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Classical Hematology

Classical Hematology

From "Non-malignant" or "Benign" to "Classical": Celebrating the Rich History of the Field

ASH has adopted the term “classical hematology” in place of “non-malignant” or “benign” to refer to a broad range of non-cancerous blood disorders. Use of the terms “benign” and “non-malignant” has done both practitioners and patients a disservice by minimizing the seriousness of what are often life-threatening blood conditions. The term “classical hematology” helps us define the field by what it is rather than what it is not, while celebrating centuries of scientific advances and progress fundamental to every aspect of health care and medicine.  

Classical hematology encompasses a large number of diseases and conditions including thrombotic and hemorrhagic disorders; hemoglobin disorders such as sickle cell disease; anemia; thrombocytopenia; disorders of iron metabolism; obstetric hematologic conditions; rare genetic hematologic diseases; and more. Discoveries in classical hematology have significantly advanced the field, helping to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life of patients with non-cancerous blood disorders.

Use #ClassicalHeme on social media to join the conversation!

"There is no perfect name to capture this important subset of hematologists. A major objective was to address the critical workforce shortage of hematologists and to be able to count, and then support, them in laboratory and clinical research. ASH does not endeavor to change anyone’s identity, but rather promulgate and support an increasing number of individuals that train primarily in classical hematology so that exciting advances continue."

Dr. Robert Brodsky, MD / ASH President

What ASH Is Doing to Foster Recruitment Into the Field of Classical Hematology

Dr. Alfred Lee and Dr. Chancellor Donald discuss classical hematology presentations delivered at the 2022 ASH Practice Partnership Lunch during the 64th ASH Annual meeting.

ASH’s Investment in Future Classical Hematologists: The ASH Hematology-Focused Fellowship Training Program (HFFTP)

  • The ASH Hematology-Focused Fellowship Training Program (HFFTP) is an exclusive pathway that offers physicians the opportunity to pair comprehensive classical hematology training with career-enhancing education in several related areas. Funded entirely by ASH, 10 new hematology-focused fellowship tracks were created at nine ACGME-accredited institutions across the United States. Additionally, four institutions were inspired by this program to launch additional hematology-focused fellowship programs.

  • HFFTP aims to strengthen the next generation of hematologists, with the goal of producing 50 new academic hematologists by 2030.

Recruiting the Next Generation of Hematologists

  • ASH provides free access to valuable resources for prospective hematologists including training, funding and award opportunities, mentor matching, and more. Explore our recruitment page for additional information about these resources and career options in the field of classical and malignant hematology. 

Classical Hematology in ASH Publications

The Hematologist

Benign, Non-malignant, or Classical?
Jane N. Winter

2022 ASH President Dr. Jane Winter discusses the shifting tide toward “classical” hematology and how this reflects current realities in the field.

Please Don’t Call Me a Classical Hematologist 
Steven R. Lentz, MD, PhD, With Response From Robert Brodsky, MD

In a letter to the editor by Dr. Steven Lentz and response by ASH President Dr. Robert Brodsky, the term “classical hematology” is the subject of a respectful debate.

ASH Clinical News

Classical Hematology: A Specialty in Decline?

Experts shed light on the workforce shortage in the field of classical hematology and discuss solutions including how ASH can contribute to recruitment efforts.

Classical Hematology Significantly Underrepresented on Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program Websites

Study investigator Dr. Rakhi Naik comments that the findings that ACGME-accredited hematology-oncology fellowship programs do not mention “classical hematology” on their websites may negatively affect recruitment into the field.

Mentors and Mentees Benefit From Hematology Mentorship Pilot Program

Learn more about a year-long external mentorship pilot program presented at the 2022 ASH Annual Meeting that successfully increased interest in classical hematology among fellows.

Pulling Back the Curtain: Sarah O’Brien, MD

Dr. Sarah O’Brien, a classical pediatric hematologist, discusses why she chose the subspecialty of pediatric hematology, some of her passion projects, and the meaning of work-life integration.

A pASHion for Painting: Charles S. Greenberg, MD

ASH Clinical News has a conversation with Dr. Charles Greenberg, a classical hematologist at Medical University of South Carolina, who shares his passion for painting and how it helps alleviate the stress physicians face.


Evaluating the Impact of a Year-Long External Mentorship Pilot Program in Classical Hematology
Dr. Zoya Qureshy, et al.

Experts discuss the importance of mentorship and access to role models in hematology/oncology, particularly in classical hematology, in influencing trainee career decisions.

Blood Advances

Under-representation of classical hematology training on hematology-oncology fellowship program websites in the
Dr. Puja Panwar, et al.

This Letter to the Editor highlights concerns about lack of representation and emphasis of classical hematology training on hematology-oncology fellowship programs’ websites.

ASH News Daily

Classical Hematology: Better Name, Same Great Field
Hanny Al-Samkari, MD

Dr. Hanny Al-Samkari provides insight into the shift in terminology from non-malignant or benign hematology to classical hematology.

A Focus on the Patient Experience: #ASH22 Best of Classical Hematology
Juliana Perez Botero, MD

Dr. Juliana Perez Botero provides a roundup of the top classical hematology content presented at the 2022 ASH Annual Meeting.

Classical Hits: A Hematology Review
Angela Weyand, MD

Dr. Angela Weyand shares an overview of the top classical hematology content presented at the 2020 ASH Annual Meeting.