|Letter from the President, Fall, 2013|
By Evan Noch, M.D., Ph.D.
Dear Members, Colleagues, and Friends,
The 2013-2014 year of the American Physician Scientists Association (APSA) is off to a wonderful and productive start. Our recent 9th Annual Meeting in April at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago, IL was a great success, with speakers ranging from Shinya Yamanaka to Francis Collins and from Bruce Beutler to Robert Lefkowitz. APSA has expanded rapidly over this past year, and our five standing committees have continued to generate new initiatives that will enhance our member benefits and bolster our presence within the scientific community.
Our Membership Committee has successfully recruited 18 Institutional Memberships over the last year, whose students benefit from all that APSA has to offer, and APSA’s total membership has increased to over 1200. The Membership Committee is particularly interested in recruiting undergraduate students and residents and fellows to the organization and is working on a variety of efforts to accomplish these goals. APSA now has two undergraduate liaisons, Sofia Campos and Leanne Dumeny, as well as one resident liaison, Eli Levin, who are working to build benefits for undergraduate and resident members. Surveys are currently underway to better understand the needs of our members within APSA, and plans are ongoing to add benefits for these members at our live events and on our website. Our four regional meetings this fall will bring together over 600 trainees across the country to discuss career development, present their latest work, and network with other physician-scientists in training. At these meetings, focus groups with residents and undergraduate students will be held to provide feedback on how APSA can better serve these member groups. Undergraduate-and resident-specific panel sessions will be held at several meetings and will help undergraduates navigate the MD-DO/PhD application process. This committee is also actively working to establish local chapters across the country, which will provide trainees access to events on a local level that are supported by APSA or that reflect the mission of the organization.
Through social media, advertising, and outreach, our Public Relations Committee has greatly expanded its impact on our members and prospective members within the scientific community. We started off the year by providing an instant recap of the events that transpired at this year’s Annual Meeting. Our twitter feed has been active with new tweets from us and with re-tweets from other scientific organizations and well known scientists, and we sent over 50 tweets during the last Annual Meeting. Our facebook and LinkedIn groups continue to engage our members in the everyday happenings at APSA. Through our website, we provide pertinent articles written by our own members as well as the opportunity to interact with fellow members using the blogs and forums features. We have created seven new Interest Groups and have held two interactive sessions on our website, bringing together members interested in Neurology, Infectious Diseases, Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, Translational Research, and those who are undergraduates or prospective or current residents or fellows.
Our Policy Committee has been actively advocating for the needs of our membership. Several of our survey-driven studies, including our F30 survey examining NIH pre-doctoral funding and the Tomorrow’s Physician Initiative examining career pathways of physician-scientists in training, are nearing publication, which will help promote APSA and its critical compilation of data within the academic community. Our Policy Panel at the 2013 Annual Meeting was a great success with a quartet of excellent speakers, including the NIH director, Francis Collins, and our 2014 Policy Panel is shaping up to be similarly impactful. We are again planning a Capitol Hill lobby day this Spring to advocate for funding and resource allocation for physician-scientists in training. In addition, we are collaborating with a number of other organizations, including the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS), to broaden advocacy efforts for our members.
We recently held our Annual APSA Leadership Retreat in Philadelphia, a weekend aimed at envisioning and planning a successful year within APSA. Through the help of the Finance Committee, Executive Council, and the Board of Directors, we generated and approved an annual budget for the very first time in APSA history. With this new budget, our organization will be better poised for financial growth while maintaining fiscal responsibility of resources currently available. This year, our Finance Committee will actively pursue sponsorships from the private sector and other charitable organizations and are preparing marketing documents to aid in recruitment. In addition, our Vice-President for Internal Affairs, Stephanie Jackson, has begun the process to formalize our existing partnerships with specialty societies and is poised to add many other societies to our list of collaborators and partner organizations. Many of these partnerships will be based on the specific specialties that our members have indicated as their chosen clinical or research fields of interest from our career interest survey. Through these partnerships, APSA hopes to offer greater benefits to our members in a variety of clinical and research sub-specialties and to provide access to important resources within these organizations for our members.
As one of the highlights of the upcoming year, our 10th Annual Meeting, which will be held at the Fairmont Hotel, Millennium Park in Chicago, IL, from April 25-27th, 2014, is shaping up to be one of the best meetings to date. We have already confirmed Brian Kobilka and Peter Agre, both Nobel laureates, as APSA keynote speakers, and we are planning innovative panel sessions and networking opportunities designed to marshal in the next decade of APSA. Our Welcome Reception, which will be held on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center, is sure to provide an unparalleled view of the Chicago skyline. With an even stronger collaboration with ASCI and AAP and much cross-promotion of our meetings, APSA’s 10th Annual Meeting is sure to be enjoyable and memorable for all in attendance.
Thank you again for your interest and dedication to APSA. It is APSA’s membership that fortifies this organization and builds the foundation for a successful and fruitful year. If you have any suggestions on ways in which we can improve your career development and offer innovative educational or networking opportunities, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to a year of growth, a year of meaningful and exciting programming, and one that ushers in success and productivity for APSA and all of its members.
Evan Noch, M.D., Ph.D.