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President's Corner: Dr. Reginald Blaylock

Welcome to the Fall 2023 ASP Newsletter. First, I want to thank you for the honor of serving as President of the American Society of Parasitologists (ASP). Second, I want to thank our Past President, Tami Cook, outgoing Council members, Sam Loker and Steve Nadler, outgoing student representative, Sarah Goodnight, and the outgoing Nominating Committee for their service. I also would like to acknowledge the current and incoming officers and Council members for their dedication to the Society. A special thanks goes to all who answered my call to serve on the various committees. All of you make my job as President easier. The continued strength of ASP depends on the willingness of members to share in its governance. I encourage all of you to get involved and help us keep ASP strong.

Kirsten Jensen and the Local Organizing Committee along with our Scientific Program Officers created a memorable meeting in Kansas City, the monstrous storm that caused roof leaks and elevator failures notwithstanding. The program contained over 130 presentations, 60 of which were entries into the Best Student Presentation competition. Pre-conference workshops provided professional development opportunities in media relations and generating genomic data. President Cook’s Symposium and Presidential Address reminded us of the importance of undergraduate institutions and research in ASP. Charles Criscione’s Ward Medal Lecture inspired us to think about the shoulders on which we stand. And, of course, the Palletes & Parasites Contest and the auction provided outlets for our artistic abilities.

In 2024, ASP will celebrate its 100th anniversary in Denver, CO (13-16 June). Valerie McKenzie is heading the Local Organizing Committee and working with our Scientific Program Officers to plan a meeting fitting for the occasion. Please mark your calendars and make plans to attend.

Traditional scientific societies, ASP included, face significant headwinds. Some of the issues are certainly related to our emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, but the world continues to change. There simply are a lot of meeting and publishing options out there, and evolving electronic capabilities have changed the way we communicate. ASP and Journal of Parasitology (JP) leadership have positioned ASP and the Journal well, but we need to understand our members’ changing needs and expectations and be proactive and nimble to continue providing value to the parasitology community as we enter our second century. In this vein, I have tasked Sara Brant, the President-elect and Chair of the Priorities and Planning Committee, with coordinating the development of a Strategic Plan. My hope is that we can identify some key issues facing ASP and JP and develop plans for potential solutions that can serve as a guidance document for the Society’s and the Journal’s growth and evolution over the coming years. At the behest of Rich Clopton, Editor of JP, and the consent of Council, I also have asked Janine Caira to chair a committee to begin preparing for the selection of the next Editor. Rich will continue his excellent leadership for the near term.

Over the coming year, I hope that many of you will have the opportunity to opine on the future of the Society and the Journal. The officers intend to visit some regional affiliates to experience the diversity of ASP and listen to your hopes and dreams for the Society. Please reach out to colleagues serving on ASP Committees and Council to share your views and concerns. ASP is full of talented and engaged people. Together, we can ensure that the American Society of Parasitologists will be around for another 100 years.

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