American Elm is dying from Dutch Elm Disease. This may explain the concentrate shortage many practices and antigen suppliers are experiencing. To help, there are many other elm species that are more or less resistant to this fungal disease and still…
A Message From The AAOA President Wesley VanderArk, MD, FAAOA
Now at the end of 2020, we embark on another year with the AAOA, but with significant and obvious changes. As an organization, we strive to continue to serve the membership with both education and tools necessary to treat allergic and inflammatory disease. The difference now is that suddenly we are no longer face to face. Instead, we find ourselves spending many hours on zoom attending courses and connecting virtually. Instead of having the opportunity to enjoy Scottsdale, AZ for our annual meeting, we all had the privilege of attending our annual meeting from the “world-class” destination of our own private family room, or whatever zoom background you chose to use. Certainly, a completely foreign experience from what any would have expected. The same was true for our Basic course this past summer.
The pivotal shift required for our organization to retool these meetings to a virtual format was only able to be done by the quick response and tireless efforts of all our physician volunteers and staff involved in the leadership of this organization. Even with the seemingly insurmountable challenges,
members still had the opportunity to learn cutting edge information on biologics, SCIT and SLIT, the interplay of allergy to other inflammatory disease, and vital practice management information. The AAOA was able to create an extremely successful product for both courses. The annual meeting is still available on-demand into January 2021, and I would highly encourage you to watch it. Live meetings have always been life giving events for this organization allowing for both member professional development, networking, and connecting with friends and colleagues. We still hope to have the opportunity even this year despite continued uncertainty. We anticipate our Basic Course in July in Seattle, WA, and Annual Meeting in Boston, MA in November. Even if COVID prevents us from having any live content, we have learned we can create an excellent learning experience for our members, and are dedicated to that process whatever form it takes.
The AAOA has a number of other member benefits offered to our members in addition to our courses put in place over the last few years and available through our website. These offerings include the Practice Resource Toolkit, Clinical Care Statements, Clinical Insights modules, a USP 797 compliance module in preparation for the new USP guidelines when they come into effect. Other member value includes CME accreditation counting toward Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment (PART II) requirements for ABO-HNS. We continue to pursue advocacy efforts both at the AMA and through our socioeconomic committee intervening with payor issues, and interfacing with other sister organizations to strengthen our cause.
We continue to expand our website CME offerings as well. Even when COVID is behind us, we anticipate continued virtual meeting support for members unable to attend or prefer staying home. The basic direction of our organization has not changed despite the obvious change in format and delivery. We as a board are committed to create the best tools we can to enable professional development of you, the member, so you may more effectively treat your patients.
I am truly grateful to be part of this organization and honored to have the opportunity to be president. The board and associated leadership are made up of dedicated and accomplished physician volunteers and staff all excited and willing to further our mission. My hope is to lead this team in a cohesive effort to make our organization better. I urge you to stay connected during this crazy time and even contribute to the process as we move into 2021.