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President’s Message

The Fulfillment of Volunteering
Over the past several months, we’ve talked about the importance of volunteering and the need to address environmental disparities in order to move our specialty forward and improve the lives of our patients. This issue of Impact is filled with stories that underscore this message and exemplify the incredible impact our members are having on our specialty.
Jonathan A. Bernstein, MD, FAAAAI
We are excited to introduce you to Michelle Kwok, MD, a current FIT at McGill University, who has traveled around the world to regions where access to quality specialty care can be challenging to obtain, volunteering her time and expertise as a physician. Dr. Kwok credits her father for instilling in her a passion for global health and for volunteering. Her commitment to bringing relief and healing to those who need it the most will inspire you. Her story is a wonderful example of what we’ve been talking about for a few months now – the importance of giving back, not just for the good of our specialty and our patients, but also for our own wellbeing and mental health.
You will read how passion for addressing disparities early in her career led Ruchi S. Gupta, MD, MPH, to the realization that, while much was known about disparities related to asthma and atopic dermatitis, there was not much research about how disparities affected food allergy patients. Years of research turned to advocacy and volunteering with organizations working to get safe, allergy-friendly foods into food pantries and creating online resources for underserved families. It is a topic the AAAAI Adverse Reactions to Foods Committee has also tackled. Their successful advocacy efforts are also highlighted.
As you explore this issue of Impact further, you will learn about the illustrious career of William Busse, MD, FAAAAI, a past AAAAI president and this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. I was fascinated, as I am sure you will be, by the journey that led him to allergy/immunology, which he describes as “quite random, but very fortunate.” Dr. Busse’s illustrious career in research, patient care and leadership is a testament to the heights one can achieve in our community but also a reminder of the importance of mentorship, innovation and perseverance.
As we look ahead to the 2024 AAAAI Annual Meeting, we are excited to share more about “Discovery,” a groundbreaking new program focused entirely on basic science research. The three-day inaugural program will coincide with the 2024 AAAAI Annual Meeting and will explore type 2 immunity in health and disease.
As you enjoy this issue, let the stories of these AAAAI members ignite your passion, challenge your thinking and spark your imagination. Our community's strength lies in the diverse perspectives and talents each of you bring to the table, and I am confident that the narratives shared within these pages will kindle new ideas and opportunities.
Thank you for being an integral part of the AAAAI community. Your commitment, dedication and passion continue to shape the landscape of allergy and immunology, and we are immensely proud to have you as a member.
Jonathan A. Bernstein, MD, FAAAAI AAAAI President
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.