WAO News and Notes - President's Update
Volume 6, Issue 11 WAO President's Update - November 2009

World Allergy Organization
President's Update 2008 - 2009

G. Walter Canonica

Prof. G. Walter Canonica
Professor of Medicine
University of Genoa DIMI
Genoa, Italy
WAO President
WAC 2009 Chair

Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to share the World Allergy Organization's major success in meeting its stated objectives under the 2008-2009 Presidential Mandate. The Officers and Board of Directors, WAO's Council, Committee, and Special Committee Chairs and members, our Journal Editors and Editorial Board, our Web Editorial Board, and our staff have all strived to enhance the standing of our organization and our specialty over the last two years. Our member societies have worked with us enthusiastically to receive and promote our programs, and collaborate on initiatives and publications. I thank everyone whose contribution to my Presidency has made it such a pleasurable and fruitful term of office.

See you in Buenos Aires for the WAO's
World Allergy Congress December 6-10, 2009!


G. Walter Canonica
WAO President

2008-2009 Presidential Mandate: Innovation in Continuity

  1. Strengthen the Pillars of WAO: Science, Education, Advocacy
  2. Deepen WAO's relationship with other Scientific Societies worldwide.
  3. Exploit web technology and the WAO web site (www.worldallergy.org)
    ("We should reach every allergist in the world")
  4. Empower The World Allergy Organization Journal
  5. WAO Surveys as a leading new initiative
  6. Make World Allergy Congress 2009 the most successful to date

The mission of the World Allergy Organization is to be a global resource and advocate in the field of allergy, advancing excellence in clinical care through education, research and training as a world-wide alliance of allergy and clinical immunology societies. The Organization presently embraces 77 regional and national allergy and clinical immunology society members.

The Organization is greatly concerned about the increasing global burden of allergic diseases for patients and governments worldwide. Working in collaboration with its Member Societies places WAO in a unique position to synthesize and disseminate education on the clinical practice of allergy. All initiatives of WAO aim to enhance patient care by providing educational outreach programs, symposia, and lectureships to members and health care professionals in 92 countries. The Organization supports member societies through promotions such as World Allergy Day; and newer member societies are advised about the development and provision of national allergy services and local allergist training.

What has WAO - your Organization - achieved in the last two years?

1. Strengthen the Pillars of WAO: Science, Education, and Advocacy

Worldwide Science

  • The long and short-term research fellowships enabled two junior clinicians to travel to an international host center for a period of training in research
  • WAO/Nycomed Research Fellowships supported international research placements for eight young clinicians to learn a new research or clinical technique.
  • Epinephrine: "Epinephrine: the drug of choice for anaphylaxis" was published in Allergy in 2008, and reproduced as a supplement in the World Allergy Organization Journal
  • Cow's Milk Allergy: The evidence & GRADE -based WAO Position Paper on Cow's Milk Allergy Diagnosis and Management, (DRACMA-Diagnostic and Rationale for Action against Cow's Milk Allergy) authored by the WAO Food Allergy Special Committee will be finalized for launch February 2010.
  • SLIT Global Initiatives: Delivery of immunotherapy by the sub-lingual (SLIT) route is an exciting therapeutic strategy, gradually being adopted by allergy communities throughout the world. Following a first meeting in Genoa in November 2008 to review experience of US trials of SLIT, WAO hosted a meeting in Paris in January 2009 to develop the first global consensus on SLIT and to prepare the WAO Sub-lingual Immunotherapy Position Paper. All WAO Regional & Affiliate Member Societies sent representative delegates to this meeting, where they were joined by observers representing several national Member Societies and delegates representing organizations such as NIH, GA²LEN, EFA, ICPRG, and ARIA. A WAO Position Paper based on the consensus achieved in Paris will be published as a full paper in the WAO Journal (November 2009), and as a supplement in Allergy (December 2009). The Genoa meeting findings have been published at: Casale TB, Canonica, GW, Bousquet, J, Cox, L, Lockey, RF, Nelson, H, Passalacqua, G. "Recommendations for appropriate sublingual immunotherapy clinical trials". J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009; 124(4):665-670.
  • Allergen Specific Immunotherapy: A special WAO task force prepared a document whose aim is captured by its title - "Speaking a Common Language in Grading Subcutaneous Immunotherapy Systemic Reactions: World Allergy Organization Subcutaneous Immunotherapy Systemic Reaction Grading System". Linda Cox, Desiree Larenas-Linnemann, Richard Lockey, Giovanni Passalacqua et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 2009 in press
  • The World Allergy Organization White Book on Allergy - Allergic Diseases as a Global Public Health Issue is nearing completion. Authored by international expert allergists and clinical immunologists, this will be a major resource to explain allergic diseases, their prevalence and management, and the importance of adequate service provision for allergy patients. It will be published early 2010.
  • WAO delegates attended a meeting held in Berlin, December 2008, to contribute to new guidelines on urticaria; Zuberbier T et al., EAACI/GA²LEN/EDF/WAO "Guideline: definition, classification and diagnosis of Urticaria". Allergy 2009;64(10):1417-1426; and Zuberbier T, Asero R, Bindslev-Jensen C, Canonica GW, Church MK, Giménez-Arnau AM et al. EAACI/GA²LEN/EDF/WAO Guideline: Management of urticaria. Allergy, 2009; 64:1427-1443.

Worldwide Education

  • GLORIA™ international placements were hosted in Singapore, the Philippines, Georgia, Honduras, India, Dubai and Bangladesh
  • GLORIA US program, in association with the ACAAI, organized 25 placements at regional and local allergy society meetings.
  • WAO Seminars & Conferences supported invited lecturers in South Africa, Mongolia, Argentina, the UAE and Italy.
  • Four successful World Allergy Forum symposia were held at the AAAAI Annual Meetings and the EAACI Congresses. The abstracts and slides can be accessed on the WAO Web site.
  • The Emerging Societies Program reaches out to allergists and physicians who care for patients with allergy in countries where no formal allergy society exists, or allergy as a specialty is still emerging. 2008 saw the highly successful first WAO allergy training school in Venezuela. Regional General Practitioners received training from local and international allergists to create a collaborative allergy care network; in 2009 WAO collaborated with the ACAAI, EAACI, and AAAAI to host a WAO Allergy Training School (WATS) for the Middle-East / Northern Africa Region at the First Middle East-Asia Allergy Asthma Immunology Congress (MEAAAIC) in Dubai, UAE, March 2009. Existing knowledge and skills were developed; local experts were encouraged to develop further the specialty of allergy and to widen the provision of patient care.

Worldwide Advocacy
WAO published three major Position Papers to support and promote the specialty of allergy and help set standards for clinical practice and training:

  • "What is an allergist? A position statement of the WAO Specialty and Training Council." Available at www.waojournal.org.
  • "Requirements for physician competencies in allergy: key clinical competencies appropriate for the care of patients with allergic or immunologic diseases-a position statement of the World Allergy Organization." Available at: www.waojournal.org.
  • "Recommendations for competency in allergy training for undergraduates qualifying as medical practitioners - a position paper of the World Allergy Organization." Available at: www.waojournal.org.
  • The first State of World Allergy Report - SOWAR - appeared in the WAO Journal in June 2008. SOWAR stresses the importance of providing national allergy services for the burgeoning numbers of allergy patients in the World, and this downloadable on-line resource is a useful resource for allergists and allergy societies wishing to improve local allergy service provision.

2. Deepen WAO's relationship with other Scientific Societies worldwide
Partnerships with other scientific societies flourished during these two years:

  • WAO contributed to the GA²LEN/GAIN project developing Web-based educational materials on anaphylaxis, and a poster on the emergency management of anaphylaxis for display in European Emergency Rooms.
  • WAO representatives attended the 2008 EAACI/ GA²LEN Urticaria guidelines meeting, expanding the output to a global recommendation.
  • WAO and GARD collaborated on a global survey of allergy diagnostic methods, preparatory to the development of inexpensive allergy diagnostic tools.
  • Interasma hosted the winter 2008 WAO Board meeting; WAO experts contributed to the Interasma scientific program.
  • The WAO Sub-Lingual Immunotherapy Meetings brought together many international scientific organizations
  • WAO agreed with IPCRG to develop an Immunotherapy document for GPs

3. Exploit web technology and the WAO web site "We should reach every allergist in the world" (www.worldallergy.org)

  • The WAO web site provides easy access worldwide to allergy and clinical immunology knowledge and information. During 2008-2009, numerous new programs and opportunities were added to the WAO web site.
  • In 2009 alone, www.worldallergy.org received the following traffic:
    • The website was visited 359,000 times (monthly average 45,000). Out of all of these visits, some 30% were identified as new visitors.
    • Individual pages on the website were viewed 718,405 times (monthly average 90,000). The amount of page views a site records determines the site's "traffic", so it is an important number to watch!
    • The site received 3.6 million hits (monthly average 445,000), a term that refers to all the elements on a page that are loaded and viewed by the visitor. This number increased in 2009 because WAO has been adding more interactive elements to the site.
  • During the same period in 2008, there were 386,000 visits, 724,000 page views, and 2.8 million hits. The higher number of hits for 2009 suggests the pages that have been accessed contain more content and functionality.
  • Visitors largely came to the site to get information about allergy and immunology Meetings and the WAO Congress, access the WAO Journal, listen to WAO Expert Interviews, and study Interactive Case Reviews or synopses from the Allergic Diseases Resource Center or the new Clinical Allergy Tips.
  • On-line CME was launched with the first program on Food Allergy going live in 2008 - earn 2 CMEs by completing this comprehensive Web-based learning activity. The second on-line CME module on Drug Allergy will launch late 2009
  • In the Allergic Diseases Resource Center (ADRC), new synopses were contributed on topics essential for practicing allergists and immunologists, with over 40 concise overviews on clinical allergy topics now being available to readers.
  • WAO also hosted three successful webinars. Speakers gave lectures from the University of South Florida, USA as their audiences watched, listened, and interacted from the Highlights in Allergy and Respiratory Disease Conference, Genoa, Italy; the World Congress on Asthma, Monaco, and the first Middle East - Asia Allergy, Asthma, Immunology Congress (MEAAAIC in Dubai). Webinars are available at: www.worldallergy.org/educational_programs/webinars.php

4. Empower The World Allergy Organization Journal

  • The WAO Journal launched in January 2008 as an online only publication. It is the only allergy journal to be fully online, and it is free to WAO members through the WAO web site. The WAO Journal covers a broad spectrum of the interdisciplinary field of research and clinical practice in allergy and clinical immunology.
  • The journal has published more than 100 articles since launch, including Original Articles, Review Articles, Letters to the Editor, Book Reviews and Editor Comments. Three new series were introduced in 2009: Notes of Allergy Watchers; Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology; and Basic and Clinical Translational Science.
  • The WAO Journal will be indexed retroactively, and we look forward to receiving your papers for publication! As an online-only peer-reviewed journal, the publication process is swift. New articles are posted each month on schedule.
  • Please sign up at the Journal web site and the WAO Journal contents will be delivered to your email in-box as soon as the new articles are posted.

5. WAO Surveys as a leading new initiative
WAO's federal structure provides a unique network for global surveys about allergy.

  • Specialty and Training Council conducted surveys on general/adult and pediatric clinical allergy services and allergy training.
  • Building on the WAO Special Committee on Anaphylaxis international survey on the availability of epinephrine auto-injectors worldwide in 2007, a 2008 survey of member societies gathered data on how anaphylaxis is diagnosed and treated in healthcare settings in their respective countries. These combined results form the basis of the WAO international guidelines for the assessment and management of anaphylaxis, which will launch at WAC 2009.
  • The Asthma Special Committee conducted a survey of member societies to find out about the major allergens involved in exacerbations of severe and chronic asthma, and to learn whether national definitions of severe asthma exist. The information obtained will inform a WAO educational program based on the new 2009 World Health Organization definition of Severe Asthma.
  • The Drug Allergy Special Committee conducted a survey on in-vivo methods used in the diagnosis of allergic reactions to major drug classes. The information obtained will be the first step to reaching a global consensus about the best way to diagnose drug hypersensitivity reactions, and sharing the clinical expertise on this major clinical problem.
  • The Evidence Based Medicine and Methodology Special Committee developed a survey to establish educational needs in EBM for an Evidence Based Medicine workshop during WAC 2011.
  • In collaboration with regional and global allergy and respiratory organizations, the WAO Climate Change and Allergy Special Committee piloted a survey to ascertain the extent of the effect of climate change on allergen prevalence and disease expression.
  • The Clinical Trials in Allergy and Clinical Immunology Special Committee developed a preliminary survey to investigate the value of creating a global network of allergy research centers in association with GA²LEN and EAACI.

6. Make World Allergy Congress 2009 the most successful to date - and moving forward

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina will host WAO's biennial World Allergy Congress (WAC), 6 - 10 December 2009, and we anticipate this will be a highly successful and profitable event, bringing together a faculty of international standing and delegates from around the World. Allergic diseases affect hundreds-of-millions of people throughout the world, and the prevalence is increasing, impacting the public health of all nations. Ongoing research provides new information that can be applied to the daily practice of medicine. That is why every two years the WAC is the most exciting international congress gathering of allergists and other related specialties from all over the world.
  • International Scientific Conference, Dubai 2010Even more exciting news: we are now planning an annual WAO International Scientific Conference in the interim years between World Allergy Congresses, each focusing on a key aspect of allergy. The first International Scientific Conference, Asthma and Co-morbid Conditions: Expanding the Practice of Allergy for Optimal Patient Care, will be held from 6 - 8 December 2010 in Dubai, UAE.

The World Allergy Organization's mission is to be a global resource and advocate in the field of allergy, advancing excellence in clinical care through education, research and training as a world-wide alliance of allergy and clinical immunology societies. Visit us on the Web at www.worldallergy.org

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