AAAAI Annual Meeting / WAC 2018

Global Environmental Change and Respiratory Health

The World Allergy Organization (WAO) is joining the AAAAI for the 2018 AAAAI/WAO Joint Congress, March 2-5 in Orlando. Because of this partnership, members will have further opportunities to exchange ideas with leading allergist/immunologists on the national and international level.

The theme for the AAAAI/WAO Joint Congress, Global Environmental Change and Respiratory Health, will take advantage of that global perspective and will represent about 20% of the sessions at the meeting.

Here is Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) Chair, Mary Beth Fasano, MD, FAAAAI, on how the theme reflects the unique opportunity of having a Joint Congress:

How was the theme Global Environmental Change and Respiratory Health picked for the 2018 AAAAI/WAO Joint Congress?
The theme was chosen following joint dialogue between the AAAAI Office of Medical Education and AMPC leadership. The goal was to step back and look at trendy, timely topics along with a needs assessment from our members. We also reflected on two unique aspects of the 2018 meeting: one of which was the fact that this is a Joint Congress with the WAO and two, this is the presidential year for David B. Peden, MD, MS, FAAAAI. Dr. Peden’s area of research, scholarly activity and interest relates to environmental health. There was some dialogue about the environment and its effects on allergic or atopic disorders and differences between what we see here in the United States as well as other parts of the world.

Why is it important for allergist/immunologists to address global environmental change?
It has long been recognized that there are aspects of air pollution, pesticides, heat and humidity that impact pollen changes as well as mold. The different and increased exposures to all of those elements in the environment has an impact on epithelial cells, barrier dysfunction and immune regulation and can drive or promote inflammation or allergic diseases developing throughout the body, especially in the upper and lower airway. I think it’s wonderful that in many of the sessions there has been a proactive movement to have an international speaker there to provide their perspective.

What are some notable sessions that will follow the theme?
Dr. Peden is going to have a Presidential Plenary entitled Environmental Impacts on Asthma: Biology to Intervention. WAO President-Elect Ignacio J. Ansotegui, MD, PhD, will co-moderate. It will cover what things we can do to address pollutants both indoors and outdoors, what data we have to support that it helps or doesn’t, and how genetic changes can be used to trace pollutant exposures.

The WAO is also hosting a plenary entitled Asthma and Allergic Disorders in an Environment of Continuous Climate Change. All of their speakers are going to be international, but Dr. Peden will co-moderator with Dr. Sanchez-Borges. These will be back-to-back, large-scale, high-profile sessions that will focus on the theme by bringing in perspective both from the U.S. and globally.

What other sessions are you most excited about?
I’m excited about them all so I hesitate to pick a personal favorite. This meeting is put together for our membership and I was so impressed by the hard work the AMPC did and the wonderful contributions from the WAO. All of the sessions, because of the unique features that will be present, are going to be outstanding. There are choices for every attendee whether their interest is in basic science or a clinical one. Whether someone wants to know more about asthma, food allergy, drug allergy or immune deficiency, we have it covered from beginning to end.