March 10, 2021
Dear APA members,
COVID-19 has consumed every bit of our minds and thoughts for the past one year. When the first case of SARS coV2 infection was diagnosed in the United States on January 20,2020, we knew very little about it. Little did we know how quickly it would spread across the whole world, little did we know how many millions of lives it would wipe out within a year and little did we know how many of our normal processes would be affected so much in a year- our jobs, our educational system, our social activities, our human relationships all took a huge toll on us collectively. And little did we know about our resilience in the face of such adversity, about how a whole new way of vaccine development can happen within a year and about a whole new way of us doing our “normal” processes of meeting, learning and interacting. We are redefining what normal means now. Many companies are going to hybrid or fully virtual ways of doing work. We have learned so much- to deal with loss, uncertainty and to marvel at the rapidity of advances we have made during this time. Challenging times bring out unbound human creativity.
In the APA, we have a “new normal.” We are now doing our region meetings virtually and we are part of the entire PAS meeting happening virtually! We have hostied workshops and published abstract presentations virtually, supporting the opportunities for our junior faculty to network and discuss with senior faculty on their projects and their career prospects. Our task forces on scholarship dissemination and generation have worked hard to adapt. Our task force on racial justice is actively discussing ways for the APA to become more inclusive and diverse and our leadership development committee is discussing ways for our leadership recruitment process to become more inclusive and diverse. Our wellbeing task force worked hard on ways to maintain the wellbeing of our members during the COVID crisis. Additionally, our digital scholarship working group is defining digital scholarship, its scope, impact and value to academia.
I want to acknowledge the truly outstanding work the APA staff managed to pull off during this difficult year. The following is a partial list of the things they did, with some guidance from the program leaders.
- Supported the task forces with their work
- Published 100 PAS abstracts in the APA app
- Hosted more than 5 trainee platform sessions featuring PAS abstracts, featuring more than 80 abstracts
- Presented six PAS workshops virtually
- Hosted all our scholars programs’ PAS content virtually
- Hosting our region meetings virtually with an online meeting platform
- Hosting numerous SIG programs virtually
- Partnered with AMSPDC for a webinar informing chairs if our programs
- Hosting the PHM meeting this year virtually in August
- Hosted two speed mentoring virtual events, featuring more than 150 people
- Will launch a free career development webinar series for all career levels this summer
- Supporting the work of the National Academy of Distinguished Educators in Pediatrics (NADEP)
- Launched the midcareer leadership development program (APL)
- Launched the Health policy scholars with the first cohort of 24!
- Continued participation in the fellowship match
- Will be hosting fellows conference, speed mentoring, and QI meeting virtually
All this cannot happen without the regular commitment of our members to this organization and the dedication of our staff. We have begun the process of searching for a new director for CORNET and we have begun preliminary conversations with the organization NAPNAP for identifying areas of alignment.
Within FOPO, we are discussing and planning what we could do collectively in one voice to dismantle systemic racism within our organizations and our communities. There are three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the US and many of us have received these as well. So despite all odds, here we are, dealing with and creating a new normal, a better normal for a better tomorrow. Please stay connected, stay committed and stay healthy and strong.
Latha Chandran, MD, MPH, MBBS
Academic Pediatric Association