Each month, ACH President Jenni Levy, MD, FACH addresses ACH members through her president's message, sharing updates, goals, and information to keep members engaged and involved in the Academy.
The scene outside my window looks like autumn – gorgeous blue sky, red-edged leaves on the maple in my backyard, a gentle breeze. When I walk outside, it still feels like summer. It’s a transitional time of year.
It’s also a transitional time in the Jewish liturgical calendar as we observe Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, which begin with Rosh Hashanah and end with Yom Kippur. Our tradition tells us that this is the time of year when our destiny is decided. We imagine that gates open on Rosh Hashanah and close on Yom Kippur, and in between we hang in the balance. Even if we don’t believe there is a divine force writing our name in a great book, this is a time that feels set apart. We are taught that teshuvah can improve our fate; teshuvah is often translated as repentance but also means turning. We turn inward to reflect on the year gone by; we turn outward and ask for forgiveness from those we have wronged; we turn to transcendence in whatever form it exists for us, and seek peace.
While teshuvah is a private, individual process, when we seek divine forgiveness, we do so as a community. We recite the Vidui, a communal confessional prayer, because we are all responsible, and we need to come together to build a better world. Judy Chang, the ACH VP for Research, noticed something similar in recent news stories:
Recently the images on our television screens and smart phones had been those of nature’s power and relentlessness. Yet these have been paired with stories of courage, kindness, collaboration, and generosity that have served as reminders of the power of community and partnership. The International Conference on Communication and Healthcare is just around the corner—October 8-11, 2017 (onsite registration is available).
ICCH is the manifestation of the longstanding partnership ACH enjoys with the European Association on Communication in Healthcare. This year’s ICCH further partners with the International Health Literacy Association by combining with Health Literacy Annual Conference. It has also been exciting to learn from the conference planning committee that the theme of partnerships has extended to inviting patient stakeholder participation that was made possible by a PCORI grant award. We are also excited that the ACH Research Committee members will be making themselves available to partner with new or longstanding ACH members interested in increasing ACH involvement—Research Committee members will be wearing identifying ribbons to invite folks to approach them at any time during the conference.
The fate of ACH is not decided by a divine being writing in a large book but rather by all of us, and we do our best work when we come together. In the nine months I’ve been President, I’ve had the opportunity to learn much more about our research-oriented members and our partnership with EACH. I am excited to attend ICCH and learn more about HARC. Please come up and introduce yourself if you see me wandering the halls and poster sessions.
I wish all of you a sweet year. Shanah tovah!