Your AAO-HNS Community of Support: You Will Never Walk Alone

December 2020/January 2021 – Vol. 39, No. 11

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark

At the end of a storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone

Songwriters: Oscar Hammerstein II / Richard Rodgers
You’ll Never Walk Alone lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC

This year’s Annual Report provides us the opportunity to ruminate in amazement one of the most unpredictable and impactful years most of us will encounter. While experiences varied regionally, nationally, and internationally, we were all tied together by the disruptive healthcare issues, economic hardships, underlying social issues, and lack of consensus on how to deal with the pandemic itself. The report in this month’s Bulletin provides only the highlights of the many activities and projects that our organization accomplished this year, many of which were unforeseen and unplanned for at the beginning of the year.

James C. Denneny III, MD

Your staff in Alexandria, Virginia, embraced their role as integral team members charged with providing otolaryngologists with the information and tools needed to successfully traverse the unknown road all were traveling. Their passion and commitment to our mission was obvious from the rapid transition to teleworking as they provided daily updates on late-breaking events while also continuing their normal workload. This is a testament to the faith your staff has in you as you serve your patients. We witnessed unprecedented intraspecialty as well as interspecialty communication and collaboration on a worldwide basis as all worked toward the same goals.

While the “roller coaster” ride we have all experienced triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, as signaled by ongoing waves of resurgence of new positive tests, there appears to be light shining at the end of the tunnel. Recent announcements by several pharmaceutical companies about successful vaccine trials and their imminent release and widespread availability brings great hope for control and resolution of the pandemic in the near future. As we all begin the journey back to “normalcy” in all areas of life, there will be numerous opportunities to draw upon the lessons learned in 2020 and act on inadequacies, inequities, and technology failures brought to the forefront during the crisis we’ve all experienced. Additionally, immediate needs due to consequences of the pandemic brought to light significant value of virtual technology to education, particularly access to lectures from world-renowned experts not usually possible. Telemedicine also stepped to the forefront as an important adjunct increasing access to care that will likely be utilized more frequently in the future.

As we move forward into 2021, no doubt there will continue to be unexpected “bumps in the road” related to full recovery from the pandemic, healthcare reform, tackling societal issues in healthcare, and possibly another completely unexpected event. As you, your families, your staffs, and patients continue to make your way forward through the current storms and periods of darkness, remember the rainbow that will follow the storm and that “you will never walk alone.” Your staff and colleagues will be there to support you as a community through both good and bad times.