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10 Questions With … Dr. Aaron T. Gerds

December 11, 2023

Aaron T. Gerds, MD, MS, the editor-in-chief of ASH Clinical News, serves as the deputy director for clinical research at Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute and is an associate professor at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, both in Cleveland, Ohio. 

1. If you were to compile a bucket list, what would top that list?  

Going on a bike tour in Italy. A close second is France, and a distant third is Scotland. 

2. What ASH luminary do you most admire? (Who’s your ASH-lebrity?)  

Stephen Hawking is adamant that traveling back in time is impossible, so who am I to argue? But if it were possible, I would be thrilled to meet William Dameshek. I think it would be an interesting conversation, starting with his postulations on myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), followed by discussing where we are today. It would be a story coming full circle.   

3. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?  

“Someone else can see that patient, someone else can give that talk, but no one can ever replace you at home.” Current ASH Councilor, mentor extraordinaire, and all-around inspirational guy, Joseph Mikhael.  

4. When I’m down, … brings me up.  

Tough call. It depends on what I have access to and how much time I have to get it together. I would say listening to some carefully selected tunes, playing hockey, or going for a bike ride.  

5. What’s your one can’t-miss presentation or event at the ASH annual meeting? 

I really love attending the MPN oral abstract sessions, but just above that is waiting in the coffee line with friends! 

6. What’s your hidden talent?  

Not answering questions. I really have no talent; maybe that is it? There you go, not having any talent is my talent. Well, that, and not answering questions.  

7. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?  

Pizza. Specifically, pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Pequod’s in Chicago. Granted, if that is my choice the rest of my life may not be that long due to early onset cardiovascular disease, but it would be glorious.  

8. What’s been your greatest success?  

My two boys! Sappy, I know. 

9. When starting my career, I wish I had known … BLANK.  

Honestly, I think it is better not to know the future. Kind of like when you get your flu shot, you don’t look so the jab just happens. Not knowing increases your opportunities to learn and grow. So, in a way, I wish I had not known anything. Which is exactly what I knew back then, and exactly what I know now — nothing. See, I told you not answering questions was my hidden talent. 

10. What’s your favorite CD or album?  

Really? You are going to make me choose? Ugh I think there are certain albums that define periods of my life, like Pearl Jam’s “Vitology” (high school), The Dandy Warhols’ “Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia” (college), Christopher O’Riley’s “True Love Waits” (med school), and LCD Soundsystem’s “Sound of Silver” (everything after that). 

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