As my presidential year comes to a close at the Annual Scientific Meeting, I am honored to have served in this role, and I’m gratified to look back on what the College has accomplished so far in 2022.
Membership continues to grow, and this year we surveyed our members to find out how the College is doing in meeting their needs. It’s rewarding to hear what members value most about the College: Staying up to date with the latest developments for the specialty; interacting with colleagues and peers; benefiting from advocacy efforts related to the specialty; having access to free MOC, CME and clinical and practice management resources; and contributing our knowledge and voice to advance the specialty.
This year we achieved a goal that I’ve been working toward since early last year. In response to member concerns, we launched our biggest outreach campaign in more than 10 years. Our goal is to tell primary care physicians about the unique qualifications of board-certified and fellowship-trained allergists and what sets us apart from other providers of allergy services.
The “Time for an Allergist” campaign has already produced some impressive data. The videos featuring John C. McGinley have been viewed more than 1 million times and the campaign’s microsite has been visited more than 133,000 times. Data shows that our target audience of PCPs and nurses as well as the public have spent more than five minutes on the microsite, which is more than double the average of other similar health-related sites. I hope that many of you — our members — have engaged with this effort on the local level. This digital advertising campaign will run until February. Check out the campaign and look for our member toolkit to help you market your practice.
In line with the continued strategic priorities that came out of Vision 2020, this year we expanded our practice management and educational resources. Just a few highlights: Our Telehealth and Coding toolkits were revamped; our Risk & Compliance Toolkit was updated to reflect new regulations, including the No Surprises Act and Information Blocking Rule. Our Biologics Toolkit has been updated as new treatments have become available; our new Chronic Rhinosinusitis Yardstick was published, and a new FIT Toolkit was developed with a bundle of practice management resources for new allergists starting their careers.
In addition to another stellar Annual Scientific Meeting right around the corner, this year we expanded our popular MicroCME bite-sized learning product with topics including sleep, urticaria, pediatric food allergy and more.
In 2022 we (fortunately) saw less need to provide new and original resources related to COVID-19; however, we made substantive and frequent updates to our COVID-19 guidance on vaccines, and we continued to curate relevant content for members on our COVID-19 Resource Center and in our popular COVID-19 NewsBrief. As long as there is a need, we will stay on top of this and other public health priority issues as they affect allergists/immunologists and our patients.
One of my priorities for this year was to continue the emphasis on racial disparities and health equity that my predecessor, Dr. Fonacier, set into motion. In February, the College hosted an important Roundtable on Racial Disparities in AD and Food Allergy, with a variety of interested organizations attending and contributing. We value the new connections we made and the existing relationships we strengthened during this project. The participants’ discussion and recommendations will be published soon.
The College created and translated more patient education materials than ever into Spanish, which we are committed to doing into the future. We also are looking at how best to provide patient materials that speak to people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and we continue our programs meant to encourage more people of color to join the medical profession and the allergy profession. In addition, the Allergists’ Foundation is supporting several community grants in this area. I encourage you to learn about the work of the foundation and to support it if you can.
Our Advocacy Council continued to build on its work with our Asthma Alternative Payment Model, and to monitor regulations and advise changes that will promote allergists and the allergy specialty while reducing administrative burdens. We were fortunate to be able to carry out our Strike Force meetings on Capitol Hill in May, with a focus on preventing payment reductions to health care providers, permanently extending Medicare telehealth coverage policies, and eliminating administrative burdens.
There is much more that has been accomplished so far this year, and I have no doubt that even more will be accomplished before we ring in 2023. None of this work would happen without the tireless efforts of our volunteers, who give of their time and expertise on task forces, committees, the Board of Regents, editorial boards and other leadership roles. I am confident that the College will continue to prosper under the leadership of upcoming President Dr. Kathleen May and President-elect Dr. Gailen Marshall. I hope that each and every member of the College has found ways to engage with YOUR professional organization, and to contribute to the work of advancing our profession in 2022.