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Hematology Grand Slam: ASH Trainees Rock Petco Park

MMMM d, yyyy
Megan Sears-Smith, DO, and Brittany Knick Ragon, MD, (@BKRagonMD)
Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute, Charlotte, NC

Most days, Petco Park is home to major league baseball’s San Diego Padres, but on December 8, it will be host to ASH-a-Palooza, a series of events specifically for medical students, residents, and fellows interested in hematology. Organized by the ASH Trainee Council, ASH-a-Palooza, running from 12:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., features events for socializing with other trainees interested in hematology and opportunities for learning, mentorship, and collaboration. 

Ronak Mistry, DO, a hematology and oncology fellow at Vanderbilt Medical Center and member of the Trainee Council, said, “The absolute best part of attending the ASH Annual Meeting as a trainee is feeling welcome,” with a large part of that welcoming atmosphere occurring at trainee-specific events! 

One highlight of ASH-a-Palooza, which is both educational and timely, is the ASH Talks feature. Like the famous TED Talks, ASH Talks are 18 to 20–minute educational presentations about hematologic topics. This year’s ASH Talks will feature two sessions. The first presentation will be given by Julie Silver, MD, from Harvard Medical School, and will discuss imposter syndrome; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); and pay disparities in hematology. This is an incredibly relevant topic for attendees, as many trainees struggle with imposter syndrome, and career opportunity equity in the healthcare field has become a widespread topic. Session two will be a lecture led by Ifeyinwa Osunkwo, MD, the chief patient officer of Novo Nordisk Rare Disease, who will explore approaches to team management in hematology. As professionals just beginning careers in medicine and hematology, effective team management skills are vital for efficient patient care.  

Further learning snippets are provided during the Blood Drops sessions throughout ASH-a-Palooza. Each Blood Drop session is approximately 10 minutes and features topics related to classical and malignant hematology, bone marrow transplant (BMT), wellness, quality improvement, and DEI, as well as information about ASH-specific initiatives including the Clinical Research Training Institute (CRTI), the Minority Medical Student Award program (MMSAP), and the Translational Research Training in Hematology (TRTH) program. The hematology “Jeopardy” game, Blood Wars, is also an opportune time to enjoy a healthy competitive atmosphere and test your knowledge of hematology-related subjects. 

In addition to the numerous educational activities, ASH-a-Palooza offers copious opportunities for networking. “Of course, visiting posters and talks highlighting cutting-edge updates in hematology is incredibly exciting and educational. What is important, though, is also finding opportunities to network and seek career advice,” said Dr. Mistry. One such event during ASH-a-Palooza is Blood Buddies, which allows attendees to sit down with some of the biggest names in hematology for mentorship and career advice. Subset topics among the Blood Buddies include pediatric and adult BMT, DEI, malignant and classical hematology, and quality improvement.  

Following the 5:00 pm conclusion of ASH-a-Palooza will be the Trainee Welcome Reception from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, also in Petco Park. Come out to the ballpark and enjoy mingling with friends and colleagues, and mentorship from some of the largest names in hematology! 

Lastly, in addition to ASH-a-Palooza, the ASH Trainee Council wants to highlight the numerous networking opportunities for trainees throughout the annual meeting. “I think what stands out most at the ASH Annual Meeting is that they make networking for trainees so much more approachable,” said Dr. Mistry. Notable networking opportunities include the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Research Society Member Mixer also happening December 8, the Career Development Lunch on December 9, and the Women in Hematology Networking Dinner on December 11. The ASH Trainee Lounge will also be open daily in ASH Central during the annual meeting with a relaxing vibe and complimentary refreshments! Additional information about trainee-centered ASH events can be found on the Trainee Activities and Services ASH webpage. 

Drs. Sears-Smith and Ragon indicated no relevant conflicts of interest. 


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