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Sarah H. O'Brien, MD: 2006 ASH Scholar

Sarah H. O'Brien, MD
Associate Professor, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Director of Experimental Therapeutics, Section of Hematology/Oncology/BMT
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Columbus, OH

On Receiving the Scholar Award

I was at a national meeting with my physician chief, and I remember running over to show him the letter. I just remember this feeling of “somebody else liked my research,” and it felt so validating. I wish I could remember exactly what my chief said at the time, but he said something like, “Now you’re on your way.”

Research Focus

At the time, I was getting my Master’s in clinical research. I was on a track to specialize in health services research, which was something new to me. I remember what struck me was, in the instructions for the Scholar Award, it specifically said they were interested in receiving health services research applications. So, I applied with a cost-utility analysis, which was something that I was learning how to do as a graduate student. I never would have been able to submit a project like that for intermural funding or for a lot of the trainee awards that are available. ASH was thinking outside of the box more than a lot of folks were at that time regarding health services research.

Career Impact

What the Scholar Award did for me was to help define me as a researcher. Having this award, really gave me the clout to ask for that protected time. I was able to start my position with 80 percent protected time for research, and they gave me a five-year startup package with that time. I do think that the ASH Scholar Award was a big part of the decision-making on their part.

On Belonging to ASH

The Scholar Award is a great way to not only support people’s careers, but to have those awardees become strong, active members of the Society. It’s a great investment on the Society’s part. My mentees always laugh at me because one of my top ten rules is, “Never say no to ASH.”