COVID-19, One Year Later: Experts Reflect On The Impact Of A Global Pandemic

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From the first confirmed cases, to the race to vaccinate our country against the latest strands of the virus, COVID-19 has been the nation’s top focus for a year now.

To some, March 2020 seems like yesterday. To others, it seems like a different era in time. In just a year, masks have become are our new normal. Terms like antibodies, social distancing and quarantine have become part of our everyday vocabulary. Health – both physical and mental– has been on everyone’s minds.

Looking back on the one-year mark of the pandemic, there are many takeaways and lessons to be learned. We asked health professionals to share some of their personal learnings from the past year – ways we can do things better or hopes for what the world will look like when this is finally all over.

Awdish Rana 17Rana Awdish, M.D., critical care specialist

What is one thing that has helped you get through this past year’s challenges?

Having a community of colleagues who understood the challenges of the year, and with whom I could be vulnerable and honest and receive support from was invaluable. This would not have been survivable otherwise.

After a year of COVID-19, what is one thing you hope changes for the better?

My hope is that we retain a sense of what is possible when we come together as a community - working with the sole purpose of caring for each other.


Jones Lamont 15 jpg 1Lamont Jones, M.D., MBA, otolaryngologist

What is one thing that has helped you get through this past year’s challenges?

Faith and family. They do go hand in hand. The past year has strengthened my faith and reinforced the importance of family. Family is not limited to those that share the same roof. Family includes those that share the same beautiful blue sky.

 

 


Pflaum Carlson Jacqueline 16 jpg 1Jacqueline Pflaum-Carlson, M.D., critical care and emergency medicine specialist

What is a lesson that the past year has taught you?

My health is not a given. This seems like a strange lesson, but as I watched people around me fall ill - colleagues, coworkers, friends and family - I'm reminded how privileged I am to be able to maintain my health.

What is the one thing that has helped you get through this year's challenges?

I used art for healing, to process my emotions, to verbalize things I may not have fully understood before I started a piece. I shared that art in the hopes that it may help others do the same.


Burgess Jennifer 13C jpg 1Jennifer Burgess, M.D., family medicine physician

What is a lesson that the past year has taught you?

This past year has taught me how much sharing our experiences and feelings with my colleagues and coworkers during shared stress not only builds comradery but helps with resiliency and burnout prevention.

After a year of COVID-19, what is one thing you hope changes for the better?

I hope that we all have more empathy and appreciation for each other, and I hope that there is a continued belief in science and evidence-based medicine.


Montgomery Mallory 19Mallory Montgomery, MS, ATR-BC, art therapist

What is one thing that has helped you get through this past year’s challenges?

I came to appreciate the small, everyday magic that self-compassion brought me. Savoring a really good cup of coffee, my dog’s head on my lap as I had virtual meetings, growing a garden for the first time. This pandemic forced us all to slow down, and that made me more grateful for the time I had to be more in touch with myself and value everyday things I used to take for granted when I was busier. But above all, just remembering I wasn’t alone when I felt upset, sad, or lonely. I was one person among many doing the best I could every day, and every day my best looked different.

After a year of COVID-19, what is one thing you hope changes for the better?

I hope we remember this year and it continues to make us softer, gentler people who continue to go out of our way to care for our neighbors, family, and friends because it’s the right thing to do. I hope we remember, and I hope we recognize that despite how hard this was and continues to be, it will be worthwhile when we sit down to dinner with the people we missed and hug the babies we haven’t met yet.


Peltzer Jones Jennifer 17 1Jennifer Peltzer-Jones, PsyD, psychologist

What is a lesson that the past year has taught you?

Finding ways to be connected during physical distancing was much more difficult than I could have ever anticipated. But that realization really led to my appreciating just how important my relationships are and helped me to genuinely appreciate time that I have with the people I love.

What is one thing that has helped you get through this past year’s challenges?

The country song "The Bones" by Maren Morris became my own inspiration song. For me, it was a reminder not just about how my family and I can "weather storms" like the pandemic, but also that our health system has strong "bones" due to a long history of delivering quality care in the toughest of circumstances and socioeconomic pressures in our everyday work. This didn't start with the pandemic, this is who we are.


Keteyian Courtland 21Courtland Keteyian, M.D., public health and preventive medicine specialist

After a year of COVID-19, what is one thing you hope changes for the better?

The pandemic tested us in many ways. As vaccines become more available, we are finding many people are hesitant to receive it. Vaccination is the best was to protect ourselves, our families, and those we care about. I hope more of us are able to set aside our concern and embrace vaccination as the life-saving modality it represents.

What is a lesson that the past year has taught you?

I always knew that I worked with great people, but I didn’t truly realize what our organization was capable of accomplishing. We have incredibly talented people who are very committed to their work. Heroes really do work here.

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Categories: FeelWell