ASTCT asked Brandon Blue, MD questions about what it is like to be a a person of color in the transplantation and cellular therapy field in celebration of Black History Month, February 2022.
What inspired you to enter the BMT and Cellular Therapy field?
The field of transplantation and cellular therapy is one that is very complex. Many patients had not heard of these therapies prior to them having to use them for themselves. So that means education on the importance of these therapies relies on the healthcare team. I have seen patients whom are BMT eligible or CAR-T eligible not receive these great therapies due to lack of understanding and trust, so I knew I wanted to be the one to change that for communities of color.
How do you inspire others?
Inspiring others starts with being inspired yourself. And for me the patients inspire me. They are the reason I get up every morning and go to work with a smile. I think patients can feel that sense of joy and willingness to help them. I imagine that is what gives them the inspiration to continue to fight hard during cancer treatments.
What does it mean to you to be a person of color in this field?
The amount of minority doctors in BMT and Cellular therapy needs to be improved. I am happy to be there for my community and my patients as a signal to them that people of color have a voice. I know patients can trust me in a time where healthcare trust is so low. I try to be a beacon of light to reassure patients. Also it is important being apart of the minority culture, I understand cultural norms and best practices within our culture to best communicate with patients and their families.
Is there anything else you would like to say to the ASTCT community?
Be an ally. If you are not apart of the minority community please be an ally to patients and coworkers whom come from diverse backgrounds and may have cultural differences other than ones you may be accustomed to.
About Brandon Blue, MD:
Brandon Blue is a Florida native, being raised in Saint Petersburg, Florida. He completed undergraduate studies at Florida State University. He then attended and graduated Meharry Medical College, and later when to Washington University in Saint Louis for Internal Medicine Residency. He stayed in Saint Louis at Saint Louis University for Hematology/Oncology Fellowship. He returned to Florida for his BMT fellowship and is currently at Moffitt for a new faculty appointment. He has several ongoing projects including, but not limited to: Health Disparities in CAR-T cell administration, Financial Toxicity of addition of RItuxan to BEAM, and Practice patterns in Amyloidosis. He clinically has interest in Malignant Hematology disorders and focuses his research on plasma cell dyscrasias.