... the newspapers of Utopia, he had long ago decided, would be terribly dull.
—Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
I get my news from a smattering of sources but mostly from lead stories curated on Google’s news feed. I try to be selective and cognizant of the source of information and to include stories from legitimate sources that do not necessarily share the same views as me. The latter is always the harder effort. Since these editorials are delayed in publication by about six weeks I am writing this month’s editorial a few days before Christmas. Before starting to write, I decided to review the morning news. As I got up this morning to compose this editorial, the news was particularly sobering. Many of these headlines affect our patients as well as our ability to provide care for them as general internists, either directly or indirectly.
Two days prior, the House of Representatives voted to impeach the current president of the United States, although Speaker Nancy Pelosi had yet to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate. I am not planning to discuss the issue of impeachment or its effect on the upcoming election in November 2020. Will it help or hurt the president’s chance at reelection? I will say that the dysfunction and partisan rancor in our current government and lack of a true moral compass and a vision for a just United States have kept us from moving forward thereby making our jobs much harder. The headlines I read included the following:
- “Trump Touts Border Money In Bill Despite Congress Keeping Funding Flat”
- “Donald Trump Launches ‘Space Force’: A $738 Billion Defense Bill To Boost US Military Superiority In Space”
- “New Zealand Passes Sweeping Ban On Semiautomatic Weapons”
- “U.K. Parliament Backs Boris Johnson’s Brexit Deal, Clearing Major Hurdle”
- “FDA Approves Ebola Vaccine With 100% Success Rate”
- “FDA Approves Trastuzumab Deruxtecan For HER2+ Breast Cancer”
- “Congressional Deal Could Fund Gun Violence Research For First Time Since 1990s”
Several of these headlines report on the choices made by our leaders—choices that will have a profound effect on the future of our world. Some, like New Zealand’s ban on semiautomatic weapons and the passage of a funding deal to study gun violence, leave me with some hope that change is possible. Other stories report on the advancements made in the treatment and prevention of disease where just a few years ago we had no such progress.
In this issue, we have a few headlines of our own. SGIM President Dr. Karen DeSalvo shares a column on the work of the SGIM Council regarding SGIM’s strategic plan, related metrics, and the resulting dashboard. Dr. DeSalvo, along with immediate past president, Dr. Corbie-Smith, CEO Dr. Eric Bass, Deputy CEO Kay Ovington, and the rest of the Council have shown true leadership in the choices they’ve made—choices that will move our Society forward and achieve its long-term goals.
A must read for every SGIM member!
We also have headlines about the use of telemedicine, medical education, social media, and the use of teaching champions as well.
It’s a good news day.