American Society of Hematology

First-Time Attendees

As a first-time ASH annual meeting attendee, you might be overwhelmed by the scope of the meeting. To help you make the most of your annual meeting experience, ASH has provided an overview of the meeting as well as resources that will help you navigate the hundreds of sessions, posters, and exhibits – not to mention dozens of special receptions and events.

Basic Structure of the Meeting

ASH annual meeting sessions fall into two basic categories: the invited program and abstract-driven sessions.

The invited program sessions feature the top experts in the field of hematology and are planned by the ASH Program Committee. These include the Education and Scientific Program, Special-Interest Sessions, Education Spotlight Sessions, Continuing Conversations With the Speakers, How I Treat, Meet the Scientist, and sessions and activities for trainees. The Education and Scientific Program sessions are the cornerstone of the invited program; each session is typically offered twice to give attendees the maximum scheduling flexibility.

The abstract-driven sessions include oral sessions (15-minute presentations of high-scoring abstracts), posters (visual presentations of abstracts, with presenters available for informal Q&A during specific times), and the Plenary Scientific Session (oral presentations of the top-rated abstracts). These presentations are selected by the Program Committee through an extensive peer-review process from among thousands of abstracts submitted each year. Poster sessions are offered Saturday through Monday, while the oral abstract presentations kick off with the Plenary Scientific Session on Sunday and continue throughout the latter half of the meeting.

The general sessions, which include named lectures and award presentations, are spread throughout the four days of the meeting.

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Planning Your Schedule

ASH offers a number of resources to help you plan your schedule.

  • The ASH annual meeting app, which contains the full meeting program and the full text of all the presented abstracts, allows users to search for sessions and events of interest and create a personalized schedule.
  • The Program Book provided on site contains a detailed schedule as well as session descriptions.

One thing to keep in mind when planning your schedule is that some sessions are repeated (Education and Scientific Sessions). Additionally, many sessions are recorded and available via webcast after the meeting on ASH On Demand.

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Best of ASH

The Best of ASH session, held on Tuesday, is designed to review the key themes and biggest breakthroughs from the meeting's more than 3,000 abstract presentations. For anyone planning to report back to colleagues at home about the highlights of the meeting, this session should not be missed.back to top

Ticketed Sessions

Three types of sessions at the annual meeting are available by ticket only: the Consultative Hematology Course, How I Treat, and Meet the Scientist. These sessions are limited in attendance to allow for greater interaction between the audience and speakers. You may purchase tickets for these sessions online during the registration process or on site at the Ticketed Sessions counter.back to top

Friday Satellite Symposia

The official ASH annual meeting runs from Saturday through Tuesday. On the Friday prior to the meeting, various corporate and nonprofit organizations offer Friday Satellite Symposia, which are free to registered ASH meeting attendees. These clinically-oriented meetings offer CME credit but are not part of the official ASH annual meeting program; they are organized and managed solely by the sponsoring organization/company.back to top

Food and Receptions

ASH annual meeting registration includes admission to the following events that provide food and/or beverages. Check the meeting schedule for exact times and locations:

  • Friday Satellite Symposia (non-ASH events on Friday only)
  • Trainee Simultaneous Didactic Sessions (open to trainees only)
  • Trainee Career-Development Lunch Sessions (open to trainees only)
  • Coffee breaks (daily)
  • Welcome Reception on Saturday (Poster Halls)
  • Promoting Minorities in Hematology Presentations and Reception
  • Grassroots Network Lunch
  • Poster Hall receptions (Sunday and Monday)
  • Exhibit Hall lunches (Sunday and Monday)

In addition, there is open time for lunch built into the schedule each day; a variety of food vendors can be found throughout the convention center. For information about nearby restaurants, check ASH News Daily (the on-site daily newspaper of the annual meeting).

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Dress Code

There is no official dress code for the meeting, although the attire of the typical meeting attendee is probably best described as "business casual." Because the days are long and there is a lot of walking involved, comfort should be your priority.back to top


For safety reasons, children under the age of 12 (including infants in carriers and strollers or hand-carried infants and toddlers) are not permitted in the exhibit hall and poster sessions. Additionally, ASH prohibits children and infants in the sessions, as they may distract the speakers and disrupt other attendees. ASH has made arrangements to provide subsidized child-care services at the meeting.back to top

Getting Around

Free shuttle-bus service is available to and from the convention center from most of the hotels in the ASH room block.

To help you navigate the meeting on foot, ASH provides maps of the convention center and exhibit hall. You can find maps on the ASH annual meeting mobile app that can be downloaded to your smartphone or tablet. For those who prefer a larger-print map, check out ASH News Daily on site.

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In addition to paying a reduced registration rate and receiving discounts on educational materials, trainees receive many special benefits at the meeting, which can be accessed by showing your blue trainee badge. There is a room in the convention center designated as the Trainee Lounge where trainees can relax, meet with colleagues, access the internet, and recharge with complimentary refreshments. The Trainee Lounge will be located in ASH Central (Building B, Level 1, Hall B1).back to top

Continuing Education

The American Society of Hematology is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education (CME) for physicians. This program has been approved for a maximum of 36.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians not licensed in the United States who participate in this CME activity are also eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.

Physicians who do not require AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ and other health care professionals attending the meeting may complete the process to claim a Certificate of Attendance.

See the CME, MOC, and Certificate of Attendance page for more information.

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Staying Connected

ASH offers a number of ways for you to stay connected with other attendees while at the meeting. The Message Center stations located at ASH Central provide a place for you to check email. In addition, free WiFi will be offered throughout the convention center. Users of the annual meeting mobile app can send messages through the app to other attendees (provided they have opted in).

You can follow ASH on Twitter (, Instagram (, and Facebook ( to get the latest news and announcements. Use hashtag #ASH18 in your Twitter updates to join the conversation about the meeting.

In addition to electronic communications, there are plenty of opportunities for in-person networking. ASH Central provides comfortable seating areas for informal meetings and conversation, while trainees are invited to visit the Trainee Lounge to relax and connect with their peers. Please also see the listing of receptions for other opportunities to interact with colleagues.

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Getting Involved in ASH

There is no better time to learn about ASH than at the annual meeting. Stop by ASH Central to apply for membership or make sure your membership is up to date. ASH staff members are also available at the ASH booth in the exhibit hall to answer all your questions about the Society.

Be sure to attend the Grassroots Network Lunch on Saturday to learn more about ASH's advocacy agenda and how you can make your voice heard.

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If you have a question about anything that has not been covered here, please contact ASH Customer Service and include the words "First-Time Attendee" in the subject line. back to top