A Word from the President
Three months ago, I reported in this column that the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology had changed course, including re-hiring Gailen Marshall, MD, PhD, FACAAI as editor-in-chief and adding Donald Leung, MD, FACAAI as executive editor. I stated that our intent is to raise the impact factor enough for the Annals to increase its ranking as a top tier allergy journal while retaining its appeal to the practicing allergist.
Accomplishing this would be no small feat given the superb journals that already serve the specialty. The College feels strongly that our goals for the Annals are realistic, and that there is a desirable niche that is not yet occupied.
As I suspect most of you have heard, there was a recent fatality during a supervised oral food challenge in a three-year-old boy in Alabama. As a grandfather, I can only imagine the grief his family and friends are enduring. I also feel for the traumatic effect this may have had on the team of health care professionals involved with his care. As reported in a joint communication between the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, and the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, we do not know the critical details of this event.
As you may have noticed, registration has begun for the College’s upcoming Annual Scientific Meeting at Boston’s Hynes Convention Center on Oct. 26-30. Located in Boston’s Back Bay, the venue is the perfect size and location for the College meeting. We are especially excited this year because we will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the College while embracing the theme of “Precision Medicine in Allergy Practice”.
They say that “everything happens for a reason” and “somehow good things fall apart so that better things can fall together.” These themes come to mind over the past two months with respect to the editorial team of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. As you may recall, Gailen Marshall Jr., MD, Phd, FACAAI, had planned on stepping down on January 1, 2018, after an unprecedented 12 years as editor-in-chief (EIC) of the Annals. Last year, after a thorough nationwide search led by Bryan Martin, DO, FACAAI, the College proudly announced Rohit Katial, MD, FACAAI, as the incoming EIC. However, after several months of Annals transition planning, Dr. Katial was lured away from academics to pursue an exciting new career opportunity. This meant he could not assume the Annals EIC role in 2018. The College completely understood Dr.
We live in unsettled times. The fate of our health care system is up in the air, the majority of physicians are burned out, and our specialty’s traditional private practice model has become a less attractive option for young allergy/immunology specialists. Even practice parameters, the low-drama evidence-based tools that many of us refer to regularly, are changing dramatically. In addition to serving as a practical reference for practicing allergy/immunology specialists, practice parameters have gained increasing importance as tools used by third party payers.
Attempting to document continued competency in medical practice is challenging, not just for allergy/immunology, but also for all the primary specialties and sub-specialties served by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). I initially hesitated to devote a College Insider column to Maintenance of Certification (MOC). In part because it is a hot button area for some of our members, but also because of my own conflict of interest as a member of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI). However, significant changes are taking place in the ABAI MOC process that I believe are of interest to College members, including the emergence of inherent flexibility of certain MOC requirements. I therefore decided to share my perspective.
We are at the halfway mark of implementation of the College’s Vision 2020 strategic plan. Major infrastructure changes are in place, and there are clear signs that we have moved in a healthy direction. For example, the revamped Annual Meeting planning process is thriving and committees are revitalized. The Advocacy Council has matured into a distinguished, nimble, highly effective team, and every month more than 750,000 members of the public visit the College website. Last year there were 175,000 searches using our revamped “Find an Allergist” tool). So far, so good.
As part of our reform in 2014, the College redefined the role of the Advocacy Council (AC) as the branch of governance that “keeps practicing allergists abreast of critical socioeconomic and regulatory issues, assists in resolving complex payment disputes, monitors and lobbies state and federal elected officials and government agencies, and represents the profession before payers, managed care and other health care entities”. As a “Council,” the AC answers to the Board of Regents, but do not be fooled by its apparent subordinate position in our organizational structure. In fact, the AC functions in a nearly independent capacity to take on the many complex challenges facing our specialty in 2017.
For more than 60 years the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology have occupied separate but overlapping niches in the service of our specialty. In recent decades both societies have worked hard at strategic planning, including periodically revising their mission statements. For example, as part of Vision 2020, the College mission specifies the promotion of “excellence in the practice” of the specialty while the Academy is committed to advancing “the knowledge and practice” of the specialty.
We are in the midst of the holiday season, only six weeks have passed since the Annual Scientific Meeting in San Francisco, and we have plenty of time to relax before preparing for next year’s meeting in Boston – right?
WRONG!! The deadline for electronic submissions for the 2017 Annual Meeting is Jan. 20, less than a month away. We need your input now for programming that fits the following theme: