A Melting Pot of Opportunity

Dear ASTCT members,

As many of you know, I serve at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. What you may not know is that I grew up in Mol, Belgium, then studied medicine at Free University of Brussels. I traveled to the United States for a post-doc in HIV immunology at Tufts-New England Medical Center, making the move to the United States and seeking opportunity for what I hoped would be my career in advancing science and patient care.

July is the month when the United States celebrates Independence Day, celebrating the founding, shaping principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Reflecting on these ideals, I am reminded of the incredible opportunities that brought many of us, including myself, to the United States – the “land of opportunity.”

Creating Opportunity

While ASTCT is an international organization, I have spent time thinking about what we, as a society, do to create and advance opportunity. ASTCT’s mission is in essence to create the opportunities our community needs to contribute to advancements in science, the field of medicine, and patient outcomes. Much like the United States is called the “melting pot,” I am grateful and proud that ASTCT represents a broad collection of physicians, academicians and healthcare providers who bring a variety of background, culture, and experience. They pursue aspirations while contributing to an aggregate vision of progress.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Workforce Development: ASTCT continues to invest in workforce development and research with our Clinical Research Training Course.
  2. ACCESS Initiative: In August, we are collaborating with the NMDP to host our ACCESS Workshop, which aims to improve patient access to care for vulnerable populations in need.
  3. Science: We continue to support science through activities like our New Investigator Awards.
  4. Advocacy: In September, we will engage in Hill Day in Washington, DC, to advocate for patients and educate lawmakers. And, ASTCT recently released a statement regarding the US Supreme Court’s ruling on Affirmative Action.

As we use Independence Day in the United States to celebrate and reflect on founding ideals and progress, I too celebrate ASTCT’s mission, vision and core values. I hope you similarly feel inspired by ASTCT’s progress, an affirmation of our shared commitment to making a meaningful difference in the lives of those we serve.


Dr. Miguel-Angel Perales

*Portions of this article were drafted using ChatGPT. 

Tags: president's message, president message

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