BACKGROUND: Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) comprise a heterogeneous group of hematologic malignancies, with an incidence rate of 3.4 cases per 100,000 in the United States. MDS affects patients predominantly over 60 years of age. As these syndromes are not well understood by many medical practitioner, patients with MDS may be underrecognized or underdiagnosed. The availability of new MDS treatment options further establishes the need to more closely assess gaps in clinical practice and underscores the necessity to develop educational activities to address those gaps. METHODS: A multidisciplinary panel was convened to examine current educational needs and gaps. A group consensus approach incorporating a modified nominal group technique was utilized to prioritize and review needs identified in the pre-meeting survey and to evaluate data provided by panelists prior to the meeting. RESULTS: The panel identified and prioritized seven educational areas of need: (1) MDS disease awareness, (2) diagnosis, (3) classification and risk stratification, (4) treatment issues, (5) referral to stem cell transplantation or new treatment protocols, (6) clinical monitoring and toxicity management, and (7) translation of new data into patient care. CONCLUSIONS: In-depth knowledge is critical to the timely diagnosis and optimal care of MDS patients. A number of key educational needs exist. Educational programs should be practical in orientation to integrate data into practice, and they should be tailored for the intended audience. In addition, an effective educational program must be easily applied by participants.