ASH members now have the chance to nominate a colleague or themselves for the 12th annual Advocacy Leadership Institute (ALI), a two-day workshop aimed at equipping hematologists with the skills and knowledge needed to become effective advocates for their patients and their profession. Scheduled to be held in Washington, DC, on September 24-25, 2024, the event will bring together hematologists from across the country to learn from policy experts and advocacy professionals.

The Hematologist reached out to a participant from last year’s workshop to learn about his experiences and why advocacy in support of issues affecting hematologists and their patients is so important. Jerome Winegarden, MD, from Trinity Health Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI, shared details of what he described as a fulfilling and invigorating experience.

Jerome Winegarden, MD

You participated in the October 16-17, 2023, ALI. How did the workshop prepare you to advocate on behalf of public health and hematology on Capitol Hill?

This program does an outstanding job explaining how bills become laws, along with the general political process and the various roles of our three branches of government, in an easily understandable way. The ASH policy team and excellent invited guest speakers equip you with the knowledge you need when you go up to the Hill to deliver an effective presentation of the issues you are advocating for on behalf of ASH. (And yes, you get to relive some fun flashbacks of Schoolhouse Rock as well along the way!)

What surprised you the most about your experience meeting with your congressional offices?

I was surprised how the weight of a single personal story involving the patients we serve can visibly sway a discussion in favor of your request. In our case, advocating for enhanced sickle cell care along with increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) drew a clear amount of respect and admiration for the work we do every day as hematologists. I believe that sharing what we do both in patient care and scientific discovery sheds light on the very real issues people face every day and likely reinforces for congressional leadership why they have chosen a career in public service in the first place. In my experience, it was truly a win–win situation.

What do you have to say to your fellow colleagues that would encourage them to become advocates for hematology?

Physicians have a long history of advocating for the betterment of the health of our society — It’s part of our genetic makeup! Taking on these types of roles is fulfilling and well worth the time you put into it.

Anything else that you would like to share?

I was truly honored to be chosen to take part in this event. Being surrounded by the extremely supportive and knowledgeable ASH Policy Staff, along with my colleagues in hematology, created an atmosphere that was both invigorating and nurturing.

Nominations Now Open

Nominations are now open for the 2024 ASH Advocacy Leadership Institute (ALI)! This year’s ALI will be held in person on September 24-25, at the Society’s headquarters in Washington, DC. The first day of the program focuses on learning about the legislative process and how to be an effective advocate. Participants will then get the chance to turn their knowledge into action in support of hematology by traveling to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers. Nominations are being accepted through May 15, 2024. For more information, visit or email ASH Senior Manager, Legislative Advocacy, Tracy Roades at ( Apply for the 2024 ASH ALI at

Get involved with ASH and support the work of hematologists conquering blood diseases through numerous exciting volunteer opportunities, including advocacy, mentorship, and committee leadership. Volunteer opportunities are available for every spectrum of hematology to fit any schedule or specialty. Whether you’re a trainee, educator, clinician, or researcher, you can play a key role in advancing the field of hematology. Learn more at