Building and maintaining a strong physician workforce relies on recruitment and retention of excellent medical trainees. Successful talent acquisition and management in the medical education setting is based on multiple factors including identification of skilled trainees, supportive mentorship and sponsorship, and dedicated career development personnel. In hematology, via work with the American Society of Hematology (ASH), we found that hematology-oncology fellows found mentorship to be the single most important determinant in career choice and career development. Therefore, we recognize the utmost importance of trainee career development in building our future hematology workforce.
As such, ASH has made concerted efforts to engage and support medical trainees at all levels and create interest in the field of hematology. Many of these efforts are made at the ASH Annual Meeting, and the 2019 Annual Meeting in particular was a wonderful example of the importance ASH places on career development for medical trainees. A few of the events, in particular ASH-a-Palooza and the Trainee Career Lunch, are exceptional examples.
ASH-a-Palooza, which took place on Friday, is an engaging trainee-focused career day focused on the needs of the millennial learner. The event was held at a large and open event center in Orlando (close to the Annual Meeting site) and offered trainees multiple simultaneous events including: brief on clinical and career development micro-learning topics of interest, “Blood Buddies” speed mentoring sessions, and “Blood Drop” focused sessions on areas including clinical practice, career development, wellness, and awards available to trainees.
The Trainee Career Development Lunch, held on Saturday, offered trainees a round table forum to sit with experts in the field and have an open discussion about different career paths including clinical hematology (malignant and non-malignant), medical education, systems-based hematology, private practice, government, industry, and PhD careers. Trainees of all levels (medical students, residents, and fellows) were welcomed to the session and were free to attend as many tables as they wanted to get an idea of the spectrum of options available to them in hematology.
ASH offered several additional sessions for trainees, including didactic sessions on giving scientific presentations, setting up a health services/outcomes research program, translational careers in hematology, and application of large datasets and bioinformatics in hematology. The Trainee Sessions concluded with a Trainee Welcome Reception.
These efforts are excellent examples of the importance ASH places on medical education and career development for trainees of all levels. We hope that via such efforts we are able to interest trainees in hematology at an early stage, provide connections that will lead to supportive mentorship and sponsorship relationships in the future, and create an overall sense of excitement for the field of hematology. Our future hematology workforce has unlimited potential, and it can be unlocked by showing the trainees the importance we place on their education and career development.