee.
Section 4. The Steering Committee shall be comprised of the following positions:
a) Three officers: a Chairperson, serving a two-year term; and a Chairperson-Elect and the Past Chairperson, each serving a one-year term.
b) Nine additional members, each serving staggered two-year terms; five selected by the Chairperson and four selected by the Chairperson-Elect.
c) The Chief Executive Officer of AACR.
d) The overall composition of the Steering Committee will be evaluated by the Chairperson of PCWG/AACR to ensure that it reflects the scientific and geographic (including international) diversity of PCWG/AACR.
e) Steering Committee members may not serve for consecutive terms, either in the same or in another position on the Steering Committee. Steering Committee members may return to the Steering Committee after spending at least one year off the Steering Committee.
f) The members of the Steering Committee will assume office at the PCWG/AACR meeting during the AACR annual meeting, and will relinquish office at this same meeting at the conclusion of their terms.
Section 5. Officers of the Steering Committee shall be elected as follows:
a) The slate for Chairperson-Elect will be developed by a Nominating Committee consisting of five PCWG/AACR members in good standing. Two of these members will be the current Chairperson and Past Chairperson of the Steering Committee. No other member of the Steering Committee may serve on the Nominating Committee. The remaining three members of the Nominating Committee will be appointed by the Chairperson of the Steering Committee in consultation with the CEO of AACR, with one of these three members serving as Nominating Committee Chairperson;
b) The Nominating Committee will identify two candidates to stand for election for each position; and
c) A ballot will be developed summarizing each candidate’s professional background and a 250-word statement outlining the candidate’s intended goals for PCWG/AACR that will be sent to all members of PCWG/AACR for a popular vote. Voting may be by U.S. mail or electronic means.
Section 6. The Chairperson-Elect shall be elected by popular vote of PCWG/AACR members, and will assume office at the PCWG/AACR meeting during the AACR annual meeting, and will relinquish office at this same meeting two years later. The Chairperson-Elect will assume the office of Chairperson upon the expiration of the Chairperson’s term of office, and the Chairperson will become the Past Chairperson. The Past Chairperson will retire from the Steering Committee upon the expiration of his or her term of office.
Section 7. Duties and Responsibilities of the Officers
a) The Chairperson shall be the chief officer of the Steering Committee and shall preside over all Steering Committee meetings and other meetings and functions of PCWG/AACR. The Chairperson shall prepare an annual report and other reports to the AACR Board of Directors; serve as the main point of contact between AACR and the Steering Committee; oversee the Committees of PCWG/AACR, if any; and direct the activities approved by the AACR Board of Directors;
b) The Chairperson shall appoint five members of the Steering Committee to serve for two-year terms, to commence at the beginning of the Chairperson’s term of office, and conclude two years later, when the Chairperson assumes the office of Past Chairperson;
c) The Chairperson-Elect shall assume the duties of the Chairperson in his or her absence, and shall oversee those activities as delegated by the Chairperson;
d) The Chairperson-Elect shall appoint four members of the Steering Committee to serve for two-year terms, to commence at the beginning of the Chairperson-Elect’s term of office, and conclude two years later, during the middle of the Chairperson-Elect’s two-year term;
e) The Past Chairperson shall serve to preserve programmatic and leadership continuity, and shall assist in the functions and programs of the Steering Committee as needed.
Section 8. A Steering Committee member who has failed to attend three consecutive Steering Committee meetings or conference calls shall be considered to have resigned. Reinstatement shall be considered by the Steering Committee upon receipt of a written petition from that member. A Steering Committee member may be dismissed upon unanimous vote of the remaining members of the Steering Committee for failure to perform his or her duties and responsibilities. Grounds for dismissal include, but are not limited to: the failure to perform duties and responsibilities as assigned by the Steering Committee Chairperson; the failure to attend three consecutive Steering Committee meetings; and the failure to act in accordance with this Charter, the Policies of the Steering Committee, or with the By-Laws and Policies of AACR.
Section 9. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Chairperson, the Chairperson-Elect shall assume the office of Chairperson for the remainder of the unexpired term, and shall then continue as Chairperson for the next term of office. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Chairperson-Elect, the Steering Committee shall hold an election following the procedure in Sections 5 of this Article II. In the event of a vacancy of a Steering Committee member’s seat, the Chairperson-Elect shall appoint a member in good standing of the Working Group to serve for the remainder of the term of office.
Section 10. Interim Governance Provisions. To facilitate the smooth transition from the AACR Task Force on Pediatric Oncology to the new AACR Pediatric Cancer Working Group, the following interim provisions will be in effect beginning December 1, 2010, until the first Working Group election in the Spring of 2012. After the election, this provision will lapse and the remaining charter language will become fully operative.
a) PCWG/AACR will be organized and led by a Steering Committee consisting of the following individuals: Chairperson of the AACR Pediatric Oncology Task Force who will serve as the Steering Committee’s Chairperson; Vice Chairperson (selected by the Chairperson); eight additional members (selected by the Chairperson); two Committee chairpersons (i.e., from the Program Committee and the Outreach Committee); and the Chief Executive Officer of AACR. Members of the Steering Committee leadership team (consisting of the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and Committee Chairpersons) must be members of AACR.
b) The Past Chairperson shall become a member of the Steering Committee to preserve continuity. When elections are held in the Spring of 2012, the current Chairperson will become Past Chairperson, and, in this capacity, will be added to the Steering Committee. At the same time, the members at large of PCWG/AACR will elect a Chairperson and a Chairperson-Elect. The Chairperson-elect position will replace the Vice Chairperson position.
c) The elected Chairperson will appoint five people for a three-year term each; and the Chairperson-Elect will appoints four people for two year terms each, thus setting up the staggered rotation of the nine appointed members of the Steering Committee in Sec. 4(c).
In sum, from December 2010 through the transitional period extending to the Spring of 2012, the Working Group Steering Committee will be composed of 13 members.
Article III. Meetings and Quorum
Section 1. PCWG/AACR shall hold an Annual Town Meeting for members and those interested in the work of PCWG/AACR during the AACR annual meeting or at such other meeting as the Steering Committee determines.
Section 2. Meetings of the Steering Committee may be called by the Chairperson or, in case of the Chairperson’s absence or disability, by the Chairperson-Elect. Notice of all meetings shall be given so as to reach the members of the Steering Committee at least seven calendar days before the date of the meeting.
Section 3. The Steering Committee will conduct meetings via teleconference. In-person meetings may be called with the approval of the AACR leadership.
Section 4. A simple majority of the Steering Committee members shall constitute a quorum at all of its meetings.
Article IV. Committees
Section 1. The Chairperson, with the consultation of the Steering Committee and approval of the AACR leadership, may establish Standing and Ad Hoc Committees to carry out the work of the Steering Committee. The number of Committees to be appointed will depend upon the approved programs and activities of the Working Group and the financial resources available to maintain the work of PCWG/AACR.
Section 2. Unless otherwise governed within this Charter, the Chairperson, with the consultation of the Steering Committee and approval of the AACR leadership, will appoint the Committee Chairperson(s) and Committee member(s).
Section 3. The Chairperson, with the consultation of the Steering Committee and approval of the AACR leadership, may dissolve Standing and Ad Hoc Committees.
Article V. Communications Policy
Section 1. An AACR Staff Liaison shall be appointed by the AACR Chief Executive Officer to serve as the facilitator of communication between AACR and the PCWG/AACR Steering Committee, and to perform the administrative functions necessary to successfully execute the initiatives of the Steering Committee in keeping with the policies of AACR.
Section 2. AACR must be informed of and approve all activities well in advance of initiation. Approval is based on feedback from the AACR Board of Directors, the compatibility of the proposed agenda items with those of AACR, staff availability to complete the tasks necessary to implement the project, and the overall feasibility of the item(s) contingent upon financial resources. Written proposals for programs along with an estimated budget must be submitted to the AACR Chief Executive Officer prior to submission to the Board of Directors.
Section 3. All official communications (i.e., new initiatives, new programs, etc.) coming from the Steering Committee must first be approved by AACR. All e-mails, faxes and letters generated by the PCWG/AACR Steering Committee should be copied to the designated AACR Staff Liaison.
Article VI. Amendments
Section 1. Any member of PCWG/AACR may submit a written proposal to amend the Charter of PCWG/AACR. However, only a member of the Steering Committee may raise the amendment for consideration by the Steering Committee.
Section 2. The proposed amendment must be submitted in writing to the Steering Committee for review and vote. A vote in favor by two-thirds of all the members of the Steering Committee is necessary in order for an amendment to be considered for further disposition by the AACR Chief Executive Officer and the AACR Board of Directors. The proposed amendment must be reviewed and approved by the AACR Chief Executive Officer prior to consideration by the Board.