ASPI AS ADVOCACY AWARD – 2023
For Immediate Release: June 16, 2023
From: Mark Lichty & Howard Wolinsky, ASPI Co-Founders
ASPI honors MUSIC for Advancing Cause of Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer
Active Surveillance Patients International (ASPI) has selected the Michigan Urological Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MUSIC) as the first recipient of the ASPI AS ADVOCACY AWARD for its advances in researching and promoting Active Surveillance for lower-risk patients in place of aggressive treatments. “We’re proud to announce that MUSIC is receiving the award for advancing the cause of Active Surveillance,” said Mark Lichty, chairman and co-founder of ASPI, the first global support and education group for men on Active Surveillance for lower-risk prostate cancer. As a co-founder of ASPI, Howard Wolinsky will present the Special Award at the MUSIC Collaborative-wide Meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023, at Frederik Meijer Gardens Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
MUSIC, founded in 2011, is a quality improvement consortium of urologists in Michigan (and a few centers outside of Michigan), funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Wolinsky said that MUSIC and urologists in Michigan had shown the way to greater acceptance of AS. MUSIC has AS uptake rates comparable to the highest in the world. “It should be the model for the rest of the U.S. to help men avoid unnecessary surgery or radiation that can cause side effects such as incontinence and impotence,” he said. In 2014, MUSIC began an extensive AS initiative to increase the use of AS for appropriate patients and improve the quality of AS provided to these men. Since the initiation of this effort, the number of low-risk prostate cancer patients managed with Active Surveillance in MUSIC has risen from about 50% to about 90%, compared to 60% nationally. Likewise, MUSIC leads the way with a 45% AS uptake rate in men with favorable intermediate-risk prostate cancer compared with 20% nationally. “MUSIC has shown what can be accomplished in all types of urology practices, from academic to large and small private practices. It should be the model for the entire country,” added Lichty.
Kevin Ginsburg, MD, MS, the co-director of the MUSIC prostate program, in his acceptance of the award, remarked: “MUSIC is elated and honored to receive this award for recognition of MUSIC’s contribution to advancing the use of Active Surveillance in the State of Michigan, the United States and globally. The MUSIC purpose statement is ‘a community that partners to improve patients’ lives by inspiring high-quality care through data-driven best practices, education, and innovation. Patient-centered care and improving patients’ lives are at the foundation of what we aspire to achieve in MUSIC, and receiving this award from ASPI, a patient-run advocacy group, makes this award even more meaningful and special.”
As members of the ASPI Awards Committee, Lichty and Wolinsky were impressed by MUSIC’s close collaboration between prostate cancer patients and urologists and also MUSIC’s advances in cutting-edge research and promotion of transperineal biopsies to reduce risks of infection, which have been found in many studies to be high in transrectal biopsies.
The ASPI Special Award is an original painting by artist Kathy Lockwood. (see below) symbolizing how patients and physicians can work together to “First, Do No Harm” (Hippocrates) and preserve patients’ quality of life. Lichty explains: “the culture of MUSIC has embraced the notion of compassionate listening, and this award will serve to honor MUSIC and remind all of the urgency and value of listening.”
ASPI, founded in 2017, presented its first Chodak award last year to Dr. Laurence Klotz of the University of Toronto, considered one of the “fathers” of AS, in honor of the late Dr. Gerald Chodak, a University of Chicago urology researcher, who created the intellectual foundation for AS in the 1990s. Dr. Chodak was ASPI’s first medical advisor and co-founder of UsTOO, one of the first support groups for prostate cancer patients. (UsToo has since merged with ZERO.) The Chodak Award is given to physicians who have advanced the cause of AS. This year, the ASPI award committee also created an award honoring patient advocates. The winners of the Chodak and patient advocacy awards will be announced soon.\
ASPI’s award committee panel includes Dr. Paul Schellhammer, a prostate cancer patient, urologist, and past president of AUA; Robin Chodak, widow of Dr. Chodak; Jim Schraidt, a prostate cancer patient, a founding ASPI board member and also a board member of ZERO–The End of Prostate Cancer and a moderator at the AnCan Virtual Support Group for AS; Ericka Johnson, a Swedish social scientist, who authored the book: “A Cultural History of the Prostate”; Govinda Ramakrishna, an ASPI board member and a Toronto and Kochi, India-based prostate cancer patient; and Mark Lichty, ASPI Chair and co-founder, and co-founder Howard Wolinsky.
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First Annual ASPI Chodak Award – 2022
Dr. Laurence Klotz, MD, 2022 Recipient of Chodak Award
On May 6, 2022, Active Surveillance Patients International (ASPI), a non-profit patient-run advocacy organization, presented its first Annual Chodak Award to Dr. Laurence Klotz, University of Toronto professor and researcher and Chairman of the World Uro-Oncology Federation. Recognized as an expert in the global Prostate Cancer community, Klotz, in the late 1990s, conceived of, named and developed the strategic management approach of Active Surveillance (AS) for men diagnosed with low and favorable intermediate-grade prostate cancer.
This award was presented in a virtual ceremony in honor of the late Dr. Gerald Chodak, Klotz’s mentor, whose inspiration led Klotz to propel AS into a burgeoning AS global movement. Dr. Chodak, who passed away in 2019, was a urology professor at the University of Chicago and initiated the idea of conservative treatment of patients with low-risk prostate cancer in 1994 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Chodak, a true pioneer facing pushback from some experts, was the first medical advisor to ASPI and the co-founder of the UsToo support group for patients with prostate cancer thirty years ago.
The ceremony featured moving tributes to Chodak and Klotz, who asserts that Active Surveillance should continue to be a standard of care while the urological community continues to refine prostate cancer screening methods to reduce overdiagnosis and overtreatment.
Klotz told the virtual ceremony: “This really is a unique and unprecedented gesture and honor. When ASPI called me and said we’re giving you this award, I was so touched, partly because of my memory of, and debt, to Gerry and partly because this is really something unique. I’ve been fortunate to get lots of honors, but not one like this. It represents patient appreciation. It represents the partnership between physicians and the community and recognizes the importance of conservative management. It’s a wonderful thing in so many ways.”
Mark Lichty, Chairman, and Co-Founder of ASPI, remarked, “millions of us owe a deep debt of gratitude to these two doctors who faced adversity in furthering their vision to help patients avoid unnecessary surgery and radiation therapy with all the side effects.” He later added: “ASPI hopes that the example of these two courageous men might inspire patients throughout the world to be empowered during their health journey.”
Active Surveillance Patients International’s mission is to provide newly diagnosed men and those already observing an AS protocol with the latest information to allow them to make informed decisions with their doctors.