As we end December, I, for one, am glad to see 2020 fade into the rear-view mirror. Almost like the Alfred Hitchcock movie (rear window), the whole year looked and felt wrong—unlike anything we have ever experienced. It threw immense challenges at us, pushed many to our limits, and tested us in ways we did not know possible.
What has kept me going is hearing from you—your resilience, your spiritual and collegial character, your excitement and search for new ideas, your ability to flexibly pivot and keep asking important questions, your pursuit of our mission and goals, and your compassion and care for patients and helping others.
Research projects moved along. Discoveries continued to be made. Courses were well received and final exams graded.
You showed up and zoomed up. You submitted and were awarded grants. You published papers. You trained students. You shared ideas. You supported each other.
You made home offices and worked diligently, surrounded by your families.
You adapted more successfully than could be imagined.
Our hospital-based faculty worked tirelessly to care for patients, keep their colleagues and students safe, and managed the stress of a masked environment, all the while continuing clinical research and evaluating new treatments.
Our hospital leaders managed the COVID waves with compassion and visionary coordination across our community.
Likewise, our university leaders pivoted to a pandemic control center, keeping our learning environments, laboratories, and administrative spaces safe and implementing weekly monitoring to limit on-campus spread.
As the new year begins, vaccine access will increase and we will see a gradual return to normalcy.
Each of you has been resilient and creative, finding workarounds, ways to maintain our efforts, care for our families, and be mindful of your professional colleagues. For all of this, I thank you. And I thank your families and friends for their patience and support to help get us through.
The year 2020 took much more than a village and more than a community – it took guts and a view that the future will bring us to a better place.
I wish you and those you love a calm holiday season. And an ambitious leap into a fresh new year.
Stan Gerson, MD
Interim Dean, CWRU School of Medicine
Director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Director, National Center for Regenerative Medicine