ACPM CEO Donna Grande shares her thoughts on day three of the 2021 annual meeting. 

Late last year after months in a pandemic, the conference planning committee fittingly chose the theme for Preventive Medicine 2021 to be resilience. Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties or the ability withstand adversity and bounce back.  Although we weren’t able to have an event in person, we were able to demonstrate resilience and overcome the challenges of a virtual event and conduct an amazing experience for our members and those passionate about prevention.   

Today’s speakers highlighted a range of examples of how physicians have demonstrated resilience through the pandemic. Dr. Frederick, President of Howard University shared the importance of amplifying humanity and Dr. Bob Carr, CMO of Kumanu stressed the role purpose serves in mental and emotional well-being.  Dr. Anand Parekh of the Bipartisan Policy Center shared that resilience and preparedness are two sides of the same coin and that prevention must be a number one priority for our country to evolve from a sick care system into one truly based on health.   

The concurrent sessions dug further into the details of preventive medicine practice and how the pandemic impacted that work. One of the major opportunities presented by the pandemic has been greater adoption of telehealth, and as session panelists noted while much can be done in a synchronous or asynchronous manner, we need universal broadband access and diagnostic testing remains an inperson experience.  In a discussion on tobacco cessation and trends in e-cigarette usage, presenters indicated that successful past models for cessation and prevention could be updated and adapted for modern application. And it was reaffirming to hear the United States Preventive Services Task Force formally acknowledge racism as a major challenge in public health, building on the discussions of health equity across many of the sessions. 

In our closing panel, Dr. Reuben Warren discussed the ethics of biomedical research and shared the story of the Sankofa bird who flies forward while looking back indicating the importance of righting past injustices in medical research and evolving towards a bright future of what is right and just for realizing health equity. Dr. Abdul El-Sayed challenged us to bravely re-think the systems and structures we operate in to remove systemic barriers to health. Dr. Ursula Bauer reminded us that health happens in the community and Dr. Aletha Maybank reinforced the need to look to our own institutions for opportunities to change and improve.   

With just one more day remaining, I’m curious as to your thoughts – what have been your favorite sessions so far, and what new skills, ideas and opportunities are you excited about applying when the annual meeting comes to a close? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter using the #PM2021! 

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