Important updates & information for our members

From the Editor

Rusty Crawford, BPharm (Ret.)


Greetings AVAHO Members and Supporters;

I hope that this message finds you all doing well, that you have comfortably returned to the workplace and are feeling a returned sense of “normalcy” (whatever that may be in 2023!). This has been an amazing year of accomplishments for our organization, and I truly believe it is only the beginning!


This past year AVAHO developed and put on three live “regional symposia” bringing additional knowledge and training to our members; one in Nashville focusing on CAR-T therapy, one in Indianapolis focusing on NSCLC, and finally one in Tampa focusing on female malignancies. These were all hugely successful and extremely well attended and would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of your AVAHO Administrative team and our amazing sponsors! I hope you were able to attend at least one of these regional meetings. Plans are already underway for 2024, with proposed topics and locations of the multidisciplinary management of head and neck cancer (Seattle) and precision oncology (Durham). Stay tuned for dates and announcements for registration in the upcoming months! This past year we also worked on a collaborative webinar with members of HOPA and ACCC on the issues regarding critical drug shortages and it’s impact on patient care and health organizations. This too represented a first for AVAHO, with hopefully many more collaborative programs to be conducted in the future. 

In this summer edition of the newsletter, I have tried to include articles or stories that share the
excellent work that you provide to your patients daily, showing not only the commitment to quality care
you all share but also the results your commitment has meant in terms of how that care is perceived by
patients and health care plans and providers. I’m sure you will not be surprised by the excellent scores
and reviews VA has received across the continuum, not just in cancer care but in all aspects of care.
Please take a few moments to read these stories of accomplishment, both from your peers and your organization.

We look forward to seeing you all in Chicago at the end of September for our annual meeting. Believe it or not, plans are already underway in planning for the 2024 and 2025 meetings which will also be AVAHO’s 20th anniversary! The planning committee has an excellent program in place that will meet everyone’s needs, and in addition there will be a half day workshop on Thursday prior to the meeting starting that focuses on health care literacy and methods to both identify problems and to improve them. We hope to see you there.

As always, we are always looking for volunteers to serve on any of our committees, members to consider running for board positions and for additional news and submissions to include in our newsletters. Thank you all for all you do.



Rusty Crawford

B Pharm (ret.); Chair, Communication Committee and Co-Chair Education Committee
AVAHO President (2017-18)



Less than 4 weeks(!) from now, we'll be meeting in Chicago. We're looking forward to seeing the hundreds of members who registered for this year's meeting. There are few updates we'd like to share:



Those who have signed up to attend virtually will receive an email and refund for their virtual attendance. Due to unforeseen labor issues, we are unable to live stream this year's conference. We will still record keynote sessions and alert members when they are available for viewing. Please note: Special Interest Groups (SIGs) will NOT be live-streamed or recorded. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.

Fun is never prohibited...

Join us Friday night for a Prohibition-Era party!


All conference attendees will receive a pin upon check-in that provides you access to our 2023 Welcome Reception. This year's event will feature music, food, and dancing at the Untitled Supper Club, a Chicago Prohibition-era event space. Dress code is casual and transportation shuttles will run continuously from 6:30 - 9:30 pm for our convenience.

Kickbox (or Sleep)

for Veterans

Sunday, October 1

Benefitting the AVAHO Foundation*


Many of you registered to run/walk/sleep as in previous years, and we're here to keep you moving! Our group isn't big enough for local permits, so we're moving our activity indoors for some kickboxing action. Beginners are welcome!


All attendees will still get an event shirt (this year's shirt is long-sleeved for the fall weather). If you haven't registered yet, please contact Sue at admin@avaho.org and send in your $35 to join us!


*funds raised will be donated to the newly formed AVAHO Foundation and used to provide AVAHO members with scholarships for their continuing education needs.




Exercise, Diet, and Weight Management During Cancer Treatment

By Dimitri Ochoa, BS, PVAHCS Dietetic Intern
Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona

During cancer treatment, adequate nutrition and exercise are key components during cancer care to promote weight maintenance, retain physical function, decrease side effects of treatment, and negate or improve the signs and symptoms of malnutrition.1 With the use of a multidisciplinary team to aid in the treatment and recovery of cancer, healthy lifestyle factors including nutrition and exercise are encouraged. Diet, exercise, and healthy weight management during cancer treatment may result in improved quality of life, treatment toxicity, and cancer control. However, weight change recommendations vary widely by provider, cancer type, and stage of treatment.


Click here for more...


Managing Critical Drug Shortages

Recently, a joint round table discussion was coordinated and presented by thought leaders from AVAHO, HOPA, and the ACCC focusing on the topic of critical drug shortages and their impact on providing optimal oncology care during these challenging times.  The panel consisted of Sol Atienza (HOPA Moderator), Mahta Mahmoudieh (ACCC), Natalie Osagie (AVAHO), Jeffrey Pilz (HOPA),  Sarah Hudson-Disalle (HOPA), Peter Stuessy (HOPA) and Sarah Hayward (HOPA).


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Kudos to the VA Close to Me Infusion Service!

Jenna Shields, PharmD, BCOP


The VA Close to Me infusion service was presented today at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting!

This service brings cancer treatments closer to where Veterans live by deploying a chemotherapy certified RN to our community based outpatient clinics (CBOC) to administer injections and infusions. Over the last 18 months this service has saved Veterans over 53,000 drive miles and countless hours of time traveling and waiting at infusion centers. I am so proud of this team! Visit our diffusion market place page to see what we have planned next!

Mortality Among US Veterans Admitted to Community
vs Veterans Health Administration Hospitals for COVID-19


Veterans Health Administration (VHA) enrollees receive care for COVID-19 in both VHA and non-VHA (ie, community) hospitals, but little is known about the frequency or outcomes of care for veterans with COVID-19 in VHA vs community hospitals.


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VA hospitals are outperforming private hospitals, latest Medicare survey shows


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs takes care of about 9 million veterans at 1,255 facilities. It is the nation's largest integrated health care system.

nationwide Medicare survey released Wednesday found that veterans rated Veterans Affairs hospitals higher than private health care facilities in all 10 categories of patient satisfaction.

The VA takes care of about 9 million veterans at 1,255 facilities — the nation's largest integrated health care system. Despite many widely publicized scandals, VA health care has been consistently rated as competitive with private care in dozens of peer-reviewed articles.


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Studies show VA health care is better than or equal to non-VA health care


WASHINGTON — The Journal of General Internal Medicine and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons published articles based on a systematic review of studies about VA health care, concluding VA health care is consistently as good as — or better than — non-VA health care.


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