The ASH Mentor Award was established to recognize hematologists who have excelled at mentoring trainees and colleagues. Those selected to receive the award are chosen because they have shown a sustained commitment to mentoring, have made a significant, positive impact on their trainees’ careers, and have advanced research and patient care in the field of hematology through their trainees and their trainees’ trainees. Two awards are given each year, one in the basic sciences and one in clinical investigation.
The award for clinical investigation goes to Dr. Arthur Nienhuis. Dr. Nienhuis is a member and emeritus director of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. During his career at St. Jude, and prior to that at NIH, he has mentored many individuals, with more than 90 percent of his students and fellows remaining engaged in academic hematology-oncology or gene therapy research at leading research institutions worldwide. Some of his trainees have gone on to become presidents and directors at academic institutions or cancer centers, NIH Institute directors, department chairs, and editors-in-chief of Blood and Seminars in Hematology. Two of his former trainees have been recipients of the ASH Mentor Award. Throughout his more than 30-year career as a principal investigator, he has demonstrated his commitment to mentoring by continuing to be a presence and an influence in the careers of many of his former students and fellows. According to one of his former trainees, “Despite his being incredibly busy, even when he was president of ASH, he always had time to chat.”
The award for basic science goes to Dr. Stuart H. Orkin. Dr. Orkin is the David G. Nathan Professor of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He has mentored more than 70 highly successful academic physicians and scientists in the field of hematology. He continues to support the careers of trainees outside of his lab through his position as the Director of the Hematology/Oncology program at Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is known to instill in his trainees the confidence to think independently, to see the big picture, and to stay focused. One of his former trainees commented, “It’s never a question of time and commitment, it’s just natural. You [can] send him an e-mail, you [can] call him up, [if] you’ve got a question, he’s just there and makes the time to provide the kind of input that you’re seeking.” When Children’s Hospital in Boston had a symposium for Dr. Orkin’s 60th birthday, almost all of his former trainees attended, showing how important his mentorship had been for their careers.
Drs. Nienhuis and Orkin will be formally presented with their awards during the Plenary Scientific Session today at 1:30 p.m. in Hall F of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
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