When my predecessor, then-president E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, made the difficult but wise decision to cancel ENDO 2020, and then passed me the presidential gavel in our virtual Annual Business Meeting in early April 2020, we had no idea that the pandemic was going to consume the entire year and result in a second virtual annual meeting, ENDO 2021, some 12 months later.
It is within this challenging time that our organization was tested, opportunities were born, and our global leadership became increasingly manifest. I would like to dedicate my last presidential letter to you – our members, my colleagues. As stated in Strategic Plan 4, “We envision a world in which advances in endocrine science, education, and care promote optimal health and well-being.” In spite of the enormous obstacles and challenges we have faced as families, clinicians, scientists, educators, and also as patients ourselves in these unprecedented times, you have led with mission, front and center. Let us celebrate our accomplishments.
“In spite of the enormous obstacles and challenges we have faced as families, clinicians, scientists, educators, and also as patients ourselves in these unprecedented times, you have led with mission, front and center. Let us celebrate our accomplishments.”
Despite our inability to gather, socialize, and learn in person, I am immeasurably proud that our global endocrine community is now all the more connected, united, and inclusive. We have embraced digital care, digital learning, and even digital research exchange as one alternative form of connecting with our scientific and clinical colleagues, and of course, our patients. Obviating traditional barriers such as time and distance, this new normal has propelled us forward and already demonstrated meaningful benefits for our expanding community.
I want to thank past president Abel, the chairs of the 2020 Annual Meeting Steering Committee (AMSC), and the amazing staff who worked with them to quickly pivot and, in a couple of months, created a virtual conference, the first of its kind. ENDO Online 2020 was a major success, attracting more than 27,000 registrants and 17,000 attendees, the largest event in our longstanding history! The event provided live and on-demand programming and was offered free to all participants, members and non-members alike. In September, we delivered our first ever virtual Clinical Endocrinology Update (CEU) and Endocrine Board Review (EBR) meetings. Collectively, these meetings attracted more than 1,700 global participants, setting records for both meetings.
We are eager to continue embracing this new, virtual world and hope that you will join us for an all-virtual ENDO 2021! Our ENDO 2021 chairs, Felix Beuschlein, MD, Megan Haymart, MD, Jennifer Richer, PhD, and Bulent Yildiz, MD, together with the AMSC members, have created a remarkable program. We will mirror the principal elements of ENDO, including top-flight educational programming, an interactive EXPO center, and plenty of networking opportunities.
In addition to our traditional meetings, our Education and Meetings staff team, working closely with our members, continues creating podcasts, webinars, and multiple educational opportunities on a monthly basis. The global reach of these virtual platforms continues to grow and influence endocrine policy, science, and care.
Our advocacy efforts have not stopped during this pandemic; we have just adapted to continue advocating virtually to help support our researchers and clinicians during these difficult times. Last April, our Government and Public Affairs staff team, organized a virtual Hill Day, which was very well attended since it didn’t require for our members to travel to Washington, D.C. We continue to advocate for improved physician reimbursement and telehealth flexibilities during the pandemic.
On the Society’s website, we have created online resources of curated links to support our members during this unique time. We have established a virtual environment where members can share resources, ideas, or ask for help. Our new Community Connect platform is facilitating ongoing engagement with members around the globe.
“While nothing is close to ‘business as usual,’ we will continue to be nimble and adapt to the needs of our members, our patients, and the world as we move forward. I firmly believe that our courage and resilience is what is catapulting us through this difficult time, and we are coming out stronger.”
Our Publications department continued its long streak of innovations for journal authors and readers in 2020. In response to lab work shutdowns due to the pandemic, our journals Journal of the Endocrine Society and Endocrinology promoted Brief Reports (up to 2,400 words) as a vehicle for quickly getting important research findings into the scientific literature.
While nothing is close to “business as usual,” we will continue to be nimble and adapt to the needs of our members, our patients, and the world as we move forward. I firmly believe that our courage and resilience is what is catapulting us through this difficult time, and we are coming out stronger. The flexibility, dedication, and creativity of our members in strong partnership with our talented staff has been exemplary and the results have been outstanding. In an environment where so many businesses are struggling to survive, we not only have survived this year, but we truly thrived.
I would like to thank those who have advised, supported and guided me through my presidential year. A special thank you to my colleagues on the Executive Committee: E Dale Abel, MD, PhD, immediate past president; Carol Wysham, MD, president-elect; and Dolores Shoback, MD, secretary-treasurer; our board members for their dedication, thoughtful input, and support; and our committee chairs and members, who, partnering with our staff, make things happen. I have to give a special thanks to the executive leadership team of Rob Lash, MD, interim CEO; Krista Kirk, chief of staff and CHRO; and Paul Hedrick, chief financial officer. They have led this organization during challenging times with extraordinary skill and commitment. They have provided the stability, trust and confidence that has and will continue to serve as a foundation for our culture of inclusion and servant leadership in our field.
Having not set foot once in the Endocrine Society office this year and instead coercing so many of you to spend numerous hours on videoconferences, I am convinced more than ever that it takes a village. Thank you all. I hope that at some point in the near future we will be able to meet again in person with forever increasing appreciation for your contribution to the Endocrine Society and global endocrine community.
In closing, this has been an amazing year of growth for me, personally, and in parallel for our Society as we continue to serve as global ambassadors for endocrine science and care. I feel honored and humbled to have been given the opportunity to serve this outstanding organization. Thank you for your trust and continued engagement.
Onward and upward!