March 6, 2024

President’s Letter from Bill Steinbach – PIDS and Our Conferences

Did you know the conference starting today, the one many of you are at right now, wasn’t called the St. Jude/PIDS Pediatric Infectious Diseases Research Conference when it was first held? The year is 2002. The Euro had just begun circulating in a dozen European Union countries. The New England Patriots had just edged the St. Louis Rams for Tom Brady’s first Super Bowl. American Idol was four months from premiering. And from February 22 to February 23, we convened the inaugural St. Jude/PIDS Pediatric Microbial Research Conference in Memphis. I personally remember this conference because I was there as a first-year Peds ID fellow to this first ever conference.

In addition to reworking the name to be more inclusive of everything pediatric infectious diseases, the conference has expanded beyond our greatest hopes. More than 320 of our pediatric ID community will be here in-person and nearly 400 more will attend virtually. We’ve built up from a single day symposium with additional career development workshops to three days of symposia dedicated to research, transplant/immunocompromised hosts, infectious diseases, global health, and career development.

If you haven’t taken the opportunity to review the full conference schedule (including poster sessions), I encourage you to take a look and get ready for THE meeting for our Society.

Whether you’re an established faculty member, student, or anywhere in between, the St. Jude/PIDS Conference has something for you. Some of us, myself included, have been in your seat in each step of a career in pediatric ID. I’ve attended just about every one of these conferences and have walked away following each and every one awestruck with our amazing specialty, armed with a great new idea, a novel collaboration, or having learned some new clinical insight.

Of course, this is not the only meeting we gather as pediatric ID specialists. PAS gives us the chance to be around other medical professionals who have dedicated their careers to the health of children. You can check out what some of our other pediatric specialty colleagues are doing, but there is still plenty of programming in the pediatric ID track (the schedule and your PIDS colleagues’ involvement is up on our PAS page), including the PIDS Reception on Saturday, May 4. PAS early registration is available until March 15, and be sure to mark the PIDS box while registering so that our presence and share of the program is noted.

IDWeek 2024, meanwhile, is still taking shape. Aside from being in Los Angeles October 16-19, there is still much to settle. Abstracts are now being accepted and registration opens for members on Tuesday, May 7. Similar to PAS, please be sure to mark PIDS as your Society when registering. It makes a big difference. Then there is the PIDS Foundation Annual Dinner (Thursday, October 17), which has become the showcase social event for our entire field and I’m sure Buddy and PIDS staff are busy behind the scenes setting up a celebration befitting our trip to the land of movie stars.

Here’s to a successful 2024 conference slate. I hope I’ll get to see you in Memphis, Toronto, Los Angeles, or perhaps all three. These meetings are designed by us and for us, so please always give us feedback on the content, format, and everything in between. Enjoy our meeting, the St. Jude/PIDS Pediatric Infectious Diseases (née Microbial) Research Conference.

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