Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What's in a name? APIC Name Change 2010 Edition

O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
-Romeo and Juliet

This just in (to me at least)...for the second year running APIC members have cast ballots in favor of changing their name to "Association for the Prevention of Infections”, replacing the original “Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology" yet they did not achieve the necessary two-thirds majority to change the name.  Thus, APIC will have the same meaning at least for another year. For some reason, I've always thought APIC stood for "Spreading knowledge Preventing infection TM," so I'm a bit relieved that it doesn't.

Despite being an APIC member, I don't have a strong opinion on the name change. However, I wonder what the reasons are behind the failure to obtain the necessary super majority?  Perhaps dropping the word "Professional" might upset members since it could suggest a movement away from career development activities towards a purely outcomes-based organization.  For me, I like that "Epidemiology" is in the current name even if it's not in the acronym - I guess it is an invisible "E" instead of the usual silent "e"

Deciding what to name your organization or meeting can be quite tricky. I've been recently involved in a similar process within our research group at the Iowa City VA and have found it interesting to see how some people really favor one name, others strongly favor a different name and all have legitimately good reasons that are hard to reconcile. 

Recently, I heard that there's been a debate as to what the 2012 combined SHEA-IDSA meeting should be called.  Someone told me that they wanted to name it "ID Week" not to be confused with "National Pet ID Week," or "Protect Your ID Week (October 17-23)" or even "ID Weak."  I suspect SHEA members will not like that name as it buries Hospital Epidemiology and not all people involved in SHEA activities see themselves as "Infectious Disease." One nice suggestion I heard was that the meeting name should incorporate SHEA, HIVMA, IDSA and the ASTMH, the tropical medicine society. Somehow that seems about right.


  1. I find it quite interesting that the APIC membership voted the name change down twice. And I think it points out the huge disconnect between APIC leadership and its rank-and-file.

  2. This was a hard sell. Most people did not like losing the "Professional" part, though I have trouble with anyone calling me a Pro; seems like I should be arrested for solicitation. I felt that this year's effort was a little too understated from National. They didn’t really seem to be trying too to hard to push the name change. Though the organization would have retained the acronym "APIC" the plan was to refer to the organization as "The Association"; which I undoubtedly would have enjoyed the Mario Puzo parodies for years to come.

    Seriously though I am wondering what if anything National plans to do next.