Well, we’re back on the rollercoaster. After a brief period when the pandemic seemed to be dying down and our lives were opening back up, here we are again at the beginning of a surge. Almost all of my mentorship or co-investigator meetings in the past couple of weeks have focused predominately on how people are feeling and coping, rather than on research. There is a lot of discouragement, fatigue, and anger, especially given the fact that so much of what is happening could have been prevented! I have heard: “I feel like I’m juggling way too much,” “No one appreciates how hard I am working,” “How could we be back here again?” Those of you who are clinicians dealing directly with patients and those with children needing childcare or trying to get back to school are especially feeling the stress. I wish there was more that I could do as a Director and more that ACCORDS could do as a program right now to help each of you. If anyone has ideas about what might be helpful to the ACCORDS community, please send them my way!
I don’t know about all of you, but I am feeling more upbeat lately! I’ve been out to dinner, to a movie in a theater, and seeing friends and family. I know the pandemic is not over, but at least we’re starting to see real improvements related to vaccination.
Vaccinations are now available for 12-year olds and up, and vaccine trials are underway for younger children at Children’s Hospital Colorado and other centers around the country. A group of researchers at ACCORDS are working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to develop messaging aimed at increasing vaccination of young people and those in rural areas. As a physician scientist that has focused research on finding methods of improving immunization and other preventive care delivery and decreasing disparities in health and health care delivery, I hope you are vaccinated at this point. If anyone has worries about the vaccine, I’d be more than happy to discuss your concerns.
Looking out my office window, the weather seems to reflect the changeability and emotional rollercoaster of the current time. One day it looks like spring and the next it snows! Due to the rapid rate of vaccination, we seem to be on the cusp of COVID being behind us with hopes of soon being with friends and loved ones—while at the same time there are new COVID surges that make us fearful we will plunge back into the clinical nightmare many of us have lived this past year. While the buds are starting to come out, there is yet another mass shooting in Colorado, in a place where some of us were raised, went to school, or raised families. I remain so grateful to my ACCORDS colleagues for their support of one another and their energy and resolve to improve the health and quality of life for others. Our community continues to be very strong despite being physically distant at present. Thank you to all of you who keep the spirit of community alive at ACCORDS—with a special call out to the wellness committee! I am hopeful this summer or early fall we will be able to collaborate and celebrate in person at our current ACCORDS site prior to moving to the new building.
The last two weeks have been so tumultuous! First the joy of beginning the New Year with a COVID vaccine and the hope of moving past so much pain and isolation in 2020--then the fear and anger at witnessing an assault on our system of government with little to no push-back or tacit support from many elected leaders. The antisemitism and racism on display during the attack on the capital was shocking and demoralizing, especially for those of us who have personal experience with this kind of hatred. It was a strong reminder that the freedom from fear and persecution that most of us take for granted is not guaranteed for any of us and has been denied for many in our society for years.
Autumn has begun, so hard to keep track of time. Still many pieces and parts rapidly moving as COVID-19 continues to evolve. I really miss seeing you all in conference rooms, the hallways, break rooms and stopping by to meet in your offices. Let's hope that will resume sometime in the near future!
Unreal. Surreal. Even these words seem deeply inadequate for the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and how it has transformed our lives. Many of us across campus are on the front lines, many called in to help, many feel helpless about how to contribute, and many having to rethink how we do our research during these difficult times. All of us collectively are focused on the fight to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.