ISOPP President's Message

Outgoing and Incoming President Messages

From Shaun O'Connor, Outgoing President

It feels like it was only yesterday that I was assuming the Presidency to serve ISOPP and continue leading the great work that we deliver for oncology patients around the world. So much has happened in this time, with COVID throwing many of our plans awry, but the society has shown resilience in progressing towards our goals and in some cases delivering new tasks for the benefit of pharmacists

I am proud of the incredible work that we have achieved over the past two years. The Standards being released imminently, refresh of the Strategic Plan, Oncology Pharmacotherapy and Applications of Biosimilars program, inaugural Saudi Arabia Regional Oncology Conference, ISOPP Position Statement: Role of the oncology pharmacy team in cancer care, participation in Project PINK BLUE's efforts to educate oncology pharmacists in Nigeria, Advocacy involvement in the UICC Impact of Drug Shortages and Quality on Patients with cancer, contributions to the WHO EML, the joint webinar on “Vaccine Considerations in Patients with Cancer Receiving Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy (including COVID-19),” the Biosimilars Toolkit and more I will have missed, all showcase the incredible work of our members, and I have to acknowledge the work of our previous President, Alexandre Chan, in setting many of these in motion. 

The refresh of our Strategic Plan focuses our efforts for the next two years, aiming to both ensure the sustainability of our society and offer a diverse range of resources for members. It also allows us to reengage our members to move forwards with our ambitious program. The three strategic objectives have been refreshed with the help of the secretariat, committee chairs, task force leads and the membership survey. Some of our work is building on past efforts and some is opportunistic due to changes that have occurred such as our website content management system requiring an extensive update to continue being supported. There are many important future initiatives and Education, Research and Advocacy Committees keep going from strength to strength whilst our Immunotherapy Task Force is about to deliver their toolkit and has just had their position paper published this week. 

The society does not function without the work of our many volunteer members. Your work is what makes our mission alive and thriving - please volunteer for any committee or project that interests you and help drive our impact forwards! We need experiences and viewpoints from across the globe to ensure that our work is representative and inclusive of as many viewpoints as possible. Thanks also to Sea to Sky as our SMO for supporting our work.

It is with great pride in the work of the society that I hand over the presidency to Evelyn Handel. She is well equipped to lead us in our mission and I have full faith in her abilities and the support of the secretariat to keep the society moving forwards. 

P.S. If you weren’t able to join us for ISOPP’s 2022 Virtual Symposium, benefit from additional knowledge and best practices by accessing the video presentations through ISOPP’s Virtual Library – complimentary for all ISOPP members. Many thanks to Lisa Holle, our Virtual Symposium Task Force Chair, and all those who participated and volunteered their expertise to make our virtual gathering an outstanding success. In fact, 100% rated the event as good to excellent, and 95% rated the online platform as good to excellent as well. 

From Evelyn Handel Zapata, Incoming President

I am excited and honored to write my first update as ISOPP President, and I am very much looking forward to leading this amazing organization over the next two years. I have also been reflecting on what an incredible journey it’s been so far, which all started with a simple email to ask how I could become involved and help out after I joined ISOPP as a brand-new member. Over the years, being involved in ISOPP has led to some of the most rewarding professional growth, volunteer experiences, networking opportunities, and conference/travel destinations that I have had throughout my career. I am so grateful for the opportunity to give back to this amazing organization that has given so much to me.

As we transition into the new Secretariat, I would like to thank Shaun O’Connor for his leadership of the society and the many important milestones and achievements mentioned above and throughout the rest of this newsletter. I am very thankful that he will remain on the Secretariat in the role of Past President. In addition, I look forward to working with the entire volunteer leadership and thank the many members who have previously laid the foundation that we continue to build upon.

Last month was our ISOPP 2022 Virtual Symposium, and it brought me much joy to “see” so many of you virtually. The strength of our society is built on the dedication and participation of our members, and I would like to thank all our planning task force volunteers, presenters, attendees, sponsors, and Sea to Sky for helping to make the symposium a success. Please note the section below that mentions how you can access the educational sessions and the recording/meeting minutes of the Annual General Meeting.

Shaun already provided a fantastic summary of the work that ISOPP has accomplished over the past two years, but I would like to add my congratulations and appreciation to all who participated in the significant revision and expansion of the ISOPP Standards for the Safe Handling of Cytotoxics and the ISOPP position statement on the role of oncology pharmacy practitioners in immunotherapy treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors for malignant conditions, both of which are now published in JOPP and available online. Please check them out and share with your network.

I also want to thank everyone who has contributed to the ongoing work of all our Committees and Task Forces – so much work goes into planning educational programs, writing grants and publications, facilitating research opportunities, membership/communication, advocacy initiatives, and more. Keep reading below for an update on the OPAB program and upcoming immunotherapy toolkit, and keep an eye out for future updates on other projects in subsequent newsletters.

So much amazing work has already been done, and I look forward to the next steps in achieving our goals and furthering our society. The newly refreshed Strategic Plan will guide us over the next few years and I am looking forward to advancing the goals and projects we have laid out as it relates to membership, education/professional development, research, advocacy, and immunotherapy. If you’re thinking of becoming more involved in ISOPP, now would be a great time to check out our list of Committees and Task Forces, join a group, and help move our initiatives forward. Everyone is welcome!

Along with many achievements, these past few years have also brought many unique challenges and it is amazing to see how ISOPP has been resilient, productive, and a great place for all of us to connect and learn from each other despite the difficult circumstances. As we continue to navigate these unprecedented times, I know our shared common passion to provide the best possible care to oncology patients continues to unite us. Every day is a new opportunity to do the best we can, and ISOPP is a place where we can support and encourage each other and continue to learn and grow.

It is with great excitement that I look forward to seeing each other face-to-face again at our next ISOPP Symposium on March 2-4, 2023 followed by a one-day Masterclass on March 5 in the beautiful city of Sevilla, Spain.

In the meantime, I encourage you to explore the ISOPP website for an update on who your volunteer leaders are, and also to email me at if you wish to participate on any of the Committees, Task Forces, and Work Groups. Also, please email me anytime with suggestions and ideas that you may have.

I look forward to hearing from you and being of service. Thank you for the privilege! 

Shaun O’Connor

ISOPP Past President

Evelyn Handel Zapata

ISOPP President