September-October 2011, Volume 8, Issue 5
Professional Society Membership and Career Development - Join Early
Published on: September 01, 2011
The American Society of Hematology has done a great job of encouraging people to join. At some point in their careers, most hematologists get around to attending the American Society of Hematology annual meeting, and many of them – 14,000 worldwide at present – go on to join ASH so they can enjoy the benefits of membership. These perks include publications (Blood, The Hematologist, ASH NewsLink, and Hematology, the ASH Education Program), discounted “early-bird” annual meeting registration, and access to members-only hotels. The net savings compared with non-member registration fees more than covers the cost of dues. Members can sponsor meeting abstracts and Scholar Award applications, review meeting abstracts, chair sessions, and participate in ASH education, scientific, and advocacy activities.
Most of our members appreciate these benefits. But for one member category, Associate members, joining ASH is an even better deal. Associate members live in North America and are hematology and/or oncology fellows or postdoctoral scientists (PhD or equivalent) working in a hematology or oncology-related field. They can remain Associate members until the December after their fellowship or for four years, whichever comes first. After that, Associate members automatically become Active members; Associate members comprise about 10 percent of total membership. Associate members receive the usual benefits of membership but at an even steeper discount. No matter how you slice it, if you attend the ASH meeting, then ASH membership saves money.
In addition, Associate members have a few opportunities uniquely appropriate to their stage of career development. Associate members have early access to the limited number of slots for the Trainee Day event at the annual meeting. They are eligible for funding through Research Training Awards and Scholar Awards and for participation in the Clinical Research Training Institute or Translational Research Training in Hematology. Keep in mind that Associate members can be nominated to attend the new ASH Advocacy Leadership Institute, the first of which is scheduled for October 12-13 in Washington, DC. Participants will receive intensive training in policy-making process and advocacy, with speakers from Congress, the Administration, NIH, and other health agencies. This short course is ideal for members interested in health policy and advocacy who want to become more involved in ASH activities.
The tangible benefits of membership are a good value, but the intangible benefits are even more important professionally. Most of us have enough time and energy for meaningful participation
in one major professional society, sometimes two. I encourage my trainees to join ASH and get involved in it as deeply as they want, because ASH best represents their natural affinity group, whether for research or patient care, and participation is very rewarding. Reviewing abstracts, serving on Scientific Committees, and working on education or advocacy initiatives with NIH and Congress all teach important skills that can’t be learned otherwise. These shared experiences establish relationships with colleagues that last an entire career.
I’ve been a member of ASH for 26 years, my entire time as a faculty member, and would have joined as a fellow except that the Associate membership did not exist then. For those of you now in fellowship or postdoctoral training, you can still apply in time to gain valuable information at this year’s annual meeting in San Diego.
For more information, check out the Training section and the career-development awards.
Join ASH Today
Applications for Associate membership are considered on a rolling basis. Those who are eligible include postdoctoral fellows with an MD or equivalent medical degree who reside in Canada, Mexico, or the United States and are enrolled in a hematology or oncology training program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Trainees with a PhD degree, who are within four years of having attained the PhD and are in a postdoctoral position or a training program in a hematology and/or oncology-related field are also eligible. Associate membership concludes the December following completion of the fellowship program or after a maximum of four years, whichever comes first. The Associate membership is automatically converted to the Society’s Active member status. Associate membership dues are $55 annually. For more information, including the application, go to www.hematology.org/Membership/Categories.aspx.
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