Dear ASP Colleagues,
For the health and safety of our members, we were forced to cancel the 2020 annual meeting of the American Society of Parasitologists. It was the correct decision, but it was a difficult one to make. The Journal of Parasitology and the annual meeting are the venues where our members share their professional experiences. The Journal sets the permanent record, and the annual meeting is where the real-time exchange of ideas takes place. That is, the annual meeting is where we vividly share ongoing research and policy, where we discuss the latest in teaching and communicating parasitology, and where we foster the development of those training to be parasitologists. The annual meeting is where we see old friends, and where we seek advice on current projects, proposals under development, teaching practices, and much more. Therefore, the cancellation of the annual meeting is a blow to each one of us and to our Society as a whole.
We will certainly overcome this setback. The Journal of Parasitology continues its strong growth. The student representative to Council, Kaylee Herzog, has organized a virtual activity called Parasite Hour where early career parasitologists will share their research. Finally, we will host exciting ASP annual meetings in the years to come, starting with our 2021 meeting in Baltimore.
The cancellation of this year’s annual meeting has had a secondary, negative effect. Some of our members wait until the annual meeting to renew their membership. Without an annual meeting, the summer membership bump that helps sustain our society has not materialized. I urge our members who have not renewed their 2020 membership to renew now. The benefits are immense. Membership provides access to the Journal of Parasitology and to top-notch investigators and educators. Membership also supports parasitology advocacy and outreach (like #ParasiteWeek), and maintains a Society that for nearly a century has been instrumental to the professional growth of many scientists and educators. My ASP experience is one of the reasons I am where I am today.
If you have not renewed your membership, I encourage you to do so today. Moreover, I encourage each of you to discuss with a colleague the value of ASP membership so that we can grow. You may also consider making a donation.
By working together, we will emerge from this pandemic as a stronger and more vibrant society.
Julián F. Hillyer, Ph.D.
President, American Society of Parasitologists