Table of Contents
- President's Message
- Upcoming Programming
- Society News
- Membership Bulletin
- Case Quiz
- Conference Central
- Career Center
In the Times of a Pandemic, We Are Guided by Our Strategic Roadmap
Jorge Di Paola, MD
President Di Paola reflects on ASPHO's efforts during the past year amidst unprecedented times.
The amount of adaptation and flexibility that has been required in our association, our work, and across our country and world has been significant, and the challenges that are being faced are unprecedented.
This year, ASPHO and its members have been challenged by the global pandemic, the economic uncertainty it is has caused for many, and the ongoing racial unrest in our country. Even with the cancellation of the ASPHO Conference, our Society has continued to be guided by our mission, values, and strategic goals. In fact, our Society's vision statement is "to be the leading society for pediatric hematology/oncology (PHO) in a changing environment." In 2017, based on feedback from our members and partners, the current vision and strategic plan were approved and have guided leadership in utilizing the Society's strengths during these challenging times. Those strengths include the dedication of our volunteers, our collaborations with external relationships to achieve legislative changes, our ability to adapt programming and provide essential professional development to PHO practitioners, and much more.
So, what have we accomplished in each of our strategic priority areas just in 2020?
External Relations & Advocacy: Along with external partners with whom the Society has developed strong working relationships, we are advocating for $50 million in funding for the Pediatric Subspecialty Loan Repayment Program, $2 million in dedicated funding for the Sickle Cell Data Collection program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and funding for the Childhood Cancer STAR Act. ASPHO also recently commented on the expansion of telehealth services in pediatrics.
Discovery: To ensure PHO practitioners had access to the most time-sensitive research content from the canceled 2020 ASPHO conference, we pivoted and launched the Summer Virtual Learning Series showcasing highly rated abstracts, including those from the Young Investigator awardees, in July. These sessions still are available on demand if you missed them. Visit aspho.org to learn more or to purchase individual sessions or a bundle at a very affordable price.
Education: In addition to the Summer Virtual Learning Series, we will host three webinars this fall, and with the completion of the organization's education strategy, the education committee will roll out a podcast series on wellness and a clinical video series as the first of several new educational products for just-in-time learning.
Career Development: The Society adapted several career-development programs from the ASPHO Conference to virtual and on-demand sessions, including the popular Early Career Roundtable, scheduled for October, and several position- and career-level specific Town Halls to support our community. ASPHO also will be providing a webinar, led by our partner Northwestern Mutual, for our fellows and early career members on planning for your financial future.
Workforce (and Practice): To ensure you have the latest information about compensation in the field, ASPHO launched our most comprehensive Compensation and Benefits Survey in June 2020; a preview of the executive summary is in this newsletter. ASPHO continues to update its COVID-19 resource page to ensure PHO practitioners have the most up-to-date information to navigate this uncertain time.
The strategic direction approved in 2017 has led us successfully, and as we move into 2021, ASPHO once again will be completing a process to confirm or update our strategic roadmap for the next 5 years. We will ask for your feedback and ideas to help shape that plan, so please participate and make your voice heard. As we look ahead to the coming 5 years, we need to lean on our collective knowledge and expertise as a community so that we continue to be well positioned to react to unexpected challenges.
Thank you for your ongoing dedication to ASPHO considering the challenges we all face.
Jorge Di Paola, MD
Register Now! The Uterine Hemostasis and Menstrual Management in the Adolescent: A Multidisciplinary Approach webinar will be held on Thursday, November 19, at 2 pm CST.
Heavy menstrual bleeding at menarche and in the early gynecologic years often is attributed to anovulation. Though anovulation can cause heavy bleeding, other etiologies such as bleeding disorders (BDs) should be considered. This webinar for pediatric hematology/oncology clinicians will discuss the diagnosis and management of BDs.
- Understand and learn to collect the basic information about menstrual cycles that is critical in assessing an adolescent's menstrual bleeding and recognize red flags that suggest an underlying BD.
- Learn to order and interpret appropriate labs to assess the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and any underlying BDs in adolescents with heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Discuss management considerations for adolescents with heavy menstrual bleeding and BDs.
Mukta Sharma, MD MPH
Children's Mercy, University of Missouri–Kansas City
Paula J. Hillard, MD
Stanford University School of Medicine
Ayesha Zia, MD
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
This program is free for members and $35 for nonmembers.
The 2021 ASPHO Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Review Course will take place January 27–30.
ASPHO's highly regarded Review Course will take place January 27–30, 2021, in a virtual format. Offered every 2 years, this comprehensive review of the field's foundational topics is an invaluable immersive learning experience designed for physicians planning to take the American Board of Pediatrics examination for initial certification in pediatric hematology/oncology as well as experienced practitioners and fellows-in-training seeking a comprehensive review of the established standards of care. More details will be available and registration will open in mid October.
Networking and career development opportunities are more important than ever!
The Professional Development Committee will be hosting the ASPHO Virtual Early Career Roundtable program for fellows and early career physicians on Thursday, October 8, from 3–4 pm CDT. This program is a virtual offshoot of the always popular annual conference offering from the committee and is open to both members and nonmembers.
The session provides early career professionals a forum to discuss specific issues with leaders in the field, ask questions related to career development, and receive positive reinforcement regarding career goals specific to their interests, all in a small-group setting. Discussion leaders will be placed in each topic breakout room to help answer your questions and provide feedback. The discussion groups will be led by experts and cover these areas of interest:
- basic science/translational science
- clinician educator
- clinical research—hematology
- clinical research—oncology
- cell and gene therapies
- pharmaceutical industry.
Fellows and other early career physicians are urged to take advantage of this networking and career-development opportunity. This program is $20 for members and $40 for nonmembers. Space is limited, so register now to secure your spot for this in-demand session!
Join your peer community during ASPHO's first Wellness Week, October 16–23, as we take part in an assortment of wellness activities designed with you in mind.
Wellness Week Activities include
- Virtual 5K fun run/walk — This popular event from the ASPHO Conference goes virtual! Grab your favorite running shoes and head to your path of choice any time October 16–20. All participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt, and the fastest two men and two women will receive prizes and be recognized at the Wellness Week webinar.
- Physician wellness webinar — Don't miss this panel discussion on Wednesday, October 21, at 7 pm CT, followed by an interactive Q&A session on topics including physician burnout and mental health issues, what medical teams can learn from corporate wellness programs, and what health systems can do to promote physician wellness.
- Virtual yoga practice — Pull out your mats on Thursday, October 22, at 6:30 pm CT and join a certified yoga instructor as she leads a beginner- to mid-level yoga practice to help bring balance and mindfulness to your busy lives.
- Podcast launch and more resources!
Visit the Wellness Week web page for more information and registration details!
The Personalizing Transfusions for Sickle Cell Patients with Automated Red Blood Cell Exchange webinar, hosted by Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies, will be held on November 5, 2020, noon CST.
During this webinar hosted by Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies, hear from Dr. Ashok Raj, Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Louisville, and Teresa Munson, Nurse Manager, NCH Infusion Center (OMO) Norton Children's Hospital, and learn about
- differentiating between transfusion types for SCD patients
- the benefits of RBCX over simple transfusion and manual exchange
- implementing single-needle RBCX to improve patient experience.
Registration information to come.
Learn more about the completion of the 2020 survey and forthcoming report.
The 2020 ASPHO Compensation and Benefits Survey was completed this summer, with responses from 63 pediatric hematology/oncology practices and institutions resulting in more than 900 compensation data points. This year's survey was the first to collect compensation figures for advanced practice providers in the subspecialty.
We are working with our survey consultant to finalize a valuable survey report. When that work is completed, a high-level executive summary will be made available, as will the full survey report for purchase. The report will provide comparative data to examine compensation benchmarks, including the ability to sort by different variables (eg, by practice size, practice type, geographical region, experience) to highlight and create valuable data comparisons.
The Practice Committee would like to thank all the division directors who took time out of their busy schedules to complete this comprehensive survey. The institutions that did complete the survey were entered into a drawing for a complimentary physician registration to the 2021 annual conference. We would like to congratulate Dr. Gerald Woods of Mercy Children's Hospital for winning this drawing for a physician member at his institution.
Keep an eye out for communications from ASPHO regarding the report!
Learn more about ASPHO members' diverse career paths and the opportunities available to you.
The ASPHO Training Committee is excited to present this month's edition of the Career Path Spotlight series. This resource showcases the career paths of a variety of ASPHO physician members and informs medical students, residents, pediatric hematology/oncology fellows, and early career faculty members of the career opportunities available to them.
This month's spotlight features Dr. Joseph Lubega of Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, TX!
Applications Open for the 2021 Northwestern Mutual Award for Excellence in Childhood Cancer Survivorship
Don't miss the application deadline on October 12!
There is still time for interested candidates to apply for the 2021 Northwestern Mutual Award for Excellence in Childhood Cancer Survivorship. The deadline is 3 pm CDT on Monday, October 12.
The 2021 award will provide a $10,000 honorarium to an emerging early- or mid-career childhood cancer survivorship investigator who has demonstrated his or her commitment to this segment of the field through a growing portfolio of research and project funding while increasing his or her output and gaining prominence. The honorarium will help augment the investigator's current work to enhance the lives of childhood cancer survivors through innovative projects.
The recipient will also receive airfare, two nights in the host hotel, and complimentary registration for the 2021 ASPHO Conference, planned for April 21–24, 2021, in Portland, OR.
Learn more and apply today!
ASPHO/COG Symposium attendees are eligible to receive 2 CME credits.
Thanks to those who "stopped by" ASPHO's virtual booth at the Children's Oncology Group (COG) fall meeting! If you attended the ASPHO/COG CME Symposium on Recent Advances in Pediatric and AYA Lymphomas on Thursday, September 17, don't forget to complete the evaluation to receive CME credit. Certificates will be distributed weekly via e-mail.
If you are virtually attending the SIOP 2020 Congress October 14–17, be sure to visit ASPHO at our virtual booth!
Being Informed and Taking Action: ASPHO's Member Experience and Diversity Needs Assessment
In these times of uncertainty and change, it is important to know ASPHO's principles of inclusion and diversity.
Our medical profession and the nation are being tested in the face of racial tension and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has sharply drawn attention to inequities impacting patient care as well as diversity issues within the profession. Coinciding with these societal upheavals, the Board of Trustees recently reviewed the Member Experience and Diversity Needs Assessment results about member engagement; benefits; and, importantly, perceptions of diversity at ASPHO. Key takeaways from the survey conducted last fall by the Membership Committee and Diversity Advisory Group follow. Of special note are recommendations by the Diversity Advisory Group, fulfilling its charge "to advise the Board of Trustees on the needs and opportunities for promoting diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency within the Society as guided by ASPHO's Diversity Statement."
We are pleased to relay highlights from the survey. We also encourage you to read ASPHO's Anti-Racism and Healthcare Equity Statement and Dr. Jorge Di Paola's June President's Message to gain a better sense of the Society's values regarding representing and supporting members. In addition, ASPHO is proud to have both a Board-appointed Diversity Advisory Group and a Diversity Special Interest Group that is open to all members.
The majority of respondents were either "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their membership. Key responses regarding the member experience follow.
- The majority of "very satisfied" members were mid-late career specialists who had volunteered in the past 5 years and have a primary interest in expanding their professional network. Twenty percent of respondents felt "very engaged," with close to 40% responding with "slightly engaged." Mid-late career specialists felt more engaged and satisfied than early career specialists.
- Reasons for joining vary by race/ethnicity. The top three reasons for non-white respondents were educational programs and resources, to be part of a community of peers, and to advance their careers. White respondents also noted education for the first reason, with staying current on developments and treatments as the second draw, and the third reason was a tie between expanding professional network and being part of a community of peers.
- Non-white members volunteered and attended the ASPHO Conference at slightly higher rates than white members.
Highlights of diversity-related responses follow.
- Approximately one-half of ASPHO survey respondents (44%–47%) did not know demographic data about ASPHO's leadership, committees, or programming participants like mentors, speakers, and presenters and suggested there is a disconnect between the survey results and the diversity statement goals of "attracting, developing, and retaining volunteers who reflect the diversity of its membership to play key roles in leading the Society".
- Compared with the total survey sample, non-white respondents perceived ASPHO to be less representative of a diverse organization; less than one-half of the non-white respondents believed membership reflected the diversity of the profession.
- About 29% of non-white respondents encouraged ASPHO to "greatly increase" the number of programs to address diversity development, including having more diverse educational speakers, providing additional career development resources, and creating a welcoming environment.
- More than half of survey respondents "do not know" whether ASPHO is supportive of addressing covert or overt instances of discrimination or bias at events or in print or online resources.
In light of these responses, the Board approved recommendations to
- collect and summarize demographic data on ASPHO's volunteer workforce to inform members and support Leadership Development Committee efforts
- highlight current diversity efforts on a new diversity page on the ASPHO website and through other communication channels and program information. Examples include conveying to members how ASPHO's Points of Diversity resource is used in determining volunteer appointments; relaying how diversity is incorporated into programming; and continuing to collect and benchmark both workplace and personal demographics.
- increase the number of diversity-related resources on the ASPHO website
- review ASPHO's diversity statement, written in 2010, and update it, if necessary.
Eleny Romanos-Sirakis, MD, chair, Membership Committee
Nidhi Shah, DO, chair, Diversity Advisory Group
Betty Pace, MD, Board liaison, Membership Committee, and former chair, Diversity Advisory Group
ASPHO's 15 SIGs give you the opportunity to connect with colleagues over shared interests.
For nearly a decade, ASPHO has encouraged members to engage in special interest groups (SIGs) to foster specialized networks and knowledge, with the number of SIG communities increasing from three in 2012 to 15 today. We invited the Hemoglobinopathy SIG leaders to share their thoughts on the value of their community.
"Within the field of pediatric hematology/oncology, we have developed highly specific sub-subspecialties such as bleeding disorders, survivorship, neuro-oncology, etc. Over the past several years, ASPHO has developed a way for its members with diverse interests to connect and collaborate through the SIGs. In the Hemoglobinopathy SIG, our online forum has evolved into a go-to location to share information and discuss clinical conundrums. Members use the forum to discuss challenging clinical cases, experience with new treatments, and even identify hemoglobinopathy specialists when patients move around the country. We share new publications, advocacy, and clinical trial and other research opportunities, and several members have used the forum to disseminate various surveys to understand how our community translates new guidelines into practice. It has been especially beneficial to have access to a highly concentrated group of people with expertise in the care of children with hemoglobinopathies. For pediatric hemoglobinopathy specialists, no other pediatric forum or community offers the number and diversity of members with whom to have such discussions."
Hemoglobinopathy SIG Leadership
Kerry Morrone, MD, Chair; Melissa Frei-Jones, MD, Vice Chair; Monica Hulbert, MD; Past Chair
Get involved! Learn more about the Hemoglobinopathy SIG, the new Cancer Predisposition and Informatics, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship SIGs, and the other 12 member communities designed to help advance your work through networking and collaboration and to provide access to an expansive resource base relevant to your specialty.
ASPHO's call for nominations for the Board and Nominating Committee will open on Thursday, October 15.
In 2021, two at-large trustee positions for 3-year terms will be available and two Nominating Committee positions for 2-year terms will be available.
The call for nominations will include desired competencies for new Board members as determined by the Leadership Development Committee and Nominating Committee. These competencies will aid in ensuring diversity across the wide range of personal and professional areas outlined in ASPHO's Points of Diversity document.
If your competencies match those being sought and you are interested in being considered for the ASPHO Board of Trustees, please be sure to submit your nomination by November 30.
Get involved with ASPHO!
Volunteers are the backbone of ASPHO. Their commitment to the organization, and to the profession as a whole, helps ensure that the Society meets its strategic goals and mission. Volunteering for an ASPHO committee is a great way to get involved in the Society and to share your expertise and insights to help ASPHO continue to grow—all while encouraging your own personal and professional development.
The committee application process is open year-round, and the appointment process takes place each year during the winter months. Appointees officially begin their committee terms immediately following the annual conference. For the 2021–2022 committee term, we will have approximately 16 open positions within our 10 committees. When reviewing applications, we focus on maintaining diverse geographic, demographic, and specialty representation on our committees to best reflect the diversity of our membership.
To learn about the different ASPHO committees and complete an application for consideration, please visit our committees page.
Other Volunteer and Networking Opportunities
- Become a mentor or mentee in our popular Mentoring Program.
- Engage with fellow members through online communities.
- Join a special interest group (SIG) to engage and network with other members who share common interests. By joining a SIG, you will have access to the online member community for that group.
- Visit the online Clinical Forum to receive feedback from members regarding clinical care and cases and to give your feedback regarding challenges that other members may be encountering.
- Write a Special Feature article or a Diversity Corner article for eNews.
- The Special Feature section of eNews highlights a personal reflection or opinion piece on broad issues in pediatric hematology/oncology that are of interest to ASPHO's diverse membership.
- The Diversity Corner articles enable members to address diversity and inclusion issues affecting the pediatric hematology/oncology field.
Anemia, Thrombocytopenia, and Splenomegaly
A 2-year-old boy is referred from his pediatrician's office for an abnormal CBC. The child had been well until the last month, when he was noted to have decreased appetite, increased bruising, and epistaxis.
Matthew Shiel, MD
UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
A 2-year-old boy is referred from his pediatrician's office for an abnormal complete blood count (CBC). The child had been well until the last month, when he was noted to have decreased appetite, increased bruising, and epistaxis. Physical exam noted dried blood crusting around both nares, splenomegaly, and lower leg ecchymosis. There was no scleral icterus, no hepatomegaly, and no cutaneous lesions besides the bruising. A CBC was notable for a white blood count of 20 x 1011/L, hemoglobin of 9.2 g/dL, mean corpuscular volume of 72, and platelet count of 33,000/uL.
What would be your next steps?
ASPHO continues to move forward with plans for an in-person 2021 ASPHO Conference in Portland, OR.
Save April 21–24, 2021, to your calendar for the 2021 ASPHO Conference.
We look forward to gathering with the pediatric hematology/oncology community next year. ASPHO continues to move forward with plans for an in-person 2021 ASPHO Conference in Portland, OR. We will continue to monitor current events and will provide additional updates as more information becomes available. ASPHO acknowledges the disruption of meetings globally, with many conferences canceled, moved to virtual, or in question. We will remain vigilant in our efforts to monitor conditions and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the events industry.
Learn more about the 'Rose City' as you plan your travel and make your travel plans early!
Get 2020 conference highlights with the Virtual Learning Series recordings.
Access the Summer Virtual Learning Series recordings for clinical recommendations and the top-rated science abstracts selected for this year's conference!
- ASH-ASPHO Choosing Wisely® list presentation
- Clinical Aspects of Evaluating and Treating COVID-19 Patients in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
- Plenary papers and Young Investigator Award presentations
- Oncology and hematopoietic stem cell transplant/cellular therapy papers
- Basic and translational science (oncology) papers
- Clinical trials and outcomes (oncology) papers
- Clinical trials and outcomes (hematology) papers
- Basic science and clinical outcomes in hemostasis, thrombosis, and red cell pathology papers
Purchase recordings for individual sessions or save by purchasing the full series bundle.
If you already purchased one of the live sessions or the Virtual Learning Series live bundle, view the recordings and complete the evaluation(s) in your ASPHO My Library account.
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. So far in 2020, 7,500 visits were made to ASPHO's Career Center! Keep your eye on opportunities and changes in the field.