The College Annual Meeting is a dynamic and riveting experience for Fellows- in-training (FITs).
As Fellows, we are constantly focused on absorbing as much clinical and basic science knowledge as possible. The College’s Celebrating 75 Years of Excellence session during the 2017 Annual Meeting provided a critical experience in areas that we sometimes forget to pause and appreciate: the history and the future of our specialty. Bobby Lanier, MD, FACAAI, past executive medical director and past president, traced the long history of the College. This is a history that is intertwined with the very progression and evolution of the field of allergy and immunology. Gailen Marshall Jr., MD, PhD, FACAAI, subsequently informed us as to the current state and the future plans of the College and its journal, Annals of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. The session was capped with an engaging presentation by Susan Bailey, MD, FACAAI, speaker of the house of the AMA, on the future of health care and our specialty.
The FIT session similarly provided a look into the past and the future. David Golden, MD, FACAAI, lectured on subjects such as venom hypersensitivity and venom immunotherapy, that have been studied for decades. On the other hand, Charlotte Cunningham-Rundles, MD, PhD, addressed the intersection of autoimmunity and immunodeficiency, a topic of burgeoning research. We were also joined by ABAI president, Stephen Wasserman, MD, FACAAI, who updated us on the certification and recertification process. The upcoming changes to the recertification process were well received by most Fellows. During our business meeting, we elected a new junior FIT representative to the Board of Regents, Christin Deal, MD, who is a first-year fellow at UCLA.
Throughout the conference, we interacted with and began establishing connections with Fellows from other programs at events such as the FIT Welcome Reception, FIT Breakfast, and the FIT Luncheon. We rooted for, and to a lesser extent, against each other at the hotly contested and exciting FIT Bowl. One team at the FIT Bowl consisted of a Fellow from Penn State and a Fellow from OSU. This team maintained surprisingly good chemistry even though Penn State and OSU were facing off on the college football gridiron. While they did not win, they helped set a precedent for future FIT Bowl teams to be made up of Fellows from different programs. The 2017 FIT Bowl Champions were Joshua Dorn, MD and Caitlin McNulty, MD of Mayo Clinic. They were smart, tough, and energetic.
Through the Spark Program, we also built relationships with residents who are interested in allergy and immunology. This was the inaugural year for the Spark Program; it is a mentorship program designed to generate exposure, interest, and passion for the specialty. As Fellows, we are excited to build longitudinal mentorship relationships with these residents.
In total, there are three words that best describe the Fellow experience at the College’s Annual Meeting: exciting, educational, and collegial. Plan to attend the 2018 Annual Meeting in Seattle, Nov. 15-19.
Amar Dixit, MD
Senior FIT Representative