As I reflect on past works published in the Forum, I realized we’ve had this conversation before: SGIM Past-President Giselle Corbie-Smith, MD, MSc, articulated in her first President’s column in May 2018’s Forum how “social, economic, technological, and environmental change” are driving us towards a “new normal.”1 Many of these factors are still present, but now magnified by the clashes of a pandemic, a disinfodemic (or misinfodemic), anti-racism movements, and more.
For our communities as general internists, settling for the status quo is exactly what physician advocates, educators, and innovators just don’t do. Jean Kutner, MD, MSPH, our current SGIM president, reminds us that our community’s vision is to create a just system of care to promote optimal health for our patients. We are famously passionate and effective at what we do—striving to be better and do better for our patients and for each other. When our communities face adversity, especially our patients, we speak up, we adapt, and in doing so, we inspire those around us to do the same.
In this issue, we recognize our 2020 SGIM awardees, traditionally recognized also at the Annual Meeting. The Awards Subcommittee of the Education Committee offers us perspectives on growth into GIM clinician-educator careers through profiles of this year’s Clinician-Educator Award recipients. Additional articles offer glimpses into how our daily routines, professionally and personally, have been inexorably altered due to regional and global events. Ganith, et al., describe parenting during shelter-in-place orders, McNamara, et al., explore rapid adaptations to teaching virtual visit competencies to trainees, and Erickson writes about her own experience as a medical student dealing with new uncertainties around taking the USMLE. Eric Bass, SGIM’s CEO, responds to learners’ concerns about the “new normal” for them in the SGIM community.
Our routines have shifted and there is no going back. And why would we? Our economies and institutions adapt and grow. So do we. We are a community of change—that is, a community that drives change. The powerful voices of internists and doctors globally will influence what we preserve in our health and social systems in our profoundly altered environments.
I am inspired by those voices—your voices—who drive us towards what we, our communities, and our patients need. In solidarity with past and present leadership and SGIM members’ voices, I welcome a new, constantly evolving, and better “normal” that this community will continue to shape in its creation.