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IDSA Board of Directors revamps strategic plan in ongoing response to COVID-19 pandemic

Daniel P. McQuillen, MD, FIDSA
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For nearly two years, IDSA and its members have focused on leading the response to COVID-19, and it’s clear that SARS-CoV-2 will be part of our lives for the foreseeable future. But we know that we must continue to move forward on key initiatives that are important to our profession and our members.

Over the past several months, the IDSA leadership has spent a significant amount of time examining and realigning our strategic plan, which was developed prior to the pandemic, to account for the critical work we’ve also been doing in response to COVID-19 and to prepare for future pandemics. At the same time, we cannot lose ground on key priorities we identified before the advent of COVID, such as championing fair compensation for ID physicians and facilitating the growth and development of the ID workforce, which are issues that only IDSA will take the lead on. And, of course, driving progress on antimicrobial resistance remains one of the biggest public health challenges of our time.

We believe this is a unique time to seize the moment, serve our members’ needs and align our existing strategic initiatives using COVID-19 as the catalyst to tell our profession’s great story. We also believe it’s an opportunity to solidify our organization’s infrastructure and make investments to increase value for members and advance our mission in several critical areas.

During our board of directors meeting in September, we finalized plans for the next 15 months that will move us toward our five-year goals. During that process, we emphasized projects that have a broad impact across the Society’s priorities and have the potential to make significant progress in multiple areas.

At the conclusion of that meeting, the board approved a significant financial investment to rapidly advance our strategic initiatives, including advocating for the value of ID specialists, improving compensation for the services they provide to patients and the health care system and fighting the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. As part of this effort, we are committed to developing materials and resources that document the full scope of the essential role that ID professionals have played in responding to the current pandemic.

IDSA has been and will continue to be on the forefront of the nation’s efforts to bring COVID-19 to a close and prepare for future pandemics. Our leaders are advising officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other federal agencies and the White House who are assessing our pandemic response to date and developing a new plan to ready our country to address and limit future pandemic threats. We have also educated the media through regular briefings and interviews with the nation’s top journalists, helping to ensure a science-based message is communicated to the public. Through our ongoing advocacy and outreach, these groups well know the key role our members play in this process.

In the middle of a pandemic that is disproportionately affecting people of color and underserved communities, IDSA also remains strongly committed to ensuring that the principles of inclusion, diversity, access and equity are woven into everything we do. In September, the board approved the creation of a permanent IDA&E Committee, building on the efforts of our IDA&E Task Force, which was established in 2018. Converting the current task force into a permanent part of IDSA’s governance structure will ensure an ongoing focus on the Society’s IDA&E Roadmap and Strategies and provide strategic direction to the board on advancing these priorities.

I look forward to sharing additional updates as these exciting and critical efforts move forward. Thank you for your tireless work in continuing to respond to this pandemic as we also look to the future of our field.

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