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Fellows Survival Guide

Committees

Joining a local, regional, or national committee during fellowship training is a great way to learn more about a specific area of interest, conduct work in that area, and network with other individuals with similar professional interests. It is also a great way to gain mentorship and exposure to thought leaders in the field outside your home institution. There are myriad relevant committees, all with different application processes. Feeling overwhelmed? A great place to start is to think about what excites or intrigues you in the field of pediatric infectious diseases in order to better determine where you should begin your search.

Next, poll your faculty and senior fellow(s) about committees they are involved in or ones that they’d recommend based on your professional interests. Don’t be intimidated or fear that you won’t have something to contribute. Committees have fellow-specific positions for a reason and your voice should be heard! It might be tempting to join several different committees, especially if you’re uncertain about a specific career track. However, keep in mind the time commitment. Joining a committee will likely enhance your CV, but you must balance that with competing tasks that will further your career such as your scholarly activity responsibilities. Remember that quality trumps quantity and profound work with 1 or 2 committees will be more impactful than having multiple committee memberships with minimal outputs.

While this is not an exhaustive list, some examples of committees to join include:

  • PIDS Committees Make sure that you are an active PIDS member and keep an eye out for the “call for volunteers” email that is sent annually. Throw your hat in the ring! These committee are eager to welcome trainees!
  • SHEA Pediatric Leadership Council (PLC) Does infection control and hospital epidemiology excite you? Consider a position on either the PLC steering committee or a specific subcommittee. There is also a fellow position available so consider starting early!
  • American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Infectious Diseases (SOID) What better place to establish a stronghold than within the AAP’s Section on Infectious Diseases? Be on the lookout for email notifications asking for fellow applicants for the Training Fellow Liaison positions.
  • Hospital/Institutional Committees Sometimes you need to look no further than your own institution. From infection prevention and control/hospital epidemiology to antimicrobial stewardship to quality and safety, depending on your institution’s strengths, there is likely ample opportunity to get involved and explore.
  • Fellowship Training Program Evaluation Committee (PEC) ACGME requirements state that each training program have this committee which is responsible for the production of an annual program evaluation and participation in ongoing quality improvement initiatives throughout the academic year. Additionally, there must be at least one fellow from that program on the committee.
  • State Chapter of the AAP Is advocacy more your style? Join your state AAP chapter and discover opportunities that may be available around policy and legislation as it relates to infectious diseases prevention and treatment.
  • Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) The ACGME not only ensures that everyone is playing by the rules insofar as your training program is concerned, they also offer numerous opportunities for residents and fellows to get involved in many aspects of their work. From task forces to councils and committees, the ACGME prizes trainee voices as they aim to further their mission.
  • Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC) If medical education is more of your passion, an easy way to get involved is to participate in your institutional GME committee meetings and pursue any leadership opportunities that may arise. Not only will you directly impact the quality of your training, you’ll get to work alongside senior medical educators and gain mentorship as a result! Inquire with your program director or faculty to find out more about these opportunities!

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