May 7, 2021
Did you have a chance to attend any of the terrific sessions that were part of Phase I of the PAS virtual meeting? Many thanks to Drs. Ann Chahroudi and Kari Simonsen, and the PIDS Program and Meetings Committee for bringing us these sessions. Phase II begins May 10. You will not want to miss Dr. Paul Offit’s talk, “How to Stop the COVID Pandemic,” scheduled for Tuesday, May 11 at 10 am EST.
I feel that I owe you a few words of explanation about the multiple surveys that you have been asked to complete recently. Yes, I know there were three invitations today alone! Fair compensation for pediatric ID specialists has been consistently raised as a concern by our members. The solution is likely to be multifaceted. It may involve working with payors to improve reimbursement, collaboration with department chairs so there is a good understanding of the valuable but non-revenue-generating work that we do and working with Congress on medical school debt forgiveness. The scope of this work means that we will need to engage with our partners at the AAP, the Council of Pediatric Subspecialties, and IDSA. If you are a member of IDSA, you have received a link to a compensation survey. While this tool is not a perfect fit for us, PIDS leaders believe we can utilize and build on the data collected. I completed the survey and was intrigued by the question asking if I negotiated my current salary. I wonder how many of us will answer “yes”? We may have an opportunity to give our members both training in negotiation as well as data that will help them negotiate effectively.
Unfilled fellowship positions are another longstanding concern. We know that part of the solution will be engaging with college students, medical students, and residents and sharing information around careers pediatric ID. Data from the Early Exposure Survey will be used to create a toolbox to enhance recruitment into pediatrics and pediatric subspecialties. This will be a valuable resource for us.
Finally, earlier today, you received an invitation to share your opinion with the New York Times about issues related to children and COVID-19 vaccine. Full disclosure: PIDS played no role in drafting the questions. This is not a rigorously designed survey destined for a peer-reviewed journal. In my view, the participation of our members still has value. One theme that emerged from our strategic planning meeting last weekend was the desire to raise the visibility of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and our members and reinforce our reputation as experts in the care of children. Collaboration with the media can be one way to do this.
So… I know we are asking for a commitment of time and energy to complete surveys when you might not have a minute to spare. I am grateful to those who can carve out a few minutes to provide feedback, and I completely understand that many will not. As we move forward with developing our strategic plan, there will be additional opportunities to share your ideas. We need your input to advance the work of the Society. As always, please feel free to reach out to me directly with ideas and suggestions.