After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the ASH Advocacy Leadership Institute (ALI) is scheduled to return in fall of 2022, along with a planned return to in-person advocacy meetings on behalf of hematology. For more than a decade, ALI has been one of the Society's premier advocacy events, providing ASH members with an opportunity to travel to Washington, DC, to learn about the legislative process before going to Capitol Hill to meet with their elected officials. To learn more about the return of this exciting program, The Hematologist sat down with ALI Co-Chair, Dr. Jennifer Holter Chakrabarty.

“We're very excited to safely return to in-person advocacy visits after two years of conducting everything online,” explained Dr. Holter Chakrabarty. “While virtual advocacy visits are important and effective, I think a little Zoom fatigue has set in for a lot of people,” she added. Capitol Hill has been largely closed to visitors since March 2020, but the Capitol complex, including congressional office buildings, are tentatively planned to reopen this fall more fully, just in time for ALI.

The annual ALI is an intensive two-day program for ASH members to learn about advocacy, health policy, the legislative process, and how to become engaged in the Society's activities. This year's program is scheduled to be held in person on October 19 and 20, at the Society's headquarters in Washington, DC. The first day of the program focuses on learning about the legislative process and health policy. Participants will learn about the major issues facing the field of hematology and see firsthand how Congress can influence research and practice. On the second day, participants will travel to Capitol Hill to meet with their congressional delegation and turn their knowledge into action in support of hematology.

“It really is a one-of-a-kind program that offers a great opportunity for any ASH member to learn more about how the legislative process really works, and how we as practitioners and researchers can make sure our voices and concerns are heard on behalf of our patients,” said Dr. Holter Chakrabarty.

ASH is now accepting nominations for the 2022 ALI. ASH members may nominate themselves or colleagues to participate in this year's program. The Society looks for participants from across the United States with diverse experience levels and hematologic interests from different practice and research settings. Candidates must be current ASH members, U.S. citizens, and interested in health policy and advocacy. The final selection of participants is based on a review of all completed nominations.

“This program is open to ASH members at any stage of their career, from trainees to senior hematologists,” said Dr. Holter Chakrabarty, adding, “the main requirement is that you have an interest in advocacy and want to learn more.” She also noted that ALI is a great way to become more involved in ASH activities.

ASH members will fly to Washington, DC, and join their colleagues in a memorable two-day program. Sessions on the first day at ASH headquarters will include background on how a bill becomes a law, effective ways to engage in the policy making process, and talks from notable guest speakers. In years past, guest speakers have included current and former congressional staff members and federal agency staff, as well as leaders in the health care advocacy field. The program will also include special training on how to tell the hematology story on Capitol Hill, as well as insider tips and techniques for successful advocacy visits.

Following the first day's training, participants will travel with their colleagues to Capitol Hill to put into practice what they have learned, in meetings with the offices of their members of Congress. “There is nothing quite like spending the day in the Capitol, meeting with senators and representatives and their staff, and advocating on behalf of something that you really care about,” said Dr. Holter Chakrabarty.

Previous ALI participants have spoken to Congress on issues with a direct impact on hematology such as increased funding for the National Institutes of Health, and legislation that improves the lives of hematology patients, including individuals living with sickle cell disease. “This is your chance to make a real difference, watch as these issues grow, and look back and know that you had a positive impact.”

Nominations for the 2022 ALI are due no later than Friday, August 5, 2022. For more information, email ASH Government Relations Specialist Foster Curry at or visit