The Hematologist

January-February 2017, Volume 14, Issue 1

Motivation for Education

Kenneth C. Anderson, MD Kraft Family Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

Published on: January 01, 2017

As we kick off 2017, I would first like to first express my gratitude for the unwavering leadership and service of Dr. Charles Abrams throughout the past year. I am honored to accept the baton from him, as ASH sprints forward from a successful 2016 and into a new year filled with promise and purpose.

Speaking of purpose, one of the pillars of ASH’s mission is the commitment to serving clinicians and scientists through education. I am pleased to share just a few new pieces of ASH’s educational strategy that will begin to take shape in 2017, and I hope this will give you a sense for the dynamic and determined way in which we are approaching our education strategy and individual offerings.

First, ASH’s work in the key area of sickle cell disease (SCD) is something about which Charles has spoken repeatedly. ASH has recently approved a new SCD education strategy designed to ensure that all hematology-oncology professionals possess a level of competence that allows them to provide care to patients with SCD and to serve as a resource for other SCD caregivers. This initiative arose from the high priority ASH places on access to care for individuals with SCD, coupled with the need for hematologists with unique expertise to provide care for these patients. In 2017, ASH will offer new education resources to meet these goals including webinars, videos, and annual meeting recordings; Consultative Hematology Course content on SCD; and new education sessions at the annual meeting. The Society is also exploring new initiatives for training of fellows in this critical area. As ASH is always seeking volunteers to get involved with planning and execution in this area, please visit to stay apprised, as well as learn about ASH’s current SCD clinical resources.

With new discoveries in treatment comes a renewed vigor in conquering the most challenging disease areas, such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML), using a collaborative approach. Last year, ASH and several partner organizations, including the American Society for Clinical Pathology and the Oncology Nursing Society, joined forces to begin creating independent educational programming designed to address knowledge gaps in the diagnosis and treatment of AML. An education grant from Celgene will help support these goals. For more, please see ASH’s press release on the AML MATTERS curriculum, and stay tuned to The Hematologist in the coming months. Another very exciting collaborative effort involving AML that has already gained traction is our partnership with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help spread the word about the Beat AML trial, a multicenter, multiarm trial harnessing the power of genome mapping and targeted experimental drugs, to treat older, newly diagnosed patients. Visit for details.

ASH is committed to assuring awareness and education on these advances by researchers, caregivers, and patients alike. Diseases such as SCD and AML need to be faced head on, and now is the time to begin to leverage some of our existing vehicles, including our meetings and digital-only content, in order to help us do so. And as our in-person meetings continue to grow and become more robust, ASH has also used the power of and to expand the arsenal of educational content that you can use anytime, anywhere. Emerging topics that represent the future of our work, such as precision medicine, immunotherapies, and systemsbased hematology, will enjoy a special place in the coming year and beyond.

As Dr. Gotlib and the Contributing Editors show us in the pages of this Year’s Best issue, we have together made many advances, with great promise of even further progress in the coming year.

It is a unique honor for me to assume the ASH presidency at this time of unprecedented scientific discoveries, with opportunities for their rapid translation to improve diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and patient outcomes. I am humbled and deeply grateful for this distinction.

back to top