A Word from the President
The first Emerging Societies Program (ESP) World Allergy Training School (WATS) took place at the Park Inn Pribaltiyskaya Hotel in Saint Petersburg, Russia on July 2 and 3. It was held in conjunction with the IX World Asthma, Allergy and COPD Forum and the X CIS Congress on Allergology and Immunology. The Emerging Societies Program World Allergy Training School is a joint program of the World Allergy Organization (WAO) and the College. In order to support developments that will enable allergists to better serve patients in the future, the ESP aims to disseminate information and share experiences about new therapies for allergic disease and new indications for available therapies.
Dr. Allen Meadows, chair of the Advocacy Council, received the inaugural Big Hammer Award for outstanding impact on the allergy immunology profession and all members of the allergy immunology community. This new award – which recognizes a member who can “get things done,” regardless of challenges -- was presented to him at the ACAAI Board of Regents meeting on June 25 in Chicago.
In 2014, the College embarked on Vision 2020, a strategic initiative to advance the College. As a part of the effort, the Advocacy Council was formed, and Dr. Meadows became its first Chair. This is a tumultuous time for the allergy immunology community and for physicians in general, with many potential, national-level changes regarding the way that physicians practice and are compensated.
I support the ACAAI Foundation because I want to “pay it forward.”
I owe much to many people. My parents nurtured me and made sure I had whatever I needed. I will never be able to pay them back. From elementary school through medical school, I had dedicated teachers and coaches who used their time and talents to help me. I will never be able to pay them back. Every time I come to a College meeting, I run into the colleagues who taught me and mentored me through my fellowship and beyond. I will never be able to pay them back either.
Have you ever experienced déjà vu? It seems to many allergists that the conversation regarding USP 797 is, as Yogi Berra so eloquently put it, “Déjà vu all over again.” We just had a great deal of discussion about USP 797 prior to and during the last revision of this document in 2007. At that time the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) rewrote its USP General Chapter 797 on sterile compounding (USP797). The allergy community provided input to the 2007 update which ultimately included special rules for the preparation of allergen extracts.
The College continues to evolve as part of the Vision 2020 plan. Improvement in our educational efforts, including the Annual Scientific Meeting, is a part of that ongoing evolution. After our very successful 2015 Annual Meeting, the 2016 Program Committee is well on its way in planning for the meeting in San Francisco. The theme for next year’s meeting is Practice Advancement: New Times, New Treatments, New standards. Now is the time to submit ideas for next year’s educational sessions to the Program Committee.
The title of my last President’s column for College Insider comes from the song “Box of Rain” written by the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh reflecting on his father’s life. All of us have had the experience of anticipating, planning, and going to an event or on a trip, and then having it pass by in the blink of an eye. This has been that sort of year for me. In my first column as College president, I discussed what it means to be a “practicing allergists/immunologist” and described treating a young man with tree nut allergy who walked in off of the street in the midst of an anaphylactic episode. This past week I diagnosed a young man with alpha gal triggered anaphylaxis that had gone undiagnosed for nearly a year, despite being seen by several urgent care, several emergency departments, and primary care physicians. This is what makes me proud to be an allergist, knowing that we do make a difference for our patients every day in our practices.
By the time you’re reading this, it will have been at least 96 hours since ICD-10 went into effect. The fact you ARE reading this means that the world did not end, your email still works and your computer/smart phone/tablet did not explode. Hopefully, you’re in recovery mode and realizing that life goes on after ICD-9.
I talked to many of our members and non-allergist colleagues over the past several months about this change. I can't recall anything in my nearly 40 years in medicine that has caused more anxiety, outside of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. ICD-10, along with EHRs, PQRS, and Meaningful Use, has come to represent the accumulation of everything that is seen as pulling us away from patient care to increasingly becoming transcribers of data for some distant bureaucracy to track our performance.
One definition of “college” is a “group of colleagues with similar interests whose goal is to provide educational opportunities in a specific area.” Your College is doing just that. You’ve seen over the past year the transformational changes brought about by our Vision 2020 initiative. When Vision 2020 launched, we committed to increasing our education offerings and engaging members in shaping the future of the College. With the reorganizational structure, the Education Council, chaired by Dana Wallace, MD, FACAAI, brings together the following committees who spearhead the College’s educational efforts: