Welcome to 2024 – a leap year, an election year, an Olympics year. Maybe you’ve decided to indulge in that aspirational exercise of setting some resolutions for yourself in 2024. Whether you have resolved to eat more greens, get to the gym earlier, read more, or soak in the sun on a long vacation, I hope it energizes you for the year ahead…because we are going to need you.
This is the year that PIDS has resolved to invest its focus on the broad areas of compensation and workforce development. These topics are the most relevant and impactful in growing and improving our specialty. The following is a sampling of some of PIDS’s efforts planned for 2024. I invite you to jump in and get involved wherever you feel you can make a difference. (Don’t see your spot here? We certainly have more and you are welcome to suggest, discuss or lead new ideas that will get us to our 2024 goal.)
- Awarding the first PIDS International Medical Graduate (IMG) Early Career Development Award – Our IMG colleagues have become an increasingly greater portion of the pediatric ID workforce. However, they must navigate numerous challenges and hurdles in their path to get there. Our Fellowship Awards Committee set out to create an award that helps them progress from fellow to faculty, and thanks to the contribution of $25,000 from the PIDS Foundation we will grant the first of these following the application deadline closing on Monday, January 15.
- Expanding participation of meetID – PIDS launched meetID last year to tremendous success. (There are a few testimonials already up on the meetID page of the Foundation website that I encourage you to check out. We hope to add more soon.) At St. Jude/PIDS, PAS, and IDWeek, we introduced 30 undergraduate/graduate students and residents to our peds ID world. The feedback we received from the program suggested meetID put our specialty on a short list or confirmed the choice of making it their own. We have expanded how many spots we can offer for our conferences in 2024. We’ve already received 46 applications for St. Jude/PIDS and PAS and next week we will select those joining us in Memphis and Toronto. Sometime this spring, we’ll open applications for IDWeek in Los Angeles.
- Presence at the National Medical Association Annual Convention & Scientific Assembly – PIDS joined a coalition of pediatric specialties and subspecialties at the 2023 NMA Annual Convention to discuss barriers to the recruitment and retention of diverse physicians into pediatric fields and explore ways to collaborate in addressing racial and ethnic underrepresentation in medicine. Our pediatric ID workforce is not representative of the general U.S. population’s racial and ethnic diversity. PIDS is committed to working with our partners at NMA 2024 to encourage and nurture a diverse pool of students to enter medicine, focus on pediatrics and choose the best job in the world, pediatric infectious diseases, as their specialty.
- PIDS Advocacy Committee – As part of our larger committee structure reorganization, PIDS will launch its own Advocacy Committee in 2024. To address issues like compensation, loan forgiveness, research funding, and importance of vaccinations, PIDS needs to have its voice heard by lawmakers. No one can make the case for how important we are in the safety and well-being of children better than us. No one has as persuasive a story to tell about how integral pediatric ID is to the safety and well-being of children than us. With this committee, PIDS will have its voice heard in the halls of Congress and statehouses across the country.
Though not mentioned above, a big component of all we do in 2024 will come about as we finalize our committee structure reorganization. When we put all of this together, we believe we will showcase our field, get the best and brightest students and residents to join our ranks, and raise pediatric ID’s profile across stakeholders.
Let’s make the most of 2024 – enjoy the extra day, vote, cheer on our Olympians, get healthier, learn more, relax just as much, and elevate pediatric ID to the level we all know it deserves.