A Word from the President
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.
You are not going to want to miss this year’s ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting, New Frontiers - Advocating for Patients, Practices and Research, Nov. 7-11 in Houston. This one-of-a kind opportunity for professional development is going to be out of this world.
One of our Vision 2020 initiatives has been to reimagine and enhance the annual meeting. As you know, last year we created a new College meeting experience with expert roundtables, clinical conundrums, interdisciplinary panels and practice application seminars. These new session types were so well received that we will be offering them again this year.
We are a small specialty with a big voice, especially when we join with like-minded organizations to express our views on issues of importance and work on projects that benefit from joint efforts. The College collaborates with AAAAI, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Thoracic Society (ATS), CHEST and others on a variety of advocacy and member initiatives.
Our collaboration with the AAAAI is strong. We want to be sure we are working together on projects of joint interest, such as our new Joint Task Force on Telemedicine, the long-standing Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters, the joint annual Program Directors Assembly Winter Meeting and biennial Joint Board Review Course. These are all very successful programs.
You’re already acutely aware of how incredibly complex the health care landscape has become – and more change is on the way to continue shaking things up. Health care disrupters – including nontraditional partnerships, new direct-to-consumer companies and even public outcry – aim to change the traditional health care status quo. Basically, this is the health care version of what Lyft and Uber did to taxis. The genesis of this change isn’t totally off-base. Traditional health care can be slow to deliver new innovations and treatments, and until the last few years, has remained relatively stagnant, at least in terms of delivery methods.
I have written a few of these columns since becoming College President last November, but I realized that for many of you, we haven’t been introduced. With that in mind, I want to take a moment of your time to say “hello,” and share a few of my thoughts.
Believe it or not, the holidays are here already! While many of you are no doubt looking forward to time out of the office to relax, the holidays can be a challenging time for our patients and us.
From lurking food allergens at the dinner table to festive decorations, it can be difficult for our patients to enjoy this time if they are sneezing and wheezing (or worse). Here are some last-minute holiday tips to share on social media, in patient newsletters, your website or in-person: