Health Volunteers Overseas and ASH Expand Their Reach

Volunteer Your Hematology Expertise in Peru

Health Volunteers Overseas and ASH expand their reach with new program site

In partnership with Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO), ASH launched a hematology training program at Catholic University and its partner hospital, Carlos Alberto Sequin Escobedo Hospital, in Arequipa, Peru. This progam provides one of the only post-graduate training opportunities for hematology staff and residents at these sites. The hospital manages a large cohort of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) patients; targeted training to address this disease burden is required. In addition, expertise in the areas of flow cytometry, hematopathology, and blood banking is desired.

ASH member volunteers conduct two- to four-week on-site assignments through this program, which includes:

  • Conducting rounds in the adult hematology and pediatric wards with attendees, residents, and medical students
  • Providing consultations in clinics and laboratories
  • Giving lectures on relevant or requested topics

Emeritus member Susan R. Harris, MD, serves as the project director for these volunteer sites. Last June, Dr. Harris visited local hematologists at these sites to determine areas where ASH volunteers could make the greatest impact through on-site training and consultation. Read the interview with Dr. Harris in the May-June issue of The Hematologist.

If you are interested in volunteering in Arequipa, contact HVO Volunteer Coordinator Dinah Girma at [email protected] for more information on the ASH/HVO program and potential dates for an assignment in Peru.

What is Health Volunteers Overseas?

Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving global health through education, to bring hematology consultation and training to hospitals in the developing world that care for hematology patients with a wide range of disorders. ASH members educate and train hematology personnel at designated health-care institutions. Training may include rounds in the clinics, bedside consultations, classroom lectures, training in the laboratories, and training in blood banking and transfusion medicine. The objective is to develop sustainable improvement of hematology patient treatment at these institutions, based on the needs of the institutions.

On-site hematology, laboratory scientists, blood bankers, faculty, and administrators have worked with ASH and HVO consultants to formulate the mid- and long-term goals of each site and to create profiles for volunteer hematologists who can help meet these needs. Each program has an ASH member program director as well as on-site coordinators who oversee volunteer visits at the institution and can provide feedback on evolving needs and goals.

One- to four-week assignments are available for either pediatric or adult hematology/oncology clinicians, laboratory scientists, and academicians. To be considered, applicants must be members of ASH and HVO. Volunteers from outside the United States are encouraged to apply.

Program Sites

Tanzania

There is a great need for training in smear review and interpretation of morphology in both peripheral smears and bone marrow aspirates, so hematopathologists are particularly desired. Blood banking and transfusion medicine experts are also needed. In addition, sickle cell experts, laboratory scientists, and blood banking and transfusion medicine volunteers are desired at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam.

MNH is affiliated with the adjacent Muhimbili University for Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), at which volunteers are also asked to provide lectures to supplement the hematology curriculum.

Uganda

This program’s goals are to improve training in hematology to clinicians, laboratory technicians, technologists, and students at the Mulago Hospital in Kampala by providing training in diagnosis, bone marrow and blood smear interpretations, pediatric and adult hematology, and hematologic oncology. This program also provides an interface between the laboratory staff and the clinical staff in the interpretation and diagnosis of blood-related illnesses.

Current needs at this site include:

  • Performance and interpretation of smear and bone marrow aspirates
  • Delivery of standard hematologic workups
  • Teaching of techniques (bone marrow biopsy)
  • Performance and interpretation of smears and staining

Cambodia

Optimizing the functionality of the laboratory through a systems-based approach is the goal at this site. Pediatric hematologists/oncologists with experience in running a lab are specifically recruited to work at Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) in Siem Reap. Pediatric hematologists/oncologists give lectures on benign hematology and pediatric oncology to train physicians and to help staff implement treatment for patients with leukemia.

Current needs at this site include:

  • Diagnosis and management of ALL
  • Smear interpretation
  • Development of trigger values for low counts (high prevalence of aplastic anemia)
  • Limited bedside training with in-patient rounds on specific presentations

Explore the Newly Redesigned ASH Image Bank

The ASH Image Bank is a web-based image library that offers a comprehensive collection of images relating to a wide range of hematologic topics. It is a public website that gives ASH members and the entire hematology community the ability to discover high-quality, peer-reviewed hematologic images.

The newly redesigned ASH Image Bank launched in March and contains more than 2,100 images, with new images continuously being published.

A few of the new features include the Atlas and Reference Cases. The Atlas provides the blood cell community with a quick way to view images of blood cells in a normal and abnormal state, and the Reference Cases describe common blood disorders through image sets and descriptive text.

To browse the ASH Image Bank, submit images, or download images, members and nonmembers must log in. ASH members can use with their standard ASH username and password. Non-members will need to create an account. The ASH Image Bank is available to non-members at no cost.

Comments, questions, and requests for inclusion of slides addressing specific topics may be directed to [email protected]. ASH encourages new submissions; they are subject to review by the Image Bank Editor.

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