Pathways to leadership for young members

October 3, 2019

Pathways to leadership for young members

The College is committed to creating an environment where young members have opportunities to grow in their leadership capacity. Below are a few highlights of some of our pathways to leadership.

Giving FITs a voice on the Board of Regents

The College has two Fellow-in-Training (FIT) representatives on the Board of Regents (BOR) who are elected by the FIT Section members. They play an important role in ensuring the College understands the needs of FITs and provides the resources FITs need to launch their careers in allergy. Most recently, our FIT representatives worked with the College’s education team to launch an online interactive quiz version of the FIT Board Review Corner questions in the College Learning Connection. The questions were developed by members of the FIT Section’s Executive Committee from selected allergy and immunology textbooks. Earlier this year, the Committee advocated for more opportunities for FIT involvement in the work of the College. We have since created designated FIT positions on more than 20 committees.

Nearly all past FIT representatives to the BOR continue to be actively involved with the College and many have taken on leadership roles. Meagan Shepherd, MD, FACAAI serves as the chair of the New Allergists Committee and Membership Council and the College’s representative to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation’s Evidence Street initiative. John Seyerle, MD, FACAAI, an incoming regent, has been actively involved with the Advocacy Council, chairs the Government Relations Committee and currently serves as the College’s alternate delegate to the AMA House of Delegates. Kathleen May, MD, FACAAI served as a regent, member of the Advocacy Council and speaker of the College’s House of Delegates, chaired various committees and councils, and is currently the College’s treasurer. These are just a few examples of the many FIT representatives that have moved onto College leadership roles.

Engaging young allergists on committees

The College has been keenly focused on getting younger members involved in the work of our committees. Through targeted communication, we’ve encouraged FITs and young members to find areas where they can contribute. Of the nearly 150 members who expressed interest in serving on committees this year, 52% are under the age of 45 and 54% are new to the College. The Appointments Committee has ensured every applicant has been placed on at least one committee.

We’re seeing more young members stepping up to leadership positions on our committees. Starting with the vice chair position, highly engaged young members are given opportunities to take on additional responsibilities. After two to four years of working closely with the chair, they take over the lead while also representing the committee on the respective council. The College appointed several young leaders (under the age of 45) to committee chair positions this year with many more being given an opportunity to serve as vice chairs.

Helping our emerging leaders develop leadership skills

The College has hosted an annual Leadership Summit since 2017 to support young members (under 45 or in first 10 years of practice) looking to grow in leadership. The one-and-a-half-day event offers a unique hands-on program for practicing young allergists to develop important leadership skills. They learn about effective communication, preventing and resolving conflict and advocating for change. 

The Leadership Summit gives all attendees, even those who have never had a previous leadership role, a great foundation to become a future leader in our specialty. Past participants are already taking a more active role in the work of the College. Of the 60 members who participated, 51 (85%) now serve on committees and 18 (30%) serve as chairs or vice chairs. In addition, three past attendees currently serve on the College’s board.

The College is looking for the next cohort of young leaders to participate in the 2020 Leadership Summit. Applications will be available in December. For more information, contact