In all honesty, I am struggling. I am struggling as a leader to know what to say to you all right now as we enter what for many of us, including me, is one of the most challenging times of many of our lives. We are beaten down by the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, violence, natural disasters, and political drama. We are tired, emotionally drained, and in some cases burned out, anxious or depressed. We are facing another surge in COVID-19 cases. We are experiencing this surge as we face a pivotal and emotionally charged election. Finally, we are facing this surge as we head into the holiday season, a time when many of us look forward to longstanding traditions and time with family, friends and loved ones. The things we often look forward to feel stressful, hard to navigate and hard to make decisions about both personally (for me anyways) and as a community. Yet again, we are asked to just do our best, based on the science, based on our mission as a school and medical community, and based on our personal needs to ensure we can accomplish what must be done.
For myself, when I am faced with times like these, the first thing I tend to do is to look carefully at myself- how am I doing? Am I holding up ok? How do I know? What do I need to do to make sure I can do what I need to do in order to meet my expectations and those of the people I serve? Do I need help? From whom do I need it? What do I need specifically? This is in no way to say that all this is on us as individuals. Definitely not. It is only to say that we are all in different places and may have different needs, but we all have needs and one thing that it is hard for others to do for us is identify these needs without our help.
I see my role as a leader in times like these is as encouraging you to ask for help (from your supervisor, faculty, deans, program directors, family, friends, and professionals as needed), responding to your requests when I can, and providing you with information to help you guide your choices and decisions. To this end, know that I am acutely aware of the balance we are each trying to achieve between physical safety and emotional support right now and that for some of you, these issues feel at odds with each other. Here is some information to help you make your decisions:
Resources for personal support:
Resources to help you stay safe during COVID over the holidays:
Now more than ever, we must come together (physically distanced of course) as a community to support each other- all of us- students, residents, fellows, staff, faculty. We are stronger together. We need to help each other get through this. Ask for help, offer help, give help freely; listen and share about your individual and our common experience. Together, we will not only get through this, but ultimately learn from it and hopefully be better for it. We are incredibly resilient and capable individuals. As a community, we have already demonstrated remarkable accomplishments from revisioning legacy curriculum to launching a new curriculum to moving to online interviews and so much more. Thank you for all you are doing for this institution and for each other. I am ever grateful to be part of this community of learners and educators.