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ASH Honors Member of Congress and Leaders from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Cancer Institute

(WASHINGTON D.C., Dec. 8, 2019) — The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will recognize Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Hematology and Training Program Director Terry Bishop, PhD, and National Cancer Institute (NCI) Program Director William Merritt, PhD, for their outstanding leadership in support of biomedical research and hematology. All three awardees will be honored today at the 61st ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in Orlando.

Rep. Cole will receive the 2019 ASH Public Service Award, which recognizes unparalleled leadership by an elected public official on issues of importance to hematology research and/or practice. Throughout his service as chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies between 2015 and 2018, and currently as ranking member of the subcommittee, Rep. Cole has been a strong proponent of increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Under his leadership overseeing NIH, Congress enacted NIH funding increases totaling more than $9 billion in the past four years. Additionally, Rep. Cole has repeatedly denounced proposed cuts to NIH funding as “short-sighted” and has pledged to provide sustained funding for NIH.

Drs. Bishop and Merritt will both receive the 2019 ASH Outstanding Service Award, an honor recognizing effective leadership behind the scenes in areas relevant to the mission of the Society, for their dedication to advocacy and mentorship in hematology research.

Dr. Bishop joined NIDDK’s division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases (KUH) as a hematology and training program director in 2001, where her focus has been on supporting research on hematopoietic stem cells and their distinction into blood cells. Her work at NIDDK includes developmental hematopoiesis, erythropoiesis, globin gene regulation, heme biosynthesis, and cell differentiation. Dr. Bishop also oversees the Centers of Excellence in Molecular Hematology, Hematology Training and Career Development, the KUH loan repayment program, the MERIT program, and more. Furthermore, Dr. Bishop was responsible for the creation of the Stimulating Hematology Investigation New Endeavors (SHINE) program which promotes innovative, high-quality nonmalignant hematology research relevant to the missions of the NIDDK, the National Institute of Aging (NIA), and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Dr. Bishop has served in several volunteer roles within ASH, including participating as faculty for the ASH Clinical Research Training Institute (CRTI) and authoring articles for the Society’s newsletter, The Hematologist.

Dr. Merritt joined NCI’s clinical grants and contracts branch/cancer therapy evaluation program (CTEP) as a program director in 2006. His focus has been on managing a large portfolio of clinical grants in the areas of stem cell transplant and immunotherapeutic and drug therapies for hematologic malignancies. He has also been active in the management of the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network, the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant, and the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network, which was co-funded with the NHLBI.

Dr. Merritt has also served as faculty for the ASH CRTI and participated as a speaker at the Career Development Lunches held at the ASH annual meeting.

“The Society is pleased to recognize Representative Cole with the Public Service Award and Drs. Bishop and Merritt with the Outstanding Service Award at the 61st ASH Annual Meeting,” said ASH President Roy Silverstein, MD, of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. “I applaud them for their dedication to fighting for tomorrow’s treatment advances and ensuring the well-being of those with blood diseases.” 

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) (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 60 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, and Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org), an online, peer-reviewed open-access journal.

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