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September 2012
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From the President: Volunteers Are Critical to IDSA’s Work

It has been a tremendous honor to serve as your president this past year. Throughout these past months, I have come to appreciate the wide range of activities that IDSA undertakes on behalf of members, whether they work in academia, public health, clinical care, research, teaching, or administration. I’ve also seen the crucial role that member volunteers play in the Society’s work, in a variety of ways.

Important steps, such as the passage of federal legislation this summer that includes incentives for much-needed antibiotic research and development, the release of IDSA’s updated Pandemic and Seasonal Influenza Principles for U.S. Action earlier this month, and the continuing effort to document the value ID specialists provide to patients and the health care system, would not be possible without the hard work of volunteers serving on IDSA committees, work groups, and task forces.

Society volunteers contribute in other critical ways. Sharing the perspectives of ID and HIV specialists with Congress, federal, state, and local agencies, and other policymakers on key issues is a prime example. Given the challenging economic and fiscal realities, this advocacy will be more important than ever. (Visit IDSA’s “Take Action” webpage to communicate with your representatives in Congress on the need for adequate federal funding for public health, prevention, and medical research.)

IDSA released three new or updated practice guidelines during the past year—on acute bacterial rhinosinusitis, diabetic foot infections, and group A Streptococcal pharyngitis—thanks to the work of volunteers serving on guideline panels. Volunteers also help develop questions for Maintenance of Certification modules created by IDSA and the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) to help physicians with American Board of Internal Medicine recertification. Two new modules, one on adult vaccines and one on infections in the non-HIV immunocompromised host, launched this month.

Peer reviewers volunteer their time to review manuscripts submitted to the Society’s popular journals, Clinical Infectious Diseases and The Journal of Infectious Diseases. Member volunteers also serve as media spokespeople on behalf of IDSA, helping to get accurate information on ID-related topics and Society priorities to the public and other target audiences through news coverage.

IDWeek 2012, Oct. 17-21, in San Diego, reflects the important contributions of IDSA and HIVMA volunteers as well, in addition to those from our partner organizations for the joint meeting, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. From program committee members who created a comprehensive, cutting-edge scientific program to volunteers who reviewed submitted abstracts, volunteers have helped make IDWeek a must-attend event in our field. 

On that note, I hope you can join me during IDWeek at the IDSA Presidential Forum, 6 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19, in Ballroom 20 ABCD in the San Diego Convention Center, to hear more about the Society, recent developments, and a brief reflection on the past as IDSA marks its 50th meeting this year. John G. Bartlett, MD, FIDSA, a past IDSA president, will also share his thoughts on the opportunities and challenges facing our field moving forward. It will be an engaging session, and I look forward to seeing you there.
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