I hope that by this time in the New Year your resolutions have not completely waned and that you are still inspired by the possibilities for great things in 2009. I continue to bask in the glow of our historical inauguration and its promise for renewed collaboration and civil discourse. The unprecedented national and international media coverage of the inauguration underscores again how small our world has become, and so it seems especially appropriate that this year at ASH should be marked by new global initiatives that will strengthen our ties with the international hematology community.

ASH has approximately 3,950 international members who hail from 96 countries and account for approximately 24 percent of our total membership; this number increases annually. More than 60 percent of the submissions to Blood come from non-North American hematologists. Furthermore, our international members’ participation is a critical contribution to our annual meeting, with attendees at the 2008 annual meeting coming from 109 countries.

The mission of ASH is to promote the best science and patient care in hematology around the world. A major goal of the Executive Committee is to consider new ways to enhance the experience of our international members, authors, and attendees in the Society. Over the past year we have launched a global initiative aimed at meeting this challenge. We hope to strengthen our relationships with our international colleagues through shared educational, scientific, and clinical programs. Our global strategy is still a work-in-progress, but this year will be marked by the inauguration of several new projects, with the expectation of more to come.

Here are a few of the global projects in the works:

ASH will hold a Highlights of ASH® meeting in Latin America in May in conjunction with the Associação Brasileira de Hematologia e Hemoterapia (SBHH/CBH). At Highlights of ASH, leading experts will discuss the latest scientific and clinical discoveries presented at the 50th ASH Annual Meeting last December. We are delighted to initiate this annual event in partnership with the hematology associations of Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay. ASH will support two trainees from each of our partner associations to attend the meeting.

ASH will collaborate with the European Hematology Association (EHA), with whom we have a strong collegial relationship, to launch the Translational Research Training in Hematology (TRTH) award program in 2010. This unique program, which is modeled after the Clinical Research Training Institute, will offer personalized training in translational hematology research and opportunities for networking and mentoring. The first one-week course will be held in southern Europe in March 2010. To learn more about TRTH, read the cover story in this issue of The Hematologist.

ASH will also be collaborating with the Japanese Society of Hematology in presenting a joint symposium on hematopoietic stem cells at their annual meeting in Kyoto in October. I will also be giving a lecture at the meeting. And ASH officers and staff will be meeting with several training directors from Mexico to better understand their hematology training program. I will also be speaking at the 50th anniversary of the Mexican Society of Hematology (Agrupación Mexicana para el Estudio de la Hematología AC [AMEH AC]), in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico. The meeting is scheduled for April 29 - May 3, 2009.

In this year, as the country re-commits itself to responsibility as a global citizen, I am excited to see ASH’s own global initiatives grow. Over the next several months, you will hear about more these initiatives and programs, and I hope the membership will embrace our commitment to international collaboration.