ASCIA History 1990 to 2020

There have been considerable advances in the knowledge of immune system disorders over the last 50 years through research and clinical practice. This has resulted in:

  • Improved diagnosis and management of allergy and other immune diseases.
  • Collaborative world class allergy and immunology research in Australasia.
  • Development of ASCIA as the peak body for allergy and clinical immunology in Australia and New Zealand (Australasia).

In 1990 the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) was established, and since then ASCIA has developed into a world leading, innovative and active professional society with strong and progressive leadership.

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). 

From 1990 to 2000, ASCIA built a strong foundation for the future, including:

  • Hosting of ASCIA Annual Scientific Meetings.
  • Successful bidding and hosting of the World Allergy Congress in 2000, held in Sydney.
  • Contracting of a new, part time ASCIA Education Project Officer in 1999, to develop and implement a new Strategic Plan, with a focus on online educational resources, a new logo and a redesign of the ASCIA website www.allergy.org.au

Whilst so much has changed for ASCIA since 1999, some things have adapted over time:

  • The ASCIA logo and website URL are still used in 2020, although the website has developed substantially.
  • The Project Officer contracted in 1999 is now the ASCIA Chief Executive Officer and Company Secretary.
  • All of the past ASCIA Presidents listed at www.allergy.org.au/members/ascia-past-presidents have remained  involved in the Society.  Some are still active on ASCIA committees and working parties, as listed at www.allergy.org.au/members/committees

From 2000 to 2010 ASCIA established an online communication and education focus

From 2000 to 2010 ASCIA established an online communication and education focus, including:

  • Implementation of a new Strategic Plan with an emphasis on open access web based educational resources for patients, consumers, carers and health professionals.
  • 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.
  • Development of the first version of ASCIA infant feeding advice in 2008, which did not recommend delayed 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 since 2006.
  • Development of the first ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training courses (for schools and early childhood education/care) in 2010.

From 2010 to 2020 ASCIA has significantly expanded its online communication, education, training and advocacy

From 2010 to 2020 ASCIA has significantly expanded its education, training and advocacy.

Highlights include:

  • Development of a range of ASCIA e-training courses for health professionals and the community.
  • New and updated ASCIA action plans, guidelines and other resources that promote high standards, available open access from ASCIA website.
  • Collaborations to improve patient care, including TAPID (transplantation and PID) and AusPollen projects.
  • Establishment of AIFA (Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia) in 2013, to fund and support research and raise awareness.
  • Management of ASCIA Annual Conferences since 2014 (replacing the ASCIA Annual Scientific Meetings).
  • Development of new ASCIA guidelines for infant feeding and allergy prevention in 2016, based on published evidence from the LEAP study.
  • Development of the first National Allergy Strategy for Australia in 2015, in partnership with Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia and key stakeholders www.allergy.org.au/national-allergy-strategy
  • Implementation of the National Allergy Strategy, with the launches of 250K Youth Project (for the 250,000 young people will severe allergies) www.250K.org.auAll About Allergens training for food service www.foodallergytraining.org.auand Nip allergies in the Bub food allergy prevention project www.preventallergies.org.au.  
  • Initiation of the ASCIA Education Project 2018-2020 with a significant redesign of the ASCIA website 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.  
  • Updating of over 60 ASCIA patient articles www.allergy.org.au/patients/informationin 2019.
  • 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.
  • 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 national 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   
  • Another major highlight of 2019 was the move to a new office for ASCIA 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. http://lifestyleworking.com.au/brookvale/green-building.html
  • In 2020 the main challenges for ASCIA in 2020 are due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which have resulted in sustainability issues as described at https://www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia/sustainability-2020-to-2022 

© ASCIA May 2020

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