When I started my term as IDSA president, we were grappling with concerns about the future of our specialty and were in the midst of a highly charged Presidential campaign. We made a commitment then to remain true to our strategic priorities: advocating for a strong ID workforce and better compensation for ID, sound domestic and global public health systems, robust funding for ID and HIV research in the US and abroad, and continuing to lead the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
While we have spent much of the past year reiterating the importance of these priorities and educating those new to the political realm, we have continued to move forward on issues of great importance to the field, including the development of clinical practice guidelines (see our recent guidelines on pain management for HIV), fostering and disseminating new scientific and clinical findings through our journals, and continuing our commitment to professional development and education as demonstrated throughout IDWeek 2017.
IDSA members play a critical role in our advocacy efforts and are having an impact on decision-makers in Washington. IDSA and HIVMA used their strong collective voices to speak out against the proposed travel ban and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. First and foremost in our thoughts were the implications of these proposals on our patients and on our colleagues’ ability to practice, conduct collaborative research, and foster the careers of those born or living outside the US. We stood firmly during the March for Science for principles that drive our field. I’m proud of the actions we took to support what should be non-partisan issues.
Just two months into my term, Congress enacted the IDSA-developed Limited Population Antibacterial Drug (LPAD), a new drug approval pathway that will allow smaller, more rapid clinical trials for new antibiotic and antifungal drugs that treat a serious or life-threatening infection and address an unmet medical need.
Our advocacy efforts have had positive impact on the federal budget. The 2017 federal budget, enacted in April, included language promoted by IDSA urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to do the research needed to update the evaluation and management (E/M) codes. The 2018 budget deal is still being negotiated, but we are encouraged that the House and Senate have largely rejected the enormous budget cuts to ID public health and research proposed by the President.
These efforts wouldn’t have been possible without IDSA and HIVMA members who responded to email action alerts and met with congressional representatives and staff in their home states—some even hosting visits to their institutions. I strongly encourage all of you to get involved and use your voices to bolster our advocacy.
Our members answered our call in great numbers for the IDSA Compensation Survey. Thanks to that response, we are on track to establishing this survey as the most accurate source for ID physician compensation. Because it reflects the diversity of IDSA’s membership, our survey affords us the ability to analyze compensation across the field on a much more granular level, including comparisons across focus areas within the field such as pediatrics, research, clinical practice, public health and industry, geographic differences, and age differences. It is my hope, and I know I am joined by the entire leadership of the Society, that we will be able to use the data from this survey to garner further insight into the disparity in pay across gender. The IDSA Gender Disparity Task Force, led by Judy Aberg, MD, FIDSA, laid the groundwork for an ongoing commitment by the Society to address this issue.
I’m so pleased to announce that we have just launched the IDSA Centers of Excellence in Antimicrobial Stewardship program. This is an official designation by the Society for institutions that meet specific requirements and standards for antimicrobial stewardship. It is our intention that this program not only will serve as recognition for those institutions that have developed stellar programs, but that it will also shine a spotlight on the need for ID-led stewardship in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Look for an announcement in the coming weeks and visit the website to learn how you can apply to have your program receive this designation.
We know that changes to Maintenance of Certification through the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) have been a source of frustration for many of you. Throughout the year, our member representatives and staff have been at the table with ABIM advocating for clear and meaningful changes that will lead to a fair and accurate assessment of ID physician knowledge. I’m pleased that, thanks in large part to our persistence, just prior to IDWeek we received further clarification from ABIM about their rollout plans for the changes to impact ID assessment.
I’m looking forward to engaging with many of you at theIDTown Hall 2.0 event taking place at IDWeek on Friday evening, October 6. Last year’s Town Hall featured a lively discussion about the future of the specialty and IDSA’s role in supporting ID physicians and attracting new people to the field. That discussion culminated in a special supplement on ID Careers in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
The entire leadership of the Society needs to hear from you about what matters most in your career. I’m proud of all we have accomplished together over the past year, and I’m excited about what lies ahead. The key to our success has been and always will be each and every one of you bringing your thoughts and energy to all that we are engaged in.