Radiation therapy is well known to provide palliation for a variety of localized cancer symptoms, which can improve patient quality of life and reduce caregiver burden and stressors. Palliative radiation therapy plays critical roles in the management of pain from bone metastases, neurological symptoms from brain metastases or spinal cord compression, and local symptoms caused by tumor compression, mass effect, or local invasion. The importance of palliative radiotherapy to end-of-life oncology care has led to International Consensus Conferences on Palliative Radiotherapy in New York in 1990, London in 2000, San Diego in 2010, and most recently Barcelona in 2015. The success and momentum of these meetings, as well as the increasing collaboration between colleagues worldwide dedicated specifically to the subspecialty of palliative radiotherapy led to the formation of the Society of Palliative Radiation Oncology (SPRO) in 2014.
SPRO is a professional society that functions as the local, national, and international levels to promote excellence in palliative radiation oncology care. This includes the provision of evidence-based palliative radiotherapy that is effective, efficient, safe, and affordable, as well as the provision of high-quality primary palliative care from the time of an advanced cancer diagnosis. We strive to advance palliative radiation oncology care through research, education, collaboration, and patient advocacy.
Meet Our Executive Committee and Board of Directors
Dr. Martin is a palliative medicine specialist, an Assistant Clinical Professor in the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the Assistant Director of the UCLA Palliative Care Program. She graduated from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and completed internal medicine residency and palliative medicine fellowship training at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Martin has also completed UCLA’s two-year Medical Education Fellowship and post-doctoral Master of Science Program in Health Policy and Management. She is nationally recognized for her research, education, and leadership efforts to integrate palliative care into radiation oncology and served as SPRO Vice President from 2019-2023.
Dr. Alcorn is an Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Clinical Innovation at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where she also serves as the Director of Palliative Radiotherapy. She received her Doctor of Medicine from Harvard Medical School and a Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. After completing her residency in Radiation Oncology at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Alcorn joined the faculty there and obtained her PhD through the Graduate Training Program in Clinical Investigation at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. As part of her PhD, she developed a machine-learning survival model and decision support platform to help guide management of patients with symptomatic bone metastases. At the University of Minnesota, Dr. Alcorn is focusing her efforts on elevating patient care, research, and education related to palliative care by building a dedicated palliative radiation oncology program.
Dr. Chang is a radiation oncologist at Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, OR. He received his medical degree at the University of California, San Francisco and completed his residency training at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to joining Kaiser, he served on the faculty at Oregon Health & Science University, where he built and led its dedicated palliative radiation oncology program.
Dr. Mattes is a radiation oncologist at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, where he specializes in the treatment of gynecologic, genitourinary, and lung cancers. He finds working with patients with metastatic cancer to be rewarding, due to the quality-of-life benefits of palliative radiation therapy. As a member of the SPRO Board of Directors, he aims to promote best practices in the integration of radiation oncologists into a multidisciplinary palliative team.