Olufunke Martin, MD, has been selected by the American Society of Hematology (ASH) to participate as one of six resident physicians in the 2019 ASH Minority Resident Hematology Award Program (MRHAP). This program provides support for underrepresented minority residents to conduct hematology-focused research with the intended outcome of increasing their interest in hematology and advance their careers.
Program participants will receive a total support amount of $7,000, which will help cover their research projects and travel expenses to the 61st ASH Annual Meeting in December, where they will present the results of their projects at the Promoting Minorities in Hematology event, a reception that showcases the Society’s diversity initiatives. In addition, each resident is paired with two ASH mentors: A primary research mentor (Seethal A. Jacob, MD, MS) who will oversee the research project and a career-development mentor (Punam Malik, MD, MS) who will guide Martin throughout her MRHAP experience and beyond. MRHAP participants will also receive ASH membership throughout residency.
Martin’s area of interest includes enhancement of the care of pediatric patients with sickle cell disease in the emergency room. The goal of her MRHAP research project is to increase provider awareness and facilitate timely implementation of a sickle cell disease emergency department pain protocol to decrease hospital admissions, length of stay and improve clinical outcomes. This stems from the need for comprehensive, systematically reviewed, evidence-based guidelines for the management of children with sickle cell disease. She has taken the lead in developing a validated sickle cell emergency room pain protocol at her institution, based on the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute management guidelines, and plans to utilize retrospective and prospective chart review to serve as an evidence platform. As her career progresses, she plans to utilize these validated measures to further expand opportunities for care and quality of life measures for individuals with this disease.
“It has been my mission to provide holistic care for patients beyond just their medical needs,” said Martin. “I am grateful to the MRHAP for the opportunity to prepare for a career in academic and specialty medicine while pushing the boundaries of the unknown. Through my career, I aspire to continue exploring determinants affecting access to healthcare and the dynamics of red blood cell physiology and gene therapy, to improve patient-centered outcomes for children and adolescents with sickle cell disease.”