From the President
It is a great honor to serve as your 2018-2019 AAAAI President. I recognize that not every member was present at the AAAAI Business Meeting in Orlando, therefore I wanted to provide some highlights from the inaugural address that I delivered there.
To give you a sense of my background, I was born January 17, 1956, in Clifton Springs, New York. I come from a fairly large family, including five sisters and two brothers. I attended the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, where I earned my undergraduate degree in 1978. From there I attended medical school at the University of Rochester, graduating in 1982.
The next stop in my career was the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. I completed both a three-year pediatrics residency—as well as an additional year serving as chief resident in pediatrics—and a pediatric allergy and immunology fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 1988, I officially joined the Johns Hopkins faculty and it has been my home ever since, although I did spend my next 17 years splitting time between academics and private practice.
I am currently a professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a professor of international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. I am also chief of the Eudowood Division of Allergy and Immunology in the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and director of the Pediatric Allergy Clinics, the Pediatric Allergy Consultation Service, and the Pediatric Clinical Research Unit at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
I am indebted to my family for their unending support throughout my career. This includes my wife Renee, who is a retired veterinarian. Hearing that, you will not be surprised to learn we have had lots of pets, currently including our dog Echo and our tortoise Simon. I am also indebted to those who have served as my mentors over the years, including Jerry A. Winkelstein, MD, Peyton A. Eggleston, MD, FAAAAI, Hugh A. Sampson, MD, FAAAAI, William W. Busse, MD, FAAAAI, and A. Wesley Burks, MD, FAAAAI.
If you are curious how I spend the average day, my time is divided between four things: patient care, research on food allergy and asthma (including serving as Principal Investigator for the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Consortium for Food Allergy Research), administration associated with the various positions I hold at John Hopkins as well as my duties as AAAAI President, and lastly, training. I have been lucky to help train many of the current and future leaders in pediatric allergy/immunology (A/I).
Optimal Care for the Food Allergic Patient
My presidential theme is optimal care for the food allergic patient with a focus on four key areas of need: a rational approach to treatment, optimizing prevention, making an accurate diagnosis, and best practices for the prevention and treatment of anaphylaxis. The timing is perfect as food allergy is playing an increasingly important role in our specialty and this role will only increase as the disease becomes more prevalent and treatments become available. Overall care at this time is still far from optimal in all four key areas of need. In addition, this theme aligns well with the AAAAI Strategic Plan, especially in terms of the plan’s focus on scope of practice, research, and education.
Other key initiatives for the coming year include continuing the work of Thomas A. Fleisher, MD, FAAAAI, and David B. Peden, MD, MS, FAAAAI, regarding expanding the scope of A/I practice and ensuring the future of our specialty. I also plan to examine the AAAAI infrastructure with the goal of maximizing efficiency, quality, performance, and diversity, with balanced representation of all AAAAI constituencies.
In case you are not aware, we are now celebrating the 75th anniversary of the AAAAI. The evolution of the AAAAI dates back to the early 1920s with the founding of two professional organizations: the Society for the Study of Asthma and Allied Conditions (on the East Coast) and the American Association for the Study of Allergy (on the West Coast). However in 1943, these two entities joined forces to become one stronger, integrated professional society called the American Academy of Allergy. Although its name has changed, the AAAAI’s mission has remained the same: the advancement of the knowledge of allergy, asthma and immunology for optimal patient care.
We have had great success but still have tremendous opportunities to grow and develop our specialty. The AAAAI is poised to lead the charge with your continued energy and support. I look forward to working with you over the next year to lead that charge.
Robert A. Wood, MD, FAAAAI
Last updated: March 13, 2018
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