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ASH Minority Recruitment Initiative

Celebrating 20 Years of the Minority Recruitment Initiative

The ASH Minority Recruitment Initiative (MRI) is celebrating its 20th anniversary! The MRI was created in 2003 to increase the participation of underrepresented minorities training in hematology-related fields and to increase the number of minority hematologists with academic and research appointments.

Follow Us on This Journey: Timeline from 2003 to Present Day


  • ASH President Dr. Ronald Hoffman, founding co-chairs of the Ad Hoc Minority Committee Drs. Jose Lopez and Cage Johnson, and committee members initiate discussions to develop MMSAP.


  • Inaugural class of ten MMSAP participants begin summer research projects.


  • ASH partners with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Amos Medical Faculty Development Program to create the ASH-AMFDP.


  • The Executive Committee approves funding for up to three awards for past participants seeking a second MMSAP research experience annually.


  • MMSAP applicant pool grows to 51 and the Society receives its 100th application.


  • The Ad Hoc Minority Committee transitions to the standing Committee on Promoting Diversity.


  • Two MMSAP participants begin Hematology/Oncology Fellowships.


  • Six MMSAP participants have their abstracts presented at the ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition.

2014 - 2017

  • The Society celebrates ten years of supporting diversity in hematology.
  • One hundred and thirty-two participants have conducted hematology-related research projects through MMSAP.
  • The MMSAP awards portfolio expands to include three research options.
  • Residents begin ASH’s first Minority Resident Hematology Awards Program.
  • A new Honorific Award, Award for Leadership in Promoting Diversity, is created.
  • ASH creates a new MRI Programs Subcommittee.
  • ASH creates an Ambassador Program to support the recruitment and retention of hematology trainees.

2018 - 2019

ASH Committee on Promoting Diversity reaches a significant milestone by completing the MRI Longitudinal Awards Pathway. Research award programs for doctoral students and junior researchers were added to the awards portfolio.

Committee completed the MRI Awards Longitudinal Pathway:

  • Minority Hematology Graduate Award Program 
  • Minority Hematology Fellow Award Program


  • ASH partnered with the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) and the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT) on the ASH-CIBMTR-ASTCT Career Development Award to increase the number of hematologists from underrepresented backgrounds in medicine pursuing careers in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and cellular therapy.


Two new awards are added to the MRI pathway:

  • ASH-Allistair Abraham MRI Award
    The ASH-Allistair Abraham MRI Award, named for Allistair Abraham, MD, honors Dr. Abraham’s significant contributions to ASH and the field of hematology. The ASH-Allistair Abraham MRI Award recognizes the highest-scoring MMSAP award recipient.
  • ASH-Roland B. Scott Minority Resident Hematology Award
    The ASH-Roland B. Scott Award, named for the late Roland B. Scott, MD, is an award that honors Dr. Scott’s legacy and pioneering contribution to sickle cell disease research. The ASH-Roland B. Scott Award recognizes the highest-scoring MRHAP award recipient whose research project is focused on Sickle Cell Disease.


ASH celebrates 20 years of the Minority Recruitment Initiative!

MRI Anniversary Report

Celebrating 20 years of building pathways in the field of hematology for minorities, ASH’s Minority Recruitment Initiative (MRI) is proud to present the MRI Anniversary Report. Browse to explore past award recipients and their success, view success data/metrics, and hear from founding MRI participants about the resounding impact of the program over the last 20 years and beyond.

View Report

Reflections: Stories of Milestones and Memories from 2003 Until Now

As we reflect on the impact of the MRI and look forward to its future, we welcome everyone to share some of your memories and experiences of the program over the past 20 years.

Share your memories

MRI Awardee Spotlight

The MMSAP provides underrepresented minority medical students with an opportunity to conduct a research project under the supervision of an ASH member, receive guidance from a career-development mentor, gain valuable knowledge of hematology, and ultimately, advance their careers. 

Imo Akpan, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine / Director - Women's Clinic for Blood Disorders, Division of Hematology / Oncology
Columbia University Irving Medical Center New York, New York 

Imo Akpan

 “MMSAP gave me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get involved in something larger than myself and invited me to be a part of an incredible society, fulfill my dreams of becoming a hematologist, and give back to society at large.”


Fernando Diaz, MD
Fellow of Geriatric Medicine / Geriatric Oncology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Fernando Diaz MD

“As a medical student, I had no clear intention to pursue any specific specialty. Thanks to the mentoring and friendship of Dr. Jose Lopez, I became intrigued by hematology and, over time, became more involved in both clinical hematology and the research component. I often say that I was a pluripotent stem cell that received the right stimulus at the right time (ASH MRI) which led me to differentiate into a future hematologist-oncologist.”



The MRHAP provides hematology research support for underrepresented minority residents in the United States and Canada. Trainees are matched with and receive guidance from a career-development mentor, gain valuable knowledge of hematology, and ultimately, advance their careers.

Olufunke Y. Martin, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology / Oncology
UT Southwestern Medical Center & Children's Health
Dallas, Texas

Maya Abdallah

 “The ASH MRI connected me to a cohort of colleagues that will serve as resources and potential collaborators throughout my career. Opportunities like the ASH MRI Luncheon were impactful to building a community. My ASH MRI mentors continue to serve as clinical, research, and career development mentors.”

The MHFA encourages early-career researchers from historically underrepresented minority groups in the United States and Canada to pursue a career in academic hematology and provides salary support as well as funds to support hematology-focused research projects.

Jessica M. Stempel, MD
Hematology and Oncology Clinical Fellow
Yale School of Medicine
New Haven, CT

Maya Abdallah

 “This has been absolutely essential for my career development. Before my current position as a fellow, I struggled with research, and I had to independently seek out opportunities for growth. My mentors have helped me shape my clinical interests by allowing me to explore different topics in outcomes research and being available at all times. They are genuinely invested in my success which they demonstrate by sharing opportunities to collaborate, teach and learn constantly.”


Adekunle Emmanuel Alagbe, MD, PhD
 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Maya Abdallah

 “There are very few physician-scientists in basic science hematology and even fewer minorities in this area. It is a little rough, but I am very sure of soaring high in this area and ASH, through MHFA, has given me the confidence necessary to navigate this course.”

The ASH-AMFDP Award offers four years of postdoctoral research support to historically disadvantaged physicians who are committed to developing careers in academic medicine and to serving as role models for students and faculty of similar backgrounds. 

Gabriela Hobbs, MD
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School Clinical Director, Leukemia Service
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA

Maya Abdallah

 “Being a part of the ASH-AMFDP family has introduced me to a wonderful network of researchers and mentors. I feel so humbled and inspired by the other awardees and I always learn so much from everything that they are working on. [Now] participating in the ASH MRI Programs Subcommittee has been an incredibly rewarding experience as I feel like I am actually contributing to increasing diversity in hematology by mentoring young researchers (through ASH-MMSAP and ASH-MRHAP), by matching potential awardees to ASH programs with mentors, helping to nominate DEI candidates for different ASH awards and committees and by chairing the ASH-RTAF award. Participating in MRI events at ASH always feels like I’m meeting family, everyone is always so warm and welcoming and eager to help with career development issues."

The MHGA encourages graduate students from historically underrepresented minority groups in the United States and Canada to pursue a career in academic hematology. The award provides funding for students conducting research on hematology-focused projects and is open to doctoral students in their first, second, or third year of graduate school at the time of application.

Oluwatosin Ayinde, MS
Visiting Fellow
Schnermann Lab
Chemical Biology Laboratory | National Cancer Institute | National Institute of Health
Frederick, MD.

Maya Abdallah

 “THE MHGA award granted me access to financial backing that significantly aided my research in my final year and allowed us to reach milestones within our project. The award also promoted my visibility across my university allowing me to win another prestigious award. I’m also grateful for the quality of mentorship and additional training that the MRI allowed me to enjoy as a growing scientist.”

The goal of the MGSAAA is to attract and/or retain minority PhD students to the field of hematology through the ASH annual meeting. At the meeting, students have the opportunity to hear the latest advances in hematology-related research, and interact with ASH leadership, senior researchers, and minority physicians, scientists, and students.

Oluwamayokun "Mo" Oshinowo
Biomedical Engineering (current MD/PhD candidate)
Augusta University and Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia

Maya Abdallah

 “It has meant a lot to me to see people that look like me being successful and thriving as leaders in the field. The mentoring is great and connecting with other awardees has been rewarding.”



awards provided since inception

More than


in award funding provided since inception

Support provided during


years of critical inflexion points of the career development pathway.

MRI Celebratory Reception at the Annual Meeting


Saturday, December 9, 2023, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Pacific time

Mariott Marquis San Diego Marina
Marina Ballrooms D, E, F, and G
333 W Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101


Promoting Minorities in Hematology Oral Presentations and Reception

ASH invites all interested meeting attendees to this event, which will showcase training and research opportunities geared toward increasing the diversity scholars in the field of hematology. the highlight of the session will be scientific presentations from the ASH Minority Medical Student Award, the ASH Minority Resident Hematology Award, the ASH Minority Hematology Graduate Award, and the ASH Minority Hematology Fellowship Award program participants.

A special reception celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Minority Recruitment Initiative (MRI) will follow presentations.

MRI Community: 20 Years and Counting

MRI 20th Anniversary Page

Amplifying the Voices of the Next Generation of Leaders

ASH aims to share and highlight the inspiring stories of MRI alumni as they share their career reflections, and mentorship and leadership experiences. Select one of the categories below to explore the impact of ASH's MRI program.

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 Contact us

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