July 10, 2024

President’s Letter from Bill Steinbach – Happy New (Academic) Year

Dr. Bill Steinbach headshot in front of windows
Dr. Bill Steinbach

Happy New Year. No, not that one; the other one. I recognize we are not watching the ball drop on a frigid Times Square, but instead experiencing once in a lifetime (until next year…) heat waves across the country and the planet. We have not just recently emptied our wallets on winter holiday shopping, but instead just wrapped up Fourth of July sales purchases and are awaiting upcoming Amazon Prime Days.   

July is classically the start of the new academic year. This has always been my favorite time of the academic calendar as it reflects the circle of academic life. Throughout all of medicine, we have a crop of graduating fellows and residents who are full of mixed emotions as they complete one critical stage of their training and are moving on to their next stage or their first full position. 

It’s humbling to attend resident and fellow graduation ceremonies and parties (and after parties) with these young trainees and reminisce about all the simply stellar things they have accomplished. It sort of feels like when you talk to the high school kids now getting into the nation’s top colleges and you reflect for a second and feel lucky you already went to college because competing against these kids would be challenging. 

I imagine like most of you, I can still recall my own residency graduation and fellowship completion and the pride of finishing those major milestones. Honestly, I don’t remember having any “mixed” emotions after finishing residency, I was ready to no longer be a resident and make that exciting leap in my career…

The juxtaposition of those graduates with the new interns and first-year fellows in the hospital is intoxicating. Here you have the raw excitement of young learners ready to change the world and just zealously waiting to be released to do it. They are just beginning their first steps in their career. When I was in their shoes, I received the poignant advice from a more senior ID colleague: “During the first half of the year, please call me if you need me. During the second half of the year, need me if you call me.”    

With the pediatric and pediatric ID workforces facing looming cliffs, I suggest we all make pediatric infectious diseases the rotation/field that everyone is talking about. This new crop allows us to do just that and influence the very future of medicine. While we as a Society hammer out the best approaches to countless challenges, let’s not lose sight of the most valuable asset in our Society, and that is our future, those pediatric ID doctors, researchers, nurses, pharmacists, and physician assistants that will comprise our future members.

I encourage all of us to embrace the new year and all of its starts and finishes and resets. The new year becomes financially cathartic as a fresh start, and serves as a demarcation for so much that allows us to begin anew a year filled with promise and opportunity. Let’s make the most of it.

Happy New Year.

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

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