How ASH Can Help You Succeed: A Personal Perspective
Translational research moves basic scientific research knowledge toward application in the clinic and community. This growing area of biomedical research, often referred to as “bench-to-bedside” or “bedside-to-community,” has gained significant momentum over the last few decades. It offers a rewarding, challenging career path that attracts many scientists, me included, who want to help improve people’s lives.
As a postdoctoral fellow aspiring to have an independent research career, I sought opportunities through ASH to develop the skillset for a successful career in translational medicine. I gained insight from the many trainee opportunities offered through ASH, such as the Career Development timelines, Grants Clearinghouse database, and various training programs. I’d like to share my personal experiences with one of those exceptional opportunities: the Translational Research Training in Hematology (TRTH) program.
ASH, in partnership with the European Hematology Association (EHA), established the highly prestigious TRTH to provide early-career scientists (MD, PhD, or PharmD) in the late stages of fellowship or very early stages of their first faculty appointment, with a rigorous yearlong series of meetings on scientific, clinical, grantsmanship, and career development training topics realted to translational hematology research. Twenty trainees from the United States, Europe, and around the world are selected annually through a highly competitive application process to participate in the program. TRTH is led by internationally recognized leaders in hematology who have expertise in biostatistics, genetics, molecular biology, ethics, and phase I clinical study design. My application was selected in 2014.
During the workshop, each trainee got constructive feedback and critical advice from TRTH faculty mentors and colleagues. In the end, each trainee had succinct, well-developed research plans, and/or grant proposals. In addition to the invaluable formal course training, the TRTH mentorship directly impacted my ability to identify and secure several interview opportunities for tenure-track assistant professor positions across the U.S. My TRTH faculty mentors were able to provide strong letters in support of my candidacy as an independent translational scientist and leader in the field. Additionally, they have provided me with advice on important career topics ranging from contract negotiations to next-step grant applications. Many trainees feel immense pressure and stress to have high-impact scientific publications and grant funding to be competitive faculty candidates. However, having excellent mentors and colleagues who know your science, goals, strengths, and personality can be extremely valuable as you embark on one of the toughest and most exciting transitions of your career. My experiences with ASH’s professional development opportunities helped me to focus on continuously planning my future goals and making progress towards them. I encourage all trainees to take advantage of ASH trainee opportunities to help you succeed. You can find more information on the TRTH online.