The Hematologist

September-October 2016, Volume 13, Issue 5

ASH Standing Committee Update

Sherif M. Badawy, MD Pediatric Hematology Oncology Fellow
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital; Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Michael Linenberger, MD, FACP Professor of Hematology, Robert & Phyllis Henigson Endowed Chair
University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Joseph Mikhael, MD, MEd, FRCPC, FACP Professor of Medicine
Mayo College of Medicine, Phoenix, AZ

Published on: August 12, 2016

One of the most central underpinnings of ASH’s structure and governance is its group of 14 standing committees. These groups meet in person at least once throughout each calendar year and serve year-round to recommend policies, programs, and actions to ASH’s Executive Committee. In this feature, we will hear from a few of the committee chairs who help steer these groups, on their goals, mission, and new and interesting developments emerging from each.

Trainee Council: Who Are We? What Do We Do?

The ASH Trainee Council is a subcommittee of the ASH Committee on Training that was established back in 2001 The council’s mission is to advocate for hematologist trainees everywhere and at all levels of training, regarding issues related to training, education, funding, and research, to help them achieve their ultimate career success. The council consists of 12 trainees, 10 MDs and two PhDs, from the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

The goals of the council are to: 1) provide a forum for trainees to discuss issues related to their career development; 2) represent trainees and their needs to ASH leadership and committees; 3) plan and organize Trainee Day and other trainee events at the ASH annual meeting; and 4) suggest outreach initiatives that would increase recruitment and retention of trainees in hematology. The council has led numerous projects, including, but not limited to, Grants Clearinghouse, “TraineE-News,” and Career Development Timelines.

The Grants Clearinghouse is a database of more than 110 grant opportunities that fund trainees at all levels and/or junior faculty conducting hematology research. The database includes information of grant opening and closing dates funding, and eligibility or citizenship requirements. Thanks to the work of the council, the database was transformed into an online searchable platform that is easier for trainees to navigate using relevant filters and keywords.

“TraineE-News” is another active project led by the council. The newsletter is usually written by council members, distributed quarterly to all trainees, and includes articles related to career development, funding, mentorship, job negotiation, and other important topics; board-style case study questions; and other important announcements relevant to trainees. All “TraineE-News” articles are archived in an online searchable database, which you can access online.

Career Development Timelines are roadmaps created and maintained by council members available for trainees at different levels (MD, PhD, or MD/PhD), with the goal of helping them plan for career success. Additional timelines are available specifically for residents, Canadian and Mexican trainees, fourth-year fellows, and those interested in pursuing a career in private practice. This resource can be accessed online. In the near future, the council plans to digitize the timelines using illustrations summarizing pathways and necessary steps.

-Sherif M. Badawy, MD, MS, MBBCh; Chair, Trainee Council (2015-2016)

ASH Committee on Educational Affairs: Hitting the Road with a New Initiative

The Committee on Educational Affairs (CEA) is a vibrant and interactive group that is charged with oversight and recommendations for the planning, development, implementation and evaluation of continuing medical education (CME) and non-CME educational activities of ASH. These activities include live meetings, webinars, podcasts, videos, enduring print material, digital offerings, and collaborative educational projects with other societies and commercial vendors. The 14 appointed and eight liaison members of the CEA represent the diverse interests and mission of ASH and cover basic and clinical research in both nonmalignant and malignant hematology, health-care systems and outcomes, community practice and advocacy, medical education, graduate training, and global hematology.

Starting in 2016, the CEA embarked on a new initiative called the “Educational Roadmap.” The goal of this initiative is to create a substructure and mechanism within the CEA to allow us to preemptively recognize learner gaps and needs, identify opportunities to address these gaps in existing and future educational activities, and proactively recommend specific content and instructional formats that are inclusive, innovative, and aspirational. For this endeavor, we created six working groups within the CEA, each focusing on a core competency as defined by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME); these include medical knowledge, patient care and procedural skills, systems-based practice, practicebased learning and improvement, professionalism, and interpersonal and communication skills. Working group members are tasked to identify learner gaps and generate recommendations using these competencies and their associated ACGME subcompetencies as a foundation, along with the core competencies of the Institute of Medicine (i.e., to provide patient-centered care, work in interdisciplinary teams, employ evidence-based practice, apply quality improvement, and utilize informatics). Working groups also take into consideration the essential elements and commendation criteria from the Accreditation Council for CME when formulating their ideas and proposals.

During the summer CEA meeting on July 18 at ASH headquarters, the working groups put this effort into action. After a series of break-out brainstorming sessions, feedback discussions and final report outs, the groups generated aspirational goals and educational format recommendations for key topic areas including sickle cell disease, acute myeloid leukemia, systems-based hematology, and others. This initial work will be presented to the Executive Committee for their approval and advice prior to moving forward to the next stage. These first exciting steps on the “Educational Roadmap” trail will eventually provide a “toolbox” containing broad content topics and versatile teaching methodologies that can be applied to the growing portfolio of ASH educational offerings.

-Michael Linenberger, MD; Chair, ASH Committee on Educational Affairs

This Just In - ASH Is In the News! ASH Committee on Communications

The Committee on Communications is responsible for enhancing communication with ASH members and promoting the science and practice of hematology. The Committee is charged with developing and executing communications strategies that demonstrate the value and quality of hematology research and medical care to the press and to the public. To this end, the committee oversees the Society’s media relations effort that seek to promote research presented at the ASH annual meeting and published in Blood, increase the visibility of ASH initiatives that promote clinical research in hematology, and increase the profile of ASH as a leading advocate on issues of importance to hematologists.

We have many exciting initiatives, including growing ASH’s social media presence at the annual meeting (hashtag #ASH16 for this year's meeting, and #ASHsm for the social media session), but I wanted to spotlight some of the great work we are doing in the media.

In January 2014, ASH launched a three-year pilot of the Media Experts Subcommittee in support of the Society’s renewed emphasis on media coverage. The goals of the subcommittee included making ASH more nimble in responding to press inquiries and better positioning ASH as the primary source for credible scientific information about blood and blood diseases. Members of the subcommittee are appointed to three-year terms and, following required ASH orientation and media training, are authorized to speak with the media as official Society spokespeople. The training includes an overview of best practices, instruction in effective messaging techniques, and on-camera practice interviews and critiques. During the summer 2016 Committee on Communications meeting at ASH headquarters, the Committee evaluated the pilot program of the Media Experts Subcommittee. From early 2014 through July 2016, ASH experts have been quoted in more than 300 articles. Some of these article include:

  • "Sickle cell gene doesn't elevate death risk, Stanford study finds" -San Francisco Chronicle
  • "Dear Science: If I drink coffee before giving blood, will recipients get a buzz? -Washington Post
  • "Should you be worried about bruising easily?" -US News and World Report
  • "How to understand a lymphoma diagnosis" -The Wall Street Journal
  • "Breastfed children have slightly lower risk of childhood leukemia" -USA Today

We are thankful for the opportunity to promote the great science and work of ASH and its members and look forward to much more.

-Joseph Mikhael, MD; Chair, ASH Committee on Communications

Conflict of Interests

Dr. Sherif Badawy, Dr. Michael Linenberger, and Dr. Joseph Mikhael indicated no relevant conflicts of interest. back to top