As we enter a new season, I can’t help but notice that with the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering, fall 2020 looks strange and a little unfamiliar. Typically, we would be welcoming fall with the beginning of the school year (in person) in September, settling into new schedules and habits that naturally follow the tell-tale signs of fall and winter we all recognize. The weather gets a little colder. Daylight, though present through the tree’s changing leaves, doesn’t last as long as it did during the seemingly endless summer, and our nights are increasingly spent indoors.
This year, we know fall is here, and yet we are also aware that nearly everything is different. The most obvious routine that we have seen upended is school, but there are other changes taking place. We have all made adjustments in our personal and professional lives to account for the pandemic’s impact, and although we largely have no control over when change is demanded from us, we do have control in how we approach that change. When faced with inevitable change and challenges in life, we all have a choice to make about whether we will embrace or resist.
Confronted with all the changes and subsequent challenges presented this year, the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants (SDPA) has chosen the former choice—to embrace. Over the summer, we evaluated the current and potential course of COVID-19 and made the difficult but necessary decision to change the format of the SDPA Fall 2020 Conference from an in-person event (planned to take place in Miami, Florida) to a 100-percent live, virtual format called SDPA Digital. Collectively, the SDPA Board of Directors felt this was the best decision to ensure the health and safety of everyone who would be in attendance. The SDPA has always prided itself on excellence, and SDPA Digital 2020 will be no exception. Society staff and leaders have worked overtime to make sure this virtual experience is as engaging as it is educational. I hope to “see” each and everyone one of you there. SDPA Digital is only one example of the many ways SDPA has embraced the challenges of COVID-19. I look forward to sharing some other great initiatives we have in the works as more details are released.
So, as we settle into fall, I ask each of you to reflect on your response to the following question, “When faced with inevitable change and challenges in my life, do I choose to embrace or resist them?” It’s never too late to change our responses for the better. As the saying goes, “We don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges.” I will be reflecting alongside you and logging on to SDPA Digital 2020 as I sip on what has become a much-anticipated fall favorite—yes, a pumpkin spice latte! I guess COVID-19 hasn’t changed all of our fall traditions.
With you and for you,
Archana M. Sangha, MMS, PA-C