The Hematologist

January-February 2019, Volume 16, Issue 1

Celebrating Our Strengths in 2019

Roy L. Silverstein, MD Chair and Linda and John Mellowes Professor of Medicine
Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

Published on: December 24, 2018

It is a great honor for me to step into the role of ASH president, following in the footsteps of a lineage that now dates back 60 years! I am grateful to immediate Past President Dr. Alexis Thompson, who provided outstanding leadership to the Society in 2018 and who thankfully will continue to be involved in ASH initiatives. I am also grateful to our talented ASH staff who provide an incredibly high level of support to our officers, executive committee, editors, committees, and members, and to our members who remain devoted to our mission of furthering advances in research, education, and clinical care of hematologic disorders. This time of year is indeed a whirlwind, as we move quickly from Thanksgiving (for those of us who live in the States), to the ASH annual meeting, and then into the holiday season culminating with the turning of the calendar to the new year. It is an appropriate time to reflect on accomplishments and to strategize on priorities for the coming year. This issue of The Hematologist is always my favorite, as our contributing editors look back on the most important scientific and clinical accomplishments in the fields of hematology and our ASH News Daily editor reflects on the highlights of the annual meeting.

As a hematologist who specializes in the care of adult patients with “nonmalignant” blood disorders and has devoted 35 years to pursuing research in thrombosis and vascular biology, I found the annual meeting this year in San Diego to be inspiring. Advances in clinical science related to treatment and prevention of cancer-related thrombosis, novel gene and immuno-therapy approaches to hemophilia, and the release and publication of six of the 10 ASH-sponsored evidence-based clinical guidelines for venous thromboembolic disorders created quite a buzz. Additionally, we heard basic science presentations showcasing breakthroughs connecting the coagulation system to innate immunity and neurodegenerative disorders — a highlight for me. The commitment of our Society to the hemostasis and thrombosis community is strong and was made obvious by the many networking opportunities offered, starting with ASH-a-Palooza at Petco Park and concluding with the first annual hemostasis-thrombosis community reception on Monday evening following the Special Symposium on the Basic Science of Hemostasis and Thrombosis. This took place on the terrace overlooking the harbor and provided an opportunity for trainees, clinicians, and researchers to interact in a casual venue.

2019 promises to be an exciting year for ASH. We anticipate the release of additional evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, including the “final four” for VTE, as well as continued progress on major initiatives, especially in precision medicine, sickle cell disease (SCD), and immunotherapies. Our registry project, now under the banner of the ASH Research Collaborative, is expected to advance efforts to create data hubs for multiple myeloma and SCD, and to establish a clinical trials network for SCD. ASH continues to expand globally as we welcome our first ASH councillor representing international members, host our first Highlights of ASH in the Mediterranean meeting in Athens, continue to invest in capacity building in low-income regions, and push forward on our newborn sickle cell screening efforts in sub-Saharan Africa. I look forward to keeping you informed of our progress during the coming year.

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