A Word from the President
As we enter a new era in allergy treatment with the release of the first Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved product to treat peanut allergy, I wanted to reflect on the recent history that made this day possible. Many studies, including LEAP, have shown that avoidance of peanuts in early life is the root cause of development of many cases of peanut allergy. Unfortunately, many health care providers continue to advise avoidance of peanuts “just to be safe.” A National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases study to be published shortly that surveyed allergists showed they understood and used LEAP correctly.
At the College, we never forget that our members – and by extension, their patients – are the reason we exist. Every member can contribute to our mission, to the success of the specialty, and to the optimal care of patients. As we’ve kicked off 2020, you’ve been hearing about numerous ways – large and small – that our members can play a role.
We have opportunities for you to give your feedback and to help us collect important data for our specialty. No organization can survive without input from its members. At the College, we want to make sure our members are heard. It’s essential to measure our successes and needs for improvement, as well as collect data that helps us return useful information to you.
Don’t miss these current opportunities:
Have you had a chance to check out DocMatter? The College introduced this exciting new member benefit a few months ago. It’s a web-based community and forum for high-quality, clinical and practice management discussions. It’s also a unique platform for members to collaborate and network.
College physician members can enjoy a private, monitored forum that offers us a great deal of protection that is not available on ordinary social media sites. I was recently reading a physician discussion on another social media platform where it appeared the doctor was admitting to engaging in ill-advised billing practices and encouraging others to as well. Physicians may be putting themselves at risk when they post or comment on discussions that are not compliant with medicolegal requirements.
The year 2020 will mark an exciting turning point for the College’s House of Delegates (HOD). I am happy to report that the HOD’s new strategic plan, approved at the November Board of Regents meeting, will help us capitalize on the synergies between the HOD and Advocacy Council. These changes, approved by the Board of Regents and Advocacy Council, will energize the HOD and give it the needed structure to be our eyes and ears on the ground in your state.
The College has accomplished many of the goals set for Vision 2020 – the strategic initiative we began in 2014 – to solidify the College’s position as the premier organization for practicing allergists.
The College continues to grow, not only in membership, but in our accomplishments in advocacy, education, practice management, public education and more.
We’re about to embark on the College’s Annual Meeting, and it continues to be the most relevant educational program with cutting-edge research and optimal networking.
I was fortunate to attend the Asia Pacific Association of Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology (APAAACI) International Conference/China Society of Allergy (CSA) Annual Scientific Meeting Sept. 5 -7 in Beijing, China with College President-Elect Allen Meadows, MD, FACAAI. The meeting was also hosted by the Chinese Medical Association.
The meeting’s theme was Memorable History, Glorious Present and Splendid Future: Current to emerging therapies for better patient care. Focusing on the most recent advances and practical clinical aspects in allergy, asthma and clinical immunology, scientific sessions targeted clinicians and researchers across specialties working in allergy.
In the winter issue of College Advantage, I addressed increasing incidence of physician burnout, and the importance of self-care. Physician burnout is an important issue characterized by emotional exhaustion, cynicism and ineffectiveness. It affects our personal and professional lives.
As we manage our own work/life balance and strive to improve our self-care, we need to remember burnout can be a significant issue for our office team as well. Team members who feel burned out may not perform their duties as well and be absent from work more often. Burnout among staff may contribute to low morale in your office.
With only about 18 months to go, we are close to the conclusion of Vision 2020 – the strategic initiative we began in 2014 to solidify the College’s position as the premier organization for practicing allergists. I am extremely proud of our extensive accomplishments, and in the next year-and-a-half we will continue to build on the great work we have done.
Our priorities in 2019 continue to focus on key areas:
We are developing a strategic plan for the House of Delegates to reimagine this essential group’s role. The College Foundation will also soon be involved in strategic planning to help shape future programs to benefit the membership and specialty.
We live and work in a global society. Allergists’ expertise goes beyond their local practices and research centers. Many of our members have the honor of speaking at national and international meetings in addition to the College’s Annual Meeting.
These opportunities are beneficial in so many ways. The College gains a reach beyond its membership. We partner with sister organizations and other groups for clinical and research collaboration for a global perspective. The ultimate benefit is the sharing of information for the benefit of patients worldwide.
Our Strike Force traveled to Washington, DC earlier this month to advocate for the critically important role allergists play in our country’s health care system. We spent two days meeting with congressional leaders and Congressmen and Senators from our own states. Representatives were receptive to our discussions, which included physician-focused payment models and surprise billing issues. David Lang, MD, the Academy’s president and Tom Fleisher, MD, the Academy’s executive vice president joined us for some of these important meetings. On the second day we collaborated with our partners at the Allergy and Asthma Network, teaming up with patients for the annual Allergy and Asthma Day on Capitol Hill.