Guest Post: IDSA’s Take on the Match Results
This is a special guest post by Dr. Stephen B. Calderwood, MD, FIDSA, President, Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA)
|The first annual IDWeek Mentorship Lunch, IDWeek 2014|
The IDSA community is over 10,000 doctors strong, and we’re all concerned with the match results for this year. But the dumpster fire metaphor is only half right: Yes, it’s a crisis, but we aren’t shrinking from it. Everyone at IDSA is fighting for our specialty, and we need our whole community to join in.
HAI Controversies has talked before about this, and Mike Edmond put the blame squarely on the economics of being an ID doctor. The Society continually advocates for better compensation for ID services and how to value their input differently under health care reform. This past year, IDSA has pushed hard for ID specialists to be required for hospital stewardship programs. To help individual doctors with compensation, several IDSA veterans compiled The Value of the ID Specialist, a comprehensive study that documents how ID consultations result in better outcomes and lower costs. And for IDSA members, we offer a Value Toolkit (login required), which collects presentations, videos, and documentation to help ID doctors make the case to their own employers, hospital administrators and health plan executives.
Funding for Research and Public Health
Funding cuts in research and public health affect all of us, not just ID specialists, and IDSA joined hundreds of other professional societies to Rally for Medical Research. In addition, our policy and government affairs team works tirelessly, advocating for more research funds for HHS agencies and encouraging the White House and Congress to commit more of the federal budget to infectious disease research and public health.
We actively encourage our members and the public to join these efforts. In three minutes, you can let your congressional representatives know that budget cuts hurt the infectious disease community, and ultimately the patients we serve. Of course, you can also contribute more directly: the IDSA Education and Research Foundation supports medical students and young investigators with fellowships, travel grants, and research funding to help recruit more people to our specialty and to help with their early career development.
Mike Edmond’s post led with a moving tribute to the mentor who inspired him to choose ID. IDSA is dedicated to expanding our mentorship efforts. In addition to our two Fellows’ meetings every year and our scholarships for medical students, we launched a new Mentorship Program at IDWeek 2014. Students, residents, and fellows were teamed up with seasoned ID professionals and explored the meeting together. We’re actively trying to expand our mentorship programs, and encourage our members to volunteer for these efforts.
Responding to the match is a community effort that will require a multi-pronged approach. We at IDSA are all thankful to have an active, involved, and passionate community of ID doctors in our Society who want to see the specialty thrive and expand; we welcome all thoughts individuals may have in better addressing this issue. We certainly want to ensure that we continue to attract the very brightest and committed individuals to our specialty. We’re committed to ensuring that the future workforce brings the clinical expertise and new knowledge needed to address the many problems we face, including the enormously important areas of antimicrobial resistance and stewardship, HIV, TB, emerging infectious diseases (such as Ebola!), and all the other key areas our specialty contributes to so uniquely on a daily basis.