November 11, 2020
As I enter my final week as the President of the Medical Society, and sit down to write this final blog post, I can’t help but reflect on what I thought the past twelve months would look like, and contrast that with what actually happened. I think we can all agree that ‘unprecedented’ might be one of the most overused words of 2020, but truly the events of this past year have been without precedent. Sometimes you can control the narrative, but sometimes you cannot. This was definitely a year where events shaped many of the activities of the Medical Society, the considerations of our Governing Council, and certainly my agenda for my presidential year. And so there is certainly some disappointment for me personally that some of the things I was hoping to accomplish this year got sidetracked, and some of the really cool and fun things you get to do during your presidency year were cancelled due to the pandemic.
But the prevailing emotion I feel when I think back on this past year is tremendous pride, in all that we were able to accomplish for physicians and patients in the Granite State, not in spite of a global pandemic, but, in fact, because if it, and awe at the courage and strength of my fellow physicians in the Medical Society and from around the state. Time and time again, I saw you rise to the occasion and answer the call to serve the patients of our state, often at great personal risk. New Hampshire physicians showed up and stood up at every level – state, local, and patient by patient in our practices and our emergency departments and our hospitals. Maybe the other overused word of 2020 is ‘hero’, but truly, what else could you call a group of physicians who put their own safety aside to respond to the health crisis of our lifetimes?
We were also able to identify racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes in our state and across our country which helped renew our emphasis on equity in health, leading to the creation of an advisory council that will help the Medical Society keep our focus on health equity for years to come. As important as our immediate response to COVID was this year, our longer-term work on creating equity in health is arguably even more critical for our patients and our profession.
This weekend is the NHMS Annual Scientific Conference. I was SO looking forward to seeing many of you in person, albeit masked and socially distanced, but once again, COVID took over the narrative, shifting our meeting to a remote-only, online event. However, we still have one of the most impressive line ups of speakers I have seen, and these are all our colleagues from across the state of New Hampshire. We’ll learn more about the social determinants of health, health equity, the long-term effects of trauma, and we’ll have a special panel discussing leadership in a crisis. And, of course, we’ll learn more about substance use disorders and you can fulfill your three hours of required opioid CME. Please join us virtually for this incredible educational content, and also join me in passing the torch to Dr. Kenton Allen, our incoming President, who I’m sure will take the Medical Society in new directions and to new heights over the next year.
I am humbled to have been able to serve you as President of the Medical Society; it has been the privilege of my professional career. I returned time and time again this year to our mission, which despite the crises and at times overwhelming events of these chaotic months served as my true north "to bring together physicians to advocate for the well-being of our patients, for our profession and for the betterment of the public health.” I hope we were able to further our mission this year; with the tireless work of our staff, our Council, and all of you, I think we did. Thank you.
John Klunk, MD