The 2018 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology/World Allergy Organization (AAAAI/WAO) Joint Congress will take place Friday, March 2, through Monday, March 5, in Orlando, Florida.

The theme of this year’s meeting is Global Environmental Change and Respiratory Health. As noted in a welcome letter from the presidents of both AAAAI and WAO, the World Health Organization has reported that environmental factors may contribute up to 44% of the worldwide burden of asthma, and more than 5.5 million people die prematurely each year because of air pollution.1,2

According to the AAAAI/WAO Joint Congress website, the Annual Meeting Program Committee Chair, Mary Beth Fasano, MD, FAAAAI, said that the theme was chosen in part as a result of this meeting being a Joint Congress with the WAO and because of discussion regarding environmental effects on allergic and atopic disorders. Dr Fasano noted that exposure to air pollution, pesticides, and heat/humidity can affect epithelial cells, barrier dysfunction, and immune regulation. Furthermore, these environmental elements can increase inflammation, particularly in the upper and lower airways.1

Continue Reading

The theme will be represented in approximately 20% of the sessions, according to the Joint Congress program.

On Friday, March 2, the Congress will feature Environmental Impacts on Asthma: Biology to Intervention, an AAAAI plenary session moderated by David B. Peden, MD, MS, FAAAAI, president of AAAAI, as well as workshops on allied health, a case report poster session, and an introductory course in rhinolaryngoscopy.

Poster presentations will take place on the morning of Saturday, March 3. The WAO will lead the second plenary session, Asthma and Allergic Disorders in an Environment of Continuous Climate Change. Two “Pro/Con Debates,” Early Allergen Exposure Prevents Asthma and Skin Testing Is Required Prior to Drug Challenges, will also be presented that afternoon.  

Linda Birnbaum, PhD, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, will give a keynote address on Global Environmental Change and Our Health. The session is intended to help attendees “understand unique interactions between genes and environment that contribute to human health or disease.” 1,2  

Poster presentations will continue on Sunday, March 4, and the third plenary session, Environmental Influences on Innate Immunity: Insights and Mechanisms, is also scheduled for that day. Environmental Interventions Are a Valuable Component of Asthma Management for Low-Income Children With Asthma will be the featured “Pro/Con Debate.”    

The final plenary session, Cutting Edge-Food Allergy Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Therapy will take place on Monday, March 5, and poster presentations will wrap up that morning.


  1. AAAAI/WAO Joint Congress. Accessed February 21, 2018.
  2. Programs and abstracts of papers to presented during scientific sessions: 2018 AAAAI/WAO Joint Congress. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018;141(2):1A-4A, AB1-AB416.

This article originally appeared on Pulmonology Advisor