In this issue
- President's Message
- Special Feature
- Society News
- Membership Bulletin
- Case Quiz
- Conference Central
- Industry Relations Council
- Career Center
Amy Billett, MD
I am looking forward to seeing everyone at the ASPHO Conference in Pittsburgh May 2-5. I will confess that the Conference is one of the highlights of my professional year. When I ask myself why, I realize that there are many reasons.
I know that I will receive high quality education directed at pediatric hematology/oncology professionals just like me that covers a range of topics from cutting-edge science such as the impact of extracellular vesicle trafficking in hematology and cancer to complex clinical issues such as stroke prevention in sickle cell disease to clinical issues that impact all aspects of our field such as psychosocial health and mobile applications in clinical practice, to honing your skills on providing effective feedback. There is also a new standalone plenary session on health care in the current political environment. Of course, I can’t resist this opportunity to tout the Presidential Symposium: Partnering with Patients and Families to Improve Research and Clinical Decision Making. I hope we can show you the benefits of including patients/families in the design of clinical research and help you learn how to include patients/families in shared decision making.
I always enjoy connecting with colleagues whether it’s reconnecting with folks I’ve met previously, chatting with current colleagues from around the country, or meeting new people. We are all in the same field and have so many shared interests and experiences. I know I will have fun at the Battle of the Superstars hosted by Guy Young. There are so many opportunities to network at the poster sessions and tours, at the Opening Reception, in the hallways between sessions, in the Exhibit Hall.... For some, these connections will also lead to new research colleagues, long-distance mentor/mentee relationships, or even a new job.
I look forward to the many award presentations ranging from honoring Michael Link with the Distinguished Career Award, to giving the ASPHO Clinician Educator Award to an individual who is improving education within our field, to the Young Investigator Awards. We even have a new annual award this year, the Northwestern Mutual Award for Excellence in Childhood Cancer Survivorship, which will be given to Les Robison.
I like the many opportunities for mentoring, whether it is formal mentoring through the early career roundtable lunch or speed mentoring program, or informal mentoring as you connect and chat with others.
More than 22% of ASPHO members belong to a special interest group (SIG), and their onsite meetings are open to all. If you have not joined one yet, here is your opportunity to explore. I have not yet chosen which workshops I’ll attend onsite, but am looking forward to doing so soon since they all will have something great to offer.
I also want to take this moment to thank our Conference Planning Committee under the leadership of Denise Adams and with amazing support from the ASPHO Education staff under the direction of Jackie Holcomb. Year after year, they ensure a wonderful educational experience, as well as time for connection and fun.
Speaking of which, who is planning to join me in the 5k Fun Run/Walk? My personal goal is to finish but I look forward to giving the winners their prizes at the Business Meeting.
See you in Pittsburgh,
Reflections on Work and Life Matters: Some Thoughts for Young Professionals
If you are not happy with your choice of a specialty, you can change it. People say that certain specialties are easier when starting a family, but all of medicine is a commitment if you do it well. Therefore, choose what you love, not what is expedient.
Family and Children:
There never is a perfect time to have children, so do it when it feels right. I was a resident when I had my first babies—twins! What a shock! I changed their schedules so they would sleep more in the day and be up in the evening when we were home. When they were older, I insisted we eat dinner together most evenings. This is difficult because children today are so busy with sports and extracurriculars, but it can be done.
Another question some have is: should one work part time, especially when the children are small? Although others may have a different experience, when I was at home with the children, I was distracted by work and found that part-time work does not lead to promotion, opportunity, or money. I also found that you do not really command the same respect in the workplace or at home. Therefore, I preferred to work full time, pay for good childcare, and be present for the children when home. Find what works for you—happier parents have happier children!
Perhaps most importantly of all, try to have an understanding partner who is your best friend and confidant. Talk with him or her and have a date night alone at least once a week!
I felt very sad when a patient relapsed or died. I recently read that oncology is the most stressful specialty. In pediatric oncology, things are a little better, but bad things still happen and feeling sad is natural. Sometimes I felt as though I had done something wrong or missed something. However, I realized that this was usually not the case because the patient had a bad disease. I reminded myself that I did not cause the disease but was trying to help. It is important to realize that we are helping the patient and family by being there for them even if we cannot cure them.
However, I learned to compartmentalize my thoughts and not take them home. I would start to think about these things and then say to myself, “Now you must stop.” Still, I did not hide reality from my children. I feel that society regards death as something to be hidden away and not allowed into our lives. I would take the children on rounds with me and tell them about the patients (hospitals were more friendly then). I don’t know if this was a good thing or not, but three of our four boys became doctors who also married doctors.
This is a new chapter with which I have yet to come to grips. Although I do not miss nighttime calls or EMRs, I do miss the routine and camaraderie. Yet, I enjoy the freedom of retirement to travel, read, and help with grandchildren. More part-time employment opportunities and volunteer positions for late career professionals would allow our experience and knowledge to be tapped and accommodate a well-earned opportunity to contribute on a flexible basis.
Carole Hurvitz, MD
Emeritus Director of Pediatric Hematology Oncology Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles
Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
Copyright © 2018 by the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. All rights reserved. The views and opinions expressed in the Feature Articles are those of the author alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of ASPHO, its Board of Trustees or staff. The information in this newsletter is intended to provide readers with resources and information that they may find useful and of interest and is only current as of the publication date. ASPHO is not liable to any party as a result of their reliance on the information, recommendations, services, or resources discussed or made available through this newsletter.
ASPHO recently announced the recipients of the Northwestern Mutual Award for Excellence in Childhood Cancer Survivorship, funded by the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, and its International Travel Award and Clinician Educator Award, funded by the Enriching the Future program.
Northwestern Mutual Award for Excellence in Childhood Cancer Survivorship
To honor the efforts of exceptional investigators in childhood cancer survivorship, the Northwestern Mutual Foundation partnered with ASPHO in awarding the Northwestern Mutual Award for Excellence in Childhood Cancer Survivorship, which will annually recognize an individual for his or her outstanding contributions dedicated to this segment of the pediatric hematology/oncology field. In its inaugural year, the award recognizes a pioneer in the survivorship field.
Les Robison, PhD
Chair, Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control
Principal Investigator, Childhood Cancer Survivor Study
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
The Northwestern Mutual Award will be presented during the Awards Session to be held on Thursday, May 3, at 10 am ET in Pittsburgh, PA.
International Travel Award
The International Travel Award stipend provides funding for deserving pediatric hematology/oncology specialists from low- to lower middle–income countries to attend the 2018 ASPHO Conference to benefit from the meeting's education and networking opportunities. The award aims to improve patient care in countries of greatest need.
Emanise Muscadin, MD
Director, Pediatric Sickle Cell Service
Clinician Educator Award
The Clinician Educator Award supports the career development of promising pediatric hematology/oncology educators. Awardees receive financial support for scholarship in health professions education, which may take the form of research, advanced training in education, or development of new educational resources.
Tiffany Lin, MD
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
The International Travel Award and Clinician Educator Award recipients will be honored at the ASPHO Business Meeting, taking place on Thursday, May 3, at 11:45 am ET in Pittsburgh, PA.
To see these awards presented, register for the 2018 ASPHO Conference by visiting www.aspho.org/conf2018.
Did you miss the latest webinars on Billing and Coding, The Impact of Obesity on Outcomes in ALL Survivors, and Neonatal Thromboembolism? Watch the recordings by visiting ASPHO’s Knowledge Center.
The last webinar of the 2017–2018 series will take place on Thursday, March 15, at 3 pm CST on Essentials of Mentorship. Register here!
The 2018–2019 webinar series will be announced in the coming months.
ASPHO’s leadership is committed to providing opportunities to members who have shown an interest in volunteering! Without the time, effort, and energy of volunteers who implement our strategic plan, the organization would not be able to move its important initiatives forward. In early 2017, ASPHO received an overwhelming response to its annual Call for Volunteers with more than 90 members submitting their information.
As the response was significantly more than the number of positions open for the 2017–2018 term, ASPHO will reach out initially to those volunteers not placed on a committee in 2017 and offer them first option to be placed on a committee or task force in 2018 as current volunteers rotate off.
As the implementation of the Society’s 2017–2021 Strategic Plan continues, there are a number of anticipated needs that may create opportunities for targeted volunteer appointments mid-year. Thus, ASPHO will shift its Call for Volunteers from winter to early summer.
“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” – Sherry Anderson
Vascular Anomalies SIG
The Vascular Anomalies Special Interest Group (SIG) started in 2013 at the ASPHO meeting in Miami. We are committed to three goals: education, practice development, and research. We foster the education of ASPHO members through case discussions and expert presentations, increasing exposure of ASPHO members to the field of vascular anomalies and covering issues ranging from diagnostics to interdisciplinary management and complications. We coordinated an educational primer at ASPHO's 2017 Conference in Montréal, which sold out to capacity, highlighting the interest in this field. Our SIG encompasses a range of experiences and institution sizes. We lean on this diversity to discuss issues related to the development of a clinic or larger interdisciplinary programs and offer mentorship to guide individual ASPHO members participating in new program development. Lastly, as the field of vascular anomalies encompasses a range of rare diseases, we leverage our shared interest in these disorders to create and develop collaborative research projects. We have cultivated long-standing relationships with patient advocacy groups and enjoy their support and input in our projects. This SIG is led by Chair Cameron C. Trenor, MD, and Vice Chair Francine Blei, MD.
Advancing Palliative Care in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
The Palliative Care Special Interest Group (SIG) was formed in 2013 to create a community to accelerate the availability of high-quality palliative care to pediatric hematology/oncology patients across the country. This is accomplished by providing opportunities for collaboration, including the sharing of resources regarding pathways, policies, and procedures; education of faculty and fellows; open discussion of issues surrounding stress and resiliency; and establishment of potential research priorities and networks.
The Palliative Care SIG had a very well-attended meeting at the 2017 ASPHO Conference in Montréal, which included a “State of the Science” brief review of important studies in the field of pediatric palliative care and an expert panel discussion of patient and professional challenges experienced by attendees. The lively discussion revealed significant interest in finding ways to increase education and support for fellows. In the coming year, the SIG will focus its efforts on this area and work to develop the online community into a forum for idea sharing, education, and collaboration.
We will again have a “State of the Science” review and group discussion at the 2018 ASPHO Conference and invite all interested individuals to attend and join our SIG. The SIG is led by Chair Lawrence Wolfe, MD, and Vice Chair Julienne Brackett, MD.
Learn more about ASPHO’s SIGs or go directly to the online Member Community to join one!
Receive discounted rates for the 2018 ASPHO Conference with your membership.
Stay connected with your peer community and attend the 2018 ASPHO Conference. As a member, you have access to discounted registration rates. Benefit from the early bird and membership discounts by renewing your membership and registering for conference today!
Would any of your colleagues benefit from attending the meeting? Encourage them to attend and to join ASPHO to receive the special member rate and other year-round advantages of membership.
Innovative Training Programs to Increase Diversity in the US Biomedical Research Workforce
The necessity for greater racial and ethnic diversity in the US biomedical research workforce is evident; however, to achieve this formidable goal, many challenges must be overcome. As a nation, we can promote scientific, innovative, and culturally sensitive health care delivery by broadening the diversity of thought that comes with a diverse biomedical research and clinical workforce. Further, underrepresented minority (URM) groups are the most rapidly growing segment of the US population and there is an urgent need to ensure that scientific talent from these groups is recognized, mentored and actively supported. For example, in 2010, Hispanics/Latinos, Black/African Americans, and American Indians/Alaskan Natives represented 30% of the US population, yet only 4.8% of National Institutes of Health (NIH) research project grants were awarded to principal investigators from these groups (1). Despite several decades of efforts to increase the proportion of individuals from under-represented groups in the biomedical workforce, the issue of under-representation remains.
Innovative training models and dedicated mentoring are paramount to addressing disparities in the ethnic and racial makeup of faculty engaged in biomedical research. The Scientific Workforce Diversity Office leads the NIH effort to diversify the US scientific workforce. Recently the NIH Common Fund established two programs including the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and Build Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative. The NRMN is a nationwide consortium of biomedical professional collaborating to provide all trainees across the biomedical, clinical and social sciences with evidence-based mentorship and professional development (https://nrmnnet.net). The NRMN seeks to expand the training pipeline and success of URM trainees. By contrast, the BUILD program consists of grants to undergraduate institutions to implement and study innovative approaches to engaging and retaining students from diverse backgrounds in biomedical research. The hope is to help them on the pathways to become future contributors to the NIH-funded research enterprise. BUILD aims to achieve change at the student, faculty and institutional levels. In 2012, ten BUILD programs across the US were funded (www.nigms.nih.gov/training/dpc/Pages/build.aspx).
There is limited data demonstrating that structured mentoring programs promote the professional development and grant funding of early-stage investigators (2). To address this critical issue, in 2006 the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) established the Program to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE) to achieve the objective of providing an intense research and career development mentorship. The Coordination Core at Washington University (https://pridecc.wustl.edu/) leads the program to address the difficulties experienced by junior investigators in establishing independent academic research careers. The primary outcome of PRIDE is to increase the number of URM scientists in the biomedical sciences by preparing them to compete for NIH funding for basic and clinical research related to heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders. There are seven funded PRIDE programs across the US (3,4).
The Summer Institute hosted by Augusta University, Functional and Translational Genomics of Blood Disorders (FTG-PRIDE), established in 2006 under the leadership of Dr. Betty Pace, aims to train junior-level faculty to perform functional and translational research related to blood disorders. Mentees learn how to conduct bench and clinical research, access public databases and to perform data mining procedures. The primary activity of the FTG-PRIDE Program is mentorship, which is one of the most important activities linked to career advancement, faculty satisfaction and research funding (5). However, two significant hurdles to address related to NIH funding include the large difference in the number of NIH research program grants from URM investigators compared to Whites (6) and the relative lack of competitiveness of grant applications from URM investigators. In particular, 73% of applications from African Americans were determined by review committees to not be of sufficient scientific merit to be “fully discussed” during the initial stage of review, compared to 59% of applications from Whites (1). The primary metric of success for the PRIDE Program is the submission of at least one grant application for extramural funding within 2 years of completing training. Based on these observations and objective, the FTG-PRIDE Program places special emphasis on developing the grant-writing skills of mentees through various approaches including dedicated NHLBI Program Officers providing annual grant-writing workshops.
To assess the effectiveness of the FTG-PRIDE program, the number of federal grants awarded to mentees was confirmed using the NIH RePORTER database. Thirty-four out of 47 URM mentees recruited from 2006-2014, conducted hematology research. Of the 34 mentees, 74% submitted at least one extramural grant within 2 years following training completion, mainly NIH Mentored Career Development K-Awards and research program grants. The overall funding rate was 47% for the 47 mentees trained. The FTG-PRIDE data compares to a funding rate of 27% for K-awards for African Americans/Hispanics and 35.2% for all racial/ethnic groups combined from 2006-2012 (7). Over a 10-year period, the 34 mentees trained in the FTG-PRIDE program conducting hematology research contributed 376 peer-reviewed papers to the hematology field, further demonstrating the overall success in enhancing scholarly contributions from URM investigators.
Mentorship in academic institutions has traditionally been of the dyadic model, where a senior advisor provides ongoing advice to a single trainee. While the dyadic model continues to be the major focus of mentoring, a peer-to-peer mentorship approach addresses interests of trainees with provisional guidance by a senior faculty facilitator. Furthermore, the value of peer-mentorship networks has been well-documented (8). To address this need, we implemented a peer-mentoring component in the FTG-PRIDE program in 2015. To date, 28 mentees have completed online and exit interviews at the end of the 2-year training period. Using constant comparison analysis, specific themes and sub-themes emerged. Participants reported peer-to-peer mentoring helped to create a sense of community in which participants held each other accountable for the goals they set. Because mentees considered their peers to be at a similar career stage, they expressed a high degree of confidence in the altruistic motives underlying peer advice. The FTG-PRIDE program will continue to expand the peer-mentoring component.
While the desired outcomes of various mentoring approaches is to increase the diversity of the US biomedical research workforce, there are other benefits which will require more time to become apparent. For example, the issues of health disparities and workforce diversity are closely related. To address health disparities in hematology, we trained 13 pediatric and 4 adult hematology/oncology physicians in the FTG-PRIDE Program. The significant number of clinicians trained supports career development of early-stage hematologists conducting biomedical research. To gain a better perspective on the hematology/oncology workforce, the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) Workforce Advisory Taskforce collected data using Division Directors, and Membership Compensation and Demographics surveys from 2010 to 2016 (9). This effort led to a comprehensive description of pediatric hematology oncology (PHO) physicians, professional activities, and characteristics of the workplace. In addition, data related to gender and diversity in ASPHO emerged. In 2015, women constituted about 50% of the PHO physician workforce, however there are limited data available regarding the ethnicity of physicians. Some insights were gleaned from three recent surveys indicating that among PHO physicians in the US, about 73-79% are Caucasian, 10-14% Asian/Pacific Islander, 3-8% Hispanic, and 2% African American (9). Additional data will inform effective strategies to expand the pipeline of trainees that pursue careers in the hematology/oncology field to increase the diversity of PHO physicians contributing to the US biomedical research workforce.
Betty S. Pace, MD
- National Institutes of Health Advisory Committee to the Director Working Group on Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce. Draft Report of the Advisory Committee to the Director Working Group on Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce. (June 13, 2012). Available at https://acd.od.nih.gov/documents/reports/DiversityBiomedicalResearchWorkforceReport.pdf.
- Steiner JF, Curtis P, Lanphear BP, et al. Assessing the role of influential mentors in the research development of primary care fellows. Acad Med 2004;79:865-872.
- Rice TK, Liu L, Jeffe DB, Jobe JB, Boutjdir M, Pace BS, Rao DC. Enhancing the Careers of Under-Represented Junior Faculty in Biomedical Research: The Summer Institute Program to Increase Diversity (SIPID). J Natl Med Assoc 2014;106:50-57.
- Rice TK, Jeffe DB, Boyington J, et al. Mentored training to increase diversity among faculty in the biomedical sciences: The NHLBI Summer Institute Programs to Increase Diversity (SIPID) and the Programs to Increase Diversity among Individuals Engaged in Health-related Research (PRIDE). Ethn Dis 2017;27:249-256.
- Pfund C, House SC, Asquith P, et al. Training mentors of clinical and translational research scholars: a randomized controlled trial. Acad Med 2014; 89(5): p. 774-82.
- Ginther DK, Schaffer WT, Schnell J, et al. Race, ethnicity, and NIH research awards. Science 2011;333:1015-1019.
- Pace BS, Makala LH, Sarkar R, et al. Enhancing diversity in the hematology biomedical research workforce: A mentoring program to improve the odds of career success for early stage investigators. Am J Hematol 2017 92(12):1275-1279.
- DeCastro R, Sambuco D, Ubel PA, et al. Mentor networks in academic medicine: moving beyond a dyadic conception of mentoring for junior faculty researchers. Acad Med 2013;88(4):488-96.
- Hord J, Shah M, Badawy SM. et al. and American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Workforce Advisory Taskforce. The American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology workforce assessment: Part 1-Current state of the workforce. Pediatric Blood Cancer 2018;65:e26780.
Welcome to the Comings & Goings section for sharing career changes in Society members’ position, department and institution. Take this opportunity to keep your colleagues and professional network informed. Remember to update your member profile!
Congratulations to the following ASPHO members:
Akshat Jain, MD MPH, appointed assistant professor of clinical medicine and pediatrics, Department of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Loma Linda University California; formerly section head Global Hematology Oncology Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.
Trinh Nguyen, DO, appointed assistant professor of pediatric hematology/oncology Texas Children's Hospital Baylor College of Medicine; formerly the assistant professor of pediatric hematology/oncology, Gulf States Hemophilia & Thrombophilia Center McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX.
Sarah R. Vaiselbuh, MD, appointed chair of the Cancer Committee–adult and pediatric cancer services, Staten Island University Hospital at Northwell Health; formerly the director of the Children's Cancer Center, Pediatrics, Staten Island University Hospital at Northwell Health.
Oozing After Circumcision
Cathleen Cook, MD MEd FAAP, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
You are covering the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology outpatient clinic and receive a request for a telephone consultation from a local pediatrician. A 3 week old male seen in their office for a weight check but found to have persistent oozing from circumcision performed 1 week ago.
Mentorship is not an innate ability but a skill to be cultivated and honed. Mentoring skills are a requisite of our day-to-day work in academics, yet we do not often discuss the key elements of being an effective mentor.
Join your peers in a 4-hour preconference workshop that will help you improve your mentoring skills. This workshop will break mentorship down into its key competencies:
- aligning expectations
- maintaining effective communication
- assessing understanding
- addressing equity and inclusion
- fostering independence
- promoting professional development.
Through interactive, case-based discussion, participants will acquire practical, concrete skills and tools to take back to their academic practices. The preconference workshop will be held on Wednesday, May 2, from 7:30-11:30 am.
Advanced registration is required. The registration fee is $125.
See what Pittsburgh has to offer as you make travel plans for #ASPHO2018.
Rated a top destination for food, architecture, and one of the best U.S. cities to spend a weekend, Pittsburgh has everything from history to the hottest trends. Visit museums, take a trolley tour, stroll through artsy neighborhoods and dine at popular eateries during your stay. Bookmark www.visitpittsburgh.com/aspho2018 for easy reference as you make travel arrangements to the 2018 ASPHO Conference.
Jazz Pharmaceuticals Symposia at the 2018 ASPHO Conference
HSCT Complications: A Case-Based Approach to Diagnosing and Treating Veno-Occlusive Disease (VOD)
Thursday, May 3, 2018, 6:15–7:45 am
The presentation will guide the audience through the patient presentation and history, symptom presentation, differential diagnosis considerations, and progression of VOD.
This program’s educational objectives are
- recognizing key risk factors for hepatic VOD
- strategies for earlier detection and diagnosis of VOD
- reviewing clinical information about a treatment option.
ALL Treatment and Considerations Around Asparginase Hypersensitivity
Thursday, May 3, 2018, 7:30–9 pm
- Importance and Goals of Asparaginase Treatment in ALL
- Clinical Impact of Asparaginase Hypersensitivity
- Overview of Hypersensitivity Reactions (HSR) in the Context of the Immune Cascade
- Considerations when Differentiating Infusion Reactions from HSRs
- Therapy Considerations after HSRs
- Case Builder Activity
Visit the Career Center Today
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.