American Society of Hematology

Career-Development Timeline for MD or MD/PhD Trainees

Published on: March 02, 2015

While every person's career path requires an individualized plan for true success, based on insight from hematology leadership and fellows, the ASH Trainee Council has created a generalized framework to help guide those training for a career in hematology.

Continuous Priorities | Year 1-2 | Year 3-7 | Year 7-11 | Year 12-14 

Continuous Priorities

  1. Schedule formal meetings with your mentor.
    Initially this will be your MD/PhD program director and then will be your clinical training program director and your division chief. Realize that each of these will have different perspective and will provide unique contributions to your career planning and development. As your training progresses, your particular needs and short-term goals will evolve as well.
  2. Attend weekly research seminars and journal clubs.
    Early on, this will enable narrowing your research and clinical focus. Later, it will assist in making general topics familiar and will increase your specific knowledge. Choosing conferences outside your specific focus can be helpful, as you may identify collaborators and broaden your knowledge base.
  3. Accept and seek out opportunities for teaching and mentoring.
    This will enable honing necessary communication and teaching skills early and will benefit you throughout your training. There are available mentees at each stage, and you might be surprised at how being a part of another’s training will enrich your own experience.
  4. Attend and present your work at a national or international research meeting as soon as feasible. The ASH website is a good resource for identifying conferences of interest in addition to the annual meetings of ASH and ASCO. Your mentor as well as others in your research environment will also direct you to available opportunities. Even if you do not yet have a completed project to present, attending national meetings is invaluable for stimulating ideas and exposing you to ongoing work of interest.
  5. Identify grant and training opportunities to fund your research.
     These are available at pre-doctoral, in-training, and post-doctoral levels, for example, ASH or ASCO Fellow career development grants (ASH RTAF, ASCO YIA), foundation grants (e.g. LLSS), and internal institutional training grants. The ASH Clinical Training Research Institute is an ideal training platform for clinical fellows interested in pursuing a career with a research focus. There are also many available opportunities to facilitate transitioning from a trainee to an early career hematologist. Even if not initially funded, the process of applying for funding is invaluable and can contribute to project development.
  6. Continue to pursue formal didactic educational opportunities even after required coursework is completed.
     For example, scientific writing courses are available at most institutions, though they may not be a graduation requirement. Taking a methods course can also offer exposure to newer techniques that could add depth to your project.
  7. At each stage, choose your supervisory committee wisely. This may be your thesis committee or your scholarly oversight committee. Formal meetings should be scheduled at least annually. This committee can facilitate development of both your project and your scientific intellect. The knowledge, contacts, and potential collaborations should be utilized on an ongoing basis and not restricted to formal meetings.
  8. Develop a vision and map out your future.
     Continuously revise a plan for your clinical and scholarly life. Set short- and long-term goals; revise and reevaluate these regularly.

Additional Resources

Grants and Funding

Identifying grant opportunities to fund your research.

The Grants & Funding section on the Training Page of the ASH web site contains resources on trainee grant opportunities. ASH has created a Grants Clearinghouse of funding opportunities available to trainees and helpful tips for navigating the universe of funding sources.

Note that ASH, the AACR, ASCO, and CALGB sponsor trainee grants with deadlines in the fall of your second year. The AACR runs a grant-writing course each spring for those who do not have such a course at their own institutions. Also look for the Hematology Grants Workshop for trainees and young faculty at the ASH annual meeting. Self-funding is not a requirement for most programs, and grants will not increase your salary. However, obtaining research grants early will help to establish your track record as an academician.

The NCI/NIH and Altum also have listings of fellowship and training grant opportunities.

Continuous Priorities | Year 1-2 | Year 3-7 | Year 7-11 | Year 12-14 

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