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ASH to Recognize Guideline Implementation Champions at 65th Annual Meeting


Guidelines Champions are implementing evidence-based ASH Guidelines at their institutions

(SAN DIEGO, Dec. 7, 2023) – The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will honor Gabriella Nguyen, MD at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Christina Ruiz, MD at University of California San Diego School of Medicine as its 2023 Guideline Implementation Champions.  

Guideline Implementation Champions is an ASH initiative that recognizes clinicians who have successfully implemented ASH clinical guidelines in their practice, institution, or hospital system.  

Drs. Nguyen and Ruiz will speak at a Special-Interest Session on Sunday, December 10 at the 65th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition, December 9-12 in San Diego, California. During this annual meeting session, the Society will recognize the champions’ efforts and offer attendees the opportunity to ask questions and learn about strategies for implementing similar projects at their own practices. 

The 2023 ASH Guideline Implementation Champions are: 

Gabriella Nguyen, MD (University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center) 

Steering Change with COMPASS: Clinical Pathway to Optimize the Management of Pediatric Acute Stroke in Sickle Cell Disease 

ASH guidelines recommend transfusion within two hours for children with sickle cell disease (SCD) presenting with stroke-like symptoms. Dr. Nguyen and colleagues developed a quality improvement initiative called Clinical Pathway to Optimize the Management of Pediatric Acute Stroke in Sickle Cell Disease with a multi-disciplinary team to accelerate the time at which these patients receive transfusions. Through this program, the team identified hospital-wide barriers encountered in the diagnosis and treatment of these patients and recognized knowledge gaps among staff. The team is currently evaluating the efficacy of the SCD stroke pathway in reducing time to transfusion. 

Christina Ruiz, MD (Rady Children’s Hospital/University of California, San Diego) 

Improving the Outpatient Pain Management Plan for Patients with Sickle Cell Disease with Innovative Pain Action Plan 

Dr. Ruiz and her colleagues recognized that many people living with sickle cell disease (SCD) were not being given the proper tools to manage their pain at home, leading to calls to the on-call team or emergency department visits. The current guidelines from ASH recommend developing individualized care plans to effectively begin pain management at home. An interprofessional quality improvement team modified an Asthma Action Plan to create a SCD pain action plan (PAP) for patients, which includes pain medication details and supportive care measures. To additionally inform their individual PAP, patients were asked questions about their current functional status, activities of daily living, and non-pharmacologic comfort measures. Since implementation, 94% (13/14) of patients seen at a comprehensive clinic visit received a PAP. 

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).  
Melissa McGue, American Society of Hematology  
[email protected], (202) 552-4927