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2021 Annual Report

American Society of Hematology

ASH Annual Report
Headshot of Martin S. Tallman, MD

As I reflect on my term as ASH President, I think the year 2021 epitomizes the role of community in navigating uncertainty.

The pandemic continued to present challenges and unknowns for us all. Take the annual meeting, for example – ASH meetings have long been at the heart of the Society’s service to its members and the hematology community worldwide. This year, as several COVID-19 virus variants emerged, some wondered if the status of the annual meeting was in question. Yet through careful deliberation, adherence to public health guidelines, and the implementation of comprehensive health and safety protocols, ASH proceeded with organizing a hybrid meeting with both an in-person and a virtual component.

By all accounts, our community triumphed over the uncertainty: walking through the Georgia World Congress Center, I could feel palpable enthusiasm to reconnect in person at last. There was such eagerness to come back together, to exchange information, and to collaborate. And that energy and scientific exchange not only infused the halls and the session rooms but was evident online: members participating virtually joined the conversation and shared the excitement over the virtual platform and on social media.

And what would our community be without the inclusion of all its voices? The content at this year’s annual meeting reflected our desire to take real strides as a Society toward combating inequities in hematology, supporting scientists and clinicians from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine, and embracing diverse voices across the patient and health care communities. We placed an exceptional level of focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) through the new Anti-Racism Studio and Health Equity Rounds programs, the returning Special Scientific Session on Race and Science, and several other sessions and symposia. The success of these programs tells us that ours is a community eager to learn and to get involved.

We also continued to collaborate with other organizations throughout this year of uncertainties. When data emerged about exceedingly rare blood clotting complications associated with COVID-19 viral vector vaccines, ASH provided timely, expert support to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ASH also worked urgently to provide the latest data on this and other COVID-19 related conditions to providers through the continually updated COVID-19 FAQ resources. And as research showed that people with blood disorders do not always receive optimal protection from COVID-19, we urged our community to come together in support of vaccination and protective measures for all to protect the most vulnerable.

Pandemic or not, ASH never let up on its unwavering focus on training, education, and science. We know our community will thrive only if we make a concerted effort to invest in its future, and so we have made an extraordinary investment toward the creation of new hematology-focused fellowship tracks at academic institutions throughout the country to encourage the next generation of leaders to join our ranks. We are also actively working to explore and expand ways to provide basic scientists with more opportunities at ASH. Finally, as we look to the future, we know that artificial intelligence will play a key role in medicine, so we aim to incorporate it intentionally and innovatively into hematology research and practice.

I want to thank you, the members of this rich and inclusive hematology community, for allowing me to serve as the ASH 2021 President. I know ASH will continue to flourish under the skilled leadership of my successor, Dr. Jane Winter, and I look forward to seeing the exciting new achievements she will usher in during her tenure.

- Martin S. Tallman, MD, 2021 President of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)

In 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to shine a light on persistent racial and ethnic disparities in health care and outcomes, ASH further expanded its strategic initiative focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). As a global hematology community, ASH has long understood the importance of maintaining a dedicated commitment to fostering DEI within hematology, including having individuals with diverse perspectives and experiences in all areas of the field. Recognizing the need to do more, the Society has expanded its efforts including the development of programming that addresses and combats systemic racism.


Minority Recruitment Initiative Awards Provided Since Inception

50 +

DEI-related Content and Sessions at the ASH annual meeting

2,350 +

Participants in the 2021 ASH Anti-Racism Studio

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ASH stands in solidarity with our members and patients in communities that are targets of discrimination, harassment, and violence, and remains committed to combatting all forms of bigotry.

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ASH Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
A concrete pillar wrapped with an ASH anti-racism studio poster.

ASH’s Expanded DEI Statement

ASH expanded its statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion in health care to include a clear articulation of the personal harm that hate, bigotry, and bias can have and what ASH is doing to combat it. The expansion demonstrates how ASH stands in solidarity with its members and patients in all communities and how the Society remains committed to combating all forms of bigotry.

Two ASH-a-Palooza Blood Buddies talking in a theater.

Training Opportunities for Fellows and Faculty

ASH offers several training opportunities for hematology fellows, junior faculty, and senior research faculty. This year, amid the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, ASH reimagined its career development programs to offer participants greater flexibility. The ASH Clinical Research Training Institute accepted 23 participants who participated in a virtual kickoff, monthly didactic webinars, bimonthly virtual small group meetings, and one-on-one mentorship to sharpen their skills as clinical investigators while building a valuable professional network. The ASH Medical Educators Institute switched to an entirely virtual program, giving participants access and exposure to new teaching techniques and the latest scholarship in the field of medical education in hematology. In partnership with the European Hematology Association (EHA), ASH offered multiple virtual didactic sessions for participants in the ASH-EHA Translational Research Training in Hematology program, a year-long program helping early stage researchers build successful careers in blood-related translational research through training and mentorship.

ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition

The 63rd ASH Annual Meeting and Exhibition was one of the largest and most comprehensive hybrid medical society annual meetings of 2021, and the first time ASH simultaneously conducted the meeting in person and in a virtual setting.

The safety of meeting attendees was a priority for ASH; comprehensive on-site health and safety protocols enabled participants to focus on the joy of reuniting with colleagues and the opportunity to collaborate and learn in person. Social media conversation focused on the world-class educational and scientific content of the meeting, with attendees both online and in-person voicing support for the Society’s focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) through the new ASH Anti-Racism Studio, Special Scientific Session on Race and Science, and more.

29,800 +

Total meeting attendees in 2021

13,250 +

On-site participants

16,550 +

Virtual participants

4,100 +

Abstracts presented in 2021

36,000 +

Use of #ASH21

ASH Annual Meeting

ASH supports hematologists around the world through its various awards including research grants, training programs, and other opportunities designed to enhance knowledge, research, and expertise. In 2021, ASH award programs committed even greater levels of funding, training, and mentorship than previous years to support a new generation of ASH awardees.


Award Recipients Supported in 2021

$ 13 M+

Award Funds Committed in 2021

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We commend this year’s Honorific Award recipients, whose achievements highlight what an exciting time it is in our field. Their meaningful advances in patient care, research, and mentorship have directly improved the lives of people living with blood disorders. The Society continues to value opportunities to recognize talented, inspirational leaders and role models from a broad variety of backgrounds, experiences, and career paths whose contributions are invaluably shaping the future of hematology.

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ASH President Martin S. Tallman, MD
Harvey Lodish receiving the Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology

Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology

Harvey Lodish, PhD

“I spent the first of three summers at Western Reserve (now Case Western Reserve) Medical School with Dr. Robert Eckel, studying potassium transport in red blood cells. I have had membranes and red blood cells constantly in my mind ever since.”

Headshot of Margaret Shipp, MD

Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize

Margaret Shipp, MD

“For someone who is interested in having their work really make a difference in patients’ lives, and is also interested in understanding the biology, [hematology is] a wonderful area of investigation and place to devote a career.”

Headshot of Stephen Ansell, MD, PhD

Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize

Stephen Ansell, MD, PhD

“The rapid changes make being part of hematology truly exciting and allow for new insights into disease biology and for the development of new therapies that may improve the outcomes of patients.”

Deepika Darbari receiving the Leadership in Promoting Diversity award

Leadership in Promoting Diversity

Deepika Darbari, MD

“Engaging with a society like ASH and taking advantage of its many training and career development opportunities is important. In the end, you are in charge of your own professional path, so steer it in a direction that brings you happiness and a sense of fulfillment in your career.”

Elizabeta Nemeth receiving the William Dameshek Prize

William Dameshek Prize

Elizabeta Nemeth, PhD

“It has been a humbling and inspiring experience. One only has to look at the list of past recipients to realize what an extraordinary honor it is to receive this prize.”

Headshot of Connie Westhoff, PhD

E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and Prize

Connie Westhoff, PhD

“I loved laboratory science, which as a young woman in the 1970s, led to a degree that first took me to a hospital laboratory. I was not aware that a career in research was possible. I have been privileged to witness, and participate in, mentoring the next generation of women.”

Denisa Wagner receiving the Henry M. Stratton Medal

Henry M. Stratton Medal

Denisa Wagner, PhD

“Develop your own niche, and if you succeed, others will join you and make it even more interesting.”

Headshot of Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, MD

Henry M. Stratton Medal

Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, MD

“It is exciting that different approaches are currently underway in clinical trials to develop gene therapy to cure sickle cell disease. There is no better area of medicine where scientific facts of life are so clear and therapeutic interventions so rewarding than hematology!”

Jonathan Licht receiving the ASH Mentor award

ASH Mentor Award

Jonathan Licht, MD

“Mentorship means devoting a significant part of your own intellectual bandwidth to advance others… developing careers of all who you work with, including other health care professionals, administrators, and research technologists.”

Headshot of Anthony Goldstone, BM BCh, FRCP, FRCPath

ASH Mentor Award

Anthony Goldstone, BM BCh, FRCP, FRCPath

“There was no ‘wanting’ to become a mentor. I realized I was doing it when several people mentioned I had helped them. It was just a function of my personality.”

Despite the pandemic, ASH continued its vital work advocating for hematologists and their patients. ASH members virtually met with and sent emails and social media messages to members of Congress; these efforts had a tremendous impact, resulting in the introduction of two new bills aimed at improving care for individuals with blood disorders. And as data have increasingly shown the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on communities of color, ASH has also taken on new COVID-19 related advocacy work and redoubled its efforts to improve care for vulnerable patient populations including individuals living with sickle cell disease.

90 +

Virtual Meetings on Capitol Hill


Grassroots Network Messages to Capitol Hill

As the world’s premier hematology organization, ASH continues to expand its international programs and services designed to help hematologists conquer blood diseases worldwide.


Countries represented by ASH annual meeting registrants


Countries represented by ASH awardees

The ASH Foundation was created in 2012 to facilitate private philanthropic relationships with individual donors, foundations, and corporations that confer charitable grants. Thanks to generous donors, in 2021 the ASH Foundation provided additional resources to enhance and expand ASH programs dedicated to advancing hematology research, promoting career development and training, and making a global impact.

$ 499 K

Disbursements in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021


ASH Foundation Donors in FY21


Countries Represented by Donors in FY21