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The American Society of Hematology Honors Drs. Chancellor Donald, Cynthia Dunbar, Stephanie Lee, and Laura Michaelis with the 2022 Exemplary Service Award

(WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2022) – The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will recognize Chancellor Donald, MD (Tulane University), Cynthia E. Dunbar, MD (National Institutes of Health, current ASH Secretary), Stephanie Lee, MD, MPH (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, 2020 ASH President), and Laura Michaelis, MD (Medical College of Wisconsin), with the 2022 Exemplary Service Award for their exceptional service and dedication to the Society and the field of hematology through their tireless work leading ASH’s response to COVID-19.

The Exemplary Service Award was established in 1998 to recognize individuals whose outstanding service, extending over a period of years, has significantly advanced the interests of the Society. ASH President Jane N. Winter, MD, will present this award during the 64th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana, this December.

“We are immensely grateful to our colleagues for their extensive contributions to the COVID-19 content curation group to ensure that the hematology community had access to the most trustworthy and up-to-date resources in the rapidly evolving pandemic environment,” said ASH President Jane N. Winter, MD, of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “When the entire medical community was in crisis mode, Drs. Donald, Dunbar, Lee, and Michaelis gave generously of their time and expertise to help.”

In March 2020, recognizing the urgent need to provide clinicians with resources to combat the pandemic, then-ASH President Dr. Stephanie Lee quickly mobilized the ASH COVID-19 content curation group to oversee the development and curation of resources on the ASH COVID-19 Resources website. Under Dr. Lee’s leadership, the group went on to facilitate the development of clinically relevant Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) articles authored by roughly 150 hematologists. The FAQs and website resources spanned various clinical, practice, and training-related topics; included links to journal articles, registries, institutional protocols, research grant opportunities, and clinical trials; and offered practical advice for restarting routine clinical practice.

As the pandemic evolved, so did the guidance – at first focusing primarily on infection prevention and treatment of patients with COVID-19 and various underlying hematologic conditions who were at heightened risk of severe infection. Later, FAQs were developed to address vaccination in the immunocompromised, treatment of dangerous blood clots triggered by COVID-19, and the use of convalescent plasma and antibody therapies.

In 2021, ASH’s COVID-19 resources website moved under the helm of The Hematologist editor-in-chief Dr. Laura Michaelis, whose strong editorial experience covering important developments in hematologic research allowed her to effectively lead the group in continually refreshing the website in response to the evolving situation. ASH Secretary Dr. Cynthia Dunbar, who served as editor-in-chief of Blood from 2008-2013, was instrumental in helping guide the development of the resources and expertly coordinating updates among dozens of author groups, while Dr. Chancellor Donald, chair of the ASH Committee on Practice, brought his insights and expertise to help the group identify and address the most pressing needs for practitioners on the front lines of the pandemic.

In spring 2021, when an exceedingly rare blood clotting complication associated with COVID-19 viral vector vaccines emerged, the content curation group led ASH’s efforts to provide timely, expert support to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Rapid clinical FAQs were developed on this rare complication to provide guidance to providers, and this information was included in the updated labeling for the vaccine. Finally, as research showed that people with blood disorders do not always receive optimal protection from COVID-19 vaccines, the group led efforts to educate the public about the importance of vaccination and masking to protect the most vulnerable.

As a result of the considerable contributions made by each of the four awardees, the COVID-19 resources website was highly valued by the hematology community, receiving more than 10,800 visits per day at its peak.

“Now as we begin to archive some of the content on the COVID-19 resources website given that the most critical period appears to have passed, we are able to look back, reflect, and commend our colleagues for their extraordinary work in this unprecedented moment,” added Dr. Winter.

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’s flagship journal, Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), is the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, and Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org) is the Society’s online, peer-reviewed open-access journal.

Leah Enser, American Society of Hematology
[email protected]; 202-552-4927