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November 2, 2022

President’s Letter from C. Buddy Creech – IDWeek Reflections and Growth Aspirations

It was a delight to see so many of you at IDWeek. I was grateful to meet many of you for the first time in person, to learn new things, and to step away from the routine activities of a typical day’s work (as if anything we do in infectious diseases can be considered ‘typical’).

The schedule sometimes felt relentless, but every aspect of the week brought its own reward – except maybe the syphilis case that I missed on Fellow’s Day. The PIDS Foundation Dinner was a remarkable evening of catching up with each other, announcing awards, and celebrating four amazing individuals whose work represents the best of the best.

I also heard several conversations about what makes for a good meeting while I was in DC. My favorite adage on meetings comes from what Paul Spearman taught me years ago and has since been tweaked by Betsy Herold: If you can make one new collaboration, have one new idea, learn one new thing that fundamentally changes how you’ll approach your work, then the meeting was a success.

Therefore, I’d encourage you to follow-up with those that you met at the meeting. Carve out time in your calendar to read and begin writing about the new idea that came to you. Build on what you have learned and take some chances with how you approach your work. These are the ways we grow, both professionally and personally.

Your Society is also setting its sights on growth. One of my biggest takeaways from the meeting is that there is an energy around what we are doing through PIDS and a desire by many to be deeply engaged in the work. We have a lot planned for the upcoming year, some of it ambitious and all of it worth the effort. 

How can you help?

  1. Continue to be involved. Renew your membership and encourage those you work with to join as well. Everyone affiliated with pediatric ID should feel welcome at PIDS.
  2. Take advantage of what PIDS has to offer. Invite your fellows to apply for fellowship grants in the spring. All types of scholarly investigations are encouraged to apply. Send your near-miss NIH grants that are focused on pathogenesis or vaccine-preventable diseases to PIDS for consideration for funding through the Pichichero Family Foundation Award. Attend one of the many webinars and journal clubs we have, including those focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, transplant ID, and hot topics within pediatric ID.
  3. Register and attend the St. Jude-PIDS Conference in March 2023. I would particularly encourage fellows, residents, and students to attend as this is a smaller meeting (about 300) that encourages deeper connections than you might experience at larger meetings like IDWeek (about 10,000 attendees).

Thoreau is credited with saying, “in the long run [you] only hit what [you] aim at. Therefore, though [you] should fail immediately, [you] had better aim at something high.” By focusing our efforts on identity, inclusion, impact, and innovation, PIDS wants to aim at something high. We’re going to need your help to pull it off. I’m thankful to be in this together with all of you.

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