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July 12, 2023

President’s Letter from C. Buddy Creech – Lincoln and Optimism

Our family spent the Fourth of July in Washington, DC, for the first time, helping our oldest daughter (and new son-in-law) move into their apartment. While the fireworks were remarkable, we enjoyed the monuments and touring Ford’s Theater (site of Lincoln’s assassination) the most. Thinking back to 1865, our country was splintered. The Civil War’s devastation left little hope for reconciliation or positivity toward our future; yet, Lincoln, along with heroes of his day (both known and unsung) dramatically changed the American ethos. Their efforts gave rise to a better nation – one with a brighter future, though admittedly with work left to do.

We still live in rancorously divisive times; yet I remain optimistic about what we can do in our families, communities, hospitals, and medical schools to make tomorrow better than today. I think we start by identifying areas of need and addressing them head-on. To that end, I want to highlight a few PIDS activities very briefly.

  • The SUMMERS program continues to exceed expectations. Through the generous support of Sanofi and the PIDS Foundation, we accepted 21 students into mentored research experiences this summer. Students are selected based on their interest in pediatric ID and the quality of the proposed summer experience, and we prioritize individuals who articulate how they can contribute to the diversity of our society. We’ve already featured two SUMMERS Scholars in Foundation profiles – Maddie Guy and Alex Laurenson – though I suspect they won’t be the last.
  • The meetID program has been similarly exciting. Over a dozen students have participated thus far, attending the PIDS St. Jude Conference and PAS, and we have over 60 applications for IDWeek.
  • The PIDS Fellowship Training Taskforce, created this spring to address questions around length of fellowship training, will be sending out a survey to membership soon. The goal of this survey is to determine whether there is consensus for shortening fellowship training to two years. The taskforce will recommend to the Board any steps that are necessary to improve our approach to fellowship.
  • In addition to considering changes to the length of training, we continue our legislative advocacy efforts to secure loan repayment for those entering pediatric ID. The Advocacy Breakfast at IDWeek may be of interest to any of you interested in taking on a more involved role in such efforts.
  • Finally, PIDS is presenting during the Organizational Pediatrics Forum at the upcoming National Medical Association’s Annual Conference in New Orleans. The session is regarded as the first of its kind, aiming to serve as a springboard for future efforts to increase URiM representation in the pediatric workforce. PIDS Secretary-Treasurer Deb Palazzi and PIDS Member and IDA&E Grand Rounds course director Tanya Rogo will participate in the panel and several others throughout the conference.

Despite the challenges we face – whether historic or current – we tackle them together as a community to ensure a better future. Etched into one of the walls of the Lincoln Memorial is his second inaugural address. As the Civil War raged, Lincoln implored us in its conclusion to act “with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right…”

The PIDS Board will be meeting soon to chart our priorities and paths for the upcoming year. We’d love to hear from you about ways we can help you and support what you are doing locally in your community.

Onward and upward,

Buddy

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