It is an absolute honor to invite you to join me for the preeminent celebration of research, education, and patient care in hematology at the 55th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans.
For those of you who have been to the meeting previously, you will notice that 2013 marks the debut of several new, expanded, or special sessions that have not been offered previously. Those of you attending for the first time are in for a treat as you will have access to the most diverse range of clinical and research sessions we have ever offered, along with enhanced networking opportunities. We will showcase the full spectrum of translation in hematology from new basic research to new insights into disease pathogenesis to new therapies for patients to outcome analyses.
With that in mind, I wanted to highlight several offerings of this year's meeting that I am particularly excited to share with you:
- The Special Symposium on Innovation and the Future of Hematology (Sunday, December 8, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.), to be held on Sunday just prior to the Plenary Scientific Session, will celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of Wallace H. Coulter, a prolific inventor whose discoveries became the basis for CBC determinations and flow cytometry. I hope you'll join me at this session that honors this occasion with lectures from two outstanding and creative physician-scientists, Drs. Stuart Orkin and Bruce Beutler, who will discuss how novel concepts and technologies should revolutionize hematology research and practice in the future.
- The Presidential Symposium (Tuesday, December 10, 9:50 a.m. – 11:20 a.m.), will delve into an important and timely topic – using genomics for clinical decision making – that you won't want to miss. During this year's Symposium Drs. James Downing, Matthew Walter, and David Ginsburg will discuss advances in genomic sequencing and when and how we might integrate this information into patient care decisions for individuals with acute leukemia, MDS, and clotting and bleeding disorders.
- Two Special Symposia offered as part of the Scientific Program, one on approaches for inhibiting "undruggable" targets in cancer (Saturday, December 7, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.) and another on the role of reduction/oxidation chemistry in hematology (Sunday, December 8, 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.), will explore topics that cut across our vast discipline, bringing together scientists with diverse interests.
- For the first time, the Scientific Program will feature four ticketed Scientific Spotlight Sessions. Similar to the Education Spotlights, these sessions are intended to focus on areas of special interest and, in some cases, address controversies in hematology.
- More than any other meeting in the past, this year's meeting will focus on honing and maintaining a sense of community among our various smaller, sometimes distinct, and sometimes overlapping, constituencies. We will employ several strategies at this year's meeting to accomplish this objective, including grouping like sessions geographically and synchronizing the timing of the talks and Q&A periods, allowing attendees to slip seamlessly between presentations in nearby rooms. Tables and chairs will also be grouped outside sessions on similar topics to encourage informal conversations and networking among attendees with common clinical or research interests.
While there are many new features of this year's meeting that I encourage you to explore, I would also like to call your attention to the superb programming in store for you via two of the hallmark offerings of each ASH annual meeting: the Education and Scientific Programs. This year's Education Program, chaired by Drs. Wendy Stock and John Tisdale, will present the practicing hematologist with updates on the latest clinical advances via nearly 30 sessions on topics ranging from optimizing therapies for non-Hodgkin lymphoma to sports medicine and hematology. This year's Scientific Program, chaired by Drs. José López and Kevin Shannon, will present the latest scientific breakthroughs – from non-coding RNAs in normal and malignant hematopoiesis to transfusion medicine for the pregnant mother, fetus, and neonate – in 18 key areas of hematology.
Of course, the Society's annual celebration of groundbreaking advances in hematology would not be complete without honoring some of the distinguished leaders in the field through awards and special lectures.
I am extremely proud of the exceptional, diverse program that my colleagues have assembled. I hope you will join me in December to experience these talks first-hand, reconnect with old friends, and enjoy the sights and sounds of historic New Orleans.
Janis L. Abkowitz, MD
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