Dear members of the American STD Association:
I hope you are all doing well and have found a new rhythm to your daily lives that keeps you safe, productive and mentally well. I know it has been a struggle to find new processes for working and communicating, but hopefully we are all getting to a better place than we were two months ago! I wanted to share with you some updates on ASTDA activities that might provide good news for a change. In this update, there are a couple of calls to action for YOU, our membership so please see how you can become involved. First and foremost, we are now routinely updating the website so please return often to see what is new.
- We have selected the annual ASTDA Recognition Awards recipients! Please reach out to your colleagues who have been selected:
- Gail Bolan (CDC) is the recipient of the Distinguished Career Award
- Gina Ogilvie is the recipient of the Achievement Award
- Claire Bristow is the recipient of the Young Investigator Award
- Elections to the ASTDA Board have been completed. For the first time ever, we have two elected Board members intentionally selected from a pool of early career stage investigators (denoted below with an *) in order to guarantee that we have fresh new perspectives on the Board! Please reach out and congratulate your colleagues. Effective 1 August, the following people will be joining the Board:
- Beth Meyerson (Arizona University)
- Preeti Pathela (NYC Health Department)
- Arlene Seña (University of North Carolina)
- Olusegun (SO) Soge (University of Washington – Seattle)
- *Teresa Batteiger (Indiana University)
- *Sue Tuddenham (Johns Hopkins University)
- We have created a process for position statements and papers to be published in Sexually Transmitted Diseases (the association’s journal). Look for the first one to appear in the journal in the next month or so. These statements/papers are intended to reflect the opinions and recommendations of the ASTDA (of which you are a part!) on important issues relevant to the prevention and control of sexually transmitted infections. Position papers and statements encompass policy issues as well as clinical and scientific topics. Read more about how to propose a position piece.
- We have a continuing commitment to career development and public health-academia-industry collaborations which we addressed during our annual workshop. This year we held the workshop in Santa Fe in January (one of the last trips many of us made this year!). If CoVID has taught us anything, hopefully one of the lessons learned is that all sectors MUST collaborate in order for us to mount a successful campaign against any infectious disease. In keeping with that principle, we have created the first industry fellowship which will see Dr. Casey Pinto working with SpeeDx Ltd to learn about the processes involved in diagnostic assay development, evaluation and regulatory approval. She has also teamed with Dr. Beth Marlowe at Quest to analyze a large, national data set looking at STD testing during the CoVID outbreak. Other activities are in development that we hope will be responsive to the needs of today’s STI control efforts.
We Need Your Help
Consistent with our mission [To foster scientific knowledge, develop leadership, and champion practice in the field of sexually transmitted infections] we are actively seeking to reach out and increase our membership, particularly among people in early career stages, people engaged in control programs and academics alike, and people in any discipline that sees a benefit in a sex-positive approach to reducing STI. We have improved the membership process and made it easy to join and renew and we want to be your voice! Please reach out to friends and colleagues and share this newsletter and/or a link to our website. Some benefits and logistics are described below:
- Joining ASTDA now has only a single price structure to avoid complication/confusion. For convenience, dues are now always due on 1 January with membership through 31 December to reduce the need to simplify the renewal process
Members receive the following benefits:
- Since ASTDA represents the North American Arm of the International Union against STI (IUSTI), ASTDA members are automatically IUSTI members (We will pay your dues to that organization without effort on your part). This provides substantial discounts for all IUSTI meetings worldwide as well as linking you to colleagues in our field
- Subscription to Sexually Transmitted Diseases journal. You can opt to receive a paper copy or the electronic version only (all paper subscribers also have electronic access)
- Ability to run for the ASTDA Board and provide your voice in the management of the organization
- Eligibility to apply for small grants to assist with projects that are unfunded-or underfunded. We have funded two such requests this year.
Finally, a word about our colleagues.
- NCSD has been working tirelessly to obtain improved funding for DIS services for CoVID which in the long run may be helpful for increasing the STD workforce in the future.
- The STD Prevention meeting to be held in September is now scheduled as a virtual meeting.
- The IUSTI World meeting to be held in Bangkok in December will be moved to 2021, date to be determined.
Barbara Van Der Pol, PhD, MPH
Professor of Medicine and Public Health
UAB Schools of Medicine and Public Health
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine
President, American STD Association
President-Elect, International Society for STD Research
Khalil Ghanem, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
President-Elect, American STD Association