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Forbeck Forum Information

The Story

In October, 1983, ten-year old William (Billy) Guy Forbeck was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Billy began a thirteen-month odyssey battling the disease but unfortunately succumbed at age 11. In 1985, George and Jennifer Forbeck, established the Foundation to continue the communication that began during Billy’s treatment between doctors, researchers, institutions around the world and from different areas of research. Today the organization’s executive director is Billy Guy’s sister, Jamie Collins, who carries on this mission.

The Objective

The objective is to drive communication and collaborations between scientists and clinicians to build connections that are vital to advancing oncology research. It is NOT the purpose to discuss published research, but to provide a forum for the cross fertilization of ideas, concepts, and observations. The presentations are really meant to be conversation starters. Twelve to sixteen physicians and scientists are invited to meet in a private "think tank" environment, to exchange ideas freely in the hope of building on each other's ideas, knowledge, and experience.

Meeting Structure

The meeting structure has been developed over years of experience.

  • Participants have approximately 45 minutes, depending on the number of participants, for their presentation and discussion. The presentation is meant as a conversation start and should last about twenty minutes briefly covering background information and areas that are new or need further input. This should be structured in such a way as to lead to a lively discussion. Participants are encouraged to interrupt to ask questions or start discussions.
  • A MAXIMUM of 5 slide equivalents per presentation is allowed (Power point slides should not contain more than one graph or gel per slide and no more than 5 bullet points to stress the points being made by the presenter.) We appreciate cooperation with the spirit of this guideline. Handouts are welcome but should be distributed before sessions.
  • Everyone is expected to actively participate in every session and discussions.
  • The time spent at the meeting is relatively short, so please be familiar with papers received prior to the meeting.
  • It is very important that you commit to all sessions of the 2 days of meetings.


Participants are asked to submit an abstract outlining the theme of their presentation.

  • Abstracts will be circulated about one week before the meeting
  • Abstracts should be no more than one page
  • Please include a title
  • Please list 5 relevant papers


Spouses are welcome to come with you at their own cost but are not allowed to attend the meeting. Please no children.

Description of Other Events During the Meeting

Occasionally there are guests that also attend the meetings such as members of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, Board of Director’s, recipients of the Foundation Scholar Award, Forbeck Family members and donors.

Forbeck Scholars Participation

Three Scholars are selected for each Forbeck Forum. These are outstanding junior clinical or post-doctoral fellows selected based on the quality and relevance of science.

  • Scholars present for 30-45 minutes, depending on the number of participants
  • The same presentation rules apply for scholars
  • After the Forum you are selected to attend, you will attend three years of Scholar Retreats held in Lake Geneva, WI. If you attend a Fall Forum, you will attend the Spring Retreat. If you attend a Spring Forum you will attend a Fall Retreat.
  • Scholars are selected by the Foundation Scientific Advisory Board and peer reviewers selected from past Forbeck Scholars.