ASCIA Celebrates 30 Years 1990 to 2020

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) was established in 1990 as the peak prefessional body for clinical immunology and allergy in Australia and New Zealand.  Over the past 30 years ASCIA has developed into a world leading professional organisation for allergy and clinical immunology. 

In its 30th year, ASCIA has been recognised for its pivotal and leading role in improving the care of people in Australia and New Zealand with allergy, immunodeficiency and other immune system disorders, through advancing clinical practice, education, training and research

From 2010 to 2020 ASCIA has significantly expanded its online resources for education, training, clinical practice, communications and advocacy.

Highlights from 2010-2020 include:

  • Recommendations in the Report on the Parliamentary Inquiry into Allergies and Anaphylaxis Walking the allergy tightrope - Addressing the rise of allergies and anaphylaxis in Australia tabled on 15 June 2020 in the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia.  ASCIA welcomes the recommendations in the Report, and the recognition of ASCIA’s pivotal and leading role in improving the care of Australians with allergic disease. For details go to www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia/info-updates/inquiry-into-allergies-and-anaphylaxis-report-15-june-2020
  • Development of an extensive range of ASCIA COVID-19 resources in 2020 www.allergy.org.au/members/covid-19 particularly for patients who are immunosuppressed due to primary immunodeficiencies.  
  • Development of ASCIA telehealth resources in 2020 www.allergy.org.au/ascia-telehealth in response to increased use of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Hosting of ASCIA's 30th Annual Conference in September 2019, which provided an international standard of education and unique networking opportunities for ASCIA members. www.allergy.org.au/conferences/ascia-annual-conference#s2019
  • Announcement of a Parliamentary Inquiry into Allergies and Anaphylaxis at the ASCIA 2019 Conference. ASCIA lodged a submission to this inquiry and a subsequent pre-budget submission that are both available on the ASCIA website. For details of these, and other ASCIA submissions go to  www.allergy.org.au/ascia-reports#s1
  • The move to a new ASCIA office in March 2019 in the Lifestyle Working Building, which is a benchmark ESD (environmentally sustainable design) strata office building, the first of its kind to be built in Australia in 2008.
  • Review and updating of over 60 ASCIA patient articles in 2019 www.allergy.org.au/patients/information
  • Development of new ASCIA Fast Facts in 2019, to provide concise, easy to understand and reliable information about allergy and other immune diseases www.allergy.org.au/patients/fast-facts
  • Implementation of the ASCIA Education Project 2018-2020 with a significant redesign of the ASCIA website in 2018 www.allergy.org.au. The ASCIA website is a trusted and extremely popular source of information about allergy and other immune diseases. Access to more than 140 ASCIA educational resources was improved by redesigning the website to be more user and mobile device friendly.  
  • Implementation of the National Allergy Strategy since 2016, with the launches of 250K Youth Project (for the 250,000 young people will severe allergies) www.250K.org.au, All About Allergens training for food service www.foodallergytraining.org.auand Nip allergies in the Bub food allergy prevention project www.preventallergies.org.au
  • Development of new ASCIA guidelines for infant feeding and allergy prevention in 2016, based on published evidence from the LEAP study. www.allergy.org.au/hp/papers/infant-feeding-and-allergy-prevention
  • Development of the first National Allergy Strategy for Australia in 2015, in partnership with Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia and in collaboration with key stakeholders www.allergy.org.au/national-allergy-strategy
  • NPS (National Prescribing Service) Choosing Wisely Australia and RACP Evolve partner since 2015 www.allergy.org.au/ascia-reports#s5
  • TAPID (Transplantation and Primary Immunodeficiencies) collaboration since 2014 www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia/ascia-initiatives/tapid
  • AusPollen partnership since 2014 www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia/ascia-initiatives/auspollen
  • Management of ASCIA Annual Conferences since 2014 to replace ASCIA Annual Scientific Meetings.
  • Establishment of AIFA (Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia) in 2013, to fund research. From 2015 to 2020 AIFA will have awarded a total of $360,000 to 18 research projects.
  • Development of ten ASCIA e-training courses since 2011 for health professionals.
  • Development of an ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training course for community since 2011 to complement the courses for schools, early childhood education/care and community.
  • Development of new and updated ASCIA action plans, guidelines and other resources since 2010, that promote high standards, available open access from ASCIA website.
From 2000 to 2010 ASCIA established online education and communications.

Highlights from 2000 to 2010 include:

  • Development of the first ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training courses in 2010 for schools and early childhood education/care. 
  • Development of the first version of ASCIA infant feeding advice in 2008, which did not recommend delaying the  introduction of allergenic foods to infants, based on emerging evidence from published studies. 
  • Management of ASCIA Annual Scientific Meetings since 2006.
  • Establishment of the Annual Basten Oration in 2006.
  • ASCIA e-newsletters since 2003, replacing printed newletters.
  • Development of the first versions of ASCIA Action Plans for Anaphylaxis in 2003, that are now recognised as world leading resources and used throughout Australia and New Zealand.
  • Implementation of a new Strategic Plan in 2000, with an emphasis on open access web based educational resources for patients, consumers, carers and health professionals.
From 1990 to 2000 ASCIA built a strong foundation for the future.

In 1953 the Australian Society of Allergists (ASA) was registered under the auspices of the British Medical Association (Australia) and in 1962 the ASA was incorporated. In 1970 the Australasian Society for Immunology (ASI) was established and ASA became the Australian College of Allergists, which later changed its name and constitution to become the Australian College of Allergy (ACA).

In 1990 ASCIA was established, by amalgamating the ACA with the ASI Clinical Immunology Group (CIG). (Reference: Donald, Gwen. ACA Newsletter 9; 1990). 

Highlight from 1990 to 2000 include:

  • Hosting of ASCIA Annual Scientific Meetings.
  • Successful hosting of the World Allergy Congress in 2000, held in Sydney.
  • Contracting of a new, part time ASCIA Education Project Officer in 1999.
  • Development and implementation of a new ASCIA Strategic Plan, with a focus on online educational resources.
  • Development of a new ASCIA logo.
  • Redesign of the ASCIA website

Whilst so much has changed for ASCIA over the past 30 years, some things have adapted over time:

  • The ASCIA logo and website URL www.allergy.org.au are still used in 2020, although the website has developed substantially.
  • The ASCIA Project Officer contracted in 1999 is now the ASCIA Chief Executive Officer and Company Secretary.
  • Other long term ASCIA staff employed in 2007, 2010 and 2013 are still working for ASCIA in 2020.
  • Past ASCIA Presidents listed at www.allergy.org.au/members/ascia-past-presidents have remained  involved in the Society. 
  • ASCIA committees and working parties www.allergy.org.au/members/committees continue to be active in reviewing, updating and developing ASCIA e-resources.

© ASCIA July 2020

 

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