Dear ASTDA Members,
We hope this message finds you well. These have been challenging times. Despite the broad availability of vaccines in the United States, the uncertainty about the pandemic’s trajectory weighs heavily on all of us. We hope that you’ve been able to find some balance between the demands of work, and your ability to maintain personal wellness.
Since the last update one year ago, Khalil Ghanem has taken over for Bobbie Van Der Pol as President of ASTDA, Abby Norris Turner has taken over as President-Elect, and Arlene Seña has taken over as Treasurer. We’d like to take a moment to thank Bobbie for her incredible leadership over the past three years. Under Bobbie, ASTDA developed a Mission Statement, updated its objectives, and launched a new enhanced website. The ASTDA Constitution and Bylaws were updated, and several new initiatives were conceived, including the Small Project Assistance Program and ASTDA Position Papers and Statements. Bobbie also spearheaded ASTDA’s successful bid to host the 2023 STI and HIV World Congress which will be held in Chicago. For these accomplishments, and many others, we are most grateful for Bobbie’s leadership.
Since last year, we are happy to share the following updates with you:
- We have selected the 2021 ASTDA Recognition Awards recipients. The awards were presented at the ISSTDR meeting in Amsterdam during the ASTDA’s Awards Luncheon (virtual). If you were unable to attend, you can watch the videotaped presentations on the ASTDA website. The videos are available to everyone-even if they did not register for the ISSTDR meeting. The following individuals were honored for their important contributions to the STI field:
- Kees Rietmeijer is the recipient of the Distinguished Career Award
- Bill Miller is the recipient of the Achievement Award
- Anna Cope is the recipient of the Young Investigator Award
- The ASTDA partnered with the organizers of ISSTDR 2021 to select the ASTDA Best Oral and Poster Presentations by a Young Investigator at the meeting. The winner for the best oral presentation was Erica Plummer, from Monash University and the Melbourne Sexual Health Center, for the talk “The impact of concurrent partner treatment for bacterial vaginosis on the genital microbiota of heterosexual couples: a pilot study.” The winner for the best poster presentation was Ross Kincaid, of Glasgow Caledonian University, for the poster “Do GBMSM’s preferences for in-person, telephone or digital sexual healthcare vary according to health concerns and symptoms? A cross-sectional survey.”
- The ASTDA provided $5,000 to fund scholarships for ISSTDR 2021 Amsterdam
- The ASTDA Workforce Development Committee will be launching a Summer Fellowship Program during summer 2022 for 5 trainees. Each trainee will receive a stipend as will their mentor. The goal is to promote enthusiasm for the STI field among trainees with broad STI-related interests (e.g. research, clinical work, public health, policy, etc.) and is open to trainees with both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Please be on the look-out for additional information to be posted in the winter on the ASTDA website.
- The ASTDA has increased funding for their Small Project Assistance Fund. The goal of the fund is to provide up to $5000 to young investigators for projects related to STIs. Please encourage young investigators to apply for these funds. The next due date to request funds is January 3, 2022. More information can be found on the ASTDA website.
- Two ASTDA Position Statements have been published in STD:
- In Support of the Publicly Funded Sexually Transmitted Infections Specialty Clinic
- Direct-to-Consumer STI Testing Services
- The ASTDA will be hiring a communications intern to help promote the work of the Association. Dr. Beth Meyerson, who chairs the ASTDA Communications Committee, and the committee members will be working with the intern to develop a comprehensive communication plan. The ASTDA is also developing a Social Media Policy which will be released after Board approval.
- Under the leadership of Bill Miller, STD’s impact factor has increased to 2.830. Congratulations to Bill, Jeanne Moncada, and the Associate Editors for their hard work.
- ASTDA/IUSTI-North America will host the 2023 combined ISSTDR/IUSTI World Congress (it’s 50th year). The Congress will be held in Chicago, July 22-26, 2023 in conjunction with the National Sexual Health Conference. The Scientific Committee will be chaired by Drs. Patricia Kissinger and Andrew Winter. During that conference, we will also be celebrating IUSTI’s 100th anniversary! It will be a fantastic meeting. Please block your calendars and plan to attend in person!
It is our pleasure to share this great news with our members. We would like to ask for your help. PLEASE encourage your colleagues and young investigators to join ASTDA. The benefits, in addition to the journal STD, include scholarships, a funded summer fellowship program, small project assistance funds, and recognition awards.
Thank you for being members of ASTDA. We are looking forward to another successful year. If you have suggestions for novel initiatives, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Khalil Ghanem, President
Abby Norris Turner, Vice President