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December 14, 2022

President’s Letter from C. Buddy Creech – 2022 in Review

At dinner, our family often goes around the table naming our “highs and lows” of the day. Sometimes, one of us has exciting news (“I got the part I auditioned for”) while someone else has a significant low (“I said something today that I regret”); therefore, until everyone has shared about their days, there is a combination of tempered celebration and cautious encouragement. After all, there is an ancient wisdom that suggests that “whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off their jacket on a cold day.”

As 2022 ends and we anticipate 2023, I have a similar sense of tentative celebration as I think about our 2022 accomplishments and the goals we should aspire to in 2023. We have much to be grateful for and to celebrate, but we also have significant areas of growth that we must relentlessly pursue.

We should be proud of what PIDS accomplished in 2022:

  1. Launching of the SUMMERS Program and meetID. Career decisions are made early; we will benefit from showcasing our field to undergraduates, medical students, and residents.
  2. The return of in-person PAS and IDWeek. There is power in community; our specific community has experienced immense joy and substantial grief during the last 3 years. Gathering in person, I think, is essential for us as we enter post-pandemic life. The PIDS Foundation Dinner still sits as one of my highlights for 2022. Our next opportunity to gather is in Memphis, TN in March 2023, as St. Jude graciously hosts the St. Jude/PIDS Pediatric Infectious Diseases Research Conference. Please register today!
  3. COVID vaccines and bivalent boosters for children ≥6 months of age. Many of our members contributed to this effort – conducting clinical trials, defining the epidemiology of COVID and its complications, advocating for children to be vaccinated, and much more. Now we embark on helping parents and pediatricians understand the effectiveness and safety of these vaccines for children to improve vaccine uptake.
  4. Increased funding opportunities for fellows and investigators. The pandemic has been punctuated with remarkable generosity from our members and industry partners. We increased the number of fellowship awards that are offered, and we continue to fund innovative research through several mechanisms, including the Pichichero Family Foundation Award. Please encourage your fellows to apply this spring.

We have work to do in 2023

  1. We need to grow our staff. There is a lot of work to do in PIDS; we have a remarkable team and we want to grow it to support our members.
  2. We need to grow our workforce. We continue to have far more fellowship training positions than applications by a nearly 2:1 margin. PIDS will continue to seek creative responses to this, including recruitment efforts early in training, exploring changes to the duration of fellowship, and improving provider compensation.
  3. We need to grow our diversity. As we grow our workforce, we must do so with intentionality so that our fellows and faculty more adequately reflect those we serve. Our IDA&E taskforce, the RAPID program, and meetID are leading the charge, but we need everyone to be committed to this effort. Beginning this year, you’ll see a request during the volunteer application process for each of us to articulate our commitment to diversity and how we might contribute to that mission.

As we close the year, I hope each of you can spend time resting, recalibrating, and refocusing over the next few weeks. Our PIDS community is a gift to celebrate, both the highs and the lows. Thank you for all you’ve done for the Society and as always, if PIDS can do anything to support you and your work, please do not hesitate to reach out. See you in 2023!

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