Industry News

ASTRO Names New VP of Education and Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

By News Release


The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) recently hired Chris Neumann as its new Vice President of Learning and Education, and Kirsta Suggs as its first Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). As the head of ASTRO’s education division, Neumann leads the medical society’s educational programming, including the nation’s largest meeting dedicated to radiation oncology and the ASTRO Academy, an online library of virtual courses, webinars and continuing medical education (CME) resources. He also oversees efforts to expand and diversify ASTRO’s education offerings, such as increasing access to learning opportunities by providing more live virtual activities and custom-curated OnDemand content.

Neumann has extensive experience leading education initiatives for medical societies, including tenures as Director of Education at the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) and the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP). In those roles, he oversaw the development, implementation and evaluation of national medical conferences and online education programs. Prior to that, he served as Interim Executive Director of the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation (now SHAPE America).

“Chris brings to ASTRO critical understanding of the rapidly-changing educational landscape for medical professionals,” said ASTRO CEO Laura Thevenot. “He has already implemented enhancements to our upcoming Annual Meeting, such as live-streaming every session for virtual attendees and including OnDemand access to all meeting content with every registration.”

Suggs is ASTRO’s first director dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. In this role, she leads the development and implementation of a range of DEI programs and initiatives across the society, including strategies to engage and retain a diverse membership that better represents the patient communities radiation oncologists serve, as well as efforts to mitigate heath equity disparities for people with cancer and other priority DEI topics that are identified as part of upcoming cultural audit. Suggs also oversees ASTRO’s early-career development programs including its Aspiring Scientists and Physicians Program, Minority Summer Fellowship, Leadership Protégé Pipeline and residents committee, and she is the primary staff liaison to ASTRO’s recently established Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Before joining ASTRO, Suggs spent two decades as a key contributor to the strategic direction of the Endocrine Society’s DEI efforts, including 15 years focused on establishing career development and DEI initiatives. Suggs developed the society’s flagship leadership development training programs to expand endocrinology’s pipeline of underrepresented minority scientist and physician leaders, and she also developed educational programming around health disparities and other DEI issues.

“Kirsta brings to ASTRO a rich background in building pathways to support individuals from underrepresented minority communities in medicine and science,” said Thevenot. “ASTRO is committed to building a stronger, more diverse specialty. We are excited to have Kirsta join us in this important role and to work with her and our volunteers to expand ASTRO’s portfolio of DEI and early-career development initiatives.”