President's Calling - October Was a Whirlwind

Published November 12, 2020

October was a Whirlwind

October was an interesting month. COVID-19 began a resurgence in the US and in many countries around the globe. Three of my extended family members were diagnosed with the disease, two were hospitalized and unfortunately, one didn’t come home. Additionally, four staff members from the University Hospital and satellite office where I work, developed symptoms and tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Thankfully, all recovered. The sources for these cases all appear to be spread from family members or were acquired at social gatherings, not from the work environment. Whew!
On the other hand, some good things happened in October. We successfully completed our very first virtual annual meeting, Academy 2020 At Home.There were more than 6,400 attendees with representation from more than 50 countries. Except for a few technology glitches, the meeting went extremely well! This was due to well-prepared presenters for papers, posters, CE, symposia, and Section and SIG functions. Peter Scott, our CEO, and his staff deserve a great bigTHANK YOUfor their dedicated efforts and tireless hours managing all the sessions and functions.
Every two years, the Academy Board of Directors inaugurates new board members at the conclusion of the annual meeting. Congratulations to Dr. Susan Cotter, President-Elect; Dr. Jeff Walline, Secretary-Treasurer, and the reelection of Drs. Carl Spear, Jennifer Coyle, and Andrew Mick as Members–at-Large. I would like to welcome our new board member, Dr. Chris Wilmer from the University of California-Berkeley. I am sure she will bring great things to your Board. Congratulations all! Sadly, a friend and very valuable member of the board is stepping down, having completed his term as Immediate Past President, Dr. Joseph Shovlin. Though he is stepping down he won’t get off lightly. We’ll have tasks and challenges for him to be sure. His sage wisdom and humor will be missed.
Finally, I want to acknowledge and honor the fine job done by Dr. Barbara Caffery, our new Immediate Past President. Barb has shepherded your Academy through high times with record setting annual meetings to the lows of this year’s pandemic. She pushed for and succeeded in developing a new strategic plan which is well on its way to fruition. The Board and Barb know how much I hate strategic planning. I have been through about 10 of them over the years and equate them to pulling teeth without anesthesia. However, I’m pleased to say, that this was a productive planning process and experience, and under Barb’s tutelage, we developed strategies and tactics with clear, tangible, measurable results, which we are successfully working through. This planning process worked… my teeth still hurt, but it worked.
Until next time. Be safe and be well.

Timothy McMahon, OD, FAAO