Journal of Dermatology for Physician Assistants

The official journal of the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants

The Human Spirit: A Multi-faceted Guide in Leadership and Life

A message from Renata Block, MMS, PA-C, President, SDPA

I feel a little melancholy as I write this; it will be my last message here as President of the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants (SDPA). Since beginning my term as SDPA President last July, I have reflected on many things. I want to stress the importance of the human spirit as it can carry you through anything in life. As we all know, life is not perfect because it can throw us many curveballs, but how we react to them can make all the difference. Because the human spirit is multi-faceted, I use the following guidelines in leadership and how I live my life:

1. INTELLECT: Surrounding oneself with people who can be objective, reasonable, and understanding is the only way anything can move forward.
2. EMOTION: Circumstances can spur many reactions, but the proper response matters the most.
3. FEAR: Uncertainty can be frightening, but there is no growth without it. Apprehension is a natural human response, but confidence and teamwork are game changers.
4. PASSION: This is the true definition of why we do what we do, whether patient care, leadership, life—or the eagerness to make a positive change.
5. CREATIVITY: The ingenuity of individuals leads to the creation of new ideas and approaches to take things to the next level.

I bring up the human spirit as it is an integral part of our being. We learn from the experience of our success and, most importantly, our failures. But the most important message we carry from this is what we do with it. It is worth noting that reflecting on the human spirit shows how much we have accomplished this past year as a team.

The SDPA leadership team and staff have broken barriers to the status quo, and I am incredibly proud to have been a part of it. We made strong connections with our Patient Advocacy Partners, welcomed many new leaders and volunteers, and created new ways for recognizing those who have stepped up and made a difference within our committees by creating a Vice-Chair role within our committees. One of my favorite moments was meeting with the Executive Board of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) during their annual meeting and creating an open-door policy to discuss what matters the most to each organization. Personally, extending an invitation to the AAD President to speak at a future SDPA conference on the “state of the AAD” and being met with enthusiastic “yes” was the high point! But, in the end, it is all about communicating and focusing on the human spirit.

As a reminder, everyone’s voice is essential, including all of you, our membership. You are what guides the SDPA to a better future. That is why surveying our members is necessary, and your responses to the surveys are critical. You all have led us to where we are today, and I could not thank you enough for speaking up and making your voices heard! However, our mission is far from done. We still have a lot to accomplish, and I hope you can take some time to assist in that goal. Let’s all be a part of the continued growth.

We all want what is best for the profession. Ultimately, this affects us individually, but we must listen to and respect each other, whether within or outside the organization. Again, the only way is through the human spirit and teamwork.

My last message in the JDPA as SDPA President leaves me again focusing on what matters; why I do what I do and what difference we all can make. That goes for all dermatology care providers. Together is what we do best.

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