Hello to all APA members!
Let me start by introducing myself. I am Latha Chandran, a general pediatrician from Stony Brook, New York. Dr Paul Chung has completed his APA presidency (view my tribute to him on the Connect App) and I am excited to follow him as President of the Academic Pediatric Association. First time in the history of our association, we had to do a transfer of responsibilities via Zoom. But we are in unusually challenging times: physically, mentally, emotionally, and academically. There are however, positive signs emerging: we have the first set of data on a promising drug Remdesivir that reduces severity, mortality and length of illness; even in New York which was the hardest hit state, we have seen decreasing numbers of admissions and deaths; we have all learned many new and sometimes better ways of doing our routine activities; we are slowly and carefully reopening activities and we are slowly bringing our medical back to clinical experiences. I know each of you have had to deal with the domino effects of this pandemic in numerous ways. I know the emotional and physical toll it has taken on all of us. But we have and will continue to overcome great challenges as a community and as a nation.
The Annual PAS meeting is the place where every year we get together, channel our energies and thoughts, share our ideas, and emerge invigorated after being joyfully immersed in our communities of practice. Alas this year, COVID-19 denied us all that opportunity. I know what it means for our trainees and junior faculty members. What we lost because of PAS cancellation is the opportunity for a casual conversation with a potential collaborator, the chance to hear another scientist’s view on a particular aspect of one’s study, the opportunity to make connections with a mentor and to receive multiple perspectives on one’s idea or project. This is a big loss indeed.
So, at the virtual spring meeting of the APA board, we brainstormed about how to help our members through this crisis while staying true to the mission of the APA to nurture the professional development of child health care providers. I am pleased to report that we will be forming three task forces with very short time periods to generate quick actionable suggestions in three topic areas: Scholarship Dissemination, Scholarship Generation especially in areas of APA strength that aligns with COVID related issues and wellbeing of Members. We will be sending you more information in the next few weeks on this. We will provide opportunities for any APA member whose poster or platform was accepted as a presentation for the PAS 2020 meeting to present their study findings via Zoom for ten minutes and receive feedback and audience thoughts for five minutes. We will be requesting senior pediatricians to moderate the sessions. We have already had a good number of those wanting to present and those who are willing to moderate. We hope this forum will be helpful to keep us connected and keep our ideas disseminated for others to build on in the hopes of better knowledge and cures for all children in the United States. It will also be a nice reprieve from the onslaught of challenging clinical activities that many of us have been involved in as well.
Let us move forward together. Despite the challenges this pandemic presents, we will achieve our mission. The Academic Pediatric Association will be here to nurture your academic success and career development and to enhance the health and well-being of all children. Together, we can continue to nurture the professional growth and well-being of academic pediatricians who do wonderful work for children around this nation. Join us online and share your experiences and ideas using #NurturingPedsAcademics. If you have any ideas on how we can do better as an organization, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to serving this organization that has given me so much personally and professionally.
Latha Chandran, MD, MPH
Vice Dean, Academic and Faculty Affairs
Miriam and David Donoho Distinguished Teaching Professor
SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor
Founding Director, Donoho Academy of Clinical and Educational Scholars
Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University