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September 2015
From Ebola, Antibiotic Resistance and ABIM to Strategic Planning…A Year in Review

When I accepted the gavel from Barbara Murray, MD, FIDSA, at IDWeek 2014 for the IDSA Presidency, we were in the midst of the Ebola outbreak in Africa and had recently dealt with our first cases in this country. I recall vividly the crowds gathered at the plenary sessions featuring physicians who had been on the front lines of treating patients in Africa and the deluge of questions from the media trying to provide answers to a worried and curious public. I was proud, once again, to be a member of a profession and a Society that offers opportunities to save lives through direct patient care, to be involved in devising ways to successfully contain such an outbreak through public health interventions and research, and to help educate both medical professionals and the general public on the realities of infectious diseases. While the battle against the Ebola outbreak isn’t over, we’ve seen enormous success in getting it under control in the African countries affected. One year later, as I am poised to hand the gavel to the next IDSA President, Johan Bakken, MD, FIDSA, and reflect on this past year, I am struck by all that IDSA continues to accomplish.

This past year, we have begun to make progress on better compensation for the ID specialist, with a 10.3% increase in median compensation reported in the MGMA survey data and a 22% increase reported in the Medscape survey data over the past year. We also undertook our own extensive compensation survey of IDSA members and are currently completing analysis of the nearly 2,000 responses we received.

This year we have seen major advances in the fight against antimicrobial resistance from a policy perspective. In the last 12 months, we’ve seen the introduction of a national action plan showing significant commitment at the federal level to addressing this problem, and we recently learned of the addition of six leading infectious diseases physicians—all IDSA members—to the President’s Advisory Council on AR. The 21st Century Cures Act, which includes many important provisions related to antimicrobial resistance and revitalizing the National Institutes of Health, is moving through Congress, and just this month, members of the House of Representatives introduced the Reinvigorating Antibiotic and Diagnostic Innovation (READI) Act, with important tax credit incentives for drug development. Read more about this bill in this issue of IDSA News.

I’ve written in the past about IDSA’s efforts in addressing your concerns about recent changes with the American Board of Internal Medicine and recertification requirements. Thanks to the persistent efforts of members and staff working together with the American College of Physicians and other internal medicine subspecialty societies, we have made strong headway in reversing these burdensome changes. I can assure you that this issue will remain a focus because we know what it means to your ability to do the work you are committed to doing.

Our guidelines continue to be among the most valued services we provide our members. In addition to the detailed work being done on the development of a new guideline on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Lyme disease, we continue to update our guidance on the treatment of hepatitis C and have completed three additional guidelines. No fewer than 13 additional guidelines are planned for the upcoming year.

The Board of Directors completed a strategic planning process, assisted by data provided by our members and members-in-training of the most important issues they perceive, and I will summarize the main findings of that process at the upcoming Business Meeting at IDWeek 2015 in San Diego. Two of the highlights include continuing to advocate for the ID specialist and bringing awareness to the value we bring to health care, and developing a strategy for reaching young people in medicine and showing them how fulfilling a career in ID can be.

Thank you for being a member of this Society. I know many of you join me in the belief that this organization uniquely represents the field of infectious diseases—its history and its roots, its challenges and current accomplishments, and its future.

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