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#SHEmatologists: Recap of Women in Hematology Working Group at #ASH22 and What’s Next

Women’s History Month is celebrated every year in March, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8th, to recognize and highlight women’s contributions historically and contemporarily in all fields. Within hematology, we strive to highlight the numerous accomplishments and advancements by women in our specialty. In ASH, the Women in Hematology (WIH) Working Group was formally established in 2019 to focus on: 1) addressing the careers and leadership development of women in the field of hematology; and 2) expanding existing ASH opportunities for female hematologists and researchers. Current members of the WIH Working Group include selected ASH members, along with members of the ASH Executive Committee and the Trainee Council. The WIH co-chairs, Drs. Tamara Dunn and Ariela Marshall, recently expanded the group membership size from 11 to 29 individuals, which reflects the enthusiasm for the group.

The WIH group is active throughout the year and includes a focus on developing programming specifically for the ASH annual meeting. This year, the WIH Group hosted two events at the annual Meeting: a table at ASH-a-Palooza and the WIH Networking Reception with keynote speaker Dr. Arghavan Salles. Additionally, there was a Whiteboard Wall on the topic of Maternal Health in ASH Central with the intent of starting conversations on the state of hematology research and practice. Here are the highlights of each event:

WIH Table at ASH-a-Palooza on December 9th

ASH-a-Palooza is an event that provides trainee-focused programming and networking specifically relevant to trainees and networking opportunities. WIH hosted an information table that allowed trainees to meet members and learn how to get involved. As part of a member-led initiative to spread awareness and dedication about women in hematology and maternal health, members gave out buttons for individuals to wear and other swag. These buttons included phrases such as: “SHEmatology” and “Hematologists for Reproductive Rights.

Maternal Health Whiteboard at ASH22

The Maternal Health Working Group consists of neonatal intensivists, obstetricians, and hematologists. The group is dedicated to assisting with the reproductive rights and maternal conditions of hematology patients and practitioners. At #ASH22, the group set up a whiteboard wall in ASH Central on the topic of Maternal Health. We asked three questions:

  • What are the key knowledge gaps in maternal health for hematologists?
  • What does comprehensive maternal health care look like to you?
  • If you had a grant focused on maternal health, what would you research?

We received many comments from our attendees including:

Maternal Health White Board

  • Compassionate care: attention to each individual’s unique conditions and concerns
  • Accessible health care in a reasonable time frame and without barriers
  • Better counseling and options for fertility preservation prior to cancer treatment
  • Iron deficiency is common in pregnancy… she is not just tired! Research, test, and treat ideas
  • We need more training in hematologic aspects related to maternal health

Overall, this whiteboard is a reminder that we should always provide accessible, equitable, and compassionate health care to our patients.

Women in Hematology Networking Session and Dinner: 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Hilton New Orleans Riverside on December 12th, 2022

This year’s networking session had nearly 400 attendees! It allowed female trainees to connect to nationwide junior/senior faculty members outside of their home institutions and provided a safe space for everyone to discuss the hematologic issues affecting female patients.

Our keynote speaker was Dr. Arghavan Salles, a bariatric surgeon, Special Advisor for the DEI Program in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, and an R01-funded Senior Research Scholar at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research. Dr. Salles inspired us with her presentation about discrimination in the workplace, her work on gender disparities, and her journey through health care. For more information on Dr. Salles, visit her website at drarghavansalles.com.

Dr. Salles, attendees, and ASH staff at Women in Hematology Networking Session

What’s Next - WIH Trainee Group

Drs. Becky Zon and Xu Han from the Trainee Council are starting a WIH Trainee Group, as an offshoot of WIH Working Group. This group welcomes any individual that identifies as female and will focus on trainee career development, mentorship, and networking.

For the trainees who filled out the Google doc at the ASH-A-Palooza WIH table or for the trainees who attended the WIH Networking Session and Dinner and scanned your badge, you will be receiving an email in the coming months about the WIH Trainee Group kickoff meeting. If you do not get an email by March 2023, feel free to email us. We highly encourage interested trainees to join the first call of 2023 to learn more about this group and share their suggestions on upcoming events

If you are a trainee and did not make it to #ASH22 or the above trainee events, please sign up to receive more information here.

In conclusion, the WIH Working Group had an awesome 2022 in providing career and leadership development opportunities to the #SHEmatologists. We are thrilled about the virtual kickoff meeting for the WIH Trainee Group and looking forward to seeing all the future #SHEmatologists at the meeting.

Dr. Zon is a consultant and stockholder for Amagma Therapeutics. Dr. Han reports no conflicts of interest.