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ASH Holds a Special Symposium to Interest High School Students in Biomedical Research

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will host its annual High School Student Symposium at the San Francisco Marriott on Thursday, December 4, 2008, beginning at 8:00 a.m. PST. The symposium, which encourages an interest in hematology, the biological sciences, and medical research, is held in conjunction with the Society's 50th Annual Meeting. This year, students will have the opportunity to explore research on sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder that distorts the shape of red blood cells, causing severe pain in patients who have the disease.

"Part of ASH's mission is to help train the next generation of biomedical scientists and clinicians, and the High School Symposium plays an important role in that endeavor, showing these young students that hematology is an exciting field that critically affects human health," said Scott D. Gitlin, MD, Chair of ASH's Committee on Training Programs, which organized the event.

Students from four local high schools, including Abraham Lincoln High School, Thurgood Marshall Academic High School, Wallenberg High School, and Galileo Academy High School, will participate in a series of activities related to sickle cell disease during the half-day symposium. Each student will receive a worksheet to gather data related to the presentations. Teachers will later use the worksheet to facilitate classroom discussions. In addition, small breakout sessions will provide the students with hands-on demonstrations and scientific techniques related to sickle cell disease and biomedical research.

After a kick-off breakfast, two physicians from the Children's Hospital and Research Center at Oakland will give presentations. Keith Quirolo, MD, will give a lecture on the diagnosis and clinical manifestations of sickle cell disease followed by Carolyn Hoppe, MD, who will discuss treatment options. Students will also have the opportunity to hear about real-life experiences from young people living with sickle cell disease.

In addition, ASH will sponsor a poster contest for symposium participants. Students, in teams, can conduct research on sickle cell disease and present their findings in a poster and oral presentation. ASH symposium speakers and volunteers will judge the posters, awarding the top three groups with prizes of $1,500, $1,000, and $750 to be provided to the winning teams' science departments.

The American Society of Hematology ( 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. In September, ASH launched Blood: The Vital Connection (, a credible online resource addressing bleeding and clotting disorders, anemia, and cancer. It provides hematologist-approved information about these common blood disorders including risk factors, preventive measures, and treatment options. A cornerstone of this public awareness campaign is a new documentary by award-winning filmmaker Joseph Lovett called "Blood Detectives," which will air on the Discovery Health cable network on December 19, 2008, at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT and again at 12:00 midnight. The show focuses on hematologists as they work to unravel medical mysteries and save lives.

SOURCE American Society of Hematology
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