|How NACMID Got Started|
1983 was a banner year for clinical microbiologists in the Northeast. Richard Clark, a clinical microbiologist, was transplanted from Texas and arrived in New England to work at Togus VA Hospital in Maine. Richard had been active in a regional clinical microbiology organization in Texas and immediately set out to ascertain whether such an organization would be feasible in New England. With the assistance of a vendor (Marion Scientific), Richard Clark, Dr. Bill Martin (New England Medical Center) and Dr. Gary Doern (Univ. of Mass Medical Center) sent questionnaires to clinical microbiologists in the six New England states and New York to determine the interests and needs of the group.
The results of the mailing were positive (over 200 persons responded), and on June 4, 1983, an organizational meeting of microbiologists from the 7 states was held in Worcester, MA. Much of the discussion at this meeting centered on whether this proposed new organization would be in conflict with the Northeast Branch of the ASM. However, those present decided that it would not be competitive, but complementary. A motion to formally incorporate as a non-profit organization was voted on and accepted.
The name of the new organization was the Northeast Association for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease (NACMID). The Charter Officers were Richard Clark, President, Caron Lyman, Secretary and Mary Keville, Treasurer. The Board of Directors included Normand Martell (Maine), Nancy McLeod Benda (Maine), Tom Northey (New Hampshire), Washington Winn Jr. (Vermont), Gary Hollick (New York), Gary Doern(Massachusetts), Linda Ferraresso (Massachusetts), Steve Edberg (Connecticut), George Carrington (Connecticut), Tommy Shikashio (Rhode Island) and Ron Gonthier (industry, Gibco).
The Directors of the fledgling association worked quickly and by September 1983, NACMID had 142 members and had scheduled seven Tuesday evening meetings and a three-day annual meeting to be held in May 1984. The evening meeting topics centered on current issues of the hospital laboratories such as Chlamydia and Mycoplasma, coagulase negative staphylococci and opportunistic mycoses. Evening meeting speakers were local experts and vendors funded these meetings. These evening meetings utilizing local experts and laboratorians continued to be offered in each state by the State Directors. The various State Directors also offer half-day and full-day workshops throughout the year.
Corporate sponsors provided critical financial support to the new organization. Charter Sustaining Members were Analytab, Difco, E.I. DuPont de Nemours, Gibco, Hynson, Westcott and Dunning, Johnston Laboratories, Marion Scientific and Pharmacia Diagnostics. Other early Sustaining Members were Bellco Glass, Oxoid USA, Remel, Meridian Diagnostics, Miles Pharmaceuticals, Scott Laboratories and Trend Scientific. Local representatives of these companies provided much needed assistance in planning meetings, getting speakers and providing mailing lists.
Corporate sponsors continue to allow NACMID to offer high quality programming by providing financial support, speakers, and/or supplies. Becton Dickinson Microbiology Systems, Meridian Diagnostics, Dade Microscan Inc., Organon Teknica, Biostar, Inc., Glaxo-Wellcome, bioMeriuex, Inc., BBI Clinical Laboratories, Gen–Probe Inc., Medical Chemical Corporation, REMEL, Olympus America Inc., Scientific Device Laboratory, Inc., Abbott Diagnostics, Pfizer U.S. Pharmaceuticals, Merck & Co., and Immuno-Mycologics are some of the companies that have been Sustaining Members.
The First Annual Meeting was held at the Marriott Hotel in Worcester, MA, May 3-5, 1984 and was highly successful. Over 200 microbiologists attended the meeting. The themes at that original meeting were “Emerging Problems in Infectious Diseases”, “Cost Containment in Clinical Microbiology” and “Rapid Identification of Microorganisms”. Sidney Finegold, MD of Wadsworth VMA and UCLA was the banquet speaker that first year. Two workshops were offered: one on Cost-effective Microbiology presented by Dennis Wegner and the other on Systemic Mycoses presented by David Bauman. Since that first meeting in 1984, NACMID has held their Annual Meetings in a wide variety of locations: from Albany, NY to Danvers, MA; Portland, ME to Cromwell, CT. Attendance at these meetings averages around 200 participants with an all-time high attendance of 336 people at the 10th Anniversary Meeting in Sturbridge, MA.
Workshops on parasitology, mycology, antimicrobial agents, anaerobes and other assorted topics continue to draw large groups of interested technologists. Lynne Garcia, MS, Roberta Carey, PhD, Davise Larone, PhD, Janet Hindler, MS, Evelyne Kokoskin, MS, and Richard Hodinka, PhD all presented workshops for NACMID Annual Meetings. The two-day General Sessions offer a variety of topics that directly impact the clinical microbiologist. Favorite topics are panel discussions of case studies (a.k.a. “Stump The Expert”) and open forums that allow those present to ask questions from the floor about particular problems facing them in their laboratories. Over the years, Peter Gilligan, PhD, A. Mark Fendrick, MD, Mary York, PhD, Joseph Campos, PhD, Stephen Brecher, PhD, Richard Tilton, PhD, Linda Binns, PhD, Leona Ayers, MD, Karin McGowan, PhD, Frank Koontz, PhD, Stuart Levy, MD, Ellen Jo Baron, PhD (to name just a few) have traveled to the New England area to present talks at NACMID’s Annual Meetings.
The Mission was and still is to promote scientific knowledge of clinical microbiology and infectious diseases. This goal was to be achieved through scientific meetings and workshops to be held in all geographic regions covered by the organization and an annual meeting held in central locations. The organization was designed to serve those who are mainly hospital-based and sought to bring quality nationally recognized experts to the local level as speakers and workshop faculty.
In the third millennium, NACMID continues to support the needs of clinical microbiologists from Boston to Syracuse, Burlington to Providence and Hartford to Bangor through the on-going efforts of such dedicated people as Patricia Urbanowski, Jim Koczat, Cynthia Astolfi, Richard Koss, Michele Goodwin, Kerry Zeller, Judy Heelan, Barbara Servetnick, Wendy Gillespie (current President), Tommy Shikashio and Shoolah Escott. Membership has grown steady from those original 142 members to around 450 members. NACMID continues to collaborate with the local ASM branches, State Departments of Public Health and the National Laboratory Training Network to provide affordable continuing education and networking opportunities to those involved in clinical microbiology.