Volunteerism in Oncology

Charles Penley, M.D.

I am proud of my work as an oncologist, and I feel there is no higher calling than assisting the seriously ill. My patients inspire and teach me—it’s an honor to serve them. I also believe we can serve our patients’ needs by working at the societal level, and I do this through volunteerism. I’ve had the good fortune to work at the state and national level on issues of importance to oncology patients and physicians, and I believe this has made me a better physician.

Locally, I’ve been a member of the Tennessee Oncology Practice Society since the early 1990s and on the board of directors for many years, serving as president in the late 1990s.

Nationally, I have held many volunteer positions with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). I’ve served for many years on the Clinical Practice Committee and chaired it in 2008-2009. I’ve also served on the Government Relations Committee as chair in 2012-2013. This work has given me the opportunity to participate in policy making and implementation and see oncology from a different perspective. I’ve been privileged to meet talented, dedicated professionals, all striving to improve the care of cancer patients.

Since 2005, I’ve had the pleasure of serving on the Board of Directors of ASCO’s Conquer Cancer Foundation (CCF). As ASCO’s philanthropic arm, this nonprofit funds breakthrough cancer research, shares cutting-edge knowledge, improves quality of and access to care and enhances quality of life for those touched by cancer. I’ve been honored to serve as chairman of the CCF Board of Directors since January 2013. Our vision is “A World Free from the Fear of Cancer,” and we strive daily to realize that vision.

ASCO is physician-driven. The society is deeply rooted in science and education. ASCO is engaged in public policy, healthcare delivery and improvement of the quality of cancer care, as well as it is always looking toward the future. I am proud to be a part of this vital organization. Presently, I am also honored to serve on the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) Board of Trustees. ACCC promotes multidisciplinary, quality cancer care for all. This nonprofit also addresses the challenges of cancer care delivery, developing innovative solutions for practices and healthcare systems. ACCC is a great mix of oncology professionals.

It is rewarding to know the volunteer work I do will have an impact locally and nationally. I am pleased to have served Nashville for almost 30 years. When I’m not in Washington, D.C., you can find me caring for patients at Tennessee Oncology’s Midtown Clinic.