By Randall Flick, MD, MPH, FAAP
As we head into the holiday season, it is always good to reflect on the good fortune of the past year and consider the future. In 2017 the Society and its increasing number of Sections including the SPPM, CCAS and soon the PAPDA, have each shown strong growth. Our finances also remain strong thanks to the wise management of the Ruggles team, careful stewardship of the board and a strong stock market. Unfortunately many, including friends and colleagues, were not so fortunate in 2017.
Hurricanes devastated many areas of the gulf coast and Caribbean including Houston, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands causing enormous damage to property and loss of life. Many affected communities remain without electric power and have limited services. The SPA membership responded, generously raising more than $20,000 that was subsequently directed to Americares International to assist affected hospitals with much needed supplies, medications and equipment. Thank you for your generosity.
For the more than 400 who attended, the SPA Annual Meeting in Boston was a profound success. Not surprising, given the leadership of program chair Dan Roke, co-chair Justin Lockman, program shadow Katherine Keech and, of course, our President-Elect and Chair of the Education Committee, Kirk Lalwani. This is the first time we have been in Boston and the folks at Boston Children’s Hospital were fabulous hosts. Paul Hickey, Mark Rockoff and the entire Children’s staff were incredibly gracious hosts, arranging tours of the ether dome and the hospital and supporting a wonderful reception at the New England Aquarium.
As we look forward to 2018, we will travel to Phoenix for the Winter meeting. Peggy McNaull and her team, including co-chairs Melissa Brooks and Tarun Bhalla, program shadows Titilopema Aina, Robert Bryskin and Eliot Grigg, with strong support from Kirk Lalwani, Kim Battle and the Ruggles management team, have assembled an engaging and entertaining program at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge, a truly five star setting. Let’s all hope for good weather.
In Phoenix, the Board of Directors, along with past presidents and other leaders of the Society, will engage in a strategic planning session. The process will be led by William Greeley who many know as the recently retired chair of pediatric anesthesia at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a past president of the SPA. Given his deep knowledge of and commitment to SPA, Bill was asked and very kindly agreed to lead the process for the Society. Beginning in the next few months, Bill will engage past presidents, current leadership and membership in a variety of ways to gather the information necessary to inform the board and ultimately chart a course for the future.
As president, I am very excited by the prospect of taking a fresh look at how the Society can fulfill its mission to the membership and to the children and families we serve. Whether it is in the hospital, in the board room, in research, as educators or as advocates for our patients, we must expand our leadership role as the voice of the specialty. In the future, SPA must make a greater commitment to representing our colleagues and our patients to leaders in healthcare, to government and to the public, if we are to ensure the health of our patients, our specialty and our Society.