Welcome to my first installment of the President’s Corner! Three months after our annual meeting in Rochester, MN, I am still thinking of the successes of that gathering. The scientific sessions were, as always, conceptually stimulating. The symposia had something for everyone: from practical advice on the different career paths related to parasitology to lessons in clinical parasitology to how arthropods interact with their pathogens. The keynote addresses enthralled us with the peculiar biologies of Giardia and trypanosomes, the workshops at the Mayo Clinic were technologically and practically impressive, and President John Hawdon taught us, among other things, ASP’s glorious history in hookworm research. And as always, the ASP meeting was welcoming to trainees, as evidenced by our investment in the Vortex and Student Reception, and the Dresden awards that financed student travel to and from the meeting. Producing a conference that runs as smoothly as the Rochester meeting requires a huge amount of planning, and for that I thank Program Officers Kelli Sapp and Herman Eure, Secretary-Treasurer Lee Couch, President Hawdon, the local organizing committee led by Bobbi Pritt, and all others that donated their time and effort.
But the Rochester meeting was also about planning for our future. ASP’s Council had a marathon meeting where numerous policies and procedures were adopted, all with the goal of further enhancing the value of membership while preserving the stability of our Society. The Education Committee, for example, will continue to work toward developing a website with teaching materials related to parasitology. Newly formed committees will re-evaluate the insurance needs of the Society as well as our investment strategies. New or revised policies are in place regarding ethics and travel, and on the heels of ASP becoming a founding member of the Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM, Council voted to create a new committee on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Over the next year that committee will evaluate our current policies and practices, and will recommend changes designed to ensure that the ASP experience is welcoming to everyone. As all of this is happening, both The Journal of Parasitology – led by our Editor-in-Chief, Richard Clopton, and his team of Associate Editors – and the ASP Newsletter – led by Kelly Weinersmith and the Public Relations Committee – continue their vibrant reinvigoration.
Reasoned and measured change is always good, and now the Society finds itself in the process of searching for a new Scientific Program Officer. After many years of service, Program Officers Sapp and Eure are retiring from this role. This is all part of the natural cycle, and I am hopeful that the new Program Officer will continue the traditions that make our annual meetings a success, while providing the innovation needed to deliver an improved and more valuable experience.
With that in mind, it is worth emphasizing that the planning for the 2020 annual meeting is well on its way. The meeting will take place July 16-19 at the InterContinental Hotel at the Plaza in Kansas City, MO. I hope to see you all there, so, mark your calendars!
To conclude, remember that the American Society of Parasitologists is your Society. If you have any recommendations as to how to enhance the ASP experience, please share your thoughts with me and the rest of the ASP leadership.