All of us have been affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent attenuation measures. It has affected the health of many, and certainly how we work, learn, and teach.
As mentioned by Albert Einstein “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity”.
In his article “Technology-Enhanced CPD After 1.5 Years of the COVID-19 Crisis: Where are We”, Dr. Vjekoslav Hlede elegantly describes how the current crisis has affected our relationship with online learning. This made us remember a commentary recently written by a group of Canadian ophthalmologists.1 The authors mentioned that the most important benefit to come from the rise in virtual CME during the pandemic is the “increased access to those who have historically been excluded from traditional CME activities”. The authors described that the “increased uptake of virtual delivery of CME provides an opportunity to reduce barriers to access to high-quality resources irrespective of local medical education resources or personal barriers to access.” The authors commented that this is particularly true for women who “participate less frequently at conferences, serve on fewer journal editorial boards, and are less commonly listed as primary authors in peer-reviewed journals.” Participation in CME activities is definitely a first step in closing the gender gap in medicine.
As editors, we would like to acknowledge the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in our discipline. Dr. Jann Balmer discusses an innovative education and training program implemented at UVA entitled Stepping In 4 Respect in direct response to situations of discriminatory behavior on the UVA campus and in the community. To this cause, we are happy to announce the establishment of a new standing column on DEI in this newsletter. We are delighted that Dr. Mohammad Salhia, chair of the new DEI taskforce for SACME, has agreed to serve as the column editor. We hope this column will promote discussion of DEI issues and their critical importance to the future of medical education among our SACME members and at their home institutions. Look for this column in the fall issue.
Wishing you all a wonderful summer,
Martin and Robert
1Can J Ophthalmol Volume 56, Number 1, February 2021 - click here to view.