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There are many reasons to look forward, armed with lessons learned and new research on the horizon.
FROM THE CHAIRMAN
It is hard to believe a year has passed since Psychiatric TimesTM first explored the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and potential impacts in March 2020. When the article was written, we thought the virus was mostly contained in China, potentially affecting some of Europe. Naïvely, we felt safe in our country. By the time the issue was delivered to readers, the world had been turned upside down. We were on lockdowns, facing a new reality that loved ones, schools, and other outings and gatherings were not just dangerous but potentially lethal. Overnight, a new world befell us.
Fortunately, since then much has been learned about the virus, human nature, as well as our fractured health care infrastructure. Amilcar Arnaldo Tirado, MD, MBA, who first wrote about his own experience as a patient with COVID-19, now reflects on how this pandemic has played out. His unique perspective as a health care worker who faced down the virus provides insight into the small steps we continue to take toward recovery and engenders hope. We have stared down the virus and become stronger and better, having faced the greatest health challenge in a century. We have demonstrated we can and will triumph.
Every new piece of information has, in turn, created new questions and challenges, and the field of psychiatry has risen to the occasion. As it became necessary to stay home, psychiatry took the lead in providing telehealth. Mental health experts also emphasized the importance of staying connected, even if it means in a different format—online or phone instead of in-person visits with family and friends. With limited resources, the question has now turned to the issue of deciding who should get the vaccine and when? And whether vaccines should be mandatory, especially for health care workers? Cynthia Geppert, MD, MA, MPH, Psychiatric TimesTM ethicist and editorial board member, explores these tough questions in this issue. As resistance to the vaccine has increased, even by frontline workers and health care workers, advisory board member Nidal Moukaddam, MD, PhD, and colleagues debunk many of the myths that have added stress to the successful rollout of the vaccine. The article in this issue provides tips for talking with patients and colleagues.
This month, Psychiatric TimesTM also sheds light on the clinical topics that continue to cause confusion and controversy. Although research shows cannabis can have a positive impact on care, lack of open dialogue and proper oversight has triggered a new Wild West. The pieces in this month’s Cannabis Conundrum Special Report dissect the claims and problems associated with cannabis to provide you with the clinical insights to successfully navigate this new and uncharted territory.
Thus, as we reflect on this past year with COVID-19, there are also many reasons to look forward. Armed with lessons learned and new research on the horizon, Psychiatric TimesTM is ready help you tackle the latest challenges and find positive solutions for your patients. ❒
Mike Hennessy Sr
Chairman and Founder, MJH Life SciencesTM