The Meet the Professor sessions lets attendees connect with people in the HCT field who currently work in academia. At this year's TCT Meetings of ASBMT and CIBMTR, there are eight sessions in total. One of the sessions will be presented by ASBMT’s Survivorship SIG and moderated by Dr. Scott Baker from the Fred Hutch Cancer Center and professor at the University of Washington, the event will feature panelists from small-to-medium sized cancer centers
ASBMT sat down with Shahrukh Hashmi, MD, a member of the Survivorship SIG to discuss the event and why you should consider working in academia.
ASBMT: Give us a brief bio of yourself.
SHAHRUKH HASHMI: I am a physician who directs the survivorship (and GVHD) clinic of hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) survivors. My main interest is prevention and surveillance of late effects in HCT survivors. Besides being a hematologist and an internist, I am a board certified public health specialist with background in cancer epidemiology and general public health. It is more of the public health background which derives my interest in preventive medicine applications in HCT survivors. I chair the ASBMT’s Survivorship SIG, and also am a co-chair of the CIBMTR’s Health Services Working Committee.
ASBMT: How did you get into academia?
SH: I started my first faculty position in academia at Mayo Clinic in Rochester where I established the transplant center’s first BMT survivorship clinic. During my fellowship, it was evident that most of the questions in our field of HCT are still answered. Additionally, I realized that most of the things we do in medicine are not evidence based. A common question I get in survivorship clinics is why am I screening for cardiomyopathy or neuropathy, when there is no published evidence that screening improves outcomes. My response is simple – all over the world, before taking any patient to transplant, we perform echocardiograms and PFTs, but what’s the evidence behind that! I have yet to see a paper that this pre-transplant testing truly improves long term outcomes, or a publication on numbers needed to treat (NNT) with echo or PFTs! Thus one can question the evidence behind most of our daily tasks.
Being in academia, I have an opportunity to perform clinical and translational research to improve patient outcomes. This includes evidence based research on screening for late effects.
ASBMT: What are some of the things you hope to touch on at the Meet the Professor session?
SH: I would talk about my favorite topic – patient reported outcomes and quality of life.
ASBMT: What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in academia?
SH: Go with your passion. And if you want to do BMT, then don’t forget that things have changed. In 2019, reducing TRM and avoiding relapse should not be the prime goal of transplantation, but since we are curing >80% of the patients who are undergoing transplantation in the US (all comers – this statistic includes children), we must focus on quality of life and prevention of late complications. After all, in BMT, cure is NOT enough.
ASBMT: Anything else you would like to add?
SH: As survivorship experts, we are happy to see the field of BMT survivorship has finally blossomed, with a great interest from clinical community; lastly, we are proud to have a patient (long term BMT survivor) as a member of our ASBMT survivorship SIG’s steering committee.