May 8, 2024

President’s Letter from Bill Steinbach – Ask Not What Your Society Can Do for You

President John F. Kennedy delivered one of the most famous inaugural addresses in U.S. presidential history. From the east front of the Capitol, JFK stirred the gathered crowd and every American within the reach of his voice to commit to a greater act of citizenship, to service, with “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

I want to echo that challenge to service as our Society enters the final stages of implementing our committee restructure. I am asking you to commit to a greater act of membership, of service, as part of one of our committees, subcommittees or interest groups, which we have restructured to be more responsive, more efficient, and address today’s most pressing needs.

We opened the call for committee volunteers on April 24 and it remains open until next Friday, May 17. There are now 2 ways for PIDS members to serve on a committee: At-Large and Contributor. The idea here is for a smaller number of voting members in each committee so we can make sure we have a quorum and to ease scheduling logistics, but in parallel have anyone who wants to share an opinion be present and heard.

Many of you have already raised your hand and committed to serving the Society and pediatric ID in one of these capacities. This is how I and many of us really catapulted our involvement in the Society and connected more with our colleagues to forge enduring friendships while doing good at the same time. Thank you for your willingness to help lead our specialty, and for your commitment to the Society. To those who have yet submitted your application, please be sure to complete it before the deadline next week!

We can do great things – both in size and impact – as individual pediatric ID specialists, but we can do greater together, as a team, as a society. Your service will also drive the work of the board and officers. Collectively, our actions will move PIDS forward as we tackle our two overarching goals of expanding and elevating our workforce and pressing for fair compensation.

The circumstances of this presidential call to service are a bit different from JFK’s call. It isn’t 20 degrees with snow on the ground (it’s spring and there hasn’t been snow for months), there is no looming threat of nuclear annihilation (maybe bird flu), and who would have predicted that President Kennedy’s nephew would be one of our largest threats to vaccination? However, our Society is just as reliant now as the nation was then for those within the reach of my voice to volunteer, to serve, to be part of a solution at a time when the Society is in need.

On behalf of the entire board, thank you. We look forward to the continued excellent work PIDS accomplishes through our committees.

Improving the health of children worldwide through philanthropic support of scientific and educational programs.

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