Table of Contents
- Membership Bulletin
- Case Quiz
- Conference Central
- Industry Relations Council
- Career Center
Patrick Leavey, MD
The 2019 ASPHO Conference in New Orleans is only a few weeks away, and as I mentioned in my last President’s Message, there is much to be excited for at the meeting. Its conclusion also will mark the end of yet another year for more than 200 of our colleagues whose volunteerism make this society a success for us all.
ASPHO’s Strategic Plan identifies specific goals for the five domains: External Relations and Advocacy, Discovery, Education, Career Development, and Workforce. These goals are designed to achieve our core purpose: to serve our members in your quest to improve the health and well-being of the children, adolescents, and young adults with blood disorders and cancers for whom you care. To accomplish our goals and ultimately live up to our purpose, we must have a substantial group of volunteers who are invested in our organization’s success. These volunteers are spread among our 10-member Board of Trustees; 16 different committees, advisory groups, and task forces; 11 special interest groups; and a joint policy review group with the AAP Section on Hematology/Oncology. Along with these, we also benefit from the work of case quiz and news brief reviewers and liaisons to external organizations with whom we collaborate. The breadth of expertise and talent, the tireless energy toward achieving goals, the creativity within efforts to address the specific objectives as outlined by the Board of Trustees, and the ambition to make progress are truly appreciated. On your behalf, I thank each and every one of the ASPHO volunteers, I look forward to thanking them personally in New Orleans, and I look forward to continuing to work with them as we serve you.
I also would like to take a moment to share some information about this year’s Presidential Symposium, taking place on Thursday, May 2, in New Orleans. It features a topic about which we all learned, but which, if my personal experience is any example, was not taught in a way that emphasized its critical importance nor the clinical implications when it is perturbed. Metabolism was identified as an emerging hallmark of cancer by Hanahan and Weinberg, essentially just as fundamental to the evolution of cancer from normal cells as replicative immortality and the ability to invade and metastasize. Understanding the implications of enzymopathies in red cell metabolism has long been critical to the practice of pediatric hematologists, but at least in my training, there were no clinical trials aimed at directly targeting such enzyme loss. Three speakers will provide TED-style talks, addressing the importance of metabolism in cancer, the role of mitochondria in cell fate, and the clinical trial work being performed for pyruvate kinase deficiency. I anticipate that you will quickly recognize the opportunity at hand to re-explore a fundamental process and to potentially identify cellular susceptibilities to new therapeutics for children with both benign and malignant disease. Needless to say, I am really excited about this session and am confident you will enjoy it, too.
See you in a few weeks in New Orleans!
The April webinar, Approaches in Recurrent Rhabdomyosarcoma, will be held on Thursday, April 11, at 1 pm CT. Register today!
This webinar will give an update for strategies to treat recurrent rhabdomyosarcoma, reviewing results from prior clinical trials and considerations to guide therapy.
- Identify comprehensive standard of care to guide clinical decision making for relapsed patients.
- Define the clinical features that define favorable recurrence and unfavorable recurrence.
- Define the role of biopsy to confirm recurrence.
- Identify the chemotherapy agents commonly used to treat recurrence.
Rajkumar Venkatramani, MD MS FAAP
Texas Children’s Hospital
Douglas S. Hawkins, MD
Seattle Children’s Hospital
Leo Mascarenhas, MD MS
Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Recordings of all webinars can be accessed through the Knowledge Center.
ASPHO members recently voted to elect new members for the Board of Trustees and Nominating Committee. ASPHO’s election concluded in mid-February, and the following members will assume positions on the Board of Trustees and Nominating Committee after the upcoming 2019 ASPHO Conference.
Betty Pace, MD, Augusta University
Maria Velez, MD, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center/Children's Hospital of New Orleans
Nominating Committee Members:
Glen Lew, MD, Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center
Taizo Nakano, MD, Children’s Hospital Colorado
ASPHO would like to thank outgoing Board of Trustees members Leo Mascarenhas, MD; and Akiko Shimamura, MD PhD; as well as outgoing Nominating Committee members Jeff Hord, MD; and Char Witmer, MD; for their hard work and dedication.
Embracing a Culture of Diversity
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are guiding principles to build an organization that reflects its membership and celebrates multiple approaches and points of view. Strictly defined, diversity is the state of being diverse, or a range of different people who are actively engaged in an organization. In practical terms, it encompasses the understanding that individuals are unique and recognizes differences such as gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and other ideologies (Ferrini-Mundy, 2013). The concept of D&I embraces acceptance and respect, building a culture where difference is valued, and taking a holistic approach. By establishing a consistent and logical foundation regarding differences, people are much more likely to have valuable and actionable conversations about specific kinds of differences such as race or gender. It is critical for organizations and institutions to make the endorsement of D&I an essential part of policies and procedures. Strengthening a D&I program will bring the best talent to an organization; supporting various voices will increase levels of creativity and productivity. There are numerous cultural barriers to the progression of marginalized groups to leadership in organizations and academic institutions, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM). Recent approaches that incorporate “sponsorship programs” provide opportunity for effective interventions by creating roles for protégés, advocating for people within the organization, enabling new roles and opportunities, and making connections to senior leaders (Huston, Cranfield, Forbes, & Leigh, 2019). In today’s climate, members of organizations and academic institutions want to hear policies and plans to make diversity a reality.
The way organizations foster and nurture diversity is an important aspect of its culture. Diversity initiatives should not only be part of recruitment programs, but also be integrated into on-going workforce management and operations. This requires training staff to increase the support of diversity initiatives. Having a diverse workforce signals that the organization does not discriminate; that is, if an individual is qualified for the position, then he or she has a fair chance of getting it, no matter his or her background. We should strive to create organizations that reflect the communities we serve and where everyone feels empowered to bring their full, authentic selves to the table.
Having people from different lifestyles and backgrounds challenges the way others within the organization think, operate, and can catalyze innovation, insight, and adaptation. Additionally, it helps the organization to reach a wider membership and volunteer base because leadership can relate to more types of people. The major obstacle to implementing a diversity program is the challenges to evaluating its effectiveness. The tendency is to treat this as a subjective area, without clear metrics, analytics, or dashboards pointing towards areas of success and identifying those in need of improvement. There are many D&I tools commercially available—such as The Association Inclusion Index developed by the American Society of Association Executives (2019)—recently adopted by ASPHO to evaluate D&I initiatives within the organization. Embracing D&I is an ongoing process that requires constant commitment, evaluation, and process improvement. The ultimate goal is to build an inclusive culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diverse voices of our membership at-large.
ASPHO Diversity Statement:
ASPHO values and encourages diverse and inclusive participation within the profession of pediatric hematology/oncology. ASPHO is focused on attracting, developing, and retaining volunteers who reflect the diversity of its membership to play key roles in leading the Society. The Society seeks to create an atmosphere that encourages varied perspectives and participation in its committees, task forces, and board. ASPHO believes that an open exchange of ideas from diverse perspectives will result in improved decision making and will best serve our members' collective needs and interests and, by extension, those of their patients.
Betty S. Pace, MD
ASPHO Diversity Advisory Group, Chair
Department of Pediatrics
Augusta University, Augusta, GA
- Ferrini-Mundy, J. Science education (2013). Driven by diversity. Science, 340(6130), 278.
- Huston, W. M., Cranfield, C. G., Forbes, S. L., Leigh. A., (2019). A sponsorship action plan for increasing diversity in STEMM. Ecology and Evolution, 9(5), :2340–-2345.
- American Society of Association Executives. (2019). The Association Inclusion Index. Retrieved from https://www.asaecenter.org/about-us/diversity-and-inclusion/association-inclusion-index
The Membership Committee’s efforts have continued to focus on membership growth and retention. The committee continues to gather information regarding the interests and needs of ASPHO members. In the past year, pediatric hematology/oncology division directors were surveyed to assess the needs of various divisions related to Society opportunities and benefits. In addition, membership numbers are continuously reviewed to understand the composition of the full membership and identify changes that may occur over time. Membership was promoted at COG and ASH meetings. In conjunction with the Diversity Advisory Group, the Membership Committee is currently planning a membership and diversity needs assessment to better understand member needs and engagement in an effort to increase the membership and promote a positive member experience.
The committee also oversees the growing Special Interest Group (SIG) communities of ASPHO. SIGs offer a unique opportunity for members to share knowledge, advancements, and obstacles common to their specialties. In this oversight role, the Membership Committee reviews applications for new SIGs, gives feedback related to SIG activities, and provides a discussion forum for SIG leaders twice annually. The committee offers periodic guidance to the various SIGs throughout the year and serves as a liaison to ASPHO leadership.
Hemoglobinopathy SIG: Building a Community for Hematologists
The Hemoglobinopathy SIG was started in 2017 with the goal of promoting collaboration among hematologists caring for children and young adults with sickle cell disease and hemoglobinopathies. The Hemoglobinopathy SIG currently has 150 members and maintains an active discussion forum through the ASPHO website. Members have shared care guidelines in use at their institutions and discussed current literature.
In 2018, the Hemoglobinopathy SIG meeting included a discussion of the most recent FDA approved treatment for SCD, L-glutamine (Endari), and a presentation on chronic pain management. In 2019, the Hemoglobinopathy SIG meeting will feature a discussion about promoting and maintaining adherence to treatment in teens and young adults with SCD, as well as results of a sickle cell trait education effort.
The Hemoglobinopathy SIG welcomes new members and member engagement. We would like to develop further collaboration among members, such as sharing educational resources and promoting research collaboration networks.
Small Program SIG
The Small Program SIG has been busy preparing for the upcoming group meeting in May! We are excited to host a panel discussion on the care of adolescents and young adults at smaller programs, including both oncology and hematology providers who have developed AYA programs. The session will be held on Thursday, May 2, from 12:30-1:30 pm. Don’t forget to stop by the Small Program SIG table at the opening reception with exhibits and posters that evening!
The Small Program SIG has also been working on several other projects. We are in the process of developing a MOC-4 quality project that is feasible and relevant for physicians working at smaller practices. The project would be available through the ABP (independent of ASPHO), and its aim is to improve oral chemotherapy compliance and documentation for children with leukemia in maintenance.
In other news, we are thrilled to welcome Courtney Lyle, MD, as our next chair! Courtney brings her passion for pediatric hematology/oncology, her vision for program development, and her voice to advocate for small programs who care for undeserved populations. Welcome, Courtney!
ASPHO’s special interest groups (SIGs) serve as specialized forums for members with similar interests to facilitate collaboration and develop extended resource bases. Learn more about ASPHO's current SIGs. Joining a SIG is simple. Go to 'My Account, Special Interest Groups' and sign up for the SIG communities relevant to your work. Participation is open to all members.
Meghan McCormick, MD, and Erika Friehling, MD, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
A 14-month-old female presented to the emergency department after an incidental finding of anemia on routine hemoglobin testing at PCP. She was otherwise well. She remained active and parents noted no visible blood loss in her urine, stools or elsewhere.
Register for #ASPHO2019 and join us in beautiful New Orleans! This year's conference schedule will feature 25 educational sessions, 24 papers, more than 460 posters — and the popular speed mentoring sessions, 11 SIG meetings, and much more. So come to New Orleans to build your advanced knowledge and peer network.
Get involved with ASPHO's 11 Special Interest Groups! Stop by the SIG Meet & Greet area in the Exhibit Hall on Thursday evening from 5:30 to 6:30 pm.
MOC Part 2 Opportunities
Gain MOC Part 2 points by participating in two convenient Maintenance of Certification (MOC) opportunities:
- MOC Learning Session on Saturday, May 4, at 11:45 am — At the conclusion of this popular session, participants can submit their answers to the ABP MOC for scoring to receive 10 MOC Part 2 points. The fee is $50 and advance registration is required.
- Online MOC Post Test — Faculty has written case-based, multiple-choice questions for educational sessions and attendees will receive 10 MOC Part 2 points once a score of 70% or higher is obtained. When purchased, attendees will be able to access the questions online as part of the evaluation. Participants can have unlimited access to the multiple-choice questions until December 1, 2019. The fee is $50 and advance registration is required.
COG and ASH Sessions
The COG and Hematology Science paper sessions will consists of 15-20 minute presentations on high impact results, promising studies, or other initiatives recently presented at COG or the 2018 ASH Meeting.
View all of the 2019 accepted papers and posters.
Congratulations to the 2019 ASPHO Young Investigator Award Recipients
Akshay Sharma, MBBS
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Discovering Noncoding Genetic Elements that Regulate Globin Synthesis
Loretta Li, MD
Boston Children's Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Mechanisms of Resistance to the Type II JAK2 Inhibitor CHZ868 IN B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Congratulations to the 2019 Early Career Travel Stipend Award Recipients
Nathan A. Dahl, MD
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Epigenome Screening Identifies Transcriptional Elongation as Therapeutic Vulnerability in DIPG
Claudia Zapata, MD
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia/University of Pennsylvania
BCL2-Inhibitor Response in Neuroblastoma: Biomarkers and Therapy Resistance
Jeremy Rubinstein, MD PhD
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Third Party VST are an effective Therapy for the Treatment of BK-Virus Reactivation after Transplant
Matthew Dietz, DO MSEd
Oregon Health & Science University
Circulating Hybrid Cells in Pediatric Patients with Glioma
Regina M. Myers, MD
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Acute Kidney Injury after CD19-Targeted CAR T Cell Therapy for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
All education sessions from the 2019 Conference will be recorded and are available for purchase.
The recording includes:
- seven platform sessions
- 25 educational session
- six award presentations.
The recording can be preordered with conference registration. Orders must be received by the end of the meeting on Saturday, May 4, for this special pricing. Following the conference, the recording will be available for purchase on the ASPHO website for $149. If you have already completed your registration, you can add the recording by calling 847-375-4716.
Industry Relations Council
In addition to ASPHO-developed educational sessions at the 2019 ASPHO Conference, please check out these industry-sponsored symposia.
Wednesday, May 1
11:30 am — 12:45 pm
Pending Hematology Presentation
11:30 am — 12:45 pm
Expert Perspectives: A Closer Look at a Treatment Option for Pediatric Immune Thrombocytopenia
Thursday, May 2
6:30 — 8:00 am
Experience with cancer oncology panels and pre-emptive pharmacogenomics in childhood cancer
12:30 — 1:30 pm
A Novel Approach to Prophylaxis for Hemophilia A Patients
12:30 — 1:30 pm
A New Treatment for TRK Fusion Cancer
Friday, May 3
6:30 — 8:00 am
Sickle Cell Disease: The Impact of Chronic Anemia and Hemolysis and Emerging Therapeutic Options
10:30 — 11:00 am
Strategies to minimize iron overload and alloimmunization in Sickle Cell Patients
12:50 — 1:20 pm
Targeting IFNγ in Primary HLH: Changing the Treatment Paradigm
Visit ASPHO’s popular Career Center to stay on top of job openings in the field. The Career Center is the go-to source for employment and targeted recruitment opportunities in pediatric hematology/oncology.