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President’s Message

"Break on Through to the Other Side"
"Break on through to the other side," -The Doors
My year as president of the AAAAI is quickly coming to an end and the past few weeks have been a time for me to reflect on the past year and the future of our organization and specialty. For some reason the quote, “Break on through to the other side,” by The Doors keeps popping into my head. This is something you might expect to hear from my colleague David Lang, a lifetime member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who may have influenced me to some extent in this respect. However, when this phrase is “repeated with a fevered urgency” it has been interpreted as a message that “implores us to transcend the mundane. It’s a call to action, to penetrate the veil of everyday existence and emerge into a new realm of perception.” (https://www.songmeaningsandfacts.com/break-on-through-to-the-other-side-by-the-doors-lyrics-meaning-delving-into-the-psychedelic-voyage-of-liberation/; accessed 1/25/2024). Maybe this is too abstract for my last Presidential message in Impact, but I feel my term as the AAAAI president has allowed me to do just that. It has provided me the opportunity to transcend beyond my previous areas of interest within our specialty, interact with diverse groups of incredible individuals and learn more about the overall human condition. As a result, I have grown from these experiences and for this I am very grateful. Thank you.But I would like everyone, whether you are a member of the AAAAI or not currently, to have these similar experiences that I have been privileged to have over the course of my career and this past year. There are many ways to achieve this goal within and outside the AAAAI, but what better way to do so than by sharing your knowledge and experiences as allergist/immunologists with your colleagues to expand your horizons and engage your curiosity at a central gathering like the AAAAI Annual Meeting?
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Jonathan A. Bernstein, MD, FAAAAI
You have repeatedly heard in my monthly “From the President” messages to get involved in the AAAAI – join a committee, interest section or volunteer in some other capacity. Now we are expanding the possible ways to become involved by providing opportunities to share your volunteerism experiences with your colleagues and other stakeholders in allergy/immunology that can impact the communities we serve. Recently a questionnaire survey was sent out to membership about their experiences with volunteerism and whether there was interest in creating a volunteerism service branch within the AAAAI. I am very happy to report that there has been overwhelming enthusiasm in support of this initiative and soon the AAAAI will announce how you or your group can obtain funding to support new or ongoing volunteerism projects that address environmental disparities in allergy.
The much anticipated 2024 AAAAI Annual Meeting in Washington, DC is right around the corner. With nearly 4,000 individuals from the US and abroad already registered to join us, the enthusiasm is palpable. This edition of Impact is filled with information to help you plan for this year’s Annual Meeting, which is the premier A/I event of the year. For the Fellows-In-Training (FITs), take my advice and plan your meeting well with breaks in between. There are a lot of educational and social opportunities to experience but if you don’t pace yourself these meetings can be exhausting.
Just ask Raymond Slavin, who is attending his 61st meeting this year! He reflects on the remarkable transformation of the Annual Meeting and how the AAAAI has shaped his distinguished career since he first attended in 1963 in “Decades of Evolution." Discover what keeps him coming back. It's an inspiring journey worth exploring.
To ensure you’re making the most of your time in Washington, DC, check out “Optimizing Your 2024 Annual Meeting Experience” It’s filled with tips to make your experience truly memorable and highlights key sessions you won’t want to miss. I am personally looking forward to hosting my Presidential Plenary, "Neuroimmunology: Cross Talk Between Allergy and Other Specialties," on Friday, February 23. We'll delve into the emerging role of neuro-immune interactions in managing allergic and non-allergic conditions. Additionally, the first Presidential Forum addressing health disparities in different parts of the world is a new initiative that reflects our commitment to addressing global health issues. It is intended to engage our international colleagues in a meaningful way that will create greater awareness by our membership of health inequalities that exist beyond North America. This year’s forum, presented in partnership with the WAO, will focus on the Middle East with the aim of strengthening the A/I specialty through educational and research collaborations.
You also will not want to miss our keynote address by Laura Helena Van Gerven, MD, PhD, entitled "Roles of Neuronal TRP Channels in Neuroimmune Interactions." There is so much to discover at this year’s meeting. Be sure to explore the online planner and start building your schedule today! You can also download the “AAAAI Meetings” app from the App Store or Play Store on your cellphone or tablet.
Also, in this edition of Impact, you’ll meet Erin C. Steinbach and Akilah Jefferson, two AAAAI members who both have a passion for research. They share their individual journeys to becoming physician-scientists in "The Journey to Become a Physician-scientist." They both credit the AAAAI Faculty Development Program with providing a strong foundation for their careers. Be sure to read their very inspiring stories.
The Faculty Development Program is just one of the many benefits of membership in the AAAAI that helps you take your career to the next level. Just ask Emeritus member Paul A. Shapero and FIT member Canting Guo. Their experiences, which they talk about in “From FIT to Emeritus, the AAAAI Community Shapes Careers,” prove that AAAAI membership is critical to your success no matter what stage of your career you are at. If you haven't renewed your membership for 2024, there's still time! Renew today, and if you're not yet a member, I extend a personal invitation to join us. Membership in the AAAAI is an investment in your career, providing access to transformative education, impactful research and an invaluable professional network.
As I look forward to presiding over the meeting in Washington, DC, my last official duty before passing the gavel to my esteemed colleague, Paul Williams, I want to express my deepest gratitude to members of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee for their exceptional efforts in making this year’s event a success. I also want to thank Becky Brandt, Tom Fleisher and the entire AAAAI/EDI staff for making this past year very memorable and gratifying. Finally, I want to thank my wife Lisa, my children, their spouses and my grandchildren for their unwavering love and support.
If you haven't registered for the meeting yet, I urge you to do so today! I can't wait to see you in Washington, DC. Let's make the 2024 AAAAI Annual Meeting a “break on through to the other side” memorable and enriching experience!
Jonathan A. Bernstein, MD, FAAAAI AAAAI President president@aaaai.org
Find more inspiring stories of how AAAAI members are advancing our specialty and improving patient care in past issues of Impact on the Member Publications page of the AAAAI website.
Do you have an inspiring story to offer for consideration, or know someone who does? Reach out to Impact editor, April Presnell.