-Author name in bold denotes the presenting author
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3699 Unlocking Global Potential: Education and Funding Opportunities for International Trainees in Hematology

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 901. Health Services and Quality Improvement - Non-Malignant Conditions: Poster II
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Sunday, December 10, 2023, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Lourdes Gil-Flores, MD1, Emilia Ramos-Barrera2*, Andrea Flores-Díaz3*, Lillian Sung, MD, PhD4, David Gomez-Almaguer, MD5 and Andres Gomez-De Leon, MD6

1Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. Facultad de Medicina y Hospital Universitario "Dr. José Eleuterio González", Guadalupe, Mexico
2Escuela de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud del Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico
3Universidad de Sonora. Departamento de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud, Hermosillo, Mexico
4The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada
5Servicio de Hematologia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Hospital Universitario "Dr. José Eleuterio Gonzalez", Monterrey, Mexico
6Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. Facultad de Medicina y Hospital Universitario "Dr. José Eleuterio González", Monterrey, Mexico

Introduction: the practice of hematology is in continued transformation fueled by scientific advances. However, access to training and education is not equally distributed worldwide, especially for under-represented groups such as trainees living in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Differences in education and funding in the field remain understudied. Our goal was to identify and review the different educational and funding opportunities offered by national and international hematology-focused academic societies. We aimed to provide an overview of the current state of continuing education in hematology and present gaps and areas of opportunity.

Methods: We performed an online search to identify national and international hematological societies, including those targeted to a specific field. We extracted data regarding educational and funding opportunities in hematology by systematically evaluating each society's website from August 2022 until February 2023. We included all educational opportunities available that focus on hematology and are relevant for physicians and physicians in training. We abstracted the type of educational opportunity, if a membership to the society is required, cost, language, topic, target audience restrictions and their geographic region, and learning modality. We also included hematology-focused career enhancing grants or awards, such as travel stipends, research, or career development funding.

Results: 25 hematology societies were included with 850 continuing medical education opportunities, consisting of 174 courses, 18 training programs, 10 self-assessments, 641 clinical cases, 4 books and 3 apps. We also included 55 grants and funding opportunities from 13 societies with a median of $45,000 USD (range, $330-600,000). More than half (61.8%) required a membership to apply, only 5 (9.1%) were available globally, and only 7 (12.7%) were designed for persons in LMICs. Most funding opportunities were targeted to postgraduate students (40%) while the smallest proportion were intended for undergraduate students (10.9%) (Figure 1). Most funding opportunities were for research and career development (47.3%), or for research and travel stipends (40%), 7 (12.7%) were for traveling. The median duration of funding was 1 year (range, 1 month - 4 years).

Almost all courses (96%) and 61.1% of training programs were conducted online. Most courses (78.7%) were directed to all levels of preparation (undergraduates, postgraduates, and specialists), half of them (52.9%) required a membership and 43.1% were free for members. Educational opportunities spanned multiple topics (23.5%) or focused on classical or malignant hematology in a similar proportion (19.5 and 20.7%, respectively). Specialized education opportunities were more common for thrombosis (9.8%), pathology (6.9%), general professional skills (5.2%) transfusion medicine (2.3%), transplant (2.3%), and public health (1.7%).

Of the 18 longitudinal training programs, 44.4% did not require a membership, and two thirds were free for members and non-members (66.7%). However, only 3 (16.7%) training programs were available globally, and the rest were exclusive for specific world regions: Europe and Latin America had 2 (11%) programs each, while Asia-Pacific, LMICs, and USA had 1 (5.6) each. Courses and programs findings are summarized in Table 1.

Conclusion: Funding opportunities remain limited to trainees from LMICs. Most online courses require a membership which implies a cost, limiting education for international trainees. Efforts should be made to create more opportunities for underrepresented trainees.

Disclosures: Gomez-Almaguer: AMGEN: Consultancy, Honoraria; Janssen: Consultancy, Honoraria; Novartis: Honoraria; AbbVie: Consultancy, Honoraria. Gomez-De Leon: Astellas: Honoraria; Novartis: Honoraria; Jnssen: Other: Advisory board; Sanofi: Honoraria; Abbvie: Honoraria; AMGEN: Honoraria.

*signifies non-member of ASH