The Hematology Society of Taiwan was founded on March 19, 1972.
As early as 1969, there was already an informal group of hematologists from National Taiwan University Hospital, Veterans General Hospital and Tri-Service General Hospital that met together on an occasional basis to discuss cases and share experience, but this was a relatively small group of around 20 doctors. At that time, hematology was not a particularly popular field in Taiwan; few people were interested in taking courses in the subject, and there was an especially strong aversion to having anything to do with leukemia. The senior figures in hematology circles therefore decided to establish a hematology society that could serve as a forum for discussion and mutual support, while also helping to introduce practitioners in Taiwan to the latest overseas advances in basic and clinical research. It was hoped that the society would help to stimulate a greater interest in hematology, and encourage research in the field, thereby raising the overall level of hematology studies in Taiwan.
After a year of preparatory work, the Hematology Society of Taiwan was formally established on March 19, 1972. The Society’s headquarters were located in Taipei City. Dr. Liu Chen-Hui of National Taiwan University Hospital was the Society’s first Chairman. The initial membership was 95 hematologists, with a Board of Directors consisting of 9 Directors, and 3 Supervisors.
For over fourty years now, thanks to the inspired leadership of successive Chairmen (Doctors Chen-Hui Liu, Kuo-Sin Lin, Ming-Ching Shen,Tyen-Po Chen, Yao-Chang Chen,Po-Min Chen, Sheng-Fung Lin, Ji-Hsiung Young, Tzeon-Jye Chiou, Hwei-Fang Tien, Dong-Tsamn Lin and Jih-Luh Tang), and thanks to the hard work of the Directors, Supervisors and Members, the Society has achieved slow but steady growth. The membership has risen from 95 to around 500, and the number of Directors and Supervisors has increased from 12 to 20. The Society has also established a Secretary General, a full-time Director-General and seven Committees: Editorial, Program, Specialist Testing and Examination, Medical Policy, Hematology Research, Development, and Clinical Trials. In 1980, the then Secretary General Lin Kuo-Hsin designed an attractive logo for the Society, which was approved by the Members, and which is still in use today. In 1987, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Chairman Shen Ming-Ching and Director Liang Der-Cherng, the Hematology Society of Taiwan moved onto the international stage when it became a member of the Asia Pacific Hematology Association.
The Society holds its Annual Meeting and Annual Academic Conference in March or April each year, over a period of one and a half to two days. Leading Taiwanese and international scholars are invited to give talks and seminars at the Conference. In the past, the main subjects addressed included anemia, leukemia, lymphoma, hemorrhagic disease, blood transfusion and adverse reactions to blood transfusion, applications of radioactive isotopes in hematology, etc.; more recently, the focus has been on subjects such as leukemia classification, bone marrow transplants, gene therapy, etc., with the aim of supporting the dissemination of new knowledge. The Society also organizes another three regular academic seminars every year, which are held on a rotating basis at major hospitals in Taipei, and in Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung, etc. These seminars provide a venue for the presentation of case reports and research findings, as well as for talks on specialist subjects and lectures; the wide range of content covered includes both basic and clinical research, and the in-depth discussion reflects Members’ profound interest in hematology and the research-oriented culture that exists within the Society.
Over the period 1984 – 1986, the Society was commissioned by the Department of Health to organize seminars on new developments in the field of hematology throughout Taiwan. The aim of these seminars was to raise awareness of blood component treatment methods. The Society also provided in-service training for blood-bank staff, worked to cultivate clinical hematologist and blood-bank specialist talent, and undertook blood-bank appraisal in hospitals throughout Taiwan, thereby contributing to the promotion of hematology technology and research, and helping to raise the overall performance of hospital blood-banks. In 1986, Society Chairman Dr. Lin Kuo-Hsin played a leading role in the establishment of the Society of Blood Transfusion of the Republic of China, which took over this work, and laid solid foundations for ongoing development of this field in Taiwan.
In 1988, the Society (in collaboration with National Taiwan University Hospital, the National Science Council and the Academia Sinica) organized a conference and workshop on cytochemistry and immunocytochemistry, the participants in which included leading international scholars such as Professors Jen Lung-Hsiang and Li Ching-Yang. Since then, the Society has organized a number of other hematology workshops, which have helped to raise the overall standard of blood testing and blood cell analysis in Taiwan’s hospitals.
After over a year of preparation and discussion, 1987 saw the establishment of a set of rules to govern the specialty of hematology in Taiwan. These rules clearly specified the qualifications that hematologists were expected to possess, the content and length of the training that they must undergo, the procedures for appointment review, and the awarding of specialist licenses. The first specialist hematology examinations were held in October 1987, and the first hematologist certification was awarded in January 1988. To accompany the creation of this system, a “credit” system was established with respect to attendance at study meetings and ongoing education and training, to encourage Members to keep pace with new developments in the discipline and continue honing their expertise. Today, there are around 350 Hematology Society of Taiwan certified hematologists working in hospitals throughout Taiwan.
As far back as 1984 – 1985, under the guidance of Chairman Liu Chen-Hui, the Society was already encouraging hospitals in Taiwan (including National Taiwan University Hospital, Veterans General Hospital, Tri-Service General Hospital, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Cathay General Hospital and Chung Shing Hospital) to collaborate with Japanese hospitals on research into the treatment of acute myelogenous leukemia (such as BHAC and DMP), the first international inter-hospital collaboration project of its kind. Subsequently, under the leadership of success Chairmen, the Society has continued to promote inter-hospital research projects in areas such as the quality of blood testing (Chairman Liu Chen-Hui), the use of retinoid acid (ATRA) in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) (Chairman Chen Tien-Po), G-CSF trials, etc. Not only have these projects helped to build friendly ties between the hospitals involved, they have also helped to stimulate enthusiasm for research within hematology circles in Taiwan. It is very much to be hoped that, in the future, more hematology specialists will get involved in research on blood disorders and treatment methods, creating an even brighter future for the Hematology Society of Taiwan!