ASH and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation partner to launch new award program

10/19/05

Groups seek to increase the number of minority scholars in academic medicine

(WASHINGTON, October 19, 2005) The American Society of Hematology (ASH) is teaming up with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in an effort to increase the number of minority scholars in the field of hematology. In partnership with RWJF's Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (AMFDP), ASH is pleased to announce the creation of the ASH-AMFDP, which will provide four-year post-doctoral research awards to minority physicians who are committed to developing careers in academic medicine.

For more than 20 years, the RWJF has sought to reduce the under-representation of minority scholars in academic medicine through their Minority Medical Faculty Development Program, which was created to assist faculty from historically disadvantaged backgrounds achieve senior rank in academic medicine. The program was recently renamed and expanded in honor of Harold Amos, Ph.D., who was the first African-American to chair a department, now the Department of Microbiology and Medical Genetics, at the Harvard Medical School.

Working together, ASH and the RWJF seek to increase the number of academic and research appointments among minority hematologists. Through the ASH-AMFDP, ASH will fund at least one AMFDP hematology scholar per year. Upon being chosen for the award, each scholar will spend at least 70 percent of his or her time in research activities in association with a senior faculty member located at an academic medical center. Both the mentor and the chosen scholar will be an active part of the research activities and the AMFDP activities.

James Gavin, M.D., who has served as the AMFDP's National Program Director since 1993, says, "By partnering with the AMFDP, ASH will be able to tap into our established selection process and mentoring approach, and thereby use its targeted resources for the support of research training in the most efficient way. Through this collaboration with ASH, the AMFDP will be able to increase its visibility among and recruitment of hematologists. All of the scholars, whether hematologists or not, will benefit from the rich and extensive cross-specialty networking opportunities made available through this program."

The ASH-AMFDP is the second component of the ASH Minority Recruitment Initiative, which also includes the ASH Minority Medical Student Award Program (MMSAP). Established in 2004, the MMSAP provides hands-on experience in hematology research for minority medical students. The ASH-AMFDP was designed to complement this existing program. According to Dr. Gavin, "Through its MMSAP, ASH is working diligently to enrich the pipeline in order to help us fulfill our mission of attracting and retaining minority physicians in academic medicine."

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