Saying goodbye and hello

Saying goodbye and hello

This is my last column. Many of you are probably happy because I know some of my opinions related to medicine – and specifically allergy – have upset you. It has been a quick six years serving as your Executive Medical Director. It has been a terrific experience to work for you, the members and fellows of the College. I have been truly honored.

During my time, we have survived the COVID pandemic. Going to a completely virtual meeting in 2020 was difficult, but with a phenomenal job done by the College’s Program Committee, College leadership, and our outstanding staff, it was a rousing success. Taking the risk of having a live meeting in New Orleans in 2021 was stressful for all, but again, it was pulled off without a hitch.

It is time for thanks. I know I will leave out some of you, so I’ll start by apologizing. The work of the College is a team effort.

First, I need to thank the staff. Executive Director Rick Slawny has put together a phenomenal group of skilled professionals that make the College the successful organization it is. Just a few of the activities that could not happen without the efforts of the staff:

  • All the webinars and updates on COVID.
  • The regular newsletters, work with committees, and of course, the Annual Meeting.
  • The Leadership Summit, Corporate Council, Strategic Planning Retreats, and The Allergists’ Foundation.
  • The campaign to educate PCPs and patients on the value of Board-certified allergists.
  • The creation of a wealth of educational content for physicians and patients, including videos, podcasts, and online learning modules.

Thanks to all my past presidents: Steve Tilles, Brad Chipps, Todd Mahr, Allen Meadows, Luz Fonacier, and Mark Corbett. Each was unique and a pleasure to serve. They all had the same goal of working to ensure the mission of the College: promote excellence in the practice of the subspecialty of allergy and immunology.

I need to single out Jim Sublett. The Advocacy Council is vital for the survival of the community allergist. His leadership has been outstanding in dealing with all the governmental issues, coding, billing, etc. We all need to be grateful to him for his work and all the activities of the Advocacy Council. Jim truly deserved the Gold Headed Cane Award this year.

During my six years, it has been my pleasure to work with the two “Toms” at the Academy, Tom Casale and Tom Fleisher. There was always an open line to discuss issues. We worked together on many projects important for all allergists. We all have the same belief: Do what is best for the allergy community.

It is time to turn over the EMD position to Todd Mahr. The Board of Regents could not have made a better choice. He has all the right skills to excel in this role. He is the perfect fit to help the future presidents and staff move the College forward over the next several years. The College is lucky to have him serve as EMD.

I do have one last person to thank, my lovely wife, Terry. She has been my editor-in-chief for all these columns. She knows that I don’t know grammar and I am a terrible speller, but she makes my writing look like I know what I am talking about. The staff has had to deal with me for six long years. Just think – she has had to live with me for over 47 years. Not sure how she does it. I love you.

The title of this column is from the lyrics of the Beatles song, “Hello, Goodbye.” For you younger members, the Beatles were a British rock band in the 60’s. I choose it because yes, the College is telling me goodbye, but I will still be around, so I say hello. I plan to continue to volunteer at a clinic for the underserved, consult with different companies involved in allergy, speak on allergy and medical manners, and hopefully continue to work in different ways to promote our specialty. Also, I should have more time for my hobby, painting. So, I am not going anywhere – just another change in my career which started with a large multi-specialty clinic practice, to academics, to private practice, and then to the pharmaceutical industry. Now my EMD experience is over. See you soon.