(Washington, July 5, 2006) The American Society of Hematology (ASH) Katrina Relief Program has won the Award of Excellence in the 2006 Associations Advance America Awards program, a national competition sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). This prestigious award recognizes associations that propel America forward with innovative projects in areas such as education, skills training, and community service among others.
When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, ASH was forced to move its 20,000-attendee annual meeting from New Orleans to Atlanta. At the same time, the Society saw a need for leadership and reacted by establishing the ASH Katrina Relief Fund to support those affected by the disaster. Society members, meeting attendees, exhibitors, vendors, and the city of Atlanta showed their support by contributing a total of $433,000 to the Fund.
"As soon as we heard the news about the damage Hurricane Katrina had left behind, we, at the American Society of Hematology, just knew we had to do our best to provide help. We consider ourselves privileged to be able to support the people of New Orleans through ASH's Katrina Relief Program," said Kanti R. Rai, MD, ASH President.
In recognition of the economic impact that losing a city-wide convention has on the host city, ASH committed $225,000 to the New Orleans Convention and Visitors' Bureau Employee Relief Fund and the New Orleans Tourism Workers Relief Fund to help displaced workers rebuild their lives and businesses. The Society has also pledged to return to New Orleans in 2009 for its 51st annual meeting.
As part of the Katrina Relief Program, additional funds have been disbursed to aid hematology training programs at Tulane University and Louisiana State University. The Society also supported hematologists in affected areas by waiving member dues; providing free meeting registration, housing, and travel; and re-issuing ASH educational materials.
"The ASH Katrina Relief Program truly embodies the spirit of the Associations Advance America campaign. It is an honor and an inspiration to showcase this activity as an example of the many contributions associations are making to advance American society," remarked John H. Graham IV, CAE, President and CEO, ASAE.
The ASH Katrina Relief Program is now eligible to receive a Summit Award, ASAE's top recognition for association programs, to be presented this September at ASAE's Seventh Annual Summit Awards Dinner.
The American Society of Hematology (www.hematology.org) is the world's largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders. Its mission is to further the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting blood, bone marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems, by promoting research, clinical care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology.
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