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January 2018
President's Message
Paul Auwaerter, MD, MBA, FIDSA
IDSA President

Ralph Siu may be a name unfamiliar to most. He died twenty years ago, recognized as a distinguished American scholar, civil servant, and scientist who also spearheaded efforts years ago in food safety through irradiation. Dr. Siu was not a member of IDSA, but he did found the International Society for Panetics. This organization advocated for better recognition and quantitation of any suffering when making decisions as a method that would lead to improvements in the human condition. A management consultant and author, he sought to improve cooperation and efficiency in the workplace. Among Dr. Siu’s original quotes in this vein, speaking of any organization, “if you plant for a season, plant budgets. If you plant for a decade, plant reorganization. If you plant for a century, plant people.”

The Board of Directors and professional staff of IDSA have taken to planting for the year and the century by hewing to clear strategic priorities that help keep the Society on productive pathways. How we accomplish these priorities is continually examined as we also measure our success and communicate progress to you, our members. This is all driven by these six IDSA priorities:

  • Promoting the Value of the ID Specialist
  • Continually Attracting the Best and Brightest to ID
  • Promoting Leadership in Antimicrobial Resistance and Stewardship
  • Producing Relevant Guidelines
  • Promoting ID/HIV Research
  • Advocating for Funding for Public Health Programs in ID/HIV

What has never been planted is a floor to ceiling examination of the structural organization of IDSA since this seedling sprouted upon founding in 1963.

Last October, the IDSA Board of Directors approved the establishment of a Governance Task Force, charged with reviewing how well the current governance structure aligns with these priorities. Led by the goal-oriented leadership of IDSA Immediate Past President, Bill Powderly, MD, FIDSA, this volunteer task force is carefully examining key issues such as whether the current committees, their structure and associated processes are organized in the best way directly to support the work of IDSA under these priorities.

Another critical task force focus will center on diversity and inclusion, two ideals that are strongly supported by the Board of Directors. We view this commitment broadly, meaning that our Board of Directors and committees should reflect the depth of diversity within our membership, including race, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, and area of specialty.

In just a few short months, the task force has made significant progress including fielding a survey of past and current board and committee members as well as in depth member interviews.

Ensuring that the Society governance reflects our priorities and maximizes capabilities is more important than ever. With a prime emphasis on our diversity, the Society leadership is committed to complete transparency throughout nomination and election processes. The task force will present its initial findings at the March 2018 Board of Directors meeting with final recommendations at the June Board meeting. I look forward to sharing those recommendations and working with you to ensure that the Society reflects our priorities, our commitments, and our diversity.

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