American Society of Hematology

Minority Resident Hematology Award Program Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers below to the most frequently asked questions about the ASH Minority Resident Hematology Award Program (MRHAP).


How do I know if I am considered a minority?

For the purposes of this program, minority is defined as individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in health-related sciences in the United States and Canada, including American Indians or Alaska Natives, Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, African Canadians, Inuit, and First Nation Peoples. Applicants are asked to self-identify, and participants are drawn from this pool.

Do I need to be a past participant of the Minority Medical Student Award Program (MMSAP) to be eligible for the MRHAP?

Applicants who did not participate in the MMSAP program but are in an ACGME- or Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)-approved residency program in the United States or Canada, as well as residents in an ACGME- or RCPSC-approved residency program in the United States or Canada who have already matched into a hematology-oncology fellowship program, will be considered for this award program.

Do I need to have prior research experience?

While prior research experience is not required, the review committee does take past research experience into consideration. However, if you do not have past research experience, but have a strong track record of leadership and service, you will be considered favorably.

I am not currently a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, but my residency application is pending and I anticipate a decision regarding my residency after the application deadline. Am I still eligible to apply?

No. All eligibility requirements must be met by the application deadline. If you do receive permanent residency in time, ASH encourages you to apply for the MRHAP next year.

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When should I apply?

Applications are made available in August of each year for funding to start in early summer of the following year. Resident physician trainees in the United States must be enrolled in an ACGME-accredited internal medicine, pathology, or pediatric residency program, and resident trainees in Canada must be enrolled in a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)-accredited internal medicine, pathology, or pediatric residency program. Resident physicians who have applied to or matched into a hematology-oncology fellowship program and MMSAP alumni in one of the three aforementioned residency programs are encouraged to apply.

Who should the letters of recommendation be addressed to?

All letters of recommendation must be included with your application packet. All applications must be submitted through the online awards system. ASH will not accept letters sent by mail. For those who want to include an address on the letters, please address the letters to:

Committee on Promoting Diversity
American Society of Hematology
Washington, DC 20036

What is the review committee looking for in the letter from an attending physician with whom I have worked?

This letter is meant to serve as a professional reference for the applicant. Applicants are encouraged to identify someone who knows them reasonably well, both as a resident and as an individual. While the review committee does not have a specific set of criteria for what these letters should include, the letter may emphasize qualities that make you a terrific candidate for the MRHAP, particularly those qualities that are not articulated elsewhere in your application.

The application asks me to describe my role and responsibilities in the project. What should this entail?

The committee wants to know if you understand what you will be doing in the lab. You should be able to understand and describe your role in the research project before showing up on your first day. Being able to articulate the research you will be involved in is the first step of your research experience. The committee recommends sitting down face-to-face with your research mentor a few times before submitting your application or having a few phone conversations. Part of the research experience is also being able to communicate with and build a relationship with your research mentor; and this begins with the application stage.

In addition, you are expected to write the description of your research project in your own words. The committee looks unfavorably on applications in which the applicant has not written their project description in their own words.

Do I need to include a timeline in my research project proposal?

It is required for MRHAP applicants to include a timeline that explains how the research project will be integrated with clinical rotations and other responsibilities. The Committee recognizes that you may not have the specific dates finalized yet; however, the committee would like to have a general idea of how many weeks you'll be in the lab and when you anticipate starting and finishing the experience.

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How do I know if my research mentor is an ASH member?

Ask your mentor. The Society encourages you to build a relationship with your research mentor, and this is a great way to begin that relationship. Otherwise, applicants may email to confirm their research mentor's ASH membership status.

Please note: ASH will not provide applicants with a list of ASH members.

What is the review committee looking for in the letter from my research mentor?

This letter is meant to address your project and your role in the project, your involvement in writing the project description, your qualifications, the environment you will be working in, and the other planned activities you will participate in, including lab meetings and conferences. Your research mentor must also provide information about his/her prior mentoring experience.

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