It is a tremendous honor to be writing to you as the new CIS President. I would first like to thank Dr. Roshini Abraham for her outstanding leadership and dedication to the health of the society over the last two years. Through her vision, we have successfully launched the CIS Foundation (proven to be even more successful by your generosity at the Annual Meeting and enthusiasm for the talents of your colleagues), grown and developed global partnerships, and developed the new CIS diagnostic immunology summer school educational program, all to benefit the members of the CIS. Because of her dedication and foresight, the scope of the CIS has grown immensely, and will be forever changed.
After returning from another fantastic Annual Meeting in Atlanta, I would also like to thank all of our attendees, as each individual contribution adds to the success of this program year after year. The science presented only gets better and more significant, and 2019 was no exception due to the hard work of our attendees and the Program Committee. I would like to thank all of the CIS members for their unwavering support of the CIS and dedication to our field.
As I transition into my role as President, I would like to focus on a few key initiatives over the next two years which benefit the three core constituencies that we serve; Clinicians, Researchers, and Patients.
First, as a globally recognized society, CIS is in the ideal position to be at the forefront of conversations related to clinical practice guidelines and standards of care. Over the next two years, I would like to see CIS grow its reach as an organization that establishes practice parameters and standards for diagnosis and treatment in clinical immunology. With our impressive membership and its combined knowledge and practice, it is important that CIS act as a collective voice for practitioners around the world who encounter and treat PIDD patients.
With this in mind, CIS remains strongly committed to providing valuable educational resources to members of our society and to the medical community at large. I am passionate about this mission and look forward to working with members of the Education Committee to develop and expand CIS educational resources and offerings.
As started by my predecessor, Dr. Abraham, we will continue to work toward the growth of the CIS Foundation endowment. We have set a goal of $1M before dispersing funds, and while we have certainly made great strides toward this goal due to your incredible generosity, there is still a long road ahead. I, along with the rest of the CIS Leadership, will be working to explore additional sources of funding to grow the endowment including volunteer events, corporate support, and the Second Annual CIS Talent Show. I invite members to share their ideas about how we can grow the endowment together to provide stable funding opportunities for future generations of immunologists.
Additionally, as we continue to raise funds to support future research, it is equally important to set our sights on current research endeavors. Over the past several years, with the summer school programs and other educational activities, CIS has done an amazing job of supporting and nurturing the careers of fellows from various backgrounds. It is increasingly evident however that we need to reach further down in the training years to invite and engage residents and medical students in the excitement of immunology to capture their interests early. I look forward to working with our Early Career Immunologist committee, our Women in Clinical Immunology Sciences committee, and with the membership to look for meaningful approaches to do this and to connect students and residents with CIS members to collaborate on research and clinical projects early in their career trajectory.
Finally, I am excited to engage actively with patients and patient organizations to help them to partner with clinicians and researchers to actively drive the clinical and research agendas forward in consequential ways. We still have much to do to improve quality of life for patients with PIDD and for their family members.
One area of perceived need that is having an increasingly profound impact on patients, their families, and their providers is the ability to obtain accurate genetic information and then to quickly and definitively connect genotype to phenotype. As such, interpretation of Variants of Uncertain Significance (VUS) has become a significant challenge that has substantial clinical consequence. I am committed to working with the membership and with members of the Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology committee to search for novel approaches like the VUServe to help connect patients and clinicians with appropriate resources for functional testing that may be available clinically or on a research basis in order to quickly determine whether an identified genetic defect is pathogenic.
Finally, I would like to thank all of you for your steadfast support. I am looking forward to an exciting two years. I invite all of the society members to reach out to me personally or via the CIS staff to communicate your concerns, share your ideas for new initiatives, or to volunteer your talents and skills to continue to expand our vibrant community.
Troy Torgerson, MD, PhD