American Society of Hematology

President's Column: ASH Highlights Continual Commitment to Basic Hematology Research by Establishing a New Committee on Scientific Affairs

J. Evan Sadler, MD, PhD

Published on: May 01, 2011

The American Society of Hematology has always been committed to supporting basic hematology research, which is the foundation for progress in translational and clinical research. During his term as President last year, Dr. Hal Broxmeyer was instrumental in highlighting the need for ASH to be more active in fostering the participation of basic scientists in the core activities of the Society: to encourage the presentation of the best research at the ASH annual meeting and to promote its publication in Blood. We have significantly increased the resources devoted to these goals, most recently by establishing a new standing Committee on Scientific Affairs to serve as the Society’s strategically oriented scientific council.

The Committee on Scientific Affairs is responsible for developing strategic priorities in scientific areas of interest to ASH membership. To this end, it will provide a coordinated channel for our members and 17 scientific committees to advise the Society on setting these priorities. The Committee will periodically evaluate the scope of existing scientific committees and review proposals for new ones. In addition, the Committee on Scientific Affairs will make recommendations to the Nominating Committee for scientific committee membership. This process will allow ASH to stay at the forefront of fast-breaking hematology research by adapting the expertise of its scientific committees to the changing scientific landscape.

One of the Committee’s major responsibilities is to ensure that ASH annual meeting addresses the needs of basic scientists, and several initiatives will help to achieve this goal. For example, the Committee is developing a process for real-time peer-review of 2011 Scientific Program Sessions to make sure that we deliver the best possible science at the annual meeting. A recent member survey indicated that scientists would appreciate more opportunities for informal networking, and the Committee is planning to extend the Q&A period after scientific sessions at the 2011 annual meeting so that trainees and junior scientists can interact with Scientific Program speakers. In addition, members of ASH Scientific Committees and the Program Committee, as well as the Scientific Program speakers, can now interact at a new Scientific Program reception at the annual meeting.

To promote the field of hematology, the Committee on Scientific Affairs will expand the role of scientific committees in ASH advocacy for biomedical research. To make sure the voice of scientists is heard in these discussions, the Committee will exchange liaison members with the Committee on Government Affairs. In addition, members of the Committee on Scientific Affairs will join our delegations that visit Capitol Hill every spring and attend other meetings with members of Congress, the NIH, other federal agencies, and public, patient, and professional organizations throughout the year.

The Committee on Scientific Affairs includes basic, translational, and clinical scientists that represent diverse areas of hematology. Its members include past scientific committee chairs and members, past Scientific Program Co-Chairs, ASH Scholars, and ASH Scholar Award Study Section members. The Committee’s inaugural Chair and 2010 Scientific Program Co-Chair, Rob Hromas of the University of Florida, has already begun to deftly navigate a packed agenda for this summer. The committee’s first item of business is to work closely with the scientific committees to update ASH’s Agenda for Hematology Research. This publication identifies and prioritizes the most fertile areas of research in hematology and is a focal point for advocacy efforts with our colleagues at the NIH and members of Congress.

The Committee on Scientific Affairs will be instrumental in providing a forum for discussion of issues important to the Society’s membership. It is designed to serve as a voice of the ASH scientific community within and outside of the Society. We encourage all of you to make use of this new body established to represent ASH scientists.

For additional information on the ASH Committee on Scientific Affairs, please contact ASH Senior Manager for Scientific Affairs Ulyana Desiderio, PhD, at udesiderio@hematology.org.

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