I am honored to serve as President of the AASM for 2020-21. I plan to start a President’s column with this piece on a monthly basis to give me an opportunity to connect with you and keep you updated on AASM initiatives and activities of the board.

These are difficult times to practice sleep medicine. We want to help our patients, while maintaining our own safety as well as the safety of our family and workplace as we continue to deal with the current COVID-19 pandemic, as well as ongoing issues related to racism and related health care disparities. Some of you have been furloughed, lost jobs, been away from practice, or even closed practices. We all are suffering in this together.

During these difficult times, I am reminded of a quote from Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” There will be ongoing roadblocks and obstacles, some small and some enormous, similar to what we are currently going through. However, how we adapt to changes to overcome these obstacles, and convert them to opportunities, will not only help us to survive, but also help us to evolve as a person, as a field, and as an organization and community.

AASM has taken many steps to help our members, our field, and our patients in the current state. To name a few, we initiated a Telemedicine Presidential Committee to offer resources to our members, and a new Advocacy Committee to help advocate on our behalf to legislators to maintain the waivers provided by CMS during the current public health emergency and in the post-COVID era. We also appointed a COVID-19 Task Force to provide updated resources for our members on a regular basis while also presenting data to our board so that we can strategize and come up with short and long-term plans to help our members, field, and our patients.

I am reaching out to you to seek your input, as I really do want to hear from you on how you, your family, your practice, and community are doing during these difficult times. This will help me, the board, and the AASM staff to identify action items that we can implement to support and advocate for you. Recently, AASM offered funding to state sleep societies to help them during these difficult times, and we have relaxed the AASM accreditation timeline. To continue similar initiatives in the near future, we need to hear from you. We’d also like to hear your stories of how you are adapting to change during these difficult times. We are in this together, and together we can overcome these challenges, adapt and change, and take our field, practice, and patient care to greater horizons.

Best wishes,

Kannan Ramar, MD