Hal E. Broxmeyer, PhD
To some of our members, ASH is simply known as the organization that sponsors the annual meeting in December and publishes Blood each week. But this past March, while attending the inaugural Translational Research Training in Hematology (TRTH) program in Marbella, Spain, it became apparent to me that, through programs such as TRTH and other ASH scholarships and awards, our Society is a catalyst for ensuring a future generation of global leaders in the field of hematology.
During the week of March 20-27, ASH, in collaboration with the European Hematology Association (EHA), brought together a class of 20 promising trainees from across Europe and North America and immersed them in the first part of a year-long program designed to help them successfully launch a career in translational research. The program was spearheaded by a world-renowned faculty committed to teaching, mentoring, and informally networking with the trainees and ensuring their long-term success in their chosen research disciplines. This program, sponsored in part by a generous grant from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, is just one of the many impressive scholarship and award programs that make up the portfolio of benefits/services that our Society offers to its members.
While TRTH may be the newest of our award programs, ASH has a long tradition steeped in awarding scholarships and grants. For instance, at the ASH annual meeting in December 2009, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the ASH Scholar Awards Program. This flagship program has a rigorous review process and has funded more than 200 of our most promising members in the areas of scientific and clinical investigation. I had the privilege of serving on the ASH Scholar Awards Study Section around the same time I chaired the NIH Hematology II Study Section and can attest first-hand to the professional manner in which reviewers of the Scholar Awards make their selections.
Another ASH program, the Clinical Research Training Institute (CRTI), engages leaders in our field to train young investigators about the principles of clinical research through didactic sessions, small working groups focused on protocol refinement, and insightful career retrospectives. This program has been in existence for seven years, and we can proudly report that a number of our CRTI “graduates” have been awarded ASH Scholar Awards, published in Blood, and gone on to assume volunteer leadership roles in our Society. I encourage you to read “Profiles in Hematology” in this issue of The Hematologist to learn more about two individuals who were both participants in CRTI and recipients of ASH Scholar Awards.
Our Society is also dedicated to helping and promoting the careers of young students and investigators from underrepresented minorities through programs such as the Minority Medical Student Award Program (MMSAP) and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (AMFDP). ASH is also looking into the feasibility of a similar program geared toward graduate students pursuing PhD degrees in hematology-related disciplines. Through the use of scholarship funds, research support, and mentorship, these promising programs are helping attract strong leaders into academic hematologic research.
Clearly, ASH is about much more than our annual meeting and Blood; our mission includes a myriad of scholarship and research initiatives in the field of hematology. You can learn more about ASH’s scholar and awards programs by visiting www.hematology.org/Awards.
It was noted in a recent editorial1 that if societies want to promote their fields of investigation and the careers of their members, they needed to embrace new perspectives and approaches. I am proud to say that this has been and continues to be a primary focus for ASH.
Hal E. Broxmeyer, PhD
- Wiley, S. To Join or Not to Join. The Scientist. 2010;24:33.
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