A Word from the President
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:
Greetings College members! It is my privilege to serve as president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology for the next year. The College is literally in the middle of its implementation of its Vision 2020 strategic plan, and the changes have been exciting and dramatic, including a striking shift in the degree of grass roots influence over the College’s agenda. For example, you asked for more practice management resources and we delivered, including a half-day Practice Management Boot Camp as part of the Annual Scientific Meeting’s Thursday Program. We have also completely revitalized both our system of committee appointments and the process for generating educational programming ideas to ensure we adhere to a “bottom up” flow of ideas and energy to direct our focus.
It is hard to believe the 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting is nearly here! I must applaud Stephen Tilles, MD, FACAAI, and the Program Committee for their efforts. This year’s meeting should be one of our best. One important part of the meeting will occur during the Business Meeting on Monday when Dr. Tilles will take over the responsibilities of president of the College.
In July, past president James Sublett, MD, FACAAI, and I represented the College as speakers at the Indian Academy of Allergy Conference in Kolkata, India. The theme of this year’s conference was “Expanding the Horizons of Allergic Diseases and Asthma: From Epigenetics to Treatment and Prevention.” The conference was well attended and included speakers and leaders in allergy and immunology from around the world.
Dr. Sublett; EAACI President Antonella Muraro, MD; Ruby Pawankar, MD, President, IAA, Organizing Chair, IAACON 2016; and Dr. Martin.
In 2014 the College initiated Vision 2020, a plan to make the College more responsive in this age of rapid changes in so many aspects of medicine. The effort is more than a simple “freshening up” of the existing organization or another one of the many plans that are generated and then placed on a shelf. The College is changing and trying to become more responsive to the changing needs of the membership. The 21st century has brought incredible changes in communication for everyone; this is changing the way we communicate with our patients and with each other. The physician is no longer the lone “Captain of the Ship,” but rather the leader or coach of a team. A new generation has entered the medical work force; the millennials, who have grown up with technology at their fingertips.