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EBMT Young Ambassadors 2020

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We asked this year's EBMT Young Ambassadors how was their experience during the 1st virtual Annual Meeting; what they learned being a part of EBMT in 2020; and what was their "take home" message.

Tamar Azikuri

3rd year Haematology and Transfusiology resident at High Technology Medical Center, University Clinic in Tbilisi, Georgia, Haemato-oncology clinical research coordinator – Hemoline LLC. - @TamarAzikuri

To start from the beginning, I was full of excitement as I was chosen as a Young Ambassador for the EBMT 2020 meeting which was supposed to take place in Madrid in march, because of COVID-19 pandemic, at first it moved to august, then it converted to a virtual meeting. To be honest it was simultaneously an excitement and a challenge to face.

As the meeting was about to take off, I was at a loss as to how exactly should I plan my schedule, but the best part was that it is still available on demand until the 1st of November. As a physician, my attention was driven towards latest state-of-the-art practices of transplant field, loaded scientific programme offered an in-depth look in latest achievements with an interest to everyone, from nurses to patients.

The variety of RCTs presented, being able to catch up with the latest cutting-edge science especially regarding COVID-19 in transplant field, in depth look at CAR T cell therapy, novel ways to deal with transplant complications, and being able to share it through the EBMT social platform is what I'm am really grateful for as I think back about my experience.

As for the take home message, I learned that as a community, we can overcome every hurdle if we stand together and this meeting was a clear example. As for now, I am really excited to share the immense knowledge I have acquired during the meeting in my community and I am already planning the ways I can spread the word about what this position has brought me, as a person and a physician, for which I will forever be grateful. As for the future plans, us the Young Ambassadors are planning to continue to work together to strengthen the EBMT Young Community our efforts are not finished and exciting things are on the way.

Jaroslaw Bilinski

Physician, PhD, academic teacher at the Medical University of Warsaw, during specialization in hematology at the Department of Hematology, Oncology and Internal Medicine University Clinical Center of Medical University of Warsaw, vice president of the Regional Medical Council in Warsaw, Poland.

Being an EBMT young ambassador was a big privilege! For the first time we had a virtual meeting, during the SARS-CoV2 pandemia. Virtual, but live! Everyone could find topics of interest, the biggest speakers were with us telling us their experience, all haematological and transplantological topics were covered - thus normal EBMT as we know.

It was full of interesting events and I was really inspired by all the sessions about cellular therapies, immunotherapies, graft versus host disease and microbiota.

I want to truly highlight the importance of the educational role of EBMT. For a young specialist, it is vital to go through all topics, from the beginning and basic information to the most sophisticated and complicated knowledge of our interest. We can take the newest information on almost every topic in haematology and bone marrow transplantation that interest us. That should be the mission of every global organization as EBMT. I'm proud of being a young ambassador and my take home message is: never follow - always lead! Even in such difficult times we are together as community, which is the most important message. See you next year!

Nico Gagelmann

Final year medical student and clinical research assistant at the Department of Stem Cell Transplantation of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany - @NicoGagelmann

Attending #EBMT20Virtual as a young ambassador was a real privilege and an extraordinarily (un)real experience. To meet and communicate with other young ambassadors from all across the globe via twitter, sharing impressions and thoughts about how the "EBMT Young Community" could help shape the current state of EBMT and also contribute to the future of this ever-evolving society.

During the actual meeting schedule, I learned so much about myself. We, the younger generation, although raised with digitalized media, also need to constantly refine and question our relationship with developing technologies. In my view, #EBMT20Virtual was a huge success, because it was so dense and focused and still left avenues for the future, despite all obstacles that obviously influenced this happening. Especially the up-to-date inclusion of the effect of COVID-19, seen from different countries within the EU, was an outstandingly important point to make. Moreover, many sessions such as those on cellular therapies, myeloma, or leukemia, were characterized by practical approaches and reality updates, which, for young researchers and physicians, was of great help to navigate upcoming challenges in the clinical and in front of patients. Another favorite was the session on management of steroid-refractory aGvHD, which, in comparison with former meetings, raised the bar for hope for upcoming better treatment options. As always, I need to applaud the EBMT for the Patient, Family and Donor day as well as for the Nurses sessions, which refreshed the sometimes-narrow thinking of clinical research towards practical and real issues, people involved in haematology and transplantation really consider important. The only unfortunate point was, that the EBMT Young Community session could not be held.

Back home, I have renewed motivation to apply my newly gained knowledge to delivering the best possible care for our patients - and look forward to working together with my fellow young ambassadors in planning future "Young EBMT" happenings and proposals. See you soon!

Claire Horgan

Paediatric Haematology Trainee, Birmingham, UK - @Claire_P_Horgan

Attending the EBMT 2020 Virtual Congress as a young ambassador has been an inspiring experience both personally and professionally, and I look forward to working with my fellow EBMT 2020 Young Ambassadors with many exciting initiatives to come. The vast array of sessions available is a testimony to the fantastic and innovative work that goes on within the EBMT community and I feel privileged to be a haematology trainee in this era of rapid scientific advancement.

Despite the challenges faced in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, EBMT 2020 has provided a unique platform by which the community is able to interact with each other whilst sharing leading cutting-edge science and high-quality education. The fact that the on-demand sessions remain available until 1st November will enable us to make best use of the resources available and benefit from sessions that may have clashed with others during the live event.

Looking to the future, my experience at the virtual conference has only furthered my passion and enthusiasm for the constantly evolving world of BMT and cellular therapy, and I am excited to work collaboratively with my fellow EBMT Young Ambassadors to develop an EBMT trainee network.

Meng Lv

Hematologist, Peking University People’s Hospital, National Clinical Research Center for Hematologic Disease, Beijing, China.

The 1st virtual meeting of EBMT was an amazing experience for young individuals around the world. In the traditional meeting, we have to catch the busy schedule from one crowded room to another; while we could enjoy the fantastic 3D conference center and pick up the cutting-edge updates freely by individualized plan. I’m inspired by novel strategies of GVHD/GVL balance, unusual GVHD manifestations, new development of alternative donors and microbiota in HSCT. Joint session of EBMT and ASTCT/CIBMTR is perfect for young hematologist to get the whole picture of BMT activity around the world, I’m looking forward to joint session of EBMT with Asia, Latin America and other developing world in the future meeting.

As twitter is not available in China, we share the latest information of EBMT virtual meeting by the special section of “young ambassador of EBMT 2020” in “National Clinical Research Center for Hematologic Disease” WeChat official account, thousands of hematological professionals get access to latest updates of EBMT virtual meeting by WeChat without worrying about the schedule and the conflict with daily work.

In summary, the 1st virtual meeting of EBMT has launched a new era, and we’re anticipating the new annual meeting which could combine online and offline activity in the future.

Yuliya Rogacheva

2nd year resident in R.M. Gorbacheva Memorial Institute of Children Hematology and Transplantation, St. Petersburg, Russia.

It was not only my first experience as young ambassador but also my first time on EBMT. What could I understand after fulfilling days of conference? EBMT is a must-see event for every hematologist each year!

Program of conference was actual as ever: new developments in the field of CAR T-cell therapy; autoimmune diseases and HSCT and very interesting theme about role of fecal transplantation in the therapy of GVHD. It is very important that EBMT focuses on different members of our multidisciplinary team: nurses, data managers, psychologists and, of course, patients. That part of meeting was full of very interesting and relevant reports.

Another important and exciting part of annual meeting is new connections. With Young Ambassadors we could find some common ground and plane to continue our interaction for developing new, interesting opportunities in future.

I took with me new insights, knowledge and grate motivation for developing and sharing information with other young hematologists!  

Mili Shah

Haematologist, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK - @millions1315

#EBMT20Virtual was one of its kind- the first online EBMT that brought the transplant and cellular therapy world together virtually. It has been an honour to be a young ambassador this year, and as much as it would have been wonderful to have an in-person conference filled with networking opportunities, meeting the experts and live education- the virtual edition did not disappoint! There were more chances to learn, more time to digest and ample opportunity to engage with the whole EBMT community.

One of my highlights this year was the virtual symposium on Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. The importance of molecular genetic markers- and the application of these to treatment options, MRD monitoring, and timing of transplantation. Moreover, the progress in new treatment options and combined regimens over the last few years is changing treatment approaches to AML, and the team from MD Anderson educated us with a possible “new standard”!

My biggest take home message this year is that progress cannot be halted - even with a worldwide pandemic. The EBMT community has shown how capable we are of continuing to grow, learn and progress through adversity, and #EBMT20Virtual did just that. We are hoping that this platform will enable us to build as Young Ambassadors- to possibly bring together a young EBMT working group, with targeted updates and sessions for young haematologists around the world- so watch this space!