Now at the end of 2020, we embark on another year with the AAOA, but with significant and obvious changes. As an organization, we strive to continue to serve the membership with both education and tools necessary to treat allergic…
I hope all of you enjoyed our spectacular record-setting annual meeting with over 500 registered attendees this year. I wish we could have connected in person in Scottsdale; however, this year has brought unprecedented challenges to everyone due to COVID-19, changing the forum in which education & updates in the field of otolaryngic allergy are delivered to you.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 13 months since I accepted the role of AAOA President at our 2019 Annual Meeting in New Orleans. My goal for this past year was quite simple…to make our organization better than it already was. Little did I know that we would soon be facing one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime, COVID-19. Well, I am proud to say that our Academy continues to successfully navigate through this pandemic, and our many achievements this year are a testament of our fortitude, passion, and dedication to our organization and its members.
We started this year by changing our mission statement to align with our vision and goals and to capture the essence of who we are. Many of you are familiar with our Clinical Care Statements, which we initially created in 2015 when I was serving as Socioeconomic Chair. Earlier this year, we reviewed and updated these evidence-based summaries, along with recommended therapies and practices from current medical literature. About the same time, we launched our Practice Resource Tool Kit, which has our SLIT cost calculator, coding guidance, and even a tip sheet for evaluating payor contracts and policies. This year also brought the AAOA’s new podcast series and leadership blogs, which I hope you appreciated. Most of us probably still need to meet the annual requirement of Part 2 of the ABOHNS Continuing Certification Process, which is lifelong learning and self-assessment. I am happy to report that now all of our CME products, including the 2020 Annual Meeting, will satisfy this requirement. This has added tremendous value for our members.
Once the pandemic was in full swing this past spring, our Academy responded with our first zoom cast series, Just in Time. We also released a summary statement on resuming SCIT during the COVID-19 pandemic and partnered with the ARS for a joint webcast or webinar on office-based procedures. I believe these resources helped you during this difficult time period. Although COVID forced us to cancel our live courses and meeting this year, it also accelerated the development of our digital education products, including the AAOA’s 1st Virtual course, Core Allergy and Rhinology Concepts: Age of Pandemics and Beyond. With this course, we had our first virtual exhibit hall with our industry partners. Recently, we also released an adaptive-learning module on the hot topic of biologics.
As you can tell, we’ve been quite productive this year in meeting the educational and other needs of our members. None of these accomplishments would have been possible without the efforts and ideas of our staff and all of our AAOA leaders, including our Board of Directors and chairs, leads, and members of our various committees and workgroups. I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a talented group of individuals, who are truly committed to the welfare of our organization. I want to recognize the following members of the Board of Directors who will be rotating off the board: Chris Vickery, Mona Patadia, Stella Lee, Kristin Seiberling, and Christine Franzese. Thank you for all you have done.
On behalf of the entire AAOA, I also want to express gratitude to our nearly 3000 members for your support and engagement during this past year. We always appreciate your input and feedback so we can continue to meet your needs. As we continue our march forward, I believe our future is bright. We are committed to working on behalf of our members to build a better AAOA even during these challenging times. Some of our strategic initiatives for the next several years include microlearning opportunities, hybrid meetings, enhancing our current library of digital CME products and meetings, and expanding our corporate partnership and engagement during this new normal. I am confident our organization will continue to reach new heights in 2021.
Lastly, it has been an honor and a real privilege to have served as your President during this unforgettable year. I wish you the best during the upcoming holiday season.
Alpen Patel, MD, FAAOA