Edward T. Ryan, MD
At least in my mind, a primary purpose of ASTMH is to facilitate evidence-based progress in tropical medicine and hygiene, and we do this through a number of approaches, including our Annual Meeting, our Journal, our support of trainees, our advocacy, our reaching-out through the Web and newsletter, and our working with the media and the public. I am happy to report that we have made significant progress on all these fronts over the last few months.
Annual Meeting. I have just had a chance to participate in the review of symposia submissions for the upcoming ASTMH Annual Meeting that will occur in Atlanta, November 3-7, 2010 (abstract submissions are still ongoing).
Please mark these dates on your calendar, and please plan to attend this signature event for our Society. Over 150 symposia were submitted for consideration by Scientific Program Committee. The proposed sessions cover a wide range of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and were submitted from around the globe. All are truly excellent, running the gamut from basic bench science to translational work through field studies, and include high throughput technologies, programmatic analysis, and range across the fields of parasitology, malariology, virology, global health, tropical medicine, respiratory infection, enteric infections and many others.
Quite simply, the breath, depth, and excellence of these submissions are testaments to the strength of our Society. Abstract submission is now ongoing, so please plan on sharing your cutting-edge work with your colleagues at the Annual Meeting, and best of luck to Chris King and the Program Committee in putting together what promises to be another successful gathering of the clan.
Global Health. Since our last Annual Meeting, the Society has moved forward establishing and incorporating an evolving global health agenda under our umbrella. There will be a Global Health Track at the Annual Meeting, and Monica Parise and Frederique Jacquerioz and committee are making wonderful progress on putting together a pre-meeting course on Global Health, focusing on lessons learned from the recent horrific events in Haiti. Clive Brown and Dan Bausch are working with Jim Kazura, Joe Vinetz, and Cathi Siegel at the Journal to highlight global health articles within that strong publication, and Steve Higgs and the Training and Education Committee are working closely with Chris King and the Scientific Program Committee to put together high quality sessions for trainees during the upcoming Annual Meeting. Last but not least, Wil Milhous and Jonathan Ripp are working with Sally Finney and John Adams (contributing experiences from helping to form ACMCIP) to help to put together a Global Health affinity group within ASTMH.
Affinity Sub-Groups. The currently constituted subgroups of the Society are also doing quite well. The American Committee of Arbovirology (ACAV) under the leadership of Ann Powers is putting together a number of symposia on emerging arboviruses for the Annual Meeting.
The American Committee of Medical Entomology (ACME) under the leadership of John Grieco is putting together sessions on both vector control and rickettsioses.
The American Committee of Molecular-Cellular-Immunoparasitology (ACMCIP) under the leadership of Rick Fairhurst is putting together a symposium on apicomplexa parasites, and a pre-meeting course.
The clinical group, under the leadership of Bill Stauffer, is putting together a number of symposia for the Annual Meeting, a pre-meeting course, and (working with Joe Vinetz) have put together clinical cases for Web posting. The clinical group will also sponsor an intensive two-day review course on clinical tropical medicine that will occur in Atlanta on October 4-5, 2010.
If you are not already a member of one of our Society sub-groups, please consider joining. It is a wonderful way to interact with those most closely affiliated with your interests. Please also follow-up with Josh Berman, ASTMH Secretary-Treasurer, with any thoughts on ways to further enhance membership in ASTMH.
The Web. Jonathan Mayer, Matthew Lesh and the Web Committee are making strong progress updating and modifying the ASTMH Web page. Increasingly, our Web page is the first and most common interaction that many around the globe have with our Society, and Jonathan and his team are always looking for ways to enhance our presence in cyberspace. I would ask you to spend a few moments going through the recently updated ASTMH Web site at www.astmh.org. Please let Jonathan and Matthew know of any thoughts on how we can further enhance this critical component of ASTMH.
The Newsletter. Many thanks to Bill Collins and the newsletter team for so consistently putting together this important mechanism for communicating. It is an excellent way for us to stay abreast of othe many active and evolving issues facing the Society.
The Journal. The Journal is doing quite well under the great leadership of Jim Kazura, Cathi Siegel, Joe Vinetz, editors and staff. Its articles continue to be immediately freely available to individuals in resource-limited settings, and contributors can elect immediate Global Open Access when they submit their manuscripts. Please consider submitting your work to our Journal so that it can be shared across the globe.
Advocacy. The Society is making significant progress in its advocacy role, building upon the strong foundation established by Kent Campbell and Sally Finney that initially focused on malaria. The Society has now broadened its advocacy to further our commitment to arborvirology, emerging infectious diseases, enteric infections, and neglected tropical diseases.
In closing, our Society is strong largely because of the wonderful participation, interactions, and accomplishments of its members. Please encourage your colleagues and trainees to join our wonderful family. I think we are a unique Society, and as long as we continue to focus on our foundation of scientific and evidence-based information to help inform decisions to improve the health of the world’s population, I think we will be on strong footing. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any thoughts, concerns or suggestions. I look forward to working with you to address these critical challenges.
Edward T. Ryan, MD, ASTMH President
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