Founded in 1973, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) aims to educate the public and health care professionals about prevention, treatment and research of influenza, meningitis and a host of other infectious diseases and conditions.
Public outreach is a major facet of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, and those efforts have paid off. NFID’s annual news conference on influenza and pneumococcal disease immunization has helped stress the importance of prevention.
“It’s clear the message has gone to the public – via the media, principally – and the messages are sinking in,” said William Schaffner, MD, NFID’s president and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Schaffner added that many of the public are now conditioned to seek influenza immunization without waiting for instruction from their physician. Further, increasing numbers get immunized at non-traditional locations, like their workplace or a neighborhood pharmacy.
This year’s news conference will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. NFID and its partners for the event – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), AARP and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others – expect to have media from around the country. The keynote presenter will be CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH.
“We get a splurge of reports” from the event, Schaffner said. “It serves as the kickoff for the nation’s annual influenza immunization season.”
While influenza is the most well-known of NFID’s issue areas, it’s hardly the only one. The foundation’s website has sections dedicated to pneumococcal disease, shingles, rotavirus, meningitis and pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria.
NFID is also engaged in work on drug-resistant diseases, like MRSA, as well as food-borne illnesses and threats to overseas travelers.
“There is a broad waterfront of infectious diseases,” Schaffner said.
Another major aspect to NFID is continuing medical education. NFID sponsors several courses for medical professionals, both online and at live events. A three-day course in November on clinical vaccinology was recently announced.
For NFID, a membership with Research!America helps supplement the reach of their programs.
“The things we do well as a member – we’re a small foundation – we’re able to work with the whole spectrum of professional societies in context with Research!America. NFID’s involvement with Research!America helps us fulfill the important element of “research” in our mission statement,” Schaffner said.
For more, visit www.nfid.org.