About the Journal
Source: Academy News: December 2004
Reviewing RSL history
By Sandra M. Gawchik, DO, FAAAAI
The importance of the voice of the practicing allergist/immunologist is evident throughout the history of the Regional, State and Local Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Societies (RSLAAIS or RSLs). The RSLs have been in existence for 31 years.
The origins of the RSLs can be traced to the early records of the AAAAI. As early as 1945 there were a number of state and regional allergy societies throughout the nation. In the early AAAAI records, there are indications of the AAAAI’s desire to keep in close communication with local, regional and state societies.
In it first effort to help local societies, the AAAAI offered aid along educational lines and space in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI). Various proposals were put forth to maintain a close liaison with the local societies.
In 1950, Theodore Squires, M.D., a past AAAAI president, urged the RSLs during his presidential address to call on the assistance of the AAAAI whenever necessary. Representation of the AAAAI president at regional meetings became a policy during his term.
In 1973, the first meeting of the RSLs took place in Washington, DC, under the leadership of Guy A. Settipane, M.D., FAAAAI, president of the Rhode Island Allergy Society. Settipane sent letters to the presidents of the various regional and state societies inquiring about interest in forming a council of presidents. Interest was keen and a council of the regional, state and local allergy societies was formed.
During the early years, several developments led to the maturation of theRSLs. The first was the sponsorship of an official organization journal, The Allergy Proceedings, sent bi-monthly to members of participating allergy societies. The second was publication of the minutes of the local societies, and the third step was the creation of a Physicians Public Service Council of the Regional, State and local Allergy Societies.
During this time, Settipane, in his role as president of the Rhode Island Allergy Society and editor of The Allergy Proceedings, worked with local presidents to maintain the vision of the practicing allergist/immunologist having a voice in the AAAAI.
In 1985, John E. Salvaggio, M.D., a past AAAAI president, invited seven members of the Council of the Regional, State and Local Allergy Societies, representative of the various regions, to a meeting to discuss the future of the Council. They agreed that members of the RSLs should have a representative seat on the AAAAI Board of Directors. This was the first time a non-academic allergist/immunologist had a voice on the Board. The first RSL representative to the Board of Directors was Settipane.
After the 1987 AAAAI Annual Meeting, the Council was changed to the Federation of Regional, State and Local Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Societies. Today, we still have seven regions, each represented by a Governor.
We are grateful to the original pioneers of the RSLs, and are very active in supporting the needs of the local allergist/immunologist. Over the past two years, leadership forums have been held in each of the seven regions to improve communication and identify concerns of the practicing allergist/immunologist. We plan to continue these forums and compile the data gleaned to address concerns that are pressing to most local groups. The RSL Forums are funded through an unrestricted educational grant from Schering.