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Letter from the Director: Feb 2021

January 27, 2021
by Barbara Kazmierczak

I ran into one of our students in the hospital hallway yesterday. She was nearly unrecognizable in her cap, face shield, N95 and surgical mask, but she stopped, said hello and gave me a chance to match ID badge to eyes and voice. In a meeting whose “ground rules” were so clearly defined by Covid, we talked about some of the silver linings to be found in this disrupted and difficult year. The interruption of clerkships and lab work created an opportunity to leave New Haven and be with family and loved ones. The need to communicate remotely made it as easy to connect with distant friends and family as with co-workers and classmates – and reestablish and strengthen relationships otherwise neglected. Even the challenges of remote learning provided an upside to her pediatric heme-onc patients, who could stay connected with their friends and classes despite their hospitalization.

I left our conversation wondering whether we will try to forget this past year as quickly as possible, or if we will remember what we learned even when we return to a post-vaccine “normal”. I hope it is the latter. The lessons of 2020 – delivered by the pandemic, protests against racism, political division, irrefutable evidence of climate change – are too important to forget. Likewise, the (perhaps uncomfortable) insights that we gained about ourselves and how we cope with adversity and uncertainty shouldn’t gather too much dust even as our challenges again become quotidian. So, more sober and wise, we look to 2021.

Happy to hear Fauci speak again; happier still when he goes back to just being a dude at NIAID…!

Submitted by Reiko Fitzsimonds on January 28, 2021