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The American Society of Hematology Honors Cage S. Johnson, MD, and José A. López, MD, with the ASH Award for Leadership in Promoting Diversity

(WASHINGTON, August 14, 2018) – The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will honor Cage S. Johnson, MD, of the University of Southern California, and José A. López, MD, of the University of Washington, with the ASH Award for Leadership in Promoting Diversity for their extraordinary commitment to diversity and inclusion in hematology. This year’s recipients have been instrumental to the establishment of the diversity programs of ASH.

“It is a great honor to receive this award from ASH, because increasing the participation of all groups at all levels of society has always been a goal of mine,” said Dr. López. “I am proud that I was able to help establish ASH’s minority programs and help the Society increase the participation of underrepresented minorities training in hematology-related fields.”

“Diversity demonstrates that all people are valued members of society,” Dr. Johnson added. “It is important in medicine because patients need to know that their physicians and other caregivers reflect the same principles and life experiences that they have. I am honored that our work to increase diversity within hematology is being recognized in such a big way.”

The ASH Award for Leadership in Promoting Diversity was established by the Society to recognize hematologists who have supported the development of an inclusive hematology workforce, encouraged the career development of underrepresented minority trainees, or made a commitment to inclusiveness through contributions in support of ASH’s mission. ASH President Alexis Thompson, MD, MPH, of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago will present Drs. Johnson and López with their award on Sunday, December 2, during the 60th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego.

Drs. Johnson and López served as founding co-chairs of the ASH Committee on Promoting Diversity, a group of ASH members that advises the Society in its efforts to recruit and support the careers of underrepresented minorities into hematology research and practice. Under their tenure, ASH formalized its minority recruitment agenda. Drs. Johnson and López were instrumental in the launch of extremely successful programs, including the Minority Medical Student Award Program, which has funded the research projects of over 200 students in the past 14 years and has been recently expanded to residents; a research opportunity for a junior hematology faculty member from an underrepresented minority background, offered in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (AMFDP); and expanded minority recruitment and diversity programming at the ASH annual meeting. Drs. Johnson and López have served as career development mentors for these programs since their inception.

Dr. Johnson is a professor emeritus of medicine, physiology, and biophysics at the University of Southern California. He has served in several leadership positions at ASH, and in doing so, he recruited many individuals from underrepresented minority groups to serve in ASH leadership roles. He is a founding member and former president of the EE Just Society, an organization for minority hematologists based in Los Angeles. Since the group’s inception in 1985, Dr. Johnson has taken many young, underrepresented minorities under his wing and supported them as they successfully pursued careers in hematology.

Dr. López is a professor of medicine and biochemistry at the University of Washington and served for 10 years as chief scientific officer of Bloodworks NorthWest and director of the Bloodworks Research Institute. He has advanced diversity at his own institution by training many minority students in his laboratory before he became active in ASH’s programming. For several years, he collaborated with medical schools in Mexico to host students for summer research electives. Dr. López spearheaded ASH’s partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation based on his own experience benefitting from the AMFDP. The effort has funded 18 junior hematology faculty members since the program started in 2006.

“ASH’s strong commitment to diversity and unparalleled portfolio of opportunities for underrepresented minorities would not have been possible without the passion and initiative of this team,” said Dr. Thompson. “On behalf of the Society, I thank Drs. Johnson and López for their leadership in making hematology a more inclusive subspecialty.”

The American Society of Hematology (www.hematology.org) is the world’s largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For more than 50 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. ASH publishes Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online. In 2016, ASH launched Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org), an online, peer-reviewed open-access journal.

Sara Khalaf, American Society of Hematology
[email protected]; 202-552-4925