Volume 7, Issue 8 August 2010
Dear WAO Members,
Greetings from Tampa, Florida, U.S.A! I hope that those in the Northern Hemisphere are having a nice summer, and those in the Southern Hemisphere are enjoying the winter.
In years past, it seemed that things became less busy during the summer months. That's no longer true. Four new allergy and immunology residents arrived for training in our Division, and it seems that we are as busy now as any other time of the year. Their arrival reminds me of WAO's responsibilities, which include promoting excellence in care for patients with allergic diseases, asthma, as well as clinical immunology problems, not only in the U.S.A., but also in the entire world.
Allergy and clinical immunology is probably the smallest specialty of all specialties in the world. Yet, up to 30% of individuals in any population at any one time have an allergic problem, and the numbers are increasing. We are a small specialty responsible for large numbers of patients. It behooves all specialists in allergy and immunology throughout the world to make sure that we enhance education and research in the specialty and teach our colleagues in primary care about our specialty and how it affects the care for their patients.
Resources in education and research in the field of medicine, however, are limited, perhaps even more so now than in past years. Therefore, it is even more imperative that WAO and its Board collaborate as much as possible with allergy and immunology national and regional member societies throughout the world. It is also critical that we cooperate and collaborate with primary care physician groups. For example, it makes little sense for WAO to write a position paper or statement which is not endorsed by every regional and national member society in the world and which is not disseminated to primary care physicians. When such a position paper is endorsed by everyone, it enhances the specialty's reputation within each individual country.
Likewise, it makes sense that WAO interact and cooperate as much as possible with its regional member societies to co-sponsor cost-effective post-graduate conferences. WAO has taken a great step forward to help limit conflicting meetings by posting an interactive "calendar of events" on the WAO website. Please go to http://www.worldallergy.org/allergy_meetings/ for more information and make sure the meetings in your country or region are posted, as well as learn what other meetings are being given throughout the world. All regional and member societies are asked to post their conferences on this website to help minimize redundancy and unnecessary conflicts in scheduling.
As I previously informed you, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology and WAO are going to collaborate in promoting a series of online lectures originating from North America. I hope that you and your member society will take up this cause and do similar types of projects in collaboration with WAO in languages other than English. Educational programs in Spanish, Russian, Japanese and Chinese, for example, would be a great resource for our specialty. This kind of collaborative program is the ideal way of educating allergists/immunologists as well as primary care physicians about the importance of the specialty in caring for their patients.
Last but not least, WAO is hosting a major meeting in Dubai entitled "Asthma and Co-morbid Conditions: Expanding the Practice of Allergy for Optimal Patient Care". This meeting will be held 5 - 8 December 2010 and will involve approximately 60 international faculty members, the best in the world. It's a one-of-a-kind conference, and the first of its kind. Please visit the WAO website at www.worldallergy.org to make your reservations. When you see me at the meeting, stop me, introduce yourself and say hello. WAO is your organization and I would love to greet you in Dubai. See you there!
Richard F. Lockey, MD