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March 2014
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From the President: IDSA Volunteers Build on the Momentum of Antimicrobial Resistance Efforts

Last month, I wrote about the importance of volunteering with the Society and the many forms it may take. Since then, a spotlight has been shown on the threat of antimicrobial resistance through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vital Signs report on antimicrobial stewardship and through President Obama’s request for additional funding for antimicrobial resistance efforts at CDC in his 2015 budget proposal. This heightened attention provides us with an opportunity to be outspoken about the critical role the ID specialist plays in addressing drug-resistant infections.

As I described in my previous letter, promoting the goals of the Society and the value of our profession is something each of us can do. Our efforts can be tailored to the opportunities specific to our environment and the time we have available to devote to the task. There are some inspiring examples of how our members are doing this in just the past six months.

In response to the CDC report, IDSA member Ron Nahass, MD, FIDSA, blogged about the misperceptions of antibiotic therapy that contribute significantly to the development of antimicrobial resistance and the need for an infectious diseases expert to play a leadership role in stewardship efforts. His blog post appeared in KevinMD, a health care website with over 1 million monthly pageviews.

A critical component of our advocacy efforts regarding antimicrobial resistance are visits with members of Congress. I recently visited with representatives from Texas while my fellow Board member, Mike Buckley, MD, FIDSA, visited with representatives from Pennsylvania to discuss proposed tax credits to incentivize diagnostics research and development. We incorporated these visits into our time in the Washington, DC area for the spring IDSA Board of Directors meeting. While visits to Washington are not feasible for many of our members, I encourage each of you to consider contacting your congressional district offices locally, either in person, by email or by phone. Such efforts are tremendously effective in getting our messages across.

We also rely on our members to speak with the press about our concerns. A recent article in Managed Care on tackling antimicrobial overuse through accountable care featured extensive quotes from Henry “Chip” Chambers, MD, FIDSA, chair of IDSA’s Antimicrobial Resistance Committee. Many of our members have aided in our advocacy efforts by taking a few moments to sign on to letters that are sent to members of Congress urging them to support legislation critical to the development of new drugs. This is a much less time-consuming endeavor than crafting a blog post or a letter to the editor of your local paper, but it is important and much-needed nonetheless.

We are grateful for our members who take the time to speak out about the critical role of the ID specialist. However large or small that effort may be, it adds to our collective voice in an invaluable way.

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