Inaugural Jake Wetchler Foundation Scholar Award, Advocacy Leadership Institute, and more

ASH Announces Inaugural Jake Wetchler Foundation ASH Scholar for Pediatric Innovation Recipient

Stephen S. Chung, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York, New York, will receive the inaugural Jake Wetchler Foundation ASH Scholar Award for Pediatric Innovation for his research on the mechanisms of bone marrow failure syndromes. This work could ultimately lead to an improved understanding of a severe form of pediatric leukemia that develops in the setting of bone marrow failure. The award is the result of a new partnership between ASH and The Jake Wetchler Foundation for Innovative Pediatric Cancer Research (JWF) to cooperatively fund novel pediatric cancer research that challenges existing paradigms.

Through this partnership, JWF will fund 50 percent of select ASH awards granted to investigators whose research has a line of sight to effective and safe treatments for pediatric acute myeloid leukemia. Dr. Chung’s award will total $100,000 over a period of two years.

Dr. Chung is an instructor and medical oncologist at MSKCC. His current research focuses on the role of CD99, a cell surface protein expressed at increased levels on malignant stem cells. Dr. Chung wants to determine whether CD99-targeted treatments can eradicate the stem cells that are often responsible for disease relapse, as well as develop new diagnostic tests for AML and myelodysplastic syndromes. Dr. Chung received his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and completed fellowships at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and MSKCC.

The Jake Wetchler Foundation for Innovative Pediatric Cancer Research (www.DontLetTheCancerWin.org) is named in honor of a young man who beat Hodgkin lymphoma at age 18 but after a heroic fight lost his life to leukemia at age 20, despite receiving state-of-the-art treatment for both cancers. Its mission is to help find effective, low-toxicity treatments so all young cancer patients have the opportunity to live long and full lives. The Foundation funds innovative research, which challenges the boundaries of established thinking and explores new frontiers of science and technology in order to achieve breakthrough advances in the treatment of high-risk pediatric cancers.


Members of ASH Gather in Nation’s Capital for Advocacy Training

Twenty-six invited hematologists from all over the country gathered in Washington, DC, in late October to attend ASH’s Advocacy Leadership Institute (ALI). The purpose of the ALI is to provide ASH members with a forum to learn about legislation and health policy affecting hematology research and practice, as well as to gain a better understanding of the Society and its activities. Many of the participants become ASH’s “go-to” advocates, who can respond quickly when legislative alerts are sent out to members to take action. In addition, the program helps identify leaders for future service on ASH’s committees and programs.

The first day of the Institute focused on learning about the legislative process, health policy, and advocacy strategies, including the use of social media in advocacy. Speakers included ASH Government Relations staff and consultants; ASH members active in advocacy efforts; and guest speakers from advocacy organizations, congressional offices, and federal agencies. On the second day participants visited their congressional delegation on Capitol Hill. Participants were divided into groups (each accompanied by a member of ASH staff) and sent on a full day of meetings with members of Congress and their staff.

Participants learned about the major issues facing the field of hematology today, including funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). ASH members called on their representatives to reverse the damaging impact that cuts to the NIH have had on research and their patients. In addition to research funding, this year’s ALI participants also advocated for legislation to provide for insurance coverage parity for all cancer drugs.

For more information on the ALI, please visit www.hematology.org/ALI or contact ASH Legislative Advocacy Manager, Tracy Roades, at [email protected].


ASH Medical Educators Institute (MEI)

Hematologists in medical education careers add value to the subspecialty by sharing their excitement about hematology with medical students and residents and ensuring these same trainees possess the fundamental knowledge of hematology necessary for whatever careers they enter.

ASH recognizes the value added by trained hematology educators. The Society is therefore launching the ASH Medical Educators Institute in 2016 to provide hematologists new to medical education careers a “boot camp” in teaching techniques, medical education scholarship, as well as trainee and program evaluation. The institute will also orient participants to career advancement as a medical educator. A sampling of preliminary topics includes:

  • Educational Research Design in Hematology
  • Using Technology in Medical Education: When, Where, and How
  • Adding Value to Your Institution as a Hematology Educator
  • Smaller May be Better: Small Group Instruction
  • The Ins and Outs of Promotion and Tenure: The Faculty Curriculum is a Hidden One.

To further encourage nascent medical educators, ASH will subsidize participation in the program by covering the costs of travel to the program, lodging, and meals.

The initial program is being designed by Marc J. Kahn, MD, MBA, from Tulane University, and Jennifer Kesselheim, MD, from Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. More than 10 ASH members will serve as faculty for the program, which will accept 20 participants in its inaugural class. To be held at the ASH Headquarters in Washington, DC, the institute will begin with a kick-off dinner on September 27 and conclude by 3:00 p.m. ET on September 30.

More information about the program, including eligibility requirements and application requirements will be available on the ASH website.


ASH is Seeking Editor-in-Chief for its New Peer-Reviewed Journal

ASH is launching a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal and is seeking an outstanding individual to serve as its founding editor-in-chief. The new journal, tentatively called Blood Reports, will offer an attractive online publishing venue with a focus on rapid publication of results. With this journal, ASH remains committed to content excellence; to providing solid, stellar peer review; and to further widening service to the hematology community by expanding in-depth coverage of hematology subspecialties and providing an inclusive forum for publication of basic and clinical research as well as coverage of promising hematology areas and policy issues.

The journal will be accepting original submissions as well as manuscripts reviewed but not accepted in Blood, which will be expedited for rapid publication. Blood Reports will complement the prestigious Blood Journal that has been serving the hematology community for the past 70 years. For this role, ASH seeks a leader in hematology who has a broad understanding of the field and a keen interest in its developing areas, as well as editorial experience with a peer-reviewed journal. The founding editor-in-chief will have a unique opportunity to creatively refine the journal’s scope, select associate editors, and develop an effective and successful independent publication. Interested individuals are asked to submit their candidacy to [email protected]g by December 15, 2015. Visit www.hematology.org/Publications/4634.aspx for additional information.


Mark Your Calendar

Start planning now; 2016 is jam-packed with meetings you don’t want to miss.

Highlights of ASH® in North America
January 15-16
Seattle, WA
Toronto, ON

January 22-23
Dallas, TX
Atlanta, GA

January 29-30
New York, NY
San Diego, CA

Highlights of ASH Asia – Pacific
March 5-6
Brisbane, Australia

Highlights of ASH Latin America
April 29-30
Natal, Brazil

ASH Meeting on Lymphoma Biology
June 18-21
Colorado Springs, CO

ASH Workshop on Genome Editing
July 14-15
Washington, DC

ASH Meeting on Hematologic Malignancies
September 15-17
Chicago, IL

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