Embracing a New Year

Michael Barsotti, MD, FAAP
President, Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

This is the time of year that we traditionally reflect on the past year as we look forward with a sense of hope and renewal. 2021 and 2022 presented unique challenges for medicine that, though difficult and at times seemingly impossible, defined our resilience, compassion, and commitment to our calling: protecting the children, either through preventative primary care, treating illness or by advocating for better access. We are all a bit stronger (if not a bit more burnt out) for surviving 2022. Our accomplishment and successes in the face of such adversary is truly amazing and should be celebrated.

But there is a strong desire to say a not so heartfelt good-bye to 2021 and 2022 and put them to rest! And I could not agree more. May the pandemic and the unprecedented pediatric “triple-pandemic” surge rest in peace. Welcome 2023, you could not have gotten here soon enough. 

Let’s make 2023 a year of hope and renewal. Let us celebrate the opportunity to focus less on survival and a bit more on improving things. Even small improvements, when brought to scale, become grand achievements. I am suggesting that we spend 2023 focusing both on improving pediatric healthcare access, as well as some well-deserved self-care. The WCAAP will continue to lead the march on implementing your ideas on improving access to healthcare for all kids in Washington, especially those who are marginalized. As your biggest fans, we are committed to doing the right work, supporting kids while supporting pediatric providers. We continued to be humbled by the faith you put into us. 

But let us not forget about self-care. I could speak in platitudes, sharing that “you can’t help others until you help yourself” or “self-care is never selfish.” But I prefer to keep it simpler: you have been rockstars in the face of multiple crises, solving for unprecedented problems, therefore you have earned and deserve some (a lot of) self-care. From a walk in nature, to sharing a glass of wine with friends, to watching Bridgerton, only you know what brings you peace and strength. Do whatever feeds your soul and own it proudly!

In conclusion, I want to say thank you. Others may not understand the sacrifices you made in the last two years, and they may not fully appreciate that your tireless work has measurably improved the lives of your patients, but I see it, I see you!

Good riddance to 2021 and 2022 and welcome 2023.  Because of you – our members and partners – there is a lot to be optimistic about!