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ASH Recognizes Senator Chris Van Hollen with 2023 Public Service Award

The award recognizes elected officials who have led legislation related to hematology research and practice

(SAN DIEGO, Dec. 10, 2023) – The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will honor Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) for his outstanding support of sickle cell disease (SCD) research at the 2023 ASH Annual Meeting, December 9-12 in San Diego, California.
Van Hollen will receive the 2023 ASH Public Service Award, which recognizes unparalleled leadership by an elected public official on issues of importance to hematology research and practice. He will be honored for his dedication toward developing and introducing SCD legislation that aims to improve outcomes for individuals living with SCD. 
“ASH is pleased to honor Sen. Van Hollen, who has shown passionate dedication to incentivizing SCD research and care,” said ASH President, Robert A. Brodsky, MD of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Sen. Van Hollen has been a champion for SCD, introducing key legislation that will have a profound impact in ensuring individuals living with SCD have access to high-quality care.”
“Having lost a beloved member of my Senate staff to sickle cell disease, I’ve witnessed firsthand the devastating toll this disease takes on those living with it and their loved ones. That’s why I am more committed than ever to working with all of you to raise awareness about SCD and boost federal investments to better understand and treat it,” said U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen. “The FDA’s recent approval of a breakthrough gene-editing therapy for sickle cell is both a testament to the progress we’ve made and motivation to continue pressing urgently forward. I’m humbled to receive this year’s Public Service Award – as I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with ASH and the entire SCD advocacy community in the fight to better treat and, ultimately, defeat sickle cell disease.” 
Van Hollen introduced the Sickle Cell Care Expansion Act, which would expand the National Health Services Corps loan repayment and scholarship program to include classical (non-malignant) hematology as an eligible area of study. This program aims to incentivize physicians to conduct SCD-related research and treat individuals living with SCD. 

Additionally, in the previous Congress, Senator Van Hollen introduced the Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Centers Act which seeks to improve the delivery of comprehensive SCD care and treatment. He plans to reintroduce the legislation again this Congress.
SCD is an inherited red blood cell disorder affecting approximately 100,000 people in the United States. According to the CDC, SCD affects one out of every 365 Black or African American births and one out of every 16,300 Hispanic American births. Those living with the disease are born with a genetic mutation that causes their red blood cells to be ‘sickled’ in shape, leading to pain crises and sometimes severe health complications like organ damage and failure.
ASH will continue to work with Van Hollen to support the Sickle Cell Care Expansion Act and explore additional avenues for advancing SCD legislation.
The Public Service Award will be announced on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Pacific time in Hall A of the San Diego Convention Center.
Additional Resources
1. ASH Sickle Cell Disease Initiative
2. Sickle Cell Disease Timeline

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) (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’s flagship journal, Blood (bloodjournal.org) is the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, and Blood Advances (bloodadvances.org) is an open-access, online journal that publishes more peer-reviewed hematology research than any other academic journal worldwide. Two new journals will be joining the Blood Journals portfolio in 2024, Blood Neoplasia (bloodneoplasia.org) and Blood Vessels, Thrombosis & Hemostasis (bloodvth.org).