In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy wrote, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” This seems an apt message for our current times. Many have experienced personal and professional tragedies… all achingly unique. Perhaps what sustains us, those things for which we are grateful, are broadly similar. Family. Friends. Faith. My personal list also includes the opportunity to be a part of the community that is the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.
Over the course of the last year, I’ve penned some letters as the PIDS President. I’d like this letter to be different… just a message from one PIDS member to another outlining what PIDS membership has meant to me and why I value it.
- PIDS offers members a chance to connect with others in the field. For me, this has probably been the most vital benefit. As some of you know, I have spent my entire career at the same institution. Through PIDS, I have had the opportunity to develop many friendships and a few research collaborations with those at institutions across the country. I have also used the network of experts that make up PIDS to help me with challenging clinical cases and organizational conundrums. This network is available to everyone by posting a message in PIDS Connect.
- PIDS offers members a chance to get involved. In 2004, I joined the PIDS Training Programs Committee. It was a transformative experience. I gained a mentor in then Committee Chair Judith Campbell. I learned how to be a fellowship program director. Ultimately, I learned how to lead a committee, organize a national meeting, and drive institutional change. PIDS has fifteen committees and several task forces. There is room for everyone to contribute. (Yes, we are still working through committee assignments for next year, so please do not worry if you have not heard yet.)
- PIDS offers all of us a chance to amplify our voices through Society advocacy efforts. Over the last year or so, PIDS, along with our sister societies, have called upon Congress to counter efforts to defund the World Health Organization. We’ve advocated for programs that will increase the number of children protected from vaccine-preventable diseases, and we’ve called for an end to non-medical immunization exemptions. Our voices are more powerful together.
- PIDS members have access to the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. Who could have done without JPIDS this year? In a typical year, the articles published in JPIDS advance the science in our field and support our clinical practice. This year, the Journal was an invaluable source of information about SARS-CoV-2 infection in children.
Membership renewal notices went out last week, and I hope all of you will take a few minutes over the next week or two to continue your membership. I hope you are like me, finding benefit in your membership and believing that the cost of dues is money well-spent in a time when personal and professional budgets are strained. If not, drop me a note and let me know, and we can do better.
The membership notice includes a suggestion for an optional $100 contribution to the PIDS Foundation. A financially robust Foundation is vital to the work of our society. The Foundation supports research fellowship, as well as projects initiated by our committees. A contribution of any size is welcome, and to those of you who can give more, we are profoundly grateful. To learn more about giving opportunities, please read about our 2021 Campaign.
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.